Japanese Sword Terminology

Posted by Mr Yao 25/03/2016 2 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

2 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

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