Starting in the 8th Century, the making of the Samurai Sword, or Katana, or forging it and the Japanese craftsmen did was one of the most noble and extinguished positions available in Japan.
Chef knives were not looked at as an art, or as something worth dwelling upon.
The art of sword making went on until the 16th century. When the Meiji restoration era started, the caring of Samurai swords was not allowed as a sign for the modernization of Japan.
Even though there was some demand for swords for the army, most Katana artists, turned to forging blades for the tobacco industry.
Production of this new cooking knife using the same forging procedures that produced the best carbon steel blades for centuries in the Samurai swords, or Katana, was making headlines across the Far East.
The Japanese Chef Knife became the most sought after and admired knife for cooks.
With prices equaling up to a years salary.
After WWII, the Japanese blade forging industry turned to making European style blades, as the demand grew form the new world, starting with the Santoku, which is derived from the Gyuto knife (or Gyutou Knife) which is another name for the French Chef Knife.
Even today, the Japanese Chef Knife is renowned around the world as having the best carbon steel metal combination for cooking knives.
Today prices are more common, and you can get a good Japanese chef knife for less then £150.