The Japanese Sword and the Japanese Idioms Part 4

There are even more sword-related Japanese idioms we would like to introduce to you. “Tsukeyaki-ba” (Blade forged and stuck on) When a sword loses its sharpness, sometimes swordsmiths will stick on a tempered blade made of steel. This is called Tsukeyaki-ba, but such a blade very quickly loses its cutting ability and becomes useless. From this analogy, this term refers to knowledge and skills that were hastily acquired without maturity. “Yaki ga mawaru” (The burn gets around) During the forging process of the Japanese sword, the blade is hardened by putting it through the fire. But too much fire actually weakens its sharpness. This has developed into an idiom which…

The Japanese Sword and the Japanese Idioms Part 3

We will continue introducing Japanese idioms that related to the sword. “Seppa tsumaru” (The seppa is stuck) Seppa is a long elliptical thin metal piece on both sides of the swordguard. One is placed between the guard and the habaki (the metal encircling the base of the blade), and another between the guard and the hilt. It is designed to stabilize the swordguard. When this seppa is stuck, the sword cannot be drawn, leaving you in a rather urgent situation in which you cannot fight and cannot run away. When one is in such a situation, we used the term seppa tsumaru. “Mi kara deta sabi” (The rust from the…

The Japanese Sword and the Japanese Idioms Part 2

For this entry, I would like to continue to introduce Japanese idioms related to the Japanese sword. “Dotanba” (A podium made of sand) During the Edo period, the execution place for criminals had a podium made by a piling up sand. These grounds were also used to test out swords by cutting up bodies. Often there would be a carving in the sword to indicate the number of bodies it successfully severed on debut! The podium made by the pile of sand is called dotanba. At the dotanba, one has nowhere to escape and is about to meet his fate. Today this word is used for desperate situations or circumstances…

The Japanese Sword and the Japanese Idioms

The Japanese Sword – it has unbelievable cutting power, but does not break or bend. It is called the soul of the samurai and it treated not only as a weapon but carries a spiritual, religious aura. It appears in the mythologies of Kojiki and Nihonshoki (two of Japan’s oldest and most important books of classical Japanese history), called reiken (spirit-sword) or houken (treasure-sword) and is steeped in much mystery. Japanese people are uniquely known for keeping them as jewelry to appreciate its beauty rather than as a collection of antique items. Yes, it is believed that number of samurai who used the sword and the craftsmen who made them…

Suzaku – The never ending challenge, moving the sword craft into the future

Written by Yamamoto Yasumasa(Tozando)Many roads passed through the ancient capital of Kyoto, for example the Tokaido, Sanyodo and Hokurikudo roads. The most important 7 main roads on which you could enter and leave Kyoto, in other words check points, were called Kyo no Nanakuchi(the seven entrances of Kyoto). Even to this day there are train stations and locations which reminds us of this history, such as Kuramaguchi and Tanbaguchi. Among those seven entrances, there was one called Awataguchi, nowadays it would be somewhere located close to the Higashiyama-Sanjo, or Sanjo Keihan Station area. Anyone who has studied a bit about Japanese swords would recognize Awataguchi as the area from where…

How to appreciate a Japanese sword

Nihontō (日本刀; Japanese sword) refers to the traditional swords that are made in Japan, perhaps more commonly known as the Katana, or Samurai sword. On the finished blade, which is painstakingly made by infusing the spirit of the swordsmith into a piece of steel and then carefully polished to perfection, one can see intricate grain patterns emerging from the surface of the steel that we call Hada (肌; grain), and also on the edge of the blade you can see the Hamon (刃文; blade pattern) which is the pattern created by the differentially hardened blade edge during the tempering process. Tozando Antique Japanese Swords Store Ship worldwide by Federal Express…

Japanese Sword Mainteance Guide Part 3: How to preserve your sword

Written by Yasumasa Yamamoto(Tozando) The most important aspects of preserving Japanese swords are to protect them from developing rust and scratches. The precautions required for keeping the sword in good condition are the following: The most important aspects of preserving Japanese swords are to protect them from developing rust and scratches. The precautions required for keeping the sword in good condition are the following: Tozando Antique Japanese Swords Store Ship worldwide by Federal Express Store the blade in a Shirasaya Despite regular care and oiling, a blade may develop rust in places. Especially when a Koshirae is very old, the interior of the Saya may well be contaminated with rust and…

Japanese Sword Mainteance Guide Part 2: How to maintain your sword

Written by Yasumasa Yamamoto(Tozando) To summarize, when maintaining a sword, the main purpose to prevent the blade from oxidizing and rusting. Therefore, it is necessary to thoroughly remove any stale oil from the blade and replace it entirely with new oil, making sure that the whole blade is covered and not leaving any spots ungreased. Maintenance tools Japanese swords are generally polished using more than 10 different types of grinding/polishing stones making the surface of the blade very smooth. Because of this, any dirt or dust that may be stuck on your Nuguigami or Abura-nuguishi might inflict damage to the blade, thus it is of utmost importance that you keep…

Japanese Sword Mainteance Guide Part 1: How to draw the sword and sheath your sword

Written by Yasumasa Yamamoto(Tozando) It goes without saying, that Japanese swords are precious cultural treasures, but if it is handled roughly it might be damaged or might cause injury to yourself or someone else. If that happens, the value of such a precious treasure might be lost and as Japanese, we won’t be able face our predecessors and ancestors. Because of that, we hope that you pay utmost attention and respect when handling and owning such a sword. Tozando Antique Japanese Swords Store Ship worldwide by Federal Express Handling precautions Whether your Japanese sword is being preserved in a Shirasaya (a simple wooden scabbard and hilt for storage purposes) or…

Japanese Sword: How to know if a Tsuka is good or bad

Written by Nayuta Matsuda, Sword Craftsman(Tozando) From Shinken to Iaito and decorative wall-hangers, there are numerous types of Japanese swords available for purchase today, however today we will have a look at the only part that you touch on a Katana, the Tsuka and some simple ways to distinguish a good Tsuka from a bad one. Point 1. Is the Tsuka-ito wrapped firmly? A Tsuka is wrapped with Tsuka-ito, which can be made with fabric string or with leather strings. If the Tsuka-ito moves and seems like it will come off only by touching it, you better watch out. The Tsuka-ito should not be moving if you touch it or…