Masanobu’s razor-sharp Japanese blades feature a core made of VG-10 steel. VG-10 steel is one of the sharpest steels you can find in a kitchen knife today. It also holds an edge extremely well.
Additionally, the blade is angled more sharply on one side than the other. This gives it an even more aggressive edge. It also means that you’ll need to special-order a mirror-image version if you’re a lefty.
The handle is pressed wood with nickel silver bolsters.
One word of caution… these knives require some extra care on your part — hand-cleaning and periodic resharpening in particular. And since the edge is asymmetrical, you may want to consider having the professionally resharpened. If you’re unwilling to do all that, these are probably not the knives for you.
Masanobu knives are readily available, but are not generally sold as a set. That may work out better for you anyway, as you can get only the knives you need. Search around a bit and you’ll be able to find a Gyutou (Chef’s Knife) and a Petty (paring knife), which will get you well on your way.