Tag: katana

Gemon Koshirae Iaito Sword

Tozando’s new Iaito sword with verse of Buddhist gatha

Gemon is buddhist gatha and this Gemon Koshirae features the verse of gatha that Buddha once said to his principle disciple Mahakasyap. It reads “HO WA MOTO HO TO SHITE MUO NARI, MUHO MO HO TO SHITE MATA HO NARI“, literally meaning that the laws of Dharma were initially not Read More

Tozando 2017 Essay Contest Winning Article

The Relevance of Budo in Modern Life

by Nicholas Wilson “From youth my heart has been inclined towards (swordsmanship).” –Miyamoto Musashi For as long as I can remember, swords have fascinated me. If there was a movie to watch, a book to read, or a game to play where swords were involved, you had my attention. Martial Read More

Tozando 2017 Essay Contest Winning Article

The Last Samurai: Martial Arts in the Age of Cultural Appropriation, or the Tom Cruise Dilemma

by Timothy Slover I asked my friend Chelsea to measure my height. She asked me why. I didn’t want to tell her. I didn’t want to say, “I want you to measure me in inches, so that I can convert that number to shaku, and figure out how long my Read More

Woodblock print of Samura committing Seppuku scene

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 something 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

Harakiri - Samurai cutting his own belly

Seppuku – why did the samurai cut their own stomachs?

Seppuku was a practice only if you were samurai, and it was considered a method in which one died with honor.

But why did the samurai, in the name of “dying an honorable death” choose such a method?

Gansaku: The Fake Japanese Sword

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

Illustration of Samurai drawing his sword

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

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 Read More

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 Read More