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Japanese sword glossary. Japanese sword terminlogy. Samurai and ninja swords phrases.

Japanese sword-katana, gunto, wakizashi, tachi

Japanese sword

Japanese Sword Glossary

AIKUCHIĀ  – 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)
NINJATO – Ninja sword
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

ZAI-MEI – Inscription – the opposite of MU-MEI.
ZOGAN – inlay
ZOKUMYO – A sword with a personal name in the MEI.
ZUKURI – sword

Japanese swords-samurai swords, ninja swords, tanto, katana, wakizashi

Japanese swords

Samurai SwordsKatanaTachiWakizashiTantoNinja Swords

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