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Also see the terms for Sword Shinsa Certifications  & Visual Japanese Sword Glossary

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Japanese Sword terminology & related glossary

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AGARI  TACHI OR GITO – Toy-like ceremonial imitation sword.

AHIOTORU – Reheating the edge after a poor tempering job.

AI – Tempering.

AIKUCHI – Tanto up to 1 foot long mounted without tsuba (guard).         

    Same as Kusungobu (9.5 sun) tanto and yoroi-doshi sometimes mounted this way.

AITORI – Mild heating to neutralize strains after hardening the edge.

AIZUCHI – Hammer men-3 to each smith.

                 1. Tsuchigashira -   head man

                 2. Nakazuchi -         middle brother.

                 3. Otozuchi -            younger brother.


AKIHAGI no TSUYU – A dew-like spot on yakiba or hamon.

ALTO - MEI – Mei was signed posthumously by his student.

AMAKUNIGARA – Horimono carving of dragon wrapped around sword.                     

AMANURU KANE – Steel by Nio Kiyotsuna of Suwo province appears weak and has dark or whitish patches on the surface.

AOBIE – A short bamboo sword.

AOBUCHI – ( blue pool) Dark blue steel with whirlpool grain, from Soshu.

AOI – hollyhock, commonly used as a Mon

AOGOKORO – Bizen blades having characteristics of Bitchu Aoe blades.

AOSAN no MITSUKE – Straight temper lines by Bizen Sanenaga and Shogen Nagamitsu resembling those of Bitchu Aoe and Bingo Mihara smiths.

AOYAKI no KITAE – A white gold line along dark ji portion of blade.

ARA-NIE – coarse or large nie (Large nie crystals)

ARARE no MIDARE – A hamon typical of old Hoki Yasutsuna or Sanemori schools . Small irregular lines mixed here and there in the hamon.

ARASHIAGE – The rough finishing on a sword.

ARATOGI – Roughly sharpening a sword by the smith before tempering.

ARATOMATSU – Stone powder mixed with clay used in hardening.

ASAI-NOTARE – A shallow undulating hamon.

ASAGIDO – A grindstone formerly used for swords.

ASASHI – Shallow as in shallow back angle or shallow nie appearance.

ASHI – Leg or foot. Short lines extending from patterns of nie or nioi.

ASHI SADAMARU – A steady hamon pattern either straight or wavy.

ASHI-NAGA – Long ashi.

ASHIGITAE – A method of folding steel in the forging process.

ASHINAGA  CHOJI – Choji ( clove seed pattern) with long legs.

       (Ashinaga was a mythical person with very long legs.)

ASOBI   KOKORO – Mixed Yamashiro and Yoshioka Ichimonji choji patterns.

ASOBI   TAMA – Round gem-like hard spots along hamon of certain smiths.

ATOBI – Grooves in a sword carved later by other than the original smith. 

ATOBORI – Horimono carvings added later to decorate or to hide defects.

ATO MEI – signature added at a later date

AWASE-DO – Whetstone.

AWASE  HADA –  Joined lines seen on Bizen blades or on other blades that have been ground down to look like old blades.

AYASUGI –  A wavy grain made by gouging the steel with a round nose chisel, then hammering flat. Mostly by Gassan and Satsuma Naminohira smiths.

AZUKI   MIDARE – Temper line like a row of small beans.

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BAGAI-MONO – Blades made by lower than middle class sub-groups.

BAKUFU – Military government of the Shogun

BATTO – Drawing a sword for action.

BIZEN – Archaic province of Japan, modern day Okayama prefecture

BIZEN-TO – Swords produced in Bizen

BIZEN-ZORI – Deep curvature close to the tang area of the sword; also known as koshi-zori

BOHI – Wide groove almost fitting shinogi surface.

BOHI SOYEBI – Wide groove beside a narrow groove.

BOKKEN – Wooden sword for practicing sword kata

BOKU-TO – Imitation sword of wood carried by a doctor.

BONJI  – Priest characters. Sanscrit invocations to the Gods.

BOSHI – Shape of temper line at the kissaki (point).

BOSHI   AGARU – Loss of boshi by broken point or other causes.

BOSHIGATA – Very smooth small round boshi of Yamashiro style.

BOSHISAKI – The very tip of the boshi temper line.

BOTAN   BA – A peony flower pattern in the hamon about 6 inches below the point in blades by Chikuzen Sa.

BOTAN-UTSURI – Peony flower shape reflections appearing in Bizen blades around 1250 to 1330.

BO-UTSURI – Stick-like faint rainbow reflections on surface.

BU – Japanese measurement (approx 0.1 inch)

BUDACHI – Common name for all army swords.

BUGEI – Military arts – use of sword, etc.

BUEITO – Military sword. Mostly old ceremonial tachi types.

BU JIN – "People of the Samurai Spirit." A philosophy of honor, respect, and contemplation of life's mysteries developed in both women and men, and the people who lived by the samurai code.

BUKE – Military men, Samurai.

BUNDO-BA – Scale weights pattern hamon. 

BUNKACHO-CHOKAN-SHO – The agency for Cultural Affairs Chairman Award given at the annual swordsmiths' exhibition

BUN  no  KITAE – Back half of blade surface is faintly white. Appears on many shobu-zukuri daggers. Characteristic of Bingo smiths.

BUSHIDO – A code of ethics and moral principles for Samurai. The first works were by Yamaga Soko (1622-85) in Bukyo (The Warrior Creed) and Shido (The Warrior's Way).

BUSHI – Another term for samurai - the warrior class

BUWO   TACHI – Sword type of about 750 AD  for a Chinese style dance.

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CHABANA    MIDARE – Choji with tops rounded like tea flower petals.

CHIBURI – The act of slinging blood off the blade before re-scabbarding.

CHIGAU     MIDARE – Oblique hamon of Bitchu blades.

CHIGUSA – Steel of .7 to .8% carbon. Produced in Harima.

CHIISA KATANA – A general term for all swords shorter than the katana but also used to indicate a length between wakizashi and standard katana, but also used to indicate a length between wakizashi and standard katana.

CHIJI KOMASAME – Undulating fine straight grain of Suwo Nio smiths.

CHIJI MIDARE – Wrinkled irregular hamon by Miike & Kongobyoe groups.

CHIKEI – A clear gray short thin curved line along the surface grain appearing to be below the surface. Similar to kinsuji or inazuma.

CHIKUTO – A bamboo sword. Also, a bamboo fencing sword. In olden times a bamboo knife was used to cut the umbilical cord of new-born babies.

CHIRI – The narrow surface on either side of a groove. Kata-chiri- one side surface; roy-chiri – double edge surface.

CHIISA KATANA – short katana

CHOJI – Clove seed shape folds in hamon. Many varieties.

CHOJI-MIDARE – Clove shapes mixed with irregular patterns in hamon.

CHOJI  KAGE – Clove pattern with shiny sports that seem like shadows.

CHOJI OIL – Oil for the care of swords

CHOKUTO – Prehistoric straight single edge sword found in burial mounds.

CHU – medium

CHU-HANDACHI – Medium length tachi.

CHU-KISSAKI – medium sized point (kissaki)

CHU-SUGUBA – Medium width straight hamon.( Follows curve of sword.)


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DABIRA-HIRO – Wide broad-sword.

DABIRA-SEBA – Narrow board-sword.

DAI – great or large

DAI-MEI – student smith signing his teacher's name

DAIJIRI – Boshi turn-back that resembles a gun butt

DAIMYO – feudal lord

DAISHO –  (Large-small) A matched pair of swords or fittings for same.

DAITO –  Long sword (over 24 inches)

DAI TSUKE –  Appraised values of swords.

         In the Ashikaga period values were given in oban – large gold pieces. In Tempo (1630) the books used koban- small gold pieces – 1/10 oban. Later in yen worth from US $.50 to.35 just before the war. Post –war values are in units of 10,000 yen worth $28.00 but these are set by dealers and are purely fictitious to help sell swords.

DAMBIRA or Danpira, or Dabira – Very wide blade.

DANDANBA – Alternate 3” lengths of komidare and large choji.

DATTO – Not wearing a sword.

DE-AI-ZASHI – A low rated sword for every day wear. (Tsunezashi)

DENAORI – Re-tempered blades.

DENCHU-ZASHI – Sword for palace wear.

DENGAKU  YAKI – Use of a large fan instead of bellows to burn the charcoal in tempering by Yokoyama Kozuke Daijo Sukesada.

DO – The way.; The mid-section target in Kendo (stomach).

DOGANE – A metal band around a sword handle.

DOKEN   &   HOKO – Cooper swords and daggers of the bronze age.

DORAN   or    TORAN – High wave patterns of hamon.

DOYO     no      JUKA – Double choji patterns of varying size along sword.


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EBIRA   KATANA – Extra long sword carried on the back. (Seoi katana)

EBOSHIGATA – Boshi pattern that looks like court head gear.


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FUCHI – collar on hilt

FUCHI-KASHIRA – set of hilt collar (fuchi) and butt cap (kashira)

FUHA – Tiny cracks in yakiba – characteristic of Awa Kaibu  Group

FUKI-OROSHI – A kind of smelted iron- same as Oroshi- tetsu.

FUKURA –  The cutting edge of the blade kissaki (point). Several shapes:

      FUKURA-KAKU       – Sharply curved point.

      FUKURA-KARERU – Straight edge point.

      FUKURA-SUGU      –  Nearly straight edge point.

      FUKURA-TSUKU    –  Curved edge point.

FUKURA    KOKORO – Boshi line characteristic of Yamato smiths.

FUKURE    wo    FUSERU – Smoothing small swellings on blade surface.

FUKURE – Flaw; usually a blister in the steel

FUKURIN – Rim cover of a tsuba

FUKURO    CHOJI –  Bag shape choji similar to tadpole shape.

FUNAGATA –  Ship bottom shaped nakago (tang).

FUNBARI – Blade becoming noticeably wider near the base notch.

FURISODE – A tang shape with the end deeply curved toward the back side which resembles a kimono sleeve.

FURMICHI – Irregular thickness of choji outline by Bizen Mitsutada.

FUSHIBA – Pointed knot-like breaks in a straight hamon on Mino blades.

FUTAEBA – Double hamon on Bitchu and Bingo blades or re-tempered.

FUTAE    BOSHI – Double hamon in point including turn-back. Appears only on blades by Sadamune, Higo Kuniyoshi & Fujishima Tomoshige.

FUTAMATA  YARI – A two pronged spear.

FUTASUJI   BI – Pair of identical grooves. Same as Nihon bi.

FUTAYE-BA – Double line of nie and nioi.

FUTADOKORO – Meaning two piece matching set usually associated with either kozuka with menuki or kozuka and kogai.

FUTATOKORO    MONO – Matched set of kozuka and kogai on a sword.

FUTATSU-BA – Paired choji on blades of Katayama Ichimonji Group.

FUTOKORO    KATANA – Tanto worn inside clothing. No tsuba, round end.

FUTO     YASURI – Coarse file marks.

FUTSU    MUNE – Roof shape back ridge. Same as Ihorimune.


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GAKU-MEI – Signature from original tang inserted in shortened (o-suriage) tang.

