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Japanese Sword Glossary

Parts explanation of Japanese sword guard
A Aikuchi Short sword without sword guard.
Amida-Yasuri A kind of pattern carved on sword guard. Amida means Buddha.
So, Amida-Yasuri is a pattern like Halo.
B Bashin Originally, bashin were used for exsanguinating blood of congested horses.
Though, Samurai used bashin instead of Kozuka or Shuriken (throwing star).
Kozuka consists of blade and handle. Bashin consists of only one part.
D Dai-Sho A standard pair of swords, one long and one short, worn by warriors during the New Sword (Shin-to) period.
Dotemimi One of the shapes of rim parts of sword guards.
Rim part is banked.
F Fuchi Collar on hilt. Fuchi and Kashira were usually made in pairs.
H Habaki Collar around the blade just below the guard, for the purpose of assuring a tight fit between the scabbard and the blade.
I Iroe A type of inlay. Braze thin golden or silver sheet on a ground metal.
K Kanteisho Expert evidence. Certificate.
Kao An artist's monogram. In the form of a stylized kanji.
Kashira Pommel at the base of the hilt. Usually paired with Fuchi.
Katana Japanese single-edged sword.
Katchushi Armor maker
Kougai Hair skewer usually inserted in a pocket on a scabbard.
Use for combing tangles out of Samurai's hair.
Kozuka Utility knife which is usually inserted in a pocket on the scabbard. Consists of a Hitsu (handle) and a Ho (blade).
Kusarashi Express patterns or motifs on iron sword guards by chemical reaction.
It looks like very shallow carving.
M Mei Signature, inscription, touchmark. Usually inscribed on Seppa Dai of a tsuba. In case of sword, the Mei is inscribed on the tang of a blade.
Mekugi A peg, generally made of bamboo, used to fasten the blade into the hilt.
Mekugi-Ana Peg hole (or holes) in the tang of a blade.
Menuki Hilt ornaments to cover the Mekugi-Ana.
Migaki-Ji Polished surface. Polish surface with grinding stone or charcoal.
Mimi Rim part of tsuba
Assortment of rims of Japanese Tsuba
Motokoromono A set of three Koshirae ornaments. They are Menuki, Kozuka and Kougai.
Mokume-Hada Burl grain.
N Nakago The tang. The portion of the blade which is inserted in the handle.
Nanako-Ji Processed surface like hard roe. uses Nanako chisel.
Nara-Sansaku Big three of the Nara school. Nara Toshinaga, Sugiura Joi and Tsuchiya Yasuchika.
O Oboro-Gin Alloy of copper and silver. The same meaning as Shibuichi.
R Ranma-Bori Carving like transom window.
S Samegawa Skin of the giant ray. Used for binding hilts and decorating scabbards.
Samurai Warrior or knight of the feudal era.
Saya scabbard. Sheath.
Shakudo red copper. alloy of copper and gold.
Shibuichi alloy of copper and silver. Usually Copper 4 to Silver 1.
Sori curvature of a sword blade
Suaka Smelted copper.
Sukashi Openwork
Sukidashi-Bori Relief carving.
T Tachi Sword which is worn edge-down. Slung from a belt.
High relief carving
Tsuba A sword guard.
Tsuchime-Ji Surface in hammered finish.
Tsuka Hilt or handle.
U Uchigatana Sword which is worn edge-up. This type of sword became popular after the Muromachi period.
W Wakizashi A medium-sized blade between 30 and 60 cm in length. A blade under 40 cm is called a Ko-Wakizashi.
Y Yamagane Coarse copper.
Yoroi Samurai armor.
Z Zogan Inlay.