The katana is a very complex weapon, and there are many parts that make up the whole. In order to properly care for your katana, it is important to understand the different katana parts and what they do. By taking the time to learn about katana parts, you will be able to keep your katana in top condition and ensure that it remains a deadly weapon. In this blog post we will see all the parts of a katana.
Katana nagasa refers to the length of a katana's blade. The word "nagasa" can also be used to refer to the overall length of a katana, including the hilt and scabbard. Nagasa is typically measured in shaku, with one shaku equal to about 30 centimeters.
Katana sori refers to the curve of a katana blade. It is an important aspect of the sword's design, and affects the way the weapon is used. You can calculate the sori by adding the length of your blade (nagasa) and the perpendicular line that makes the gap between the farthest point of the curve of the katana and the nagasa (see above).
Shinogi & Shinogi-ji
Shinogi is a Japanese term for the raised portion of a sword's blade, running from the hilt to the point. Shinogi also refers to the line where the blade's edge meets the body of the sword. On a katana, shinogi typically runs along the entire length of the blade.
This ridge line is created by hammering out a groove in the metal and then folding the metal over itself. This results in a stronger sword that is less likely to break during battle.
The shinogi gives the blade strength and durability, and also helps to deflect enemy attacks. In addition, the shinogi provides a place for the sword's maker to sign their name.
The katana hamon is a type of sword-smithing technique used to create the distinctive patterns seen on Japanese swords. The word hamon literally means "edge pattern" and refers to the line that runs along the blade just above the cutting edge. This line is created by differential hardening, a process in which the body of the blade is heated and quenched in order to create a hard, sharp cutting edge, while the back of the blade is left unhardened. The resulting two-toned blade is then carefully etched to bring out the hamon.
Katana boshi is the hamon temper line that extends to the kissaki (sword tip) that is commonly found on Japanese swords. They are characterized by their sharp, tapered point and their long, curved blade. Katana boshi are typically made of high-carbon steel, which gives them their distinctive hardness and strength. Because of their sharpness and strength, katana boshi are often used for thrusting attacks, rather than cutting.
The Yokote is the point line which make the transition between the body of the blade and the kissaki or tip section. Yokote is not present in every blade style, such as the uncommon shobu zukuri style blade, whose tip is more suited to slicing than thrusting.
The kissaki of a katana is the pointed tip of the blade. It is typically the sharpest part of the blade, and is used for thrusting and cutting.
The term "kissaki" can also refer to the overall shape of the blade tip, which can be either rounded or squared off. The kissaki itself is usually quite small, but the overall shape can vary greatly.
The katana "Ha" is the cutting edge. Due to differential hardening, this portion of the blade will be substantially stiffer and harder than the remainder of the blade.
The bohi (literally "sword groove") is a distinctive feature found on many Japanese swords. It refers to one or more grooves that are cut into the blade of the sword, running from the base of the blade towards the tip. The bohi served a number of purposes, including both functional such as balancing the sword and reducing its weight, but also aesthetic ones.
A nakago (katana tang) is the part of the katana blade that extends into the handle. In other words, the nakago is the section of the katana tang that protrudes from the base of the handle.
The habaki is a small piece of metal that sits at the base of the blade, near the hilt. Its purpose is to keep the sword snug in its scabbard and also to provide a tight seal so that no moisture or dirt can enter.
The habaki is usually made of brass, but can also be made of other metals such as copper or steel. It is often decorated with intricate designs and is considered to be a very important part of the sword.
The habaki can also be known as the ' throat guard ' or ' sword collar'.
Seppa is a small metal disc traditionally used to secure the katana's hilt onto the saya (scabbard). Seppa could be made from a variety of materials, including brass, copper, bronze, iron, or steel. In addition to their functional purpose, seppa also served as decorative elements, and were often engraved with elaborate designs.
A tsuba is a handguard fitted to a Japanese sword. Tsuba were originally designed to protect the hand holding the sword, but in later years they became more ornamental in nature. There are many different styles of tsuba, with each one having its own unique design. Some of the most popular tsuba designs include the dragon tsuba, the phoenix tsuba, and the tiger tsuba.
A katana fuchi is a small, decorative piece that is attached to the katana's hilt (tsuka). It serves both functional and aesthetic purposes, providing protection for the katana's grip and adding an extra layer of decoration.
The katana fuchi is usually made from brass, copper, or other metals, and is often intricately decorated with carvings, engravings, or inlays.
The katana fuchi is an important part of the katana and plays a vital role in both its function and its aesthetics. By protecting the katana's grip and adding extra weight to the hilt, it helps to create a well-balanced and functional weapon.
Tsuka ito is a traditional Japanese cord used to wrap the handle of a sword. This is traditionally done using a strip of cloth or leather, which is then wrapped around the handle and tied in place. Tsukamaki (handle wrapping) is an important part of sword making, as it not only helps to improve the grip of the sword, but also adds to its aesthetic appeal.
Samegawa, also called "Same" or "Samehada" is the Japanese word for "shark skin". It is a popular material used in making katana handle, due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear.
Mekugi are small wooden or bone pins used to secure the handle scales (tsuka) of a katana in place. The katana's blade (tachi) is also inserted through the Mekugi, which passes through a hole in the tang (nakago). There can be one or more Mekugi in a katana, depending on the sword's design.
Menuki are small decorations that were traditionally used to adorn the handle of a sword. Menuki are usually made from metal, but can also be made from other materials such as wood, ivory, or bone.
The kashira is a small, round pommel that sits at the end of the handle and helps to balance the sword. It also serves as a decorative element, and many kashiras are intricately carved with designs such as flowers or animals.
A saya is a traditional Japanese scabbard, typically used to hold and protect a katana. Sayas are made from a variety of materials, including wood, buffalo horn and lacquer. The word "saya" means "scabbard" in Japanese, while "katana" is the word for "sword". The saya katana was typically worn with the edge facing up, so that it could be drawn quickly in a fight.
A sageo is a cord used to secure a Japanese sword (katana) to the waist. It is typically made of silk or cotton and is about 3 feet long. The sageo is passed through the second hole (himo) in the scabbard (saya), and then tied around the obi (belt). The sageo serves two purposes: it secures the sword to the waist so that it will not be lost, and it prevents the scabbard from rattling.
The sageo is also used to secure the sword in the scabbard when carrying it over the shoulder (muna-dori). In this case, the sageo is passed through the himo and then around the neck.
When not in use, the sageo is often wrapped around the hilt of the sword (tsuka), or tucked into the obi.
Kurikata is a small knob or projection located on the back of a Japanese sword, near the hilt. It served several purposes, including providing a place for the thumb during two-handed use and helping to balance the sword. In some cases, kurikata were also used as places to tie tassels or other decorations.
Kurikata were usually made of metal, and sometimes had decorative features such as carving or inlays. The kurikata on a katana is typically located about midway down the length of the hilt, near the tsuba (handguard).
While kurikata are no longer needed for function or balance on modern Japanese swords, they are still often included for aesthetic reasons. Many sword enthusiasts believe that a sword is not truly complete without a kurikata.