We've recently received a batch of knives from Tosa Tsukasa. They are hand forged in Tosa, a city on Shikoku island that has a deep history of forged tools and knives. This area has traditionally been sparsely populated and relatively isolated from other area of Japan, and the cutting tools made here have been mostly made for the local population, fishermen and traditional craftspeople. They are made to be affordable tools, and have rustic characteristics, such as the 'Kurouchi' style finish, where the blade is hammer forged to thickness and shape and left un-polished, with the black scales from the final forging process left on the blades.
These particular knives are made in this fashion, with a laminated blade of iron-cladding and a Shirogami #1 steel core. Shirogami #1 (or White Steel #1) is a pure carbon steel made by Hitachi, with a high carbon content (1.25-1.35%) and very fine grain, allowing for ease of sharpening and the ability to get screaming sharp, thanks to the higher hardness the carbon content allows. They are theoretically not as tough as a steel with lower carbon content, but these knives are not ground super thin, so they tend to have a bit of toughness thanks to the robust grinds they come with. Iron clad knives do have a tendency to rust, but that is mitigated a bit by the Kurouchi finish they have out of the box. Regardless, we don't recommend these knives be left wet when not in use.
They are handled with really nice one piece octagon shaped oak wood handles. All in all, they are an extremely good value, and would be an excellent blade for someone sharpening on their own, or for someone that needs a great value workhorse that holds a good edge.