Japanese Sword Terminology

Posted by Mr Yao 25/03/2016 4 Comment(s) Swords Buyer Guide,

AIKUCHI - a tanto with no tsuba (guard)
AOI - hollyhock, commonly used as a Mon
ARA-NIE - coarse or large nie
ASHI - legs (streaks of nioi pointing down toward the edge)
ATOBORI - horimono added at a later date
ATO MEI - signature added at a later date
AYASUGI - large wavey hada (grain)
 

BAKUFU - military government of the Shogun
BO-HI - large or wide groove
BOKKEN - wooden sword for practicing sword kata
BONJI - sanskrit carvings
BO-UTSURI - faint utsuri
BOSHI - temper line in kissaki (point)
BU - Japanese measurement (approx 0.1 inch)
BUKE - military man, samurai
BUSHIDO -the code of the samurai
 

CHIKEI - dark lines that appear in the ji
CHISA KATANA - short katana
CHOJI - clove shaped hamon
CHOJI OIL - oil for the care of swords
CHOJI-MIDARE - irregular choji hamon (temper line)
CHOKUTO - prehistoric straight swords
CHU - medium
CHU-KISSAKI - medium sized point (kissaki)
CHU-SUGUHA straight, medium width temper line
 

DAI - great or large
DAI-MEI - student smith signing his teacher's name
DAIMYO - feudal lord
DAISHO - a matched pair of long and short swords
DAITO - long sword (over 24 inches)
 

FUCHI - collar on hilt
FUCHI-KASHIRA - set of hilt collar (fuchi) and buttcap (kashira)
FUKURA - curve of the ha or edge in the kissaki (point)
FUKURE - flaw; usually a blister in the steel
FUKURIN - rim cover of a tsuba
FUNAGATA - ship bottom shaped nakago
FUNBARI / FUMBARI - much taper of the blade from the machi to the kissaki
FURISODE - shape of sword tang that resembling the sleeve of a kimono
 

GAKU-MEI - original signature inlaid in a cut-off (o-suriage) tang
GENDAITO - traditionally forged sword blades by modern smiths
GIMEI - fake signature (mei)
GIN - silver
GOKADEN - the Five Schools of the Koto period
GOMABASHI - parallel grooves
GUNOME - undulating hamon
GUNOME-MIDARE - irregularly undulating hamon
GUNTO - army or military sword mountings
GYAKU - angled back, reversed

HA - cutting edge
HABAKI - blade collar
HABUCHI - the line of the hamon
HADA - grain in steel, pattern of folding the steel
HAGANE - steel
HAGIRE -edge cracks in the hamon (fatal flaw)
HAKIKAKE -broom swept portions in the boshi
HAKO BA - box shaped hamon
HAKO-MIDARE - uneven box shaped hamon
HAKO-MUNE - square shaped blade back
HAMACHI - notch at the beginning of the cutting edge
HAMIDASHI - tanto or dagger with a small guard (tsuba)
HAMON - temper pattern along blade edge
HANDACHI - tachi mountings used on a katana or wakizashi
HATARAKI - activities or workings within the hamon or temperline
HAZUYA - finger stones used to show the hamon and hada
HI - grooves in the blade
HIRA-MUNE - flat blade backridge
HIRA-TSUKURI / HIRA-ZUKURI - blade without a shinogi (flat blade)
HIRO-SUGUHA - wide, straight temper line (hamon)
HITATSURA - full tempered hamon
HITSU / HITSU-ANA - holes in the tsuba for the kozuka or kogai
HO - kozuka blade HONAMI - family of sword appraissers
HORIMONO - arvings on sword blades
HOTSURE - stray lines from hamon into the ji
 

ICHI - one or first
ICHIMAI - one-piece sword construction
ICHIMAI BOSHI - point area (kissaki) that is fully tempered
IHORI-MUNE - peaked back ridge
IKUBI - boar's neck (a short, wide kissaki)
INAZUMA - lightning (a type of activity in the hamon)
ITAME - wood grained hada
ITO - silk or cotton hilt wrapping
ITOMAKI NO TACHI - tachi with top of saya wrapped with ito
ITO SUGU - thin, thread like hamon
 

