Thanks for reporting back. $100-140 is not outrageous for a good knife, but I am not convinced that you cannot get a better knife. The Yata knives have an unusual design which I don’t particularly like. Sorta of what Bookwich said, but I think we dislike different aspecst. For the Yata knives, I simply find the knife profile too curved for a Santoku.
I am not too critical of handle finishing, but it has to meet certain basic needs. For example, a Watanabe Nakiri I have has a unpolished handle which the handle does not tightly fit to the ferrule. Still, it is one of the best knives I have seen.
If you are interested in Santoku, I would recommend Miyabi Kaizen II (stainless steel, nice pattern, good returning policy, coming from a large cutlery company: Henckels), Glestain (stainless steel, quick food release, and nice profile)…and of course, many wonderful carbon steel knives.