A nikiri was actually the very first Japanese knife I ever saw. It was 40 years ago, and the the equally young recent college grad who owned it handle it with reverence as he showed it to me, pointing to an onion and saying how amazing what it could do with it. Carbon steel and no more than 7", thin spine and tapering to what seemed the thickness of a hair before it got very near to the edge. I still remember it vividly and how impressed I was.
Such a nakiri would certainly get used, though perhaps a shun, wusty or even Tojiro one might soon become drawer queens. Then maybe not. In any event I'd still favor my Takamura gyuto over the nikiri. Works as well as the nikiri for everything except maybe Katsurumaki (making vegetable skin), and lots more versatile. No need to put it down and grab for another knife.
Actually you can get around not having a tip for most everything, but do you really want the challenge?