GASSAN     HADA – Grain made by gouging with round chisel then flatten.

GENDAITO – Traditionally forged sword blades by modern smiths before WWII

GENNOBA   TETSU – Steel of .3 to .4% carbon. Same Jami tetsu.

GIJOTO – Ceremonial court swords with various styles of mountings which indicate the rank of the wearer. See books on koshirae.

GINBI    KEN – Ken shape sword with grooves.

GINKEN – Common iron sword with silver plated fittings used as a gift.

GIMEI – A false signature on a blade. Usually a copy of a famous smith to increase the sword's value.

GIN – Silver

GIN   no    HA – Silvery lines one to three inches long appearing along a straight temper line or on the surface of blades by Kagemitsu.

GINSUJI –  A slivery color kinsuji line in the yakiba.

GITO –  General term for ceremonial swords, mostly used to accompany money gifts. Same as agari-tachi, painted wood with gilt decorations.

GIO    no    KURIKARA –  Horimono of dragon twining around sword.

GISAKU    HO – Faked or forged blades.

GOBAN-KAJI –  24 famous smiths selected to serve and instruct Emperor Gotoba,  1184-1210. Six more served him in exile on Oki Island.

GOKADEN – The Five Schools of the Koto period

GOKENBA –  Peaked groups of 3 or 5 zigzags by Mino Seki no Magoroku.

GOMAE   KITAE  –  Five layer forging. Done by Bizen and Soshu schools.

GOMABASHI – Chopstick grooves with claw underneath.

GOMEIKEN  –  Five most famous swords . They are as follows:

1.      Mikazuki Munechika by Sanjo kokaji Munechika

2.      Onimaru Kunitsuna by Yamashiro Awataguchi Kunitsuna

3.      Odenta by Miike Tenta Mitsuyo

4.      Dojikiri Yasutsuna by Hoki no Yasutsuna

5.      Juzumaru by Bitchu no Tsunetsugu

GOSHO-YAKI  no TACHI – Blades forged by Goban-kajis Tsuguiye and Tsugunobu, and tempered by Emperor Gotoba. Same as Kiku   no   Gosaku.

GONOME-MIDARE –  Irregularly undulating hamon

GUNOME – undulating hamon

GUNTO – army or military sword mountings

GUNTO  – Machine made blade in army or military sword mountings

GYAKU – Reversed or angled back. ( In hamon patterns.)

GYAKU- ASHI – Reversed slanted ashi in hamon.

GYAKU- CHOJI – Slanted choji patterns in hamon.

GYAKU  TAKANOHA –  Reversed takanoha file marks

GYOKEN   OKIYO – Position of Emperor’s sword on his left.


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HA –  Cutting edge of a sword.

HA AGARI KURIJIRI  – Irregular U shape tang end.

HABAKI – Collar around blade above the tang to fit the blade securely into scabbard.

HABAKI-MOTO – About 3” of blade adjacent to the habaki. ( Koshi) Also called temoto  “near the hand” portion of blade.

HABAKI-SHITA – Portion of blade covered by the habaki.

HABIKI – An iron club used by a policeman. Same as Jite.

HA-BUCHI –  Border line between ji and yakiba.

HACHIWARA – A short defensive rod called helmet breaker.

HADA – Grain in steel, pattern of folding the steel

HADAKA   TOMO   TSURUGI –  General name for a thousand sword blades without mountings made in the time of Emperor Nintoku , 313 AD.

HAGANE  –  Steel.

HAGARAMI –  A flaw.

HAGI   no     MIDARE – A Soshu School temper line.

HAGI    no     TSUYU – Nie crystals shining like dewdrops reflecting colors.

HAGIRE – Edge cracks in the hamon (fatal flaw)

HAIKEN  –   To wear sword.    Same as HAITO

HAKAGE  –  Reflection-like patterns among choji on blades of Nagamitsu.

HAKASE  –   A sword being worn.

HAKE KOKORO  – Faded unclear boshi with nie like faint brush marks.

HAKI TACHI –  Tachi for everyday use. Length to suit the wearer.

HAKIZOE KODACHI  -  Short tachi worn with a long one.

HAKIZOE TACHI –  A second tachi when two are worn.

HAKKAKE or HAKIKAKE – Effect like brushed lines along hamon.

HAKKAKERU  –  Swept –up effect on boshi lines. Same as Hakkake.

HAKO BA  –  Box shape hamon. Bizen & Kaga schools.

HAKOGAKARITARU-MIDARE – Very irregular hako, Mihara Group.

HAKO-MIDARE – uneven box shaped hamon

HAKO MUNE –   Square back to sword.

HAKUJIN –  A naked blade.  

HAMACHI – Edge notch where blade joins tang. A stop for the habaki.

HAMIDASHI – Tanto or dagger with a small guard (tsuba)

HAMAGURI –  Blade so thick as to resemble a clam shell outline.

HAMAGURI BA –  Thick all along the edge.

HAMIDASHI –  Tanto with small guard.

HAMIDASHI-MIDARE – Irregular hamon tops extending into ji surface.

HAMADATSU– Also called Kwaiken. A small woman's knife, usually fully tempered, used for protection and Jigai.

HAM-MITSU-KADO – Junction of yokote and shinogi lines at point.

HAMON – Temper pattern along blade edge

HANDACHI –  Tachi mountings used on a katana or wakizashi

HAN-GETSU –  Half-moon temper patterns in the yakiba surface.

HANKENSAKI – Boshi line pointed like ken. Bitchu smiths.

HANABA –  Notches on hamon making irregular patterns.

HANAREBA – Temper patterns on ji surface away from yakiba.

HANARURU  NIE   no   FUJI   no  HANA  –  Wisteria flower shapes of nie above or below the hamon.

HANA YAKIBA  –  Irregular hamon patterns of Yamashiro Nobukuni blades.

HA no KAGE –  A darker shadow  or reflection of a choji pattern.

HA no SORORI –  A Mino hamon of groups of large and of small patterns.

HANTACHI –  Semi-tachi mountings on a katana. Same as Handachi.

HANZASHI  KOZUKA – Small kozuka to fit a small tanto.

HARAKIRI – Suicide by belly cutting. Same as seppuku.

HASU-YAKIBA –  Oblique hamon. Katayama Ichimonji Group.

HATARAKI – activities or workings within the hamon or temperline

HA-TSUYA – Edge luster, light color of yakiba- a stone for bringing out the proper color of the edge. (Paper thin finishing stones.)

HAZAKAI – Boundary line between yakiba and ji.

HAZEYAKA – Brightly shining surface nie crystals.

HAZURE – Strays here and there along suguba hamon of Yamato blades.

HAZUYA – Finger stones used to show the hamon and hada

HEIJO TACHI – Military swords. Same as Buei-to.

HEI   NAKAGO – Straight tang with wide triangular end.

HESHI-TETSU HO – A method of making sword steel from the lumps of iron produced smelting iron sand.

HEYAZASHI –  Sword carried in clothing.

HI   or   KESSO  – Grooves cut in a sword.

HIGAKI YASURIME –  Certain file marks on the tang.

HIKAGE –  Dark patterns on blade surface similar to choji utsuri.

HIJIKI HADA  – Dark sea-weed shape patterns on blade surface.

HIJIRI   KATANA  –  Short tanto with handle of reddish hard wood.

HIKI   HADA  –  Leather scabbard cover.

HIMO  KATANA – A short dagger. Same as Hishu and Himo kogatana.

HIMURA – Unevenly chiseled groove caused by poor work or much polishing.

HI no KAKITOME –  Groove stopped near the base of a blade.

HIRA – Flat surface of a blade.

HIRA  no  MITSUKE –  Wide thick blades of Awa Kaibu Group.

HIRA   MUNE –  Flat back.

HIRA YAMAGATA –  Same as Kurijiri. Chestnut shape tang end.

HIRAZAYA   TACHI  –   A tachi not worn but placed in Imperial carriage.

HIRAZUKURI –  Flat surface blade without shinogi ridges.

HIRO SUGUBA –  Wide straight yakiba. ( Follows curvature of blade.)

HIRO-SUGUHA – Wide, straight temper line (hamon)

HISAKI-AGARU – Groove that reaches the point.

HISAKI-SAGARU –  Groove that does not reach the point.

HISHU – Short dagger . Same as Tosa. Also called HISHU-GATANA.

HITATSURA –  Full temper pattern- scattered all over the blade.

HITOYE    HABAKI  – One piece habaki,   Niju—or wari – 2 piece habaki.

HITSU    or   HITSU ANA – One or two holes in a sword guard through which kozuka and / or kogai are inserted into pockets in the scabbard.  Possibly hitsu may also mean the handle of a kozuka.

HIZUKURI -  Final stage of forging in which the drawn out steel is shaped into the proper sword cross-section.

HO –  Kozuka blade.

HOCHO   TETSU – Soft steel of .1 to .3% carbon.

HOJI-MONO  – Blade re-tempered  by a different smith at a later time.

HOKEN  – Ken shaped temple sword.

HOKKOKU    HADA – A faint whitish reflection covering the back surface of some blades by smiths of Echizen, Etchu, and Echigo provinces.

HOKKOKU-MIDARE  –  A zigzag hamon mixed with pointed patterns.

HONAMI   –  Name of the family of official appraisers.

HONAMI   MEI – Honami appraisal signatures in red or gold blades.

HONAMI   TOGI – Secret polishing method used by the Honami polishers.

HON  KITAE  or   SEKI    TETSU    HO –  Initial forging for steel blocks to be combined into sword laminations.

HON-DZUKURI     or    SHINOGI-DZUKURI  –  Normal blade with shinogi.

HONSANMAI     GITAE – A three blade lamination forging.

HORI DO SAKU – Horimono was made by the same person that made the sword

HORIMONO  – Carving on blades.

HORIMONOSHI –  A professional carving artist.

HOSO    KOGATANA -  An ancient slim knife used by seal hunters. (Hososabi)

HOSOMI  – A slender blade. Also called HOSOMI ZUKURI   no  TACHI

HOSO     SUGUBA – Narrow straight yakiba. Same as Ito-suguba.

HOTSURE  – Strays along a hamon

HOTSURE    HADA – Disorderly mixture of straight & wood grain . Mino.

HOYAKEMONO –  Blade slightly damaged by fire.  Characteristics:

  1. Temper line dim and blurred.
  2. Surface appearance glassy.
  1. Nie grains scattered on surface.
  2. Hamon disappears here and there
  3. Faded reflections on surface.
  4. Yakiba white but indistinct edge.

HOSHI  – Stars. Bright nie crystals in yakiba or hamon. Bitchu smiths.

HOSHI    no   YUBASHIRI    –   Yubashiri spots that look like stars.

HOSO-DACHI  –  Slim decorative ceremonial tachi not for actual use.

HOSOJI  –  A narrow pointed boshi tip.   Bizen and Soshu schools.

HOSO   SABI   –  Slim dagger mentioned in ancient books.

HYOTAN BA  –  Hamon of gourd shape irregular patterns.


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I     or    I-SAKU  –  Hobby make.

IBUSE   –  Big round boshi on tachi of northern Japan.

