© Nancy Stanton Talcott
Based in Seki City, the home of samurai sword–making, Shun makes comfortable, gracefully sharp knives, particularly the Classic Series’s 7-inch santoku ($144.95 on Williams Sonoma) and 8-inch chef’s knife/gyuto ($144.95 on Williams Sonoma).
© Katie Shaw
The blades contain zirconium oxide, a hard ceramic used in race-car brake pads; it makes knives like this 5.5-inch Classic Series santoku wear-resistant ($35.60 on Amazon).
© Ysabel Gonzalez and Jack Bevington
Lightweight perforated handles and the fluid action of the slender blades are both impressive, especially on the elegant G-2 8-inch chef’s knife/gyuto ($89 on Amazon).
© Harold Arimoto
Endorsed by chefs Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert, these knives have strong, sharp blades—like the Professional Series 8.5-inch chef’s knife/gyuto ($155.95 on Amazon).