Samurai swords parts

Parts of a katana Japanese sword.Learn the Japanese terminologies of the different parts of a samurai sword

The samurai sword is an ancient Japanese sword known to be the deadliest weapon of the high-ranked warriors in warfare. These are well crafted and meticulously ornamented.

No two Samurai swords are made the same because a sword of the Samurai is a representation of its owner. Because samurai sword making is sacred in itself, only the blade smiths and craftsmen working for the royals and the elite of the society could forge and create this sword.

To know more, here are the samurai swords parts and their brief description:

sword parts

1.) Kashira – the pommel or the knob found at the bottom of the sword handle

2.) Tsuka is the handle or hilt which is tightly wrapped with a cloth called the tsukaito.

The art of wrapping the sword hilt is called tsukamaki which requires patience, persistence, and attention to details. In this art, the materials needed are glue, the cloth (ito), paper, and the tsuka.

3.) Same is still a wrapping under the tsukaito of the samurai sword handle. It is made of samekawa or stingray skin. Some, however, use shark skin.

4.) Menuki are small ornaments or sculptures (usually of animals) under the tsukaito but on top of the samekawa. Traditionally, this is used to signify the character of the sword owner. Menuki nowadays are primarily decorations on the samurai sword.

5.) The mekugi are bamboo pegs that work like screws keeping the tang or nakago in place under the handle. These pegs should be durable but flexible enough not to break when the sword is hit.

6.) The tang of a samurai sword is called nakago. This is the section of the blade held within the tsuka by the mekugi or bamboo pegs. A full tang makes a stronger sword.

7.) The fuchi are metal sleeves that lock tsuka together.

8.) The seppa come in pairs and look like metal washers. They serve as spacers on the sides of the hand guard that allow adjustment on the tightness of the handle.

9.) Tsuba is how the hand guard of the sword is called. It is in itself a fine work of art made by clans and dynasties of tsuba makers. This sets the blade apart from the handle so to protect the hand from slipping through the blade.

10.) A square metal collar found at the base of the blade connected to the tsuba is called the habaki. This adds more stability to keep all the samurai swords parts tight altogether.

11.) The ken which is the blade of the Japanese sword is a remarkable piece created through a traditional process of Japanese sword smith. Only the best quality of high carbon steel are made into samurai swords and the procedure would take a long time of forging – repeated heating, hammering, quenching, folding, tempering, clay coating until the installing of all the other parts.

With forging, one is assured that no two swords could be the same because they are made individually and specifically for a certain person or samurai. Nowadays, forging of a real sword is not very much practiced especially for commercialized and mass produced swords.

The blade has different parts:

a.) The hamon are the wave-like markings found on the edge of the blade resulting from the heat tempering and cooling during the clay coating process. The parttern of the hamon should not be predictable or else, it is a fake hamon.

b.) Yaiba is the part of the blade that cuts. It is so sharp it could cut without much effort.

c.) The kissaki is the rounded tip of the sword. This part is very difficult to forge and polish. A good quality of kissaki would mean a fine quality of sword.

12.) Saya or the scabbard mainly protects the blade from deterioration and protects anyone who comes near the blade. They are, by tradition, made of honoki wood. This wood is not too hard nor too soft making it easily worked with hand tools when shaped for fitting the curved sword.

13.) Sageo is a belt cord that secures the saya and the waistband so it does not slip when carried along.

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