ICHIMAE  BOSHI  –  The whole point tempered.

ICHI – One or first

ICHIMAE   GITAE –  Blades forged for one piece of steel . Higo Dotanuki.

ICHIMAI – one-piece sword construction

ICHIMAI BOSHI – point area (kissaki) that is fully tempered

ICHIMONJI   –   Name of groups that signed just Ichi. (# 1 man!)

ICHIMONJI   KAERI    or    ICHIMAI    KAERI  –  Horizontal return.

IHORI-MUNE   –  Angle of back of sword – low or high.

IKARI     KISSAKI – Large curve on point.

IKUBI  –   Neck of wild boar . Almost no neck on kissaki.

IMONO   TSURU – Thick nie hamon line like sweet potato vine.

INAZUMA  –  Lightening shape marks in yakiba or hada (a type of activity in the hamon).

IRO  – Color of hada and yakiba almost the same with hamon blurred. Bingo.

IROKOGATA –  Hamon like a row of fish scales.

IRO  no   OSHIE  –  Clear sky-blue color of Yamashiro blades.

ISEKI   BOSHI   –  Boshi line stops at back edge or comes close to edge.

ISHIKE  –  Stone-like impurities left in a blade.

ISSHAKU   SANZUN –  Dagger 1 shaku 3 sun long.

ITAME – wood grained hada

ITAME  HADA  NAGARU  –  Ends  of wood grain patterns stream out.

ITAME-TSUMU – tight (otherwise dense) wood grained hada, see tsumu (詰), "dense"

ITO – silk or cotton hilt wrapping

ITOCHIKAKI –  Dim nioi in suguba hamon.

ITOGOKORO –  Bitchu hamon like a twisted thread.

I-no-ME   BA –  Wild boar eve design in hamon by Hiromitsu.

ITOKEBA  –  Twisted thread hamon with shiny nie here and there.

ITOMAKI NO TACHI – tachi with top of saya wrapped with ito

ITO  no   SADAME –  Narrow suguba with thread-like nioi.

ITO   no    WAKACHI –  Very narrow straight line on some Yamato blades.

ITO SUGU – Thin, thread like hamon

ITO    SUGUBA   or    HOSO   SUGUBA  –   Narrow straight yakiba.

ITO    wo    HIKU  –  Nioi line kile shiny silk thread.

ITSUTSU     no    HADA  – The five steel grain patterns:

1.   Matsukawa  –  Pine tree bark grain. 

2. Mokume – wood burl grain.

3. Nogi hada – small tips of millet grain.

4. Kumo – clouds – white  cloud-like mixed with blue.

     5. Nashiji hada – sliced pear surface grain.

ITSUTSU    no     IRO – Five colors in judging steel:

1.      Black –  a dark muddy color.

2.      Asagiiro – darker than sky blue.

3.      Sky blue.

4.      Whitish blue color.

5.      Crystal clear blue color.

ITSUTSU    no    KANE –  Five points in judging steel:

1.      Soft steel – most common.

2.      Tenacious steel – forged soft steel.

3.      Well tempered steel – number 2 well tempered.

4.      Tough and hard steel – good for cutting edge.

5.      Well purified steel.

IZUHA – Steel from Izuha – .8 to 1% carbon content.


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JAMI –  Steel with .3 to .4% carbon.

JI – sword surface between the shinogi and the hamon

JI-GANE -– surface steel

JIARE – Surface of a tired blade polished too many times.

JIBA –  Small tempered spots projecting into surface from hamon.

JIFU – Small whitish grain shapes like letters c, o, s, in the surface of Bizen blades.

JIFU    no    MAKIKOMI –  Coiled whitish stripe-like hamon patterns.

JIGAI  –  Suicide by cutting the throat.

JIGANE –  Sword steels:

1.      Hocho tetsu – impure soft iron.

2.      Oroshi tetsu – lumps of iron from the smelting process.

3.      Sen oroshi tetsu – cast iron, white or gray.

4.      Hagane oroshi tetsu – a lump melted from sand iron ore.

5.      Mizuheshi tetsu – melted lump chilled by cold water and forged some.

6.      Namban tetsu – imported iron. Sword steels were made by mixing these.

JIGOSHI –  Strong hada pattern.

JI-HADA – Surface texture – course or fine of various patterns of hada.

JI  HAN - GETSU –   Half moon patterns in ji.

JI   IRO  –  Colors of blade surface.

JIJAKUSHI  –  Faint pattern on ji.

JI  KONETSUCHI –  A clay-like texture in Higo Enju blades.

JINDACHI –  Same as tachi – a long slung sword.

JINGA – Shrine

JINGU – Imperial Shrine

JI-NIE –  The frosty look of surface nie.

JI  no  TSUYU  –  Gem-like spots shining like dew on Bizen Moriiye blades.

JIN  TACHI – A very long sword. Same as Jindachi.

JINTO –  A tachi for fighting. A war sword.

JIN  WAKIZASHI –  Medium length sword worn with a tachi.

JISHO   no  HADA – Fine grain like nashiji on early Bitchu blades.

JI-TSUYA –  Dark colors luster on ji surface.

JITTE – Defensive rod with hook on the side carried by police.

JIYAKI –  Partially double hamon on Soshu blades.

JIZO BOSHI – Boshi shaped like a priest's head

JIZO  GASHIRA –  Boshi line resembling the shaven head of priest Jizo.

JIZOGATA –  Same as last. Most Mino blades have this.

JIZO  HADA –  Fine grain with round clear dark spots. Bitchu blades.

JUKA –  Reheated or re-tempered blade.

JUKABA –  Large choji hamon of Kunisuke or Yoshimichi.

JUKA   CHOJI  – Double choji pattern.

JUKA   no   SAKAASHI –  Ashi of juka choji slanting toward point.

JUMONJI   no   KITAE –  A cross-like pattern 6” below the point.

JUMONJI YARI – a spear with doubled-edged cross blades

JUSAN       no    MITSUKE  –  Thirteen points on blade appraisal:

1.      Surface grains – straight; burl; wood; plain.

2.      Shapes – long ; medium ; short, points large; medium; small.

3.      Curvature – even ; curved near base; curved near point.

4.      Temper lines – small, medium, large irregular; large, medium ,small waves; wide, medium, narrow straight yakiba.

5.      Boshi shapes – no turn-back; circle; flame; brushed; full temper.

6.      Boshi turn-back – deep, medium, short.

7.      Shape of back – roof shape; double; round.

8.      Color of blade surface- blue; white; black.

9.      Nie – course ; medium; fine.

10.  Nioi – shallow ; deep; firm;

11.  Color of tempered surface – white, black.

12.  Ridge ( shinogi) – high ridge; wide shinogi surface; narrow surface.

13.  Carvings – deep; shallow.

JUTETSU – The Ten Brilliant Pupils of Masamune: Rai Kunimitsu, Hasebe Kunishige, Kanemitsu, Shizu Kaneuji, Go Yoshihiro, Norishige, Naotsuna, Chogi (Nagayoshi), Sa and Kinju (Kaneshige).

JUTOE –  Officers in charge of Imperial Palace Guards in 760 AD. 

JUYO KODOGU – "important sword mountings"; a rank given by the N.B.T.H.K.

JUYO TOKEN – highly important origami (certificate) for sword by N.B.T.H.K.

JUYO TOKEN TO ZUFU – Annual publications of the N.B.T.H.K. in which a rubbing of the tang is printed and text is given for all blades and fittings which received Juyo ratings that year.

JUZU – Hamon like rosary beads

JUZUBA –  Buddhist beads – a form of gonome hamon.


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KABUTO – helmet

KABUTO-GANE – tachi style pommel cap

KABUTO- WARI – Helmet breaker – square pointed rod 12 “ long with hook. Kusunoki Masashige had one made by Masamune, hence all modern copies are inscribed in honor of Masamune.

KADOBA – Same as hako-midare, a box like hamon pattern.

KAEN – Flame shape boshi pattern.

KAERI – Boshi turn-back

KAERBUKO – Polliwog shape – almost the same as choji.

KAGEHI –  Small groove beside a regular groove on a blade.

KAI   GUNTO –  Naval sword produced during WW II.

KAI     MIHARA –  Blades of Bingo Mihara School with full temper pattern.

KAI      SHINOGI – Meaning not clear, perhaps clam shell shape point.

KAI       SHINOGI    TACHI – Tachi with thick round point.

KAESHIZUNO – A hook shaped fitting used to lock the scabbard to the obi while drawing

KAJI  –  Swordsmith; NIHON  KAJI  – Japanese swordsmith

KAJIBI – Grooves cut by the same smith who made the blade.

KAKARI – Part of hamon frayed and run up toward the back of the blade.

KAKIHADA – Fake sword. Acid imitation of yakiba and surface grain.

KAKIHAN –  Swordsmiths or tsuba makers below signature.

KAKI      NAGASHI –  End of groove pointed.

KAKI-TOSHI  –  Groove continuing to end of tang.

KAKU-DOME – Square end of groove.

KAKU-MUNE –  Square back ridge of sword.

KAMAKURA-MONO – Kamakura things – A general term for blades made by Shintogo Kunimitsu, Yukimitsu, Masamune, Sadamine Group in Sagami province.

KAMASU  KADO  or  KAMASU-ZUKURI – Large point with straight edge.

KAMIKAZE – divine wind, the providential typhoons which destroyed the Mongol fleet when they tried to invade Japan.

KAMISHIMO-ZASHI – Daisho swords in conservative black mountings.

KAMURI  JIZO  – Boshi point slants toward edge and fades out.

KAMURI   OTOSHI  – Narrowed back for most of the length of the sword.

KANASUJI –  Chikei lines near the cutting edge.

KANA  TOKU  – Anvil.

KANJI  –  Japanese characters

KAN  no HA – A straight hamon continues straight to a little above yokote before curving with point, almost touching edge at that place.

KANMURI-OTOSHI –Back ridge beveled like a naginata

KANTEI –  Study and appraisal of swords.

KANSEI no HA –  An irregular temper line that looks stern and has nie crystals in yakiba as well as along hamon line.

KAO - carved monogram of swordsmith on tang (nakago)

KARAKAMI   NAKAGO –  Faking by welding genuine tang on spurious sword.

KARASUGUCHI –  A beak shape flaw in a blade.

KARA   TACHI – Early Chinese decorative swords with ken shape point.

KARAYO  TACHI – Mountings copied from Chinese swords of about 730 AD.

KAREKI  no  MIDARE – Irreg. zigzag hamon with gnarled branches. Sa.

KARIMATA   KITAE – Boshi with web-foot wild goose shaped nie.

KASAGI-ZORI – Even curve on a blade. Same as torii-zori.

KASANE  – Thickness of blade.

KASANEME  ATARU – Awtaguchi blades thicker than usual at base.

KASHIRA – Cap on the end of handle – pommel. KASUMI  no  OSHIE –  A misty nioi in blades of Hizen Yoshikage.

KASURI   KOKORO –  Nie along hamon and yakiba appear splashed. Mihara.

KASURI no OSHIE – Splashed nie patterns rather coarse.

