Japanese Sword Terminology

Here are just a few of the more common Japanese term or parts of a Japanese sword:
Japanese sword, parts, terminology
Japanese Sword Terminology
Here is a bit more. An exhaustive list would need a complete book, it seems. So let's only look at some terms around the Toshin = Sword blade.
  • Boshi The hardened edge (yakiba) as it extends past the yokote into the kissaki.
  • Ha The sharp edge of the blade.
  • Habuchi The transition zone from soft to hard steel (defines the hamon)
  • Hada The kind grain pattern of the blade
  • Ha-machi Notch on ha side of blade
  • Hamon Pattern of the differentially hardened edge.
  • Hi Groove used to improve balance by lightening blade while retaining stiffness.
  • Hira The surface from ha to shinogi
  • Ji-gane The surface between the hamon and shinogi
  • Ji-hada The surface grain of the metal formed by repeated forge folding.
  • Kata-haba Width at widest point.
  • Kissaki Tip region
  • Kizu Flaws in the blade.
  • Mei Signature or inscription on tang.
  • Mekugi-ana Holes for mekugi to pass through and attach blade to tsuka.
  • Mune The back of the blade.
  • Mune-machi Notch on mune side of blade. The habaki presses up against these.
  • Nagasa Length of the blade measured from munemachi to kissaki
  • Nakago Tang of blade
  • Nie Larger crystals of martensite
  • Nioi Small crystals of hardened steel (martensite).
  • Omote Exposed side of sword (as shown here).
  • Saki-haba Width at yokote
  • Shinogi Ridge line along side of the blade
  • Shinogi-ji Surface between shinogi and mune
  • Sori Depth of curvature, measured from a line between munemachi and kissaki.
  • Ura Hidden side of sword
  • Yakiba Hardened area of the blade.
  • Yasurime File marks on nakago.
  • Yokote Ridge line dividing kissaki from the rest of the blade
With all of that you now can decipher that quote from an advertisement I gave you in the backbone? No way! You need to go far, far deeper into Japanese sword lore.

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go to 11.6 Japanese Swords 1.6.1 The Myth and the History of the Japanese Sword

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© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)