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 knife ktouches the cutting board at once, you wont be turning the vegetable into an 'accordion', still connected like a paper doll after you've cut them. The added weight of the blade allow it to fall through food more easily while you chop, so the knife does more of the work for you! Masakage nakiris are made taller than the average nakiri so they last longer and work better for folks with large hands.
About Manaka Hamono - Kisuke Manaka is a relatively young, 5th generation, blacksmith in Kasukabe, Saitama pref. Manaka-san didn’t like the dishonest way his father-in-law operated his business so he decided to become a blacksmith himself. He began making knives from scratch about 10 years ago, with nothing but a workshop full of equipment and no mentor. He is completely self-taught, yet he mastered techniques to forge-weld steels in house, even forge welding stainless steel which is no easy task.
Now he forge-welds everything in house, from hard carbon steel clad with soft steel, stainless steel clad with stainless, and carbon steel clad with stainless steel. The Shirogami #2 steel used in these knives is forge-welded in house by Manaka-san. This is a very traditional steel that can achieve incredible sharpness and has great edge retention, a favourite of more traditional blacksmiths.