KATACHIRI – Flat surface left by groove that extends to shinogi.

KATAKIRI – Sword with one side flat (no shinogi)

KATAKIRI-BA  –  Blades sharpened to one side only.

KATA MASSUGU –  Thin firm suguba on thick narrow blade by Yoshitsugu.

KATAMONO –  Thin steel sheet set on edge for test cutting by swords.

KATANA – Long sword worn edge up in sash by samurai.

KATANA   KAJI – Swordsmith.

KATANA KAKE – Sword stand

KATANA  MEI – Signature side that faces out when worn edge up

KATANA   TOGISHI  or  TOGIMONOSHI – Sword polisher ( and sharpener).

KATANA  DAISHIYO –  Polite handing of sword to another person.

KATANAGARI – Confiscation of swords ordered by Hideyoshi.

KATANA  KAKE – Sword stand for horizontal display.

KATANA   KIZU – A sword wound.

KATANA  HAI – False edge – the back of a sword.

KATANA   SHIN – Blade or body of a sword.

KATANA  HIRA – Flat of the blade.

KATANA   TSUTSU – A papermachι lacquered sword case.

KATAOCHI   GONOME – Gonome leaning to one side like saw teeth.

KATASHINOGI KATAKIRIBA TSUKURI -  Ridge on one side, other flat.

KATA   UNOKUBI   –  Blade with only on side thinned down along the back.

KATTE   SAGARI – File marks slanting down to left.

KATTE    AGARI – File marks slanting right. Or Katte uye

KAWADZUNOKO-CHOJI  or  KAWAZU-CHOJI – Tadpole choji, a mushroom shape long neck choji.

KAWAGANE – Surface or skin steel.

KAWAHIKEN – Pictures in grooves filled over with tinted glass.

KAWAKAMIBE    TSURUGI  –  1000 swords made at Kawakami Shrine.

KAWASE  –  Patterns like sand banks within irregular hamon.

KAZU-UCHIMONO – Fast mass-production of swords.

KEBORI – Line carving done on sword mounts

KEIKI –  A sort of psychic feeling engendered by a blade.

      Keiki iyashii – A rude feeling.

      Keiki jingjo –  A conservative appearance.

      Keiki susudoi – A stern or gloomy appearance.

KEIKO – Practice battle

KEN – Straight double edged sword

KEN  BI –  Ken designs engraved in blade. Several styles...

KENBO-MIDARE – Zigzag choji pattern done by Kenbo ( kanefusa).

KENGATA CHOJI – Fist shape choji.

KENGIO – Ken shape tang end.

KENGYO – Triangular or pointed nakago-jiri

KENJO  MUKI – Too high complimentary values on swords to be presented.

KENSHI – An expert swordsman.

KENSO –  Telling a man’s fortune from patterns on his blade.

KEN   TAKAHI – Ancient term for sword hilt, or handle.

KEN-GATA TACHI – Old tachi in one piece with pierced handle.

KESAN – Hada like nashiji ( pear texture) surface.

KESHO   YASURI- Decorative file marks tang.

KESSO – Blood grooves in sword. Same as Hi.

KEZURIDAI – Block or stand for clamping sword when using the draw-shave.

KIBAHA – Oni tooth shape hamon. A sharp saw tooth pattern.

KIDACHI – Wooden sword used in fencing. Like bokuto.

KIE   no   NIE  –  Nioi that looks like nie in yakiba of Norimune blades.

KIJI   MOMO – Tang shaped like pheasant leg.

KIJINO-TACHI – Ceremonial tachi worn during an emperor’s visit.

KIKUBA – Chrysanthemum design in hamon a little below yokote line.

KIKU – chrysanthemum

KIKU   ICHIMONJI – Chrysanthemums with ichi – below it for signature.

    Also – 16 or 8 petal      chrysanthemums in hamon of Bizen Norimune blades.

KIKU   GYOSAKU – Swords by Emperor Gotoba signed with kiku.

KIKUBA – chrysanthemum temperline (hamon)

KIKUKA   no   MIDARE –  Row of kiku flowers in hamon by Hojoji Kunimitsu.

KIKUSHUI - BA  –  Hamon with chrysanthemum blossoms floating on water.

KIKU-TSUKURI   TACHI – Same as kiku Gyosaku.

KIN – Gold

KINKO – Soft metal sword fittings (not iron)

KIN   MEI  – Gold inlay or lacquer signature added by appraiser.

KINSUJI – Whitish golden line along or in hamon or yakiba.

KINTO – Same as kintsukuri tachi.

KINZOGAN  MEI – Same as kin mei.   Gold signature attribution.

KIO-ZORI  – An even curve. Same as Torii-zori.

KIRI – paulownia

KIRI-HA  – Flat sword with both sides beveled to the edge

KIRI -HA TACHI – Long tachi with straight kissaki cutting edge.

KIRI-HA TSUKURI – Old blades with parallel sides and edge slanted from both sides.

KIRIKAKE –  Kosori Group hamon with rows of small points like scratches.

KIRI   KOMI – Battle nick in blade. Polisher should not remove.

KIRIMONO  – Carving. Same as horimono.

KIRIMONO   MEZURASHI – Carvings on blades which rarely have them.

KIRIMONO   TOGARI   TATAZU –  Gracefully finished Soshu carvings.

KIRI    NAKAGO – Tang cut off square, usually in shortened blades.

KIRI   SUJI-CHIGAI – File marks.

KIRI    TAMESHI   or   TAMESHI   KIRI – Blade cutting tests.

KISSAKI   –  The point of a blade. Many shapes.

KITAE  – Forging. Many methods

KITAE   KATA –  Forging methods.

KITAENOBE –  Heating and hammering.

KIZU –  Various flaws or defects in a blade.

KO – Old or small

KOBUSE – Blade constructed with hard steel around a soft core

KOBUSHIGATA    CHOJI –  Fist shape choji patterns.

KOBUSE   TSUKURI –  Soft steel center covered by hard steel.

KOCHOJI –  Small choji pattern.

KODACHI  – Short tachi blades 2 feet or less. used in Kamakura times.

KODOGU –  Collective term for fittings except tsuba. Except tachi.

KODOMO  DAISHO –  A child’s pair of swords.

KOFUDA –  Appraisal certificate issued by the Honami appraisers on blades worth less than five gold pieces.

KOGAI – Hair arranger fitted in pocket opposite kozuka, on some swords.

KOGARASU   TSUKURI –  A blade that is mostly shinogi shape but double edge toward the point.

KOGATANA –  Short knife with a hole or ring at the end of the handle so it can be used as a needle to draw a cord through the severed neck to mouth of an enemy head for carrying.

KOIGUCHI –  the mouth of the scabbard or its fitting

KOJIBO –  Tool for correcting a warped blade.

KOJIRI   or   SAYAJIRI –  Bottom end fitting on scabbard.

KOKADO –  Small pointed boshi.

KOKONOTSUKA   TSURUGI –  9 grips (long) sword. Ancient way of measuring.

KOKUHO – national treasure class sword

KOMARU  – Small round boshi.

KOMASAME –  Small straight grain tang.

KO-MEI – Small character signature on a tang.

KOMI –  Shapes of tang ends.

KO-MIDARE – Small irregular hamon pattern or small irregularities in other hamon patterns.

KO-MOKUME – Small burl grain hada. Same as nogihada.

KONASHIMONO – Shinto blades with some faking to look like koto.

KONE-TSUCHI – Extremely fine texture of Higo Enju blades.

KONGOSHA – Emery stone used in polishing.

KO-NIE – Tiny nie crystals along hamon.

KO-NIE DEKI – composed of small nie

KONOHAGITAE – Steel pieces piled like leaves for forging.

KONUKA    HADA  – Very fine grain Hizen style hada.

KORE – Kanji on tang meaning "This" for example Saku Kore "Made this".

KOSEKI –  Old blades by Mino, Seki smiths with no nie on hamon.

KOSHIATE –  Leather pads to which swords were fastened when worn.

KOSHI-BA – Area a few inches above edge notch with fancy patterns.

KOSHIGATANA –  Short dagger. Same as koshizashi or koshinomono.

KOSHI     HI  – Groove extending part way up a blade.

KOSHI      HIRAKITARU-MIDARE –  Irregular open loops hamon.

KOSHI       KOBATA – Short dagger. Same as koshigatana.

KO-SHINOGI – Continuation of shinogi on point.

KO-SHINGOI  SAKI – Intersection of small ridge and back lines.

KOSHI    MITSUKE – Swollen irregular lines near base of cutting edge.

KOSHIMONO – Anciently- short blades; later- swords worn in the sash.

KOSHIRAE – Sword mountings including scabbard, handle and fittings.

KOSHIZASHI – Short dagger. Same as koshigatana.

KOSHIZORI – Blade; curving more near the base. Mostly before 1335.

KOSUJI-CHIGAI   YASUREME – Slanted file marks. (Kattesagari)

KOTO – Old Sword Period (prior to 1596)

KOTO  no  SUNSHAKU –  Old measurement records, mostly Chinese.

KO-UCHI   KATANA – Short fighting sword before wakizashi came in style.

KO-WAKIZASHI –  Short wakizashi of 1 foot to 1 foot 4 inches long.

KOZORI –  KOSORI – General name of Bizen Osafune branch schools.

KOZUKA – Spike for hair arranging carried sometimes as part of Katana-Koshirae in another 'pocket'

KUBIKAKI    KATANA – Short tanto used to finish cutting neck in seppuku.

KUBIKIRI  – Same as above . Also called kubitori (snatch neck).

KUBIKIRI –  Incurved short chisel edged knife.

KUBITORI – Head cutter. Same as kubikiri.

KUDARI   ASHI – Irregular oblique hamon. Bizen Kanehira & Motoshige.

KUGE    TACHI – Imperial tachi.

KUI-CHIGAI – Criss-cross straight lines of nie and nioi nibbled away.

KUMI-IRE – Narrow portions of hamon have double lines.

KUMI-IRE   YAKIBA – Ashi on straight hamon criss-cross each other.

KUMO    HADA –  A cloud bank appearance of the hada.

KUMOI   TSURIAI – Deep clear hamon with cloud-like swellings of nie.

KUMONO   IHADA – Spider web-like whitish grain lines in hada.

KUMORI  GANE – Somewhat cloudy hada surface of Suo Nio School.

KUNI – province

KURI-JIRI – Chestnut shape tang end.

KURIKARA – dragon horimono (engraving/carving)

KURIKATA – scabbard (saya) fitting for attaching the sageo

KURUMA   TACHI – Style of tachi to be carried in a carriage.

KUSUNGOBU – 9.5 “ dagger. Same as yoroidoshi – armor piercing tanto.

KUTSUROGU – Crudely forged blade with coarse surface texture.

KUWAKO – Silk worm head shape of boshi tip.

KUWANA  UCHI – Forgeries of Bizen blades by Kuwana and Ise smiths.

KUZURE – crumbling or disintegrating

KWAI-KEN – Short tanto carried hidden in clothing mostly by women.

KWAKI    or   KAKI – Tang affected by getting too hot in tempering.

KWAKI  ARUMONO –  Blade somewhat affected by being in a fire.

