While I was in Tokyo last May, I picked up several wonderful Japanese knives at the Takashimiya store in Ginza. With the advise from our Japanese friends, (talented home cooks), I bought the Aritsugu brand. The Yanagi is for Sushi. The blade length is 30cm, and as sharp as a razor blade. These are pricy in the US, but relatively affordable in Japan. I think I paid USD $180 for that one.
i was a sushi-chef for a year and a half, and i continue to cater sushi parties and teach sushi classes. I use bunmei knives, they are inexpensive (around $100) and very nice vanadium/moly steel. i am reasonably sure that they are made in the same forgings that the global forged line are made in. i prefer the 12 inch yanagi, i have smaller french knives if i want something smaller. I have a 12 inch tako knife as well, same make, but i do not like it as much. the tako style is popular in some parts of japan.