I've been looking into Japanese knives and reading up on different brands/qualities/types here and on other sites. While I understand that Japanese knives are harder (in terms of steel) and hold better/sharper edges than many of their western counterparts, are they made to do the same volume of work?
My current roll (the stuff I actually use) includes a 9" chefs, 6" boning, and a 3" paring. They're American made by Imperial Schrade back in the 70's before the company got bought out. I honestly have no idea what type/quality steel they're made of or their hardness. But I do know that me and that chef's knife can fly through the days prep, whether meats or veggies, with nothing more than a rinse and a wipe between uses. The knife is double beveled (which I've read is a characteristic of softer steel knives). I haven't yet calculated the angle of the "back" bevel, but the "edge" bevel is sharpened to a 20* 50/50 about once a month. A couple passes down the steel at the start of the day, and I'm usually good from there.
The reason for my desire for a Japanese knife is primarily for plating and service production. I feel like a lighter/sharper knife will do better for cutting meats for plate presentation than my current sidekick. My only experience with a Japanese knife thus far was a Shun. While nice to look at, I didnt feel like I could get much done with it. It belonged to the head chef and only used it for plating, but I noticed that you needed to re-steel a few times as the day went on. Even when only using it to cut primarily seafood and chicken dishes.
I know that Shun's are commercial grade knives for professional use, so I'd think that it should be able to stand up to a normal days work. Or at least get through dinner service without re-steeling. Am I misguided in that thought; or are the nicer, more expensive, Japanese not made with western food consumption in mind!?