KYODEN  – A method of forging used in Kyoto. A formula for mixing steels.

       Formulas –                 Kyoto                    Bizen                        Soshu

           Surface steel – Hocho tetsu    50 momme     75 momme (between the two.)

                                      Chigusa  “     100    “             150   “

                                       Dewa      “      50    “                 0   “

                                       Sen         “     100    “               75   “

              Edge  steel – Dewa   tetsu   100  momme    100 momme

                                      Jami        "      100    "            100"

                                       Sen        "       100    "            100"

              Center steel – Mix as you please.                 Same

KYOGEN    DAISHO – Matched pair of swords for kabuki stage use.

KYO  no  GOKAJI – The 5 shinto smiths of Kyoto.

       1. Iga   no  Kami Kinmichi            2. Tamba  no  Kami Yoshimichi

       3. Izumi no Kami Rai Kinmichi   4. Omi  no Kami Hisamichi

       5. Etchu  no Kami Masatoshi

KYOZORI – Kyoto style torii-zori.

KYUICHI –  Kyushu blades having white hair-like grain.

KYUHOKU  no  SADAME – Resemblance between Kyushu & north Japan blades.

KYOWA  no  SADAME – Similarities in Awataguchi and Yamato blades.


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MACHI –  Notches in blade to stop habaki. Edge – hamachi; back – munemachi.

MACHI  OKURI – Notches (hamachi and munemachi) moved up the blade.

MACHI  TOGI  – Professional polishers who work for the general  public.

MACHI  SAYAMAKI – Cheap, ready-made scabbards.

MADO  AKI – Open a window. Polish short section to check blade quality.

MAE   SAGARI  no  JIZO – Head shape boshi leaning toward edge.

MAGE SAKI – To repair & retemper point. Hamon blurred 2” below point.

MAKI  HADA – Whirlpool grain in blades by Etchu Norishige. (Uzuhada)

MAKI  ITO – Braid for handle wrapping.

MAKURA-DASHI – Pillow sword.

MAKURI-GITAE – Roll-in forging. Same as kobuse-tsuki.

MAMORI  KATANA – Short tanto or aikuchi carried for protection. Also first sword for a boy under 5. Handle & scabbard covered in brocade.

MARU – round

MARU-DOME – Round end of a groove.

MARU  KITAE – Blades made of one piece of steel. Many tanto made this way.

MARU  MUNE – Round back of blade.

MASAGO-MIDARE – Nie like dusted sand along hamon.

MASAME   HADA – Straight grain hada. Large, medium, small styles.

MATAGI  –  Boshi and turn-back like tree fork with small circle.

MATAGI     KOKORO – Forked tree shape boshi turn-back. Bitchu style.

MATSUBA  – Thin notches like pine-needles running into surface of blade.

MATSUBA   SAKI – Surface between back and small ridge above yokote.

MATSUKAWA   HADA – Pine tree bark surface grain on  tired Bizen blades.

MEI – Signature chiseled on a blade, mostly on the tang. Signature is away from body when worn  - katana  - edge up, tachi  - edge down. A few exceptions.

MEIKIKI – Sword judging persons in the Muromachi period 15th & 16th century.

MEIBUTSU – famous sword

MEKUGI – Bamboo peg or metal rivet holding the handle on a sword.

MEKUGI    ANA – Hole for mekugi. Katana 2.4” down ; wakizashi 1.8” down.

MEKURA   KAERI – A certain turn-back on late koto Bizen blades.

MEMPO – Face guard or mask

MENUKI – Ornaments under handle wrapping to improve grip.

MENUKIO – Handle wrapping. Same as udenukio.

METEZASHI – Any dagger worn in the right side waist.

METEZASHI – Short daggers having reddish wood handles.

MI   – Body of a sword. Not including tang. The blade.

MIDAREBA – Irregular hamon patterns. Many varieties.

MIDARE   CHOJI – Irregular clove seed shapes in hamon.

MIDARE   GASHIRA – Irregular tops of midare patterns – some high, some low.

MIDARE    KAGERO – Slightly wavy suguba hamon by Bizen Kanemitsu.

MIDARE     KOMI     SUKOSHI    KAERU – A short boshi return.

MIDARE   HOKKOKU   GOKORO –  Small points in Bingo groups hamons.

MIDARE    no   AHSI    HASAKI   ni  NUKERU – Ashi touching edge.

MIDARE    ITO – Thin lines of nie like sunagoshi in Bingo hamon.

MIDARE    SANJU – Triples lines mixed in Bitchu midare patterns.

MIDARE     UTSURI – Irregular reflection spots in hada.

MIHABA  –  Width of blade at the machi.

MIHAKASHI  – Common name for a sword worn by a Emperor.

MIIKE  HI  – Shallow wide grooves on Miike blades.

MIKAZUKI    GOKORO – New moon shape boshi. Yamashiro

MIMIGATA – Ear shape hamon pattern.

MINO   KOSHIRA – Gonome-choji hamon as made in mino province.

MISEZAYA  –  Decorative scabbard cover for a short dagger.

MITOKORO-MONO – Matching set of kozuka, kogai and menuki

MITORI    JIBA – Fine short lines strayed into ji in Chikushu blades.

MITSU  KADO   or   MITSU    KASHIRA – Junction of yokote and shinogi lines.

MITSUMATA     YARI – Three pronged spear.

MITSU    MUNE – Three surface ridge back.

MITSURUGI –  Honorific term for the Emperor’s sword.

MITSUZURE   CHOJI – Triple choji in groups along hamon. Ichimonji.

MIYOSHINO    GOKORO – Row of cherry blossoms hamon on Mino blades.

MIYOSHI    SAMONJI – Blades by the great Chikuzen Sa.

MIZUBUNE – Water trough for hardening the edge of a blade.

MIZUHESHI – Process of heating and chilling in water to harden the edge.

MIZUHIKI – Mixture of straight grain and burl in hada of Bingo blades.

MIZUKAGE – Hazy line in ji commonly due to re-tempering.

MIZUKIWA – Bright clear burl grain on Bizen blades.

MIZU   UCHI – Pounding heated steel with wet hammer to give fine texture.

MOCHI    TACHI – Tachi of high rank official carried held up by servant beside his carriage.

MOE-TACHI – Hamon by Bizen Sukesada looks delicate and somewhat swollen.

MOJI   no   KITAE – Surface grain by Hiromitsu looks like characters.

MOKKO – Four lobe shaped (a tsuba shape)

MOKUME    HADA – A burl wood grain hada.

MOKUTATSU –  Burl pattern standing out clearly.

MOKUTAN   MATSU – Powdered charcoal used in forging.

MOKU   TO – A two foot oak wood sword lacquered black.

MON – Family crest

MON   HABAKI  – Habaki with family crest on it.

MONOKIRI  – Edge of a sword.

MONO-UCHI  – Portion of blade 4 or 5 inches below the point. Striking point.

MOMME  – Unit of weight =  58 grains troy or .1325 ounce or 3.7565 grams.

MONO    NOGU – Arms and armor.

MORO    BOSHI  – Sharp angle boshi with a long turn-back. Yamashiro.

MOROHA  – Double edged sword. Same as ryoba.

MOROHA    TSUKURI – Two edged sword – mostly daggers.

MOTAGI  –  Decorated menuki heads.

MOTOHABA –  Width at habaki.

MOTOKASANE  –  Thickness of sword at machi.

MOYASHI    NAKAGO – Faking method of heating tang to make it look old.

MU – empty or nothing

MUJI     HADA  – No grain visible.

MUKADE    SHINAE  - “ Hundred legs”. A kind of flaw.

MUKU   KITAE  – “ No scale” forging. Using almost pure iron in forging.

MUMEI – no signature (unsigned blade)

MUNE – Back ridge of sword blade

MUNE-GANE  – Steel for the back portion of a blade.

MUNE   MACHI  – Notch in the back of a blade to stop the habaki.

MUNESUJI   – Center ridge line down the back.

MUNE    TETSU   KITAEZUKURI  –  Forging lamination process.

MUNE   UCHI – Striking with the back of the blade.

MUNEYAKI – Temper pattern on the back of some blades.

MURAKUMO    BOSHI – Nie along boshi resembles rising clouds or vapor.

MUSEMONO – Fire damaged blades. Blurred temper lines, cloudy surface.

MUSO   TO – Sword without mountings; a naked blade.

MUZORI – Without curve- almost straight.


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N.B.T.H.K.  –  Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kai (sword preservation group) in Tokyo in 1948 through the efforts of Dr. Homma and Dr. Sato.

N.T.H.K.  –  Nihon Token Hozon Kai (sword appraisal group) established in Tokyo in 1910 as a noncommercial entity to foster preservation of the Japanese sword.

NABE-GANE – Cast iron.

NABIKI – Straight grain in hada follows curve in point to back of blade.

NADARE – Avalanche of white spots.

NAGADACHI – Same as nodachi and nagamaki. Long blade with long handle.

NAGADACHI – Long slim tachi used by officers at a state banquet.

NAGAE  KATANA – Extra long sword with 4’ handle. Like nagamaki.

NAGA-HAKAMA –  Sword worn with a hakama garment. Tanto or short wakizashi.

NAGAMAKI – Long sword with a 4’ handle. Same as Nodachi and nagadachi.

NAGASA – blade length (from tip of kissaki to munemachi)

NAGINATA – Short sword blade on a long shaft. A halberd.

NAKAGO – Tang of a blade.

NAKAGO JIRI – End of Nakago

NAKAGO  MUNE – Back of a tang . Several shapes; flat or rounded.

NAKAGO MUNE-MAKI – Tip end of a tang. Many shapes.

NAKAGO no HIRA – Surface of tang.

NAKAGO  MUNEKADO – Edges of the tang back. Sharply cut.

NAKAGO  SAKI – Tip of the tang.

NAKAGO   SHINOGIJI – Ridge surfaces on tang.

NAKAGO    SHIRI – Surface of the tip of the tang.

NAKAGO     SHIRI no SHURUI – Cross-sections of tang tips.

NAKA    SUGUBA – Medium width yakiba.

NANAKO – raised dimpling (fish roe)

NAMAZU   HADA  – Whitish patches in dark blue surface with dark spots.

NAMBAN   TETSU – Chinese or other imported iron.

NAMBOKU – North-South dynasties. Nambokucho ( PERIOD)

NANKO – Soft steel.

NANATSU   SAYA  KATANA – A ken or hook shaped blade with three branch blades on each side. Very ancient – about 260 AD.

NANONAKI     MIDARE – Full temper pattern of  Kaibu Group blades.

NAOSHI  – Corrected or repaired.

NARA     MONO – A poorly made blade. Same as tsutsugitae.

NARA      TACHI – Tachi blades made by Yamato Tegai and Senjuin Groups.

NASHIJI  –  Hada like pear skin

NATA –   Gardener’s knife or hunting knife. Hana-nata – flower knife.

NATSU  no KA – Choji pattern of deep nioi on Norimune blades.

NEJI   HADA – An artificially produced twisted burl grain appearance.

NENGO – Japanese era

NETABA – Sharp edge of sword or knife.

NEZUMI-ASHI – Rat’s feet ashi marks.

