I recently received these two books and found both to be great! The first was written by Canadian knifemaker Murray Carter, who lived in japan and learned the traditional techiques of making Japanese kitchen knives and tools. Well illustrated, it covers a lot of techniques, but not so exhaustivelly, but the book itself is worth for the part where Murray explains his work phylosophy and guidelines, and for that it should be read by any knifemaker or anyone who wants to be a knifemaker – I know what I am talking about because it would have saved me a lot of headaches and frustration if it had been written some ten years ago. It is also interesting for collectors and anyone interested in learning more about these knives and its production.
The other book, Japanese Kitchen Knives, is more focused on some traditional Japanese knives, the Deba, Yanagy Ba and Usuba, and its application, and also has a lot more nformation on Japanese kitchen knives – probably the most informative in a Western language so far. This is a must read for any enthusiast of Japanese food or Japanese kitchen knives – and also a must-see as it is fantastically illustrated with great pictures.
Both are availabile at Branes and Noble (wich I prefer) and Amazon (you can see some parts of the book on the site), for less than US$ 30,00 each.