According to Jim Blauvelt and Harrelson Stanley, Japanese saws just make sense. Since they are used on the pull stroke, they tend to stay straight in the cut, as opposed to Western saws, which are used on the push stroke and can sometimes bind in the cut. Because of this, Western saw blades are thicker than Japanese blades in order to accomodate the resistance.
No vise is used when cutting with a Japanese saw. Huh?? What's a workbench without a vise? Less expensive, for one thing. Instead of employing a vise, you cut down toward the benchtop at a 60º angle. I was intrigued with the planing stop: a sliding dovetail (second to last photo).
Jim and Harrelson recommend using the most aggressive saw possible for a given task. Larger Japanese saws, typically used for carpentry, are as accurate as but cut faster than smaller ones, which are typically used for joinery.
There is huge variety in the quality of saws on the market, the best having been made within the last 10-15 years (I don't think they were including saws that were and are handmade by masters, but rather machine-manufactured saws in the 20th & 21st centuries). Saws in the $40-$50 range with disposable blades are a good choice.
Avoid impulse-hardened teeth, where only the surface of the teeth are hardened. These teeth appear bluish in color. Jim & Harrelson said "you can feel the steel stretching as you use [these saws]."
Here are other points (no pun intended. well, maybe):
1) Shorter teeth with steeper bevels work best for hardwood.
2) Ryoba (meaning "both") is a 2-sided saw. One side is crosscut and the other is rip.
3) Keep your saw oiled every day.
4) Dozuki is a backsaw and is available in both rip and crosscut.
5) Azehiki (5th photo) is a short- bladed saw used for starting a cut in the middle of a board and for sawing the sides of a groove.
The last photo is Jim's marking gauge. I couldn't resist.
I bought a dozuki about 14 years ago and loved it until I put a kink in the blade (about 2 months after I bought it). It worked very well, but you have to be gentle and sensitive with Japanese saws. Maybe play a Barry Manilow album while you're using them.