NERI    TSUBA  TACHI – Tachi with a leather guard.

NETABA – Stropping or honing a blade just before using.

NEZAGITAE – Twisting and pounding in forging to make a wood grain.

NIE – Fine white crystals formed in the hamon or ji.

NIE   ASASHI – Thin nie along the hamon giving a shallow appearance.

NIE     ATSUSHI – Thick nie in hamon or surface that looks deep.

NIE-DEKI – Hamon done in nie

NIE   FUKASHI – Dense nie of small crystals not coarse.

NIE    IRO – More nie existing in large portions of hamon. Yamashiro.

NIE   ITOME-O  WAKERU – Nie along each side of hamon. Izumo smiths.

NIE  KARRI   TSUKAE – Nie in boshi seeming to prevent turn-back.

NIE   MASARU – Nie existing all along hamon from base to point.

NIEME    ATARU – Dense nie on hamon and surface of Soshu blades.

NIE   NODO  – Dense nie in the point of Izumo blades.

NIE  OI – Secondary nie line overhanging hamon in Kikuchi blades.

NIE SADAME – Nie thick in places, lacking entirely in others.

NIE     SUJI – Nie lines about 2 inches long parallel to hamon, here and there.

NIE     SUTE  – Nie temper patterns in the surface of Soshu blades.

NIE    TORI-MIDASU – Uneven disorderly nie along hamon.

NIHONBI  – Pair of identical grooves . Same as futasujibi.

NIJUBA –   Double hamon. A second line near the base of blade.

NIJUBA     KUISAGARU –  Boshi line split – one hanging down.

NIJU       BOSHI – A sort of double boshi line on Chikuzen Sa blades.

NIJU       SAGEO – Eight foot braided cord attached to scabbard.

NIKU – meat (blade having lots of fullness)

NIKU OKI – Degree of meat ( roundness ) on blade surface:

1.      Hiraniku ari. A greater height of roundness; even curve.

2.      Hiraniku sukunashi. A flatter curve, but still an even curvature.

3.      Haniku ari . Applies to 1 or 2 but higher near the edge.

4.      Haniku sukunashi. Same as 3 but high point near shinogi

NIOI – Crystals like nie but much finer and darker. Hamon patterns may be made of nioi or a thread-like line of nioi may parallel or be mixed in with nie hamon (cloud like hamon). Presence of both is considered good.

NIOI-DEKI – composed of nioi

NIOI-GIRI – Loss of nioi. Considered a flaw.

NIOI   NAMIAI – Small swellings under nioi hamon on Bizen blades.

NIOI   SHIMARU – Narrow nioi line.

NIOI-NIE   FUKASHI – Wide area of nioi and nie.


NISE-MEI  – False signature.

NODACHI  –  Field tachi worn by high officials

NODACHI   NAOE – Field sword of early times with straighter handle.

NOGIHADA  – Rice beard shape grains in hada.

NOKOGIRI  or  NOKOHA  – Saw tooth hamon.

NOMI    IRE – Upper part of habaki.

NORO  – Slag resulting from the smelting of iron.

NORAN   BA – Fluctuating hamon with crooked notches. Mino Kaneujis.

NOSHIBA – No turn-back on boshi. Follows edge to tip.

NOTARE – Wavy hamon. Large, medium, small, or irregular.

NOTARE-MIDARE – irregular wave like hamon

NUNOME – overlay metal-work

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O – large

OBI – belt sash

O-CHOJI – Hamon of large choji (clove seed) patterns.

O-DACHI – very long sword (over 30 inches)

OGIBA – Fan shape hamon mixed with hitatsura. Masamune and Sadamune.

O-GONOME – Large gonome  pattern hamon.

OINO-DACHI  – Large sword carried on the back. Same as seoi tachi.

OISUSUKI – Irregular hamon becoming more irregular toward the point.

O-KATANA  – Early a large heavy dagger; later a long sword.

OKINA   BUKA  – A term for the old look of blades by Kagemitsu.

OKINA    GOKORO – “Old man atmosphere” applied to Awataguchi blades.

OKINA     HIGE  – “Old man whiskers” in boshi  by Soshu Shintogo Kunimitsu.

OKINA    MITSUKE – “Look like old men”. Early ko-Bizen.

O-KISSAKI – large kissaki

OKITE   – Marks made by scraping clay with a triangle of wire in tempering.

OKITSUCHI –  Additional mud supplied in tempering.

O-KOSHIGATANA – Large silver mounted tanto, subject of a poem in 1200.

O-MIDARE – Large irregular hamon pattern.

OMIHAKASHI – Honorific name for a sword worn by an emperor.

OMOBA – A double nioi hamon found on Bizen and Mino Seki blades.

OMOTE – Side of sword away from body as it is worn. Signature side. The opposite side is called ura. Usually has the date, if any. Katana omote is opposite to tachi omote.

O-NIE – Brilliant nie found on full tempered Soshu blades.

ON  KEN – Same as wakizashi. Originally a dagger hidden in the clothing.

ONNAMOCHI   DAISHO – Special daisho presented to a Lord by his bride.

O-NOTARE – Large wave pattern hamon.

ORI    AWASE  NI-MAI  –  Two plate folding and forging method.

ORI    AWASE   SAN-MAI  – Three plate folding and forging method.

ORIGAMI  – Certificate of appraisal.

ORIGAMI    DAICHO – Record books of origami certificates issued.

ORIKAESHI    MEI – Blade signature folded into opposite side when blade is shortened. Sometimes to make a fake signature look genuine.

ORIKAESHI    SAN-MAI  – Special method of forging.

ORIKANE   no  HA  – Small rectangular temper pattern found slightly below hamon on blades by Soshu Hiromitsu.

ORI KARAMI – Methods of wearing swords through the sash.

ORIKOGI   KITAE  – Method of piling steel pieces for forging.

OROSHI – Surface of the angles of the back of the blade.

OROSHI    DAINI – Deep curvature of ko-Bizen blades.

OROSHIGANE – Specially processed steel for making swords

OROSHI    TETSU – Smelted iron poured on the ground to harden.

OSAME    TACHI  – Tachi swords offered to shrines.

O-SEKI    NIE – Nie in the hamon and on the surface of Bingo blades.

O-SEPPA  – Large seppa (usually on tachi)

OSHIGATA  – Rubbing of tang with inscription.

OSHIGATA-ZUMI  – Ink cake for making rubbings of the tang inscriptions.

OSHI    HADA  or   OSHIMONO –  Clear silvery surface grain.

O-SHINAE – A flaw.

OSORAKU    TSUKURI  – A light wakizashi with a very long point.

O-SUJI-CHIGAI – Large diagonal file marks on tang.

O-SURIAGE –  A shortened tang with the signature removed

O-TACHI  – Very long tachi, some are 5 or 6 feet long.

OTO –  Same as tachi.

OTO RYO – Material for a sword issued to a smith by the government.

OTOSHI-ZASHI – Tachi worn almost vertical through sash. 

O-WAKIZASHI –  Longer wakizashi – almost 2 feet long.


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RAKKA   no   SUYE  –   Hamon starting large irregular at the base and becoming small to straight as it goes up the blade to the point.

RYOBA – Double edge sword. Similar to moroha.

RYOGOSHI – Fighting sword and short dagger worn on the hip.

RYOJIRI – The 2 flat surface either side of a groove in the shinogi.

RYUNOME – Large spots scattered here and there on a blade.

RYU – Dragon horimono.

RYUGO   CHOJI –  Choji patterns that look like dragon heads


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SABAKI-GASHIRA – Tips of boshi line fork out. Chikushu Sa and his son.

SABIDORO – Clay coated on blade for hardening and tempering process.

SADABA – Irregular patterns evenly distributed along the blade.

SAGE-FUDA – Honami appraisal cards for blades worth less than 5 gold.

SAGE    HO – Old time forging when smith smelted his own ore.

SAGEO – Cord or braid attached to kurikata on side of scabbard.

SAGE TACHI – A way of carrying tachi when on guard duty.

SAGE-ZAYA – Short dagger hanging at the waist of a priest.

SAGURI – Catch-hook on saya

SAIDAN – A cutting test. Same as kiri-tameshi.

SAIHA   or   SAIJIN – A retempered edge.

SAITO – Retempered blades. Same as saiba or denaori.

SAKA – Slanted

SAKA- ASHI – Hamon with ashi pointing toward the point of blade.

SAKA-ASHI  no SU – Notch-like surface patterns running into yakiba.

SAKA-CHOJI – Choji shapes slanting down toward base of blade.

SAKA-GONOME – Slanted gonome.

SAKA-MIDARE – Irregular patterns slanting down toward base of blade.

SAKA-TE – Holding sword with point down.

SAKAZUNO – Hook-like fitting on wakizashi or tanto scabbard.

SAKI – Tang end of a sword blade.

SAKI-HABA – Blade width at yokote

SAKI-ZORI – Sword curve more pronounced toward the point.

SAKU – Kanji on tang meaning "Made".

SAKU KORE – Made this.

SAKU – Rope carved as a symbol of Fudo, a Buddhist divinity.

SAME   or   SAME-KAWA – Patch of skin from belly of giant ray, used on sword handles and sometimes on scabbards. Ara-same new raw same. Ai-same – same colored blue for use by elders.

SAMONJI – Left hand written characters (reversed) on tangs.

SAMURAI – Warriors hired by feudal lords before 1870.

SANBONSUGI – Three cedar trees pattern hamon. Kanemoto.

SANGEN-BA – Pointed zigzag hamon by Mino Seki Kanemoto.

SANKO  TSUKA  KEN – Ken sword with Buddhist vajra handle.

SANMAI-KITAE – Three layer method of forging.

SASHI-GATANA- Medium length wakizashi.

SASHI-OMOTE – One side of a sword. See omote. Haki-omote – see ura.

SASHIRYO   MUKI – Appraisal values of blades worth 50 pieces of gold or more, to be worn by Lords on formal occasions.

SASHI-UTSUMUKU -  Tanto with back curved toward cutting edge.

SASHIZOE – A second blade worn.

SASUGA – Short dagger, pocket sword. Same as sashi-gatana.

SAYA – Scabbard. Many kinds, see books on koshirae.

SAYA-ATE – Clashing scabbards - a challenge to fight.

SAYAGAKI – An appraisal written on a shirasaya. Not reliable unless signature and kakihan of a recognized authority is added.

SAYAGUCHI – Mouth of the scabbard (koi-guchi)

SAYAMAKI     SASHIYO – A way of inserting a dagger through the belt.

SAYASHI – Scabbard maker.

SEKI    BA  – Pointed irregular hamon of Mino Seki blades.

SEKI-GANE – Soft metal plugs in the tsuka hitsu-ana

SEKI     KEN   HO – Ancient stone knives.

SEMI     HADA  – Grain like cicada wings. Possibly artificial.

SENA   – Ridge of a sword. The back ridge.

SENSUKI – Scraping blade with a draw-shave before coating with clay.

SENTETSU –  Cast iron use in sword making.

SEOI    TACHI – Large heavy tachi carried over the back in the field.

SEPPA – Washers to fill out space provided for tsuba on blade.

