Japanese tools are usually very good to be fair, though i cant say i'll be trying a jap trowel anytime soon. The handle does look very near the heel, but if its anything like all of their other hand tools there will be a very good reason for that. For example, their hand saws cut on the pull stroke and not on the push like western saws, so they get away with very fine blades as its always in tension when cutting. Much better than european designs. Their keyhole saws are mint for cutting plasterboard, like a razor and hold their edge for ages.