I saw this beautiful Miyabi Kaizen II 8" Chef’s knife on sale at my local Sur La Table, and I bought it as a gift. Because this is a gift, I want to keep it as new as possible. I did sharpen it to improve the edge and I got to test a little. Compared to the previous Kaizen I, Kaizen II has a symmetrical handle which is thicker too. The core steel has been changed from VG-10 to FC61. It is said to be tougher than VG-10. Exactly what is FC61? Many speculate it to be AEB-L. It is definitely not VG-10. I personally like VG-10, but this steel seems fine.
First, as mentioned, the pattern is beautiful, and it is on sale for $100.
Second, I compared this knife to my Tojiro DP 210 mm gyuto (pretty much a Chef’s knife)
Tojiro DP: 195 g, Kaizen II: 202 g
Tojiro DP: 210 mm, Kaizen II 200 mm
Blade width (spine to edge distance at heel)
Tojiro: 42 mm, Kaizen II 50 mm
Tojiro DP: 1.8 mm, Kaizen II: 1.9 mm
Thickness above the edge
Tojiro DP: 0.9 mm, Kaizen II: 0.7 mm
As you can tell, the Kaizen II is not vastly different than the Tojiro DP. However, it has a much wider blade width and it has a noticeably thinner blade thickness above the edge – which many people like.
A couple of interesting things to be noticed. First, while the handle is symmetrical, the cutting edge bevel is not. It has a flatter edge angle on the right side and a steeper edge angle on the left side. Second, the burr raised up very easily and noticeably compared to my VG-10 knives.
Overall, I think it is a good buy for $100. It cuts well. It sharpened up nicely and takes on a good edge. I don’t know about its long term edge retention or chip resistance – due to my short term experience. It is a great gift if anything for its beautiful appearance and relatively low price. Moreover, it is a solidly functional knife.