SEPPUKU – The ritual act of taking one's own life by using a Hara-Kiri cut to slice one's stomach open from left to right, then finishing with an upward turn. Usually accompanied by a Kaishuken, or Second, who would behead the man after to relieve suffering or if he should falter, to save honor. Usually performed with a purified Wakizashi or Tanto in Shirasaya.

SETTO – Tachi presented to a general by Emperor at start of a campaign.

SHAKU – Measurement of length. 11.93 inches; 30.3 cm.

SHAKUDO – Copper and gold alloy used for sword fittings

SHI – Teacher, master artisan.

SHIAGE – Various finishing processes in making a blade.

SHIBUICHI – copper and silver alloy used for sword fittings

SHIHOZUME    KITAE – Method of lamination in forging.

SHIKOMI-ZUE  – Sword cane.

SHIMABA – Islands of temper outside hamon.

SHIMARU – Tightly packed hamon.

SHIMOTSU TACHI – Gift swords for New Year and wedding ceremonies.

SHINAE – Small cracks cross-ways in a blade.

SHINAI – Bamboo sword used in Kendo

SHINAHI     OSHIE – Temper line along top 5” same as boshi.

SHINAI-UCHI – Fencing with bamboo sword.

SHIN-GANE – Soft center steel.

SHINOGI – Ridges on each side of a blade.

SHINOGI    HIKUSHI – Flat shinogi surface.

SHINOGI    JI – Sword flat between the mune and shinogi.

SHINOGI    SUJI  - Ridge line continuing on tang.

SHINOGI    TAKASHI – Raised ridge line. Same as Shinogi takaku.

SHINOGI     ZUKURI – Sword with shinogi

SHIN   no  KURIKARA –  Horimono of dragon twined around sword.

SHINTO  –  New Sword Period (1596 to 1781)

SHINSAKUTO –  Japanese swords made between the end of WWII and present time

SHIN-SHINTO –  New-New Sword Period (1781 to 1868)

SHINZA– Where a team of judges (performs kantei) of a Japanese Sword, Toso or Tosugu

SHINOTSUKURI    or  SASA  TSUKURI – a form of tachi.

SHIRAKAMI    HADA – Fine white hair lines in hada by Awa smiths.

SHIRAKERU –  Whitish steel.

SHIRAKE UTSURI – Faint whitish spots or reflections.

SHIRA-SAYA – Plain wood storage scabbard

SHIRUSHI    no   TSURUGI – Same as setto.

SHITA    KAJI – A smith who specialized in smelting ores.

SHITA     KITAE – The heating-forging-folding process of making steel.

SHITANJI     KEN – A ceremonial sword with rosewood mountings.

SHITODOME – Small collars in the kurikata and/or kashira

SHO - The matched small (sho) sword with large sword (Dai) of a pair of swords or fittings for same.

SHOBU-OSHIE – Iris leaf shape swords of Bingo Province.

SHOBU-ORI – A flaw caused by overheating to melting point.

SHOBU TSUKURI – Shobu shape with ridge lines to point without yokote.

SHOGUN – supreme military leader

SHOSEI      KEN – Mountings made according to old Chinese rules.

SHOTO – Short sword (between 12 and 24 inches)

SHOWA   TO – Swords made by hand in Showa time – 1926 on. Not gunto.

SHUGO – Tachi handed to a general at start of an expedition.

SHUMEI – Red lacquer signature

SHUMOKU     KITAE -  Stacking of various kinds of steel at start of forging.

SHURI     KEN – A knife made for throwing.

SHUSSE    DOGU – Up grading a blade by Honami family appraisal.

SOE    YAKIBA – A second hamon on blades by Nobukuni of Yamashiro.

SOMENBA – Numerous sunagashi lines along hamon look like noodles.

SO  no  HA – Old term for swollen irregular hamon.

SO  no   KURIKARA – Highly stylized dragon horimono.

SO     MUNE – Round back.

SORI – Curve.

SORIBUSE – Reduction of curve by hammering.

SORI    FUKASHI – Deep curve.

SORI-MONO – Set of matched fittings for a sword, or pair of swords.

SORI  no  NAOSHI   KATA – Methods of changing blade curvature.

SORI   TSUKE – Method of curving blade in original forging.

SUDARE-BA – Bamboo blinds effects in hamon

SU  KEN – Simple ken engraved on sword.

SUE – Late or later

SUGABA – Straight (parallels edge curve) hamon.

SUGATA – Shape of sword blade

SUGUBA  ASHI-IRI – Straight with vertical legs or notches.

SUGUBA    GYAKU  ASHI – Straight with slanted ashi.

SUGUBA  ni  HA  CHU  NIOI  KUZURE – Irregular nioi in hamon.

SUGUHA – Straight temper line

SUGU-KUDZURE-HA – Straight  but crumbling hamon.

SUGU-KUICHIGAI-HA – Straight but nibbled hamon.

SUGA-MAKI  or  SUGEMAKI – Grain resembling vein of sedge leaf. Yamashiro.

SUGUBA    HOTSURE – Straight hamon somewhat frayed in places.

SUGUNI      KOMIDAREBA – Straight mixed with small irregularities.

SUGUNI     NEZUMI   ASHI – Straight with rats feet ashi. Bitchu Aoe.

SUGU      UTSURI – Straight soft whitish line that appears to reflect hamon.

SUGI    SAKI – Boshi line forks out like distant cedar tree tops.

SUHAMA – Small half-oval patterns in yakiba or full temper pattern.

SUJIGANE – Golden temper lines in Bizen Nagamitsu blades.

SUKASHI – Cut out

SUKI  - Draw-shave for rough shaping of blade after hammering.

SUMI   HADA – Smooth blackish patches on the surface of Bitchu blades.

SUMI    GOMORI – A kind of flaw.

SUN – Japanese measure, approx. one inch

SUNAGASHI – Activity in hamon like brushed sand

SUNOBE – Drawing out the laminated steel block into a sword.

SUN-NOBI – Longer than average tanto or wakizashi.

SU  no SADAME – Irregular boshi, thick and deep with sand-bar tip.

SURIAGE – Shortened blade. All or part of tang cut off.

SURIAGE    MONO – A shortened blade. Sometimes this was done to reshape tang like some famous smith whose name was added to increase the value.

SURIAGE    NAKAGO – Tang of a shortened blade.

SURUME    GITAE – Squid forging. Folding like a cooked squid. A quick way.

SUYAKI       KITAE – Faint whitish line running down center of surface.

SUYE            HA – A method of forging.


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TABANE – Repeated folding and forging steel to purify and add carbon.

TABANE     MONO – A cheap forging method. Also called Nara mono.

TACHI  –  Long sword worn with cutting-edge down

TACHI      BUKURO  or  KEN   BUKURO – Sword bag.

TACHI      HAGI – Palace guards who wore tachi.

TACHI   no    HAKIYO – How to wear a tachi sword ; how to put it on.

TACHI      KAKE – Sword rack or stand for a tachi.

TACHI      KAKI – Simulated cutting with tachi in a sword dance.

TACHI MEI – Signature facing away from body when worn edge down

TACHI   no    SUNSHAKU – Measurements of tachi scabbard and handle.

TACHIO  –    Tie cord holding sword in place when worn.

TACHIRYO  – List of materials and labor to make a sword and fittings.

TADARE HADA – Rough coarse blade surface.

TAGANE MAKURA – Tiny burrs along signature chisel strokes.

TAIFU KOGAI  or  WARI-KOGAI – Split kogai to use for chopsticks.

TAIKAN  – Large reference book about Japanese Swords.

TAIKEN     – Carrying a sword in the belt.

TAKABORI – High relief carving.

TAKANOHA – Hawk feather style of yasurime

TAKA   no    TSUMEBA – Hawk talons oblique lines in hamon.

TAKA      YAMAGATA – Small U-shape tang end.

TAKE     no    KOHADA  – Grain like surface texture of bamboo sprout.

TAKENOKOZORI – Back of a dagger slightly curved toward cutting edge.

TAKE    no   OSHIE – Paper-like spots in yakiba and along hamon. Also fine straight grain resembling the grain of bamboo.

TAKIOCHI  – Long turn-back in boshi resembling a waterfall.

TAKENO-GATANA  – Bamboo fencing sword.

TAMABA – Jewel like temper spots outside main hamon, or in full temper.

TAMAGAKI     MIDARE – Hamon of row of beads connected by swept marks.

TAMAHAGANE – Raw steel for making swords

TAMA    no   UCHI   no   TAMA  – Dark beads within white beads on hamon.

TAMESHIGIRI  – Cutting test of a sword.  Same as kiritameshi.

TAMESHI     MEI   – Gold inscription on tang describing test and by whom.

TAME      TOGIBORI  – Signature cut with round chisel and grooves polished.

TANAGO-HARA – Fish belly shaped nakago

TANJAKUBA  –  Tiny rectangular patterns mixed in full temper patterns.

TANTO  – Dagger or knife less than one foot long.

TANZAKU     KITAE  –  Forging together various pieces of different kinds of steel and iron to get the required qualities for sword steels.

TATARA – Smith's smelter for making sword steel

TATE –  A row of nie along hamon as seen Izumo blades.

TATEWARE –  A kind of flaw.

TATSUTA  –  Place name describing a certain hamon pattern.

TEGUSE     ARUMONO –  Blades with conspicuous characteristics altered or attributed to great masters having the same characteristics.

TEKONE – Iron handle attached to sword material for forging.

TENUKIO  –  Same as udenukio. Scabbard cord.

TO –  sword

TOBI-ASHI – Patches of nie resembling foot prints.

TOBIDAMA – Beads shapes scattered here and there on surface.

TOBIYAKI  – Islands of temper pattern in the ji.

TOGARI – Pointed hamon patterns; saw teeth.

TOGI  – Sharpening blades (sword polish or polisher). Final polishing was not started until 1625.

TOGI    MEI  – Polisher’s signature inscribed with needle at base of blade.

TOGIYA  –  A sword sharpener.

TOKO  –  Sword work.

TORAN  – Billowing high waves hamon pattern.

TORA   no  KAERI  –  Boshi turn-back is long like a tiger’s tail.

TORII-ZORI  –  sword curve in the middle of the blade.

TOSHO  – Sword artisan.

TOSO – Sword-furniture, I.E.: Fittings, Fuchi-Kashira; Kozuka; Menuki and Tsuba

TOSOGU – Parts of the mounting in general.

TOSU –  An ancient short dagger worn on court dress.

TSUBA – Sword guard.

TSUBA     BUKURO – Guard cover bag of purple leather.

TSUBA      KATANA – Sword with a guard for fighting.

TSUBO      KASA    MENUKI – Screw type metal rivet to hold handle on tang.

TSUBOMI     CHOJI  – CHOJI design by Hojoji  Kunimitsu  of Tajima.

TSUBUDOKORO –  Large grains in center of same skin.

TSUCHI  –  Hammer for removing or replacing mekugi pin in handle.

TSUCHI   NURI    BERA – Special shaped tools for scraping the clay off to form various hamon patterns in tempering. Made of wood , metal, or wire.

