I've done a ton of research and reading in the last couple of weeks and I've accumulated some new info (for me) that helped to narrow my choices down. I was kind of hung on the whole japanese/western handled choice, but after all that reading and information gathering I came to a conclusion: The handles are different, I like both and I'm sure either one will be fine.
Having said that...
Masamoto HC, Masamoto KS, Konosuke white steel, Konosuke HD. These would be 270mm, but I have to admit to toying with the idea of a 300mm which of course would eliminate some of these choices. However, I'll probably bow to experience since I've noticed none of the experienced chefs have ever talked of using a 300mm at home. I would like to hear from experienced people why this is so for information's sake.
Some questions for anyone that might know:
1. The difference in steel between the Masamoto HC steel and the white steel they use for the KS series.
2. Difference in white steel between different knife makers. I'm assuming that Konosuke and Masamoto are on fairly equal levels, but I could be wrong. I don't know a whole lot of how steel differs in knife making. I'm guessing things like tempering, etc.
3. The profiles are obviously different between the HC and KS gyutos. Is there a reason for this? Is there a particular shape that lends itself to a certain use? Is the HC significantly wider than the KS at the heel?
4. Is the KS thinner than the HC, or are they about the same?
5. Is the stainless factor the only difference between the Konosuke HD and their white steel?
This will be my almost-everything knife. I can go with the thin Konosuke because I have knives that can handle the heavy duty stuff. I guess I'm looking for reasons someone might choose one of these knives over the other. I realize there might not be any real tangible reasons. It might be like my Ma used to say, "You pay your money, you take your chances..."