Category: Iaido

Iron Sword Wood - Tagayasan

A story about wood as hard as iron – know from bokken

For bokken, people from old time have always preferred heavy, hard wood. The oak tree, the distylium racemosum (isunoki), and the loquat tree are among the wood favored by swordsmen, but among them are wood that was said to be as hard as iron. One is called tetsuboku (iron wood) Read More

Sunuke Bokken Image

Sunuke – Wood that has survived many centuries

For wooden swords wood from trees such as the bamboo-leaved oak, the Japanese evergreen oak, and the distylium racemosum have been used. For top quality swords, the Japanese plum tree, ebony, and sunuke have been used. Sunuke refers to the core wood taken from distylium racemosum (isunoki) that has grown Read More

Akagashi: What is Japanese Red Oak?

Japanese Red Oak (赤樫; Akagashi) is generally found in the mountain ranges in the west part of Japan and has gotten its name from the fact that the wood has a distinct red hue to it compared to other oak woods. The Japanese red oak can mostly be found growing Read More

What is Japanese White Oak, Shirakashi?

“Japanese oak” is a collection of evergreen tall trees, from which long oval green leaves with an elegant luster and uneven edges grow. The Japanese oak is native to many countries in Asia, including Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, having more than 150 varieties. In Japan, the trees can Read More

The Loser’s Big Stage

The previous article on seppuku was met with a lot of responses, so I would like to write a follow-up. As mentioned, seppuku initially was not someone one did to take responsibility for a mistake, but was done in order to follow a deceased master to death or to kill Read More

Shinto Muso Ryu Jojutsu

Just a Round Bar, Yet Still a Round Bar – The Man who Won against Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi is legendary Japanese swordsman known not only to all in Japan but even to many around the world. He has been appeared as the main character in many novels and movies. He is possibly the most well-known swordsman, and the strongest swordsman. He himself wrote in the Gorinsho Read More

Biwa – Loquat Tree That Even Musashi Himself Loved

The first thing that springs to mind when we mention the Biwa Tree is the yellowish orange sweet fruit, shaped somewhat like the Chinese musical instrument by the same name. It’s often used to treat cough and vomiting, and has a strong quenching quality, and the Japanese love to produce Read More

The World is Full of Seeds of Fakeness

Fake swords apparently started being made around the Kamakura period. In the Muromachi period there was already a “certificate of authenticity” which included an inscription on the tang of the words and a description of the blade. In the Edo period fake swords “developed” further, and all sorts of fakes Read More

Burei-uchi – Samurai Defending their Honor with their Lives

When you watch historical plays, you often see a scene in which commoner touches a samurai’s shoulder, whereupon the samurai immediately draws his sword and cuts him down. This is called “burei-uchi”, meaning “striking for improper manners”. Another term used is “Kirisute Gomen” which means “permission to cut down”. There Read More

The Five Schools of the Japanese Sword – This will help you know the History of the Japanese Sword

The Japanese sword is divided based on the period of era it was made. Kotō (old sword) refers to the sword made before the Keicho era (just before the Edo period) and Shintō (new sword) refers to swords made between the Keicho and the beginning of the Meiwa era (1764). Read More