Small dictionary of the Japanese katana sword
Symbol of the samurai caste, the katana is a curved sword with a single edge of more than 60 cm. It is worn slipped into the belt, the edge facing upwards (downwards if the wearer is a rider). Worn with a wakizashi, they form the daisho. Certain periods of Japanese history being quieter, the katana had more of a ceremonial role than a real weapon. The katana is a weapon of size (of which one uses the edge) and of thrust (of which one uses the