About the shape - Under utilized in the western kitchen, the nakiri’s flat blade is meant for the push/pull chopping of vegetables. Since the entire flat edge of the knifetouches the cutting board at once, you won't be turning the vegetable into an 'accordion', still connected like a paper doll after you've cut them. The added weight of the blade allows it to fall through food more easily while you chop, so the knife does more of the work for you!
About Mazaki San - Mazaki-san is a relatively young blacksmith from Sanjo, but he originally hails from the island of Hokkaido. Unsure of what to do with himself as a young man, he left to travel Japan on his motorcycle. He made a stop in Sanjo, and was fascinated by the knife making & blacksmithing industry in the area. He got an apprenticeship with Yoshikane which lasted about 5 years, but he decided he would like to pursue a more traditional, hands-on way of making knives. Now, he forge-welds all of his carbon steel knives in house, and finishes his bevels with a variety of different whetstones, all by hand.
Mazaki-san prefers the more traditional Shirogami #2 to craft his knives, and leaves a rustic finish on many of his blades. Shirogami is capable of insane sharpness and edge retention. His knives have a distinctly traditional look, while still standing out from the crowd as his own creations.