JKOO SWORDS > Nihonto Glossary

Japanese sword(nihonto) glossary



The katana() is the type of Japanese longsword or backsword, it is a specific type of curved and single edged sword, traditionally used by the Japanese samurai, so it also be known as samurai sword. 


The katana always used for cutting and open combat. its curvature is generally gentle enough to allow for effective thrusting as well and it was predominantly used with a two-handed tsuka(grip). but many extant historical Japanese sword arts include single-handed techniques as well. it has been traditionally worn edge up, inserted in the sash from the sixteenth century. 


The sword was considered the soul of the samurai. For much of Japanese history, only samurai were allowed to carry swords. The peasant were prohibited carrying sword and they would be killed was enough reason if they carrying a sword after in early Edo period. 
Much of early Japanese culture revolved around swords. If somebody be forced to sell their swords for money, then they would be “soulless” in the eyes of a samurai. 


Katana's scabbard be called a saya, the handguard be called tsuba, Other aspects of the koshirae(mountings), such as the menuki (decorative grip swells), habaki (blade collar and scabbard wedge), fuchi and kashira (handle collar and cap), kozuka (small utility knife handle), kogai (decorative skewer-like implement), saya lacquer, and tsuka-ito (professional handle wrap), and Elaborate methods for cleaning, storing, sharpening, and making all of parts of sword.


Regarding Japanese culture of sword. Positioning of sword for an easy draw implied suspicion or aggression. For example, a samurai entering someone's house might consider how to place his sheathed sword as he 
knelt. whether he placed it on his right or left side, and whether the blade was placed curving away or towards him, was an important point of etiquette. 


The katana was typically paired with wakizashi and tanto. Katana was generally stored above the wakizashi on a rack, curving upwards, in the manner it was worn, with the omote side showing (tsuka or handle pointing left).


Sword Terms



 Nakago: Tang of blade

 Mune-Machi: Notch in the back of a blade to stop the habaki.

 Ha-Machi: Edge notch where blade joins tang

 Mekugi-Aan: Tang Hole

 Mei: Signature

 Yasuri-Mei: File marks on tang




Nakago: Tang of blade

Mune-Machi: Notch in the back of a blade to stop the habaki.

Ha-Machi: Edge notch where blade joins tang

Mekugi-Aan: Tang Hole

Mei: Signature

Yasuri-Mei: File marks on tang

Nagasa: Blade (from tip of kissaki to munemachi)

Kissaki: The point of a blade

Boshi: Shape of temper line at the kissaki (point)

Yokote: Line between ji and kissaki

Ji/Hiraji: sword surface between the shinogi and the hamon

Hamon: Temper pattern along blade edge

Shinogi: Ridges on each side of a blade

Shinogi-Ji: Sword flat between the mune and shinogi

Mune: Back ridge of sword blade

Mono-Uchi: Portion of blade 4 or 5 inches below the point. Striking point

Ha: Cutting edge of a sword

Sori: Curve

Hi/Bohi: Groove

Koshirae: Sword mountings including Saya, tsuka and Toso/Tosogu.

Toso/Tosogu: Sword-furniture, I.E.: Fittings, Fuchi-Kashira; Habaki, Seppa, Menuki and Tsuba

Tsuba: Sword guard

Fuchi-Kashira: set of hilt collar (fuchi) and butt cap (kashira).

Menuki: Ornaments under handle wrapping to improve grip

Habaki: Collar around blade above the tang to fit the blade securely into scabbard

Seppa: Washers to fill out space provided for tsuba on blade

Tsuka: Sword handle.

Ito/Tsuka ito: Braid for wrapping handle

Tsuka-maki: art of wrapping the handle of a sword.

Mekugi: Bamboo peg or metal rivet holding the handle on a sword

Same/Same-kawa: Patch of skin from belly of giant ray, used on sword handles and sometimes on scabbards

Saya: Scabbard of sword.

Sageo: Cord or braid attached to kurikata on side of scabbard

Koiguchi: The mouth of the scabbard or its fitting

Kurikata: Scabbard (saya) fitting for attaching the sageo

Kojiri: Bottom end fitting on scabbard

Shito-Dome: Small collars in the kurikata and/or kashira


Referenced page fromhttp://www.samuraisword.com/glossary/index.htm

Learn More Glossary about Japanese sword blade, please click here

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