TSUCHI   NURI    DAI –  Block to hold blade while coating with clay.

TSUCHI    TORI – Clay mud applied to blade before hardening to prevent the body of the sword from getting too hot. Scraped thin along edge.

TSUGI    NAKAGO – A faking method. Same as gisaku no ho.

TSUJIGIRI – A killing in the street to test a sword.

TSUKA  – Sword handle.

TSUKA    BUKURO – Sword handle cover.

TSUKA-GASHIRA –  Pommel at the end of a sword handle.

TSUKA    GUCHI – Hole in handle to insert tang of sword.

TSUKA     ITO – Braid for wrapping handle.

TSUKA-MAKI – art of wrapping the handle of a sword

TSUKKAKE        HABAKI – Long narrow habaki.

TSUKA     MAKI –  Handle winding.

TSUKAI    TACHI – Cheaply made tachi for gift purposes.

TSUKEO – Cords attached to handle or guard.

TSUKI   no  WA  – New moon shape crack in the point of a blade.

TSUKUSHI    NAGINATA – Naginata blade with side socket for shaft.

TSUKURU    or     ZŌ –  Worked or made (by).

TSUKURI-ZORI   – Strongly curved blade.

TSUKURI-SUGU  – Slightly curved blade.

TSUMI     WAKIZASHI –  First stage of making steel from pieces of iron.

TSUMU –  (詰), dense, See Itame-tsumu

TSUNAGI – Wooden sword blade to display fittings

TSUNAGI     TAMA  –  A Naoe Shizu Group style of bead pattern hamon.

TSUNE-ZASHI –  Low rated swords for everyday wear.

TSUNI-WAKASHI  –  Piling iron and steel pieces on spatula for forging.

TSURUGI   – Ancient name for ken type sword.

TSUKURI  – Shapes of blades.

TSURARA  – Icicle. Hamon looks thick with cohesive nie.

TSURARABA  –  Double or second hamon of nie along main hamon.

TSURUMAKI –  Bag for bow-string fastened by same cord that secures tachi.

TSUTSUGAESHI –  Same as Tsutsu-gitae forging method.

TSUTSU-GITAE –  Cheap forging method by which an iron piece of sword length is covered by a sheet of steel then finished in usual manner.

TSUYGANE  – Steel quality of Chikuzen Sa School. Deep lustrous color.

TSUYO-GITAE – Crushed-ice grain in some Mino blades from too much heat.

TSUYU    FROST  – In Yamashiro blades some hard and soft steels are mixed. In Mino blades it is seen as suguba with knots here and there. In Bizen blades frost exists between midare patterns.

TSUYU no SADAME  – Dew drops smaller than gem spots in Bizen blades.


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UBUHA – Faint pattern or light thin lines on retempered blades.

UBU     NAKAGO – Original unaltered tang of blade.

UCHIAI    HADA  – Color along hamon is dull. Chikuzen Sa School.

UCHIBI   – Groove hammered in instead of carved in. Chikushū  blades.

UCHIGATANA  – Long fighting sword with tsuba.

UCHIKO – Powder for cleaning swords.

UCHIKOMI  – Cutting scar or nick in sword or deep rusted spots.

UCHIKOMI    HADA – Artificial imitation of grain on koto swords.

UCHIMAKI – Cheap forging similar to tsutsu-gitae.

UCHIMONO – Old term for most longer forged and tempered weapons.

UCHIMONO-SHI – Swordsmith.

UCHINOKE – Small new moon shape nie lines on blades of master smiths.

UCHIZORI – Curved toward cutting edge.

UDENUKI – Cord on sword scabbard.

UKIKEN – Raised carved of ken in groove. Mostly on Chikuzen blades.

UKIKUMO    HADA – Whitish floating cloud spots in Suwō blades.

UKI   MENUKI – Menuki outside the wrappings. Same as hari menuki.

UKI   WAKI  – Silver spots inside kaeruko choji shapes in hamon. Moriiye.

UKYO    TSUKA  – Handle made of hard wood copying ancient fashion.

UMA-HA – Horse teeth hamon

UMANO     HAMIDARE – Same as last but more irregular. Masamune, Sadamune.

UMARE   SHITA – Low rated blades.

UMEGANE – Small holes in blade surface plugged with same kind of steel.

UNOKUBI-ZUKURI  –  Shinogi surface thinned for a third of blade length.

URA  – Side of sword next to body when worn. Katana opposite to tachi.

URA    HA – Secondary hamon lines sometimes intermittent.

URA   no  NAMI – Hamon effect like waves rolling on a beach.

URA-MEI – signed on the ura (usually the date)

URIZANE  – Oval mekugi-ana. Rivet holes not round. Sometimes gourd shape.

UROKOGATA – Fish scale shapes of nie with irregular legs.

URUMI-GOKORO – Watery looking yakiba with blurred lines.

URUMU – Poor condition of blade – dirty, unsharp.

UTSUMUKU – Curving toward cutting edge. Mostly daggers and wakizashi.

UTSURI  – Reflection of temperline in ji

UTSUSHI-MONO / UTSUSHIMONO – Copies or recreations of past masterpieces (not to be confused with forgeries)

UZU    HADA – Whirpool grain.

UZUMAKI    HADA – Small whirlpool grain in ji and yakiba.

UZUMOKU  – Burl grain that looks like a whirlpool.

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WAKASHI    NAKAGO – Faking age in a tang by heating almost to melting.

WAKASHINOBE  – An intermediate step in forging.

WAKE    no  MOKUYAKI – Burl patterns here and there close to hamon.

WAKI   – Boundary between ji and yakiba.

WAKI-KUZURE –  Boiling disintegration of hamon or boshi line.

WAKIZASHI  – Medium length sword from 1 shaku to 2 shaku (12 and 24 inches)

WAKIZASHI   no    TACHI  –  Old term for wakizashi.

WARE – Opening in the steel

WARIHA-GITAE –  Cutting edge steel inserted in body steel.

WARI-BASHI / WARI-KOGAI – Kogai split to form chopsticks.

WARIKOMI    KITAE  – Same as wariha-gitae. A quick forging method.

WATASHI    no   FUNE – Thin nie swept marks and gold color spots. Bizen.


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YAGEN-DOSHI  – A short heavy armor smashing sword.

YAHAZU MIDARE – Arrow notch pattern; a sort of dove-tail hamon.

YAKEMONO   – Swords burned in fire. Ji color glassy, hamon blurred.

YAKIBA  – Hardened, tempered surface along edge. Many shapes.

YAKIBA   no   HO – Applying clay before hardening and tempering edge. To keep body of sword from getting to hot. Scraped thin along edge to allow edge to get hot enough to harden. Patterns formed by scraping.

YAKIBA     MODOSHI  –  After blade is heated and plunged in water to harden, the edge is reheated slightly to reduce brittleness (tempering) , and again plunged in water to stop the annealing at the exact point required.

YAKIBA   no  TOKUSHU  naru   SHO – Hamon strays that touch edge.

YAKIBA    TSUCHI – Clay for coating blade. Charcoal & stone added.

YAKIBA     WATASHI  – Hardening and tempering process.

YAKIDASHI – Is the beginning of the hamon, usually below the machi on shinto swords, and includes the suguba area preceding a midare hamon. 

YAKIHABA      HIROSHI – Wide yakiba surface.

YAKIHABA    SEMASHI – Narrow yakiba surface.

YAKIGASHIRA  –  Head or ji side of a hamon.

YAKI-IRE – Fast quenching of sword (tempering)

YAKIOTOSHI – Is the hamon starting above the machi.

YAKIUZURI – Flaws consisting of scattered islands of temper pattern.

YAKIMURA  – Disorderly texture patches on newly made blade.

YAKINOSHI  – Retempered blades.

YAKINAOSHI     UTSURI  – In retempering the tang is kept cool by wet cloth wrapped around it. Where cloth stops a faint line is formed.

YAKIOTOSHI   – Temper line stops above the base of cutting edge.

YAKIZUME – temperline in boshi with no turn-back

YAMAGATNA  – Mountain knife. A hunting dagger.

YAMAJI    no  HA – Mixed wide and narrow lines in wavy hamon.

YAMATOJI   – Cracked patterns in yakiba of Kaibu Group smiths.

YAMATO   KAERI – Boshi resembles butt end of gun. Yamato blades.

YAMATO    NAMI –  Short swollen lines along main swollen hamon lines.

YAMAZAKURA   –  Small clove pattern resembling wild cherry blossoms. 

YAMAZAKURA    no   MIDARE – Choji pattern like cherry blossoms.

YAME  –  Scar caused by arrow point on blade surface.

YAN   no  TACHI   – Sword worn by Emperor at enthronement ceremony.

YANONE  –  Arrow head.

YARI –   Spear. Futamoto yari – 2 pronged; Mitsumoto yari – 3 pronged.

YARI     KATANA – Same as yari.

YASURI    or    YASURI   MEI – File marks on tang. Many styles.

YASURI     KIRI – Tangs having file marks rather than hammer or shave marks.

YATSUKANO    TSURUGI  – Early sword measuring eight hand-grasps.

YAWARA     ASOBI – Long blades by Kunimitsu of Tajima. Slender shapes.

YAWARAKATA  –  Mellow looking blades of Bizen Hatakeda Moriiye.

YO  – Leaves. Small patterns or lines in yakiba disconnected from hamon.

YOKOTE – Line between ji and kissaki

YOKOTE    SHITA – Small surface just below yokote.

YOKOTE     UYE  – Small portion of surface just above yokote line.

YOKOME   no    KITAE – Reflection-like surface patterns of Bizen Kanemitsu.

YOKOME     UTSURI – Same as above.

YOKOTEGIRI  – Sweeping horizontal cut with a sword.

YOKOYASURI  – Surface grain looking like horizontal file marks.

YORI    ITO – Suguba hamon like a ply thread. Bizen and Bitchu blades.

YOROIDOSHI  –  Armor cutting tanto. Also called metazashi.

YOSENAMIBA  –  Hamon like waves lapping a beach. Swollen irregular.

YOSHINO-GAWA – Design of cherry blossoms floating on Yoshino River.

YOTSUME    YUI  – Four groups of four spots each by Bizen Moriiye.

YUAI  – The effect produced by heating and cooling in tempering process.

YUAI      GOKORO – Firm appearing nie on Yamato blades.

YUAI      HADA  – A dark blue strip appearing above hamon of Sa blades.

YUBASHIRI  –  Weak temper spots or bright bands of hard metal showing.

YUCHIGAIMONO  –  Second tempering not completely erasing the first.

YUKAGEN   –  Secret temperature of water for cooling to tempering.

YUGAWARIMONO – A second tempering when first failed. Results in a porous surface and sand floating lines on the surface.

YUKICHIGAI      NIE  –  Nie lines along hamon with overlapping ends.

YUKON   – Faint gem-like patterns on blades of Sanemori of Hoki.

YUZURI     DOGU – Swords or other objects handed down for generations.


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ZAI   MEI  – Having maker’s name inscribed.

ZANGURI   –  Rather coarse texture of nashiji hada.

ZOGAN – inlay

ZŌTŌ-HŌ  – Forging methods.

ZUKURI – sword


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