Category: Japanese Sword Katana

Bringing Sasaki Kojiro’s Sword to Life – Part 1

In the recent Movie “Musashi” by Mikami Yasuo, the famous jidaigeki actor Ken Matsudaira plays Sasaki Kojiro – Musashi’s infamous final nemesis. In this article Takahiko Kimura, Tozando’s chairman, discusses with Matsudaira about his role and the development of his signature weapon – the “Monohoshizao” (known affectionately as the laundry Read More

The Naginata

Just like the katana, the naginata conjures up many images of feudal Japan: the dedicated footsoldier, the heroic onna-bushi and also the devout warrior-monk to name, but a few. Whilst grounded in truth, these perceptions have warped our image of the naginata and its use perhaps more so than any other traditional Japanese weapon. To many the naginata and its accompanying ryu-ha are “feminine” or the sole domain of the warrior-monks. This is far from the case!

Samurai warrior cutting a roll of Tatami(Batto)

The Japanese Sword and the Japanese Idioms Part 5

Previously we have shared 4 articles introducing Japanese idioms that derive from the sword, for which we have received positive feedback as well as requests for more idiomatic expressions. Upon further research, we found plenty more. Here are 7 new idioms we would like to add to the list. “Kitaeru” Read More

Image of Japanese sword with flaws

The Katana Kizu: A flaw of the Japanese Sword

Kizu is an evidence of repeated forging The Japanese sword’s main material is the tamahagane (steel made from iron or black sand). As it is forged repeatedly, there are cases where impurities are not completely removed or small mistakes during the forging and tempering process can cause kizu (flaws) in Read More

Image of Japanese Sword Hi groove

Bohi – grooves in Japanese swords

The ‘hi’ is the Japanese name for the groove (also known as a fuller) that runs up the length of the blade. Its original purpose was to make the sword lighter and more resistant to bending. As time went on, decorative factors as well as practical ones were added as Read More

Image of Japanese sword tang, Nakago

The Nakago of the Japanese Sword: Invisible in the shaft but a valuable point of appreciating the Japanese Sword

There is a line that runs between the blade’s edge area and the ridge area. Between this line and the bottom of the blade (the area hidden inside the sheath) is called nakago (tang). The nakago is shaped by a particular form of filing, before the signature of the sword Read More

Image of Japanese sword hamon pattern

The Hamon of the Japanese Sword – An Artistic Pattern That Reveals the Aesthetic Sense of The Swordsmith

Even those seeing a Japanese sword for the first time are captivated by the vividness of the hamon (blade pattern). The hamon refers to the part that is tempered with extra heat, so it is actual proof that the sword went through the tempering process. The swordsmiths could simply stretch Read More

Cloose-up image of Japanese sword

Kitae-Hada: The testimony of the Japanese Sword that does not break or bend and cuts well

The blade of the Japanese sword is made by heating the tamahagane (steel for making swords) to high temperature then hitting it flat with a mallet. They use a chisel to create the rift in the blades, fold it, then hit it again with a mallet. This process is repeated Read More

Sori – The Curve that Captures the Sharpness and Beauty of the Japanese Sword

Sori – Katana curvature explained

Sori – the curve that captures the charpness and beauty of the Japanese sword As mentioned in one of our previous articles about Japanese sword craftsmanship, the katana was originally preceded a straight sword with no curve at all; known by many names including the apt ‘chokuto’ – literally ‘straight Read More