European or Japanese?
European Chef's Knife
Usually 3 mm.
53- 57 Rockwell
249 grams (Wusthof Classic)
264 grams (Henckels Pro S)
Japanese Chef's Knife
Usually 2 mm.
180 grams (Misono UX10)
179 grams (Tojiro DP)
The Japanese Chef's Knife range
Gyuto (Chef's) Knife
The most versatile knife in the western kitchen is the chef's knife. It is used for cutting, slicing, chopping, and mincing. The curved blade allows rocking back and forth for fine chopping and mincing. Chef's knives come in blade lengths from 6 to 12 inches. The longer the knife, the more you can cut, but the more difficult it is to control. If you've got small hands, you may want to stick with the 6 to 8 in. variety.
This is the Japanese equivalent of a chef's knife and has been gaining in popularity in Western kitchens. It has a broad blade and a tip that is lower than a chef's tip. Typically made thinner than a chef's knife, it does not have as much structural strength or weight, but is great at all chef's knife functions except for cutting through bone. Many brands now carry santokus, but a few have made poor design decisions (edge is almost flat, tip too low, knife too thick, etc.).
In the photo above, at the top you can see the difference in profile between a good quality German Chef's knife (front) and the approximate equivalent, in a Japanese Gyuto Chef's knife. In the bottom inset image, you can see the difference between the same German chef's knife and the Japanese Santoku blade profile.
The main difference the profile will make, is that to use the knife in the way you see the TV Chef's do, (with the tip on the board, and the blade rolling up and down) the European knife will require you to lift your hand higher, to use all the blade.
We're NOT saying that one is correct and the the other is rubbish. Far from it. They are both approaches to the same problem, from different viewpoints - Japanese & European.
The main difference between the European & Japanese knives is the blade thickness and the steel which is used.