Recently, I was looking for a Japanese knife made of VG-10 carbon steel, santoku or gyuto, 7"-9", and preferably damascus steel. I had bought one a few years ago as a present from Paul's Finest website and it was a good purchase. This time I was looking around at different websites and as I'm not a chef, I didn't want to spend too much on a knife.
I found an interesting series of knives labeled Japanese knives. The prices were very attractive along with VG10 steel, multiple layers, and pakkawood handles. However, these knives are not "Made in Japan" by a master knife craftsman. The details indicate that they are made with Japanese top grade steel (imported from Japan)!
So, when choosing to buy a real Japanese knife, it is very important to do your research as a good knife made by a Japanese master craftsman will stay with you for life (provided you sharpen the edge regularly). A good knife is an investment, so budget accordingly. Good places to go and learn about Japanese knife for beginners: Reddit Cooking, Reddit knifes, GlobeandMail article, blade types, about steels, knife sharpening basics.
PS: I'm waiting for the Hattori san's Santoku or Gyuto to become available.