Whether they are from Europe or Japan, there is a certain standard of knife care for all good quality knives.
* Never put them anywhere near a dishwasher unless specifically mentioned by the manufacturer.
* Never store them unprotected, or loose in a cutlery drawer - They will get damaged.
* Never use them to cut on marble, glass, or other similar hard surfaces.
* Always wash them after use.
* Keep them sharp.
The most important thing of all, is to use your knife for the purpose it was intended.
Chef's knives were never intended to cut through bone or lobster and shellfish. They are intended to slice through meat and fish that has already been separated from the bone. You wouldn't drive a sports car offroad.
The biggest recommendation we can give is to learn how to use your knife properly. The best way is to keep the point of a European knife in touch with the cutting board and bring the knife down to the back as you cut. You shouldn't hear a choppping sound, apart from the contact when the heel stops the downward motion by contacting the cutting board.
With a Japanese knife, the motion is a similar motion, as they are generally based on the French chef's knives. The exception is the Santoku and Nakiri knives which have a forward slicing motion which may take a while to get used to if you're used to using a European knife. Do not twist the knife while it's in the material, don't use it as an axe and DO NOT use the point to open that stubborn can.
If you're going to cut bones and similar, use a cleaver or a western Deba Japanese knife which are intended for the rough stuff. The cleaver can be a cheap one as it doesn't need any finesse or real quality apart from being destructive. Our apologies to those specialist people who actually do use a cleaver as a proper cutting instrument.
Putting good quality knives in dishwashers, is asking for trouble. The heat generated by dishwashers will expand and contract handles, no matter how good they are. Dishwashers can also cause chips in blades, by moving knives against each other.
Cutting food on surfaces like marble, glass, corian, or other similar hard surfaces, WILL blunt any cutting edge at an accelerated rate. It will roll the edges of your knives and make them feel blunt. The best surface for cutting is wood. Bamboo is very hard and not suited to great knife edges, with plastic "sanitary" boards running a very poor third afer that. If you have a choice between end-grain and cross-grain boards, the end-grain are gentler on your knives.
It seems to have been further validated, that wooden boards are generally the most sanitary surface. Deep cuts in plastic boards do not heal and tend to harbour pathogens. Boards of any material should be washed after every use, to ensure your safety. A good, simple disinfectant, is a spray bottle of 1 to 4 vinegar/water which you can spray on your board and then wipe down, after you've washed it. Olive oil and other vegetable oils tend to go rancid if used to coat your wooden chopping board. Use a food grade mineral oil.
ALWAYS use a different board for chicken processing, especially raw chicken. Buy a cheapie and use it only for the chicken.
If you value sharp, good quality knives don't put them in a cutlery drawer without a protective sleeve or a division for each of your knives, so they don't touch. Cutting edges hitting each other will result in one thing - chipped blades.
Be careful - The very reason that great knives are fun to use, is the same reason they will slice through your skin as easily as a tomato. Always wash knives with the sharpened edge facing away from you and preferably in an outward motion. A good investement, is a soft mop style sponge-on-a-stick, normally used to wash inside cups & glasses. If you use this, your hands are never in contact with the knife edge, but you will be able to apply enough force to clean the blade properly.
Good knives of all brands can be effectively and properly washed clean by the same warm soapy water you use to wash your dishes. It's obviously best to wash your knives as soon as possible after using them, as acid from tomatoes or citrus is vicious on metal. If you don't wash immediately, at least give the knives a wipe with a wet cloth, etc.
Don't immerse your knives in a sink full of sudsy water - you won't be able to tell where to put your hands safely.
Keep Them Sharp
A sharp knife is safer then a blunt one. If you have to force a knife through something, it is more likely to slip and cut you than if it was sharp enough to go straight through to the board. There are a number of approaches to knife sharpening, which can vary from belt sanders and grinders, to sharpening kits like the Lansky system, or the "Zen" of hand sharpening with Japanese waterstones.
The recommended method for sharpening Japanese knives, is to use a whetstone.
Fine Japanese chef's knives to Australia since 2007