Don't get wound up about it. If you want a masterpiece, $180 isn't going to do it. And the chances that you will ever be able to tell the difference, in the cutting, between a masterpiece and a perfectly ordinary, serviceable, professional-grade knife are slim.
There are four single-beveled knife styles worth considering, if you're thinking about spending money and collecting and so forth: yanagiba, usuba, deba, kiritsuke.
Yanagiba: slicer for soft flesh, i.e. fish
Usuba: all-purpose vegetable/fruit knife
Deba: fish-butchering knife
Kiritsuke: all-purpose slicer
You do NOT want an usuba, unless you want it as a hobby. It's a nightmare to use, very expensive to purchase, hard to maintain, and strictly limited to vegetables.
You only want a deba if you're going to butcher your own fish, since that's about all it does.
If you're into collecting, don't bother with a kiritsuke, which is kind of a recent thing. You won't find much in the way of "masterpieces" of this style.
That leaves you with the yanagiba, which is basically not especially useful if you don't slice your own sashimi. It's also expensive, difficult to maintain, and very difficult indeed to "open" (to sharpen the first time). But because of the sushi revolution, every top maker produces these things.
Now what will a really good yanagiba cost you? Er... brace yourself.
When I was preparing to leave Japan, I decided, what the hey, and invested. I got a friend to help me buy a high-end knife through complicated means I won't explain but that entailed that the knife was sold without a brand name, drastically reducing the price. We have reason to think that this knife, if it had acquired its normal brand name, would have been sold as a Masamoto or Sakai Takayuki. It is blue #2 steel, top-notch within the realm of sanity (#1 steel is so expensive and difficult to work that it's very rarely used). I had a heavy Japanese oak (itchii) handle placed on it, to balance the 300mm blade. I had a hard-core expert crazy who's also a friend do the opening; his assessment is that this is one of the finest kasumi (2-layer bonded) yanagiba he's dealt with. Grand total, if I had bought this the way you would have to -- that is, off the shelf from Masamoto or somebody like that -- including the handle and opening, this knife would run you about $400-$500. (I didn't pay anything like that, before you ask.)
But you wanted a masterpiece, right? Okay, so you probably want an ebony handle, not itchii. You probably want honyaki, meaning it's solid steel rather than kasumi-bonded. Let's not fuss about #1 steel, which is just silly. And you want it from a top-notch maker, someone who really takes pride in his work and all that. How much?
Um, are you sure you want to know?
Off the rack, right now, you can buy one of these from Masamoto -- model HA0430K -- for the low, low price of...
Let's not worry about the roughly $50 for the opening. If you're dropping this kind of cash, $50 is nothing.
If you want to go down-market to Aritsugu Tokyo -- an extremely good brand without quite the cache of Masamoto -- you can have it for about $1400:
Why am I telling you all this? Because the state of discourse in this thread has hung in the $100-$300 range, but you're talking about masterpieces of cutlery wonderfulness. And I want to indicate that for masterpieces, this price range is off by a factor of 10!
Now I should wrap up by just noting that in no case are we talking about an individual hand-made masterpiece, done by one master, just for you. In that case, assuming you could get someone of that kind to make such a knife for you, you're talking another factor of roughly 5 to 10, depending on who the maker is. On the other hand, knives from Masamoto, Sakai Takayuki, Aritsugu, and so on are basically handmade by individual craftsmen, but for contractual reasons, you will almost never know quite who those craftsmen are.
If you buy knives in this sort of class, upwards of $1000 and considered worth it by certain high-end pros in Japan, you'd better get awfully good with a sharpening stone. And you'd better plan to lay out for the best, too, because you want to protect your investment.
Of course, if you just want to CUT something, all this is pretty much pointless....