JI - sword surface between the shinogi and the hamon
JI-GANE - surface steel
JI-HADA - surface pattern of the hada
JINDACHI - tachi
JI-NIE - islands of nie in the ji
JIZO BOSHI - boshi shaped like a priest's head 
JUMONJI YARI - a yari with cross pieces
JUYO TOKEN - highly important origami for sword by NBTHK
JUZU - hamon like rosary beads
 

KABUTO - helmet
KABUTO-GANE - tachi style pommel cap 
KABUTO-WARI - helmet breaker
KAEN - flame shaped boshi
KAERI - turnback (refers to the boshi at the mune)
KAI GUNTO - naval sword
KAJI - swordsmith
KAKIHAN - swordsmiths or tsuba makers monogram
KAKU-MUNE - square back ridge
KAMIKAZI - divine wind
KANJI - Japanese characters
KANMURI-OTOSHI - backridge beveled like a naginata
KANTEI - sword appraisal
KAO - carved monogram of swordsmith on tang (nakago)
KASANE - thickness of blade
KASHIRA - sword pommel or buttcap
KATAKIRI - sword with one side flat (no shinogi) 
KATANA - sword worn in the obi, cutting edge up
KATANA KAKE - sword stand
KATANA-MEI - signature side that faces out when worn edge up
KAWAGANE - skin or surface steel
KAZU-UCHI MONO - mass produced swords
KEBORI - line carving done on sword mounts
KEN - straight double edged sword
KENGYO - triangular or pointed nakago-jiri
KESHO YASURIME - decorative file marks on nakago
KIJIMATA - pheasant thigh shaped nakago
KIJIMOMO - pheasant leg shaped nakago
KIKU - chrysanthemum
KIKUBA - chrysanthemum temperline (hamon)
KIN - gold
KINKO - soft metal sword fittings (not iron)
KIN-MEI - gold inlay or gold lacquer appraiser's signature
KINZOGAN MEI - same a kin-mei
KINSUJI - golden line (type of activity in hamon)
KINZOGAN-MEI - attribution in gold inlay on nakago
KINSUJI - whitish line along hamon
KIRI - paulownia
KIRI HA - flat sword with both sides beveled to the edge
KIRI KOMI - sword cut or nick on the blade from another sword
KISSAKI - point of blade
KITAE - forging
KIZU - flaw
KO - old or small
KOBUSE - blade constructed with hard steel around a soft core
KO-CHOJI - small choji hamon
KODACHI - small tachi
KODOGU - all the sword fittings except the tsuba
KOGAI - hair pick accessory
KOIGUCHI - the mouth of the scabbard or its fitting
KOJIRI - end of the scabbard
KOKUHO - national treasure class sword
KO-MARU - small round boshi
KO-MIDARE - small irregular hamon
KO-MOKUME - small wood grain hada
KO-NIE - small or fine nie
KO-NIE DEKI - composed of small nie
KOSHIATE - leather suspensors (hangers) for a sword
KOSHIRAE - sword mountings or fittings
KOSHI-ZORI - curve of the blade is near the hilt
KOTO - Old Sword Period (prior to about 1596)
KOZUKA - handle of accessory knife
KUBIKIRI - small tanto for cutting the neck or removing heads
KUNI - province
KURIJIRI - rounded nakago jiri
KURIKARA - dragon horimono (engraving/carving)
KURIKATA - scabbard (saya) fitting for attaching the sageo
KUZURE - crumbling or disintegrating
KWAIKEN - short knife carried by women

MACHI - notches at the start of the ha and mune
MACHI-OKURI - blade shortened by moving up the ha-machi and mune-machi
MARU - round
MARU-DOME - round groove ending
MARU-MUNE - round mune
MASAME - straight grain (hada)
MEI - swordsmith's signature
MEIBUTSU - famous sword
MEKUGI - sword peg
MEKUGI-ANA - hole for mekugi
MEMPO - face guard or mask
MENUKI - hilt ornaments
MIDARE - irregular, uneven temperline (hamon)
MIDARE-KOMI - uneven pattern in boshi
MIHABA - width of sword blade at the machi
MIMIGATA - ear shaped hamon
MITOKOROMONO - matching set of kozuka, kogai and menuki
MITSU KADO - point where yokote, shinogi and ko-shinogi meet
MITSU-MUNE - three-sided mune
MIZUKAGE - hazy line in ji commonly due to re-tempering
MOKKO - four lobe shaped (a tsuba shape)
MOKUME - burl like hada
MON - family crest
MONOUCHI - main cutting portion of blade (first six inches from kissaki)
MOROHA - double-edged sword
MOTO-HABA - blade width near habaki
MOTO-KASANE - blade thickness
MU - empty or nothing
MUJI - no visible grain
MUMEI - no signature (unsigned blade)
MUNE - back ridge of sword blade
MUNEMACHI - notch at start of mune
MUNEYAKI - regions of temper along the mune
MU-SORI - no curvature
 

N.B.T.H.K. - Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kai (sword preservation group)
NAGAMAKI - halberd weapon mounted as a sword
NAGASA - blade length (from tip of kissaki to munemachi)
NAGINATA - halberd
NAKAGO - sword tang
NAMBAN TETSU - foreign steel
NANAKO - raised dimpling (fish roe)
NAOSHI - corrected or repaired
NASHIJI - hada like pear skin
NENGO - Japanese era
NIE - bright crystals in hamon or ji
NIE-DEKI - hamon done in nie
NIKU - meat (blade having lots of fullness)
NIOI - cloud like hamon
NIOI-DEKI - composed of nioi
NIOI-GIRE - break in hamon
NODACHI - large tachi worn by high officials
NOTARE - wave like hamon
NOTARE-MIDARE - irregular wave like hamon
N.T.H.K.. - Nihon Token Hozon Kai (sword appraisal group)
NUNOME - overlay metal-work
 

O - large
OBI - belt sash
O-CHOJI - large choji hamon
O-DACHI - very long sword (over 30 inches)
O-KISSAKI - large kissaki
O-MIDARE - large irregular hamon
OMOTE - signature side of the nakago
O-NIE - large nie
O-NOTARE - large wave patterned hamon
ORIGAMI - appraisal certificate
ORIKAESHI MEI - folded signature
OROSHIGANE - specially processed steel for making swords
O-SEPPA - large seppa (usually on tachi)
OSHIGATA - rubbing of the signature on the nakago
O-SURIAGE - a shortened tang with the signature removed
 

SAGEO - cord used for tying the saya to the obi
SAGURI - catch-hook on saya
SAIHA/SAIJIN - retempered sword
SAKA - slanted
SAKI - tip or point
SAKI-HABA - blade width at yokote
SAKI ZORI - curvature in the top third of the blade
SAKU - made
SAME' - rayskin used for tsuka (handle) covering
SAMURAI - Japanese warrior or the warrior class
SANBONSUGI - "three cedars" (hamon with repeating three peaks)
SAN-MAI - three-piece sword construction
SAYA - sword scabbard
SAYAGAKI - attribution on a plain wood scabbard
SAYAGUCHI - mouth of the scabbard (koi-guchi)
SAYASHI - scabbard maker
SEKI-GANE - soft metal plugs in the tsuka hitsu-ana
SEPPA - washers or spacers
SHAKU - Japanese unit of measure approximately one foot
SHAKUDO - copper and gold alloy used for sword fittings
SHIBUICHI - copper and silver alloy used for sword fittings
SHIKOMI-ZUE - sword cane
SHINAE - ripples in steel due to bending of blade
SHINAI - bamboo sword used in Kendo
SHINGANE - soft core steel
SHINOGI - ridgeline of the blade
SHINOGI-JI - sword flat between the mune and shinogi
SHINOGI-ZUKURI - sword with shinogi
SHIN-SHINTO - New-New Sword Period (1781 to 1868)
SHINTO - New Sword Period (1596 to 1781)
SHIRASAYA - plain wood storage scabbard
SHITODOME - small collars in the kurikata and/or kashira
SHOBU ZUKURI - blade where shinogi goes to the tip of the kissaki (no yokote)
SHOGUN - supreme military leader
SHOTO - short sword (between 12 and 24 inches)
SHOWATO - sword made during the Showa Era (usually refers to low quality blades)
SHUMEI - red lacquer signature
SHURIKEN - small throwing knife
SORI - curvature
SUDARE-BA - bamboo blinds effects in hamon
SUE - late or later
SUGATA - shape of sword blade
SUGUHA - straight temper line
SUKASHI - cut out
SUN - Japanese measure, approx. one inch
SUNAGASHI - activity in hamon like brushed sand
SURIAGE - shortened tang
 

TACHI - long sword worn with cutting-edge down
TACHI-MEI - signature facing away from body when worn edge down
TAKABORI - high relief carving
TAKANOHA - hawk feather style of yasurime
TAMAHAGANE - raw steel for making swords
TAMESHIGIRI - cutting test
TAMESHI-MEI - cutting test inscription
TANAGO - fish belly shaped nakago
TANAGO-BARA - fish belly shaped nakago
TANTO - dagger or knife with blade less than 12 inches
TATARA - smith's smelter for making sword steel
TO - sword
TOBIYAKI - islands of tempering in the ji
TOGARI - pointed
TOGI - sword polish or polisher
TORAN - high wave like hamon
TORII-ZORI - sword curve in the middle of the blade
TSUBA - sword guard
TSUCHI - small hammer/awl for removing mekugi
TSUKA - sword handle
TSUKA-GUCHI - mouth of handle
TSUKA-ITO - handle wrapping or tape
TSUKAMAKI - art of wrapping the handle of a sword
TSUKURI / ZUKURI - sword
TSUKURU - made by or produced by
TSUNAGI - wooden sword blade to display fittings
TSURUGI - double edged, straight sword
 

UBU - original, complete, unaltered tang (nakago)
UCHIGATANA - fighting katana
UCHIKO - fine powder used to clean sword blades
UCHIZORI - curved inward
UMABARI - horse needle
UMA-HA - horse teeth hamon
UMEGANE - plug used to repair kizu
URA - side of the nakago facing toward the body
URA-MEI - signed on the ura (usually the date)
UTSURI - reflection of temperline in ji
 

WAKIZASHI - short sword (blade between 12 and 24 inches)
WARE - opening in the steel 
WARI-BASHI / WARI-KOGAI - chop-sticks
 

YAKI DASHI - straight temperline near the hamachi
YA-HAZU - arrow notch shaped hamon
YAKIBA - hardened, tempered sword edge
YAKIDASHI - hamon beginning just above the ha-machi
YAKIHABA - width of yakiba
YAKI-IRE - fast quenching of sword (tempering)
YAKIZUME - temperline in boshi with no turnback
YANONE - arrow head
YARI - spear
YASURIME - file marks on nakago
YOKOTE - line between ji and kissaki
YOROIDOSHI - armor piercing tanto
 

 

ZOGAN - inlay
ZUKURI - sword

4 Comment(s)

Michael:
26/03/2016, 03:25:01 AM
Reply

Thank you for your share, they are very useful

Mr Yao:
26/03/2016, 03:42:29 AM

You are welcome!

richard juan:
07/08/2018, 03:03:22 PM
Reply

send me visual information catalog

Dave Lee:
11/12/2020, 10:05:55 PM
Reply

Make more Ken swords so there's more variety. Make a Tsurugi/Ken straight blade with the two symmetrical straight edges like the Jian, the hexagonal cross-section with 6 sides, the gilded guard with the winged quillons that're swept to the blade's direction, AND the two red gems on the guard. Make the blade light blue to be artistic. Don't go forgettin' the brass menuki with the lion motif.

Anthony:
16/01/2021, 08:41:12 AM
Reply

Thanks Mr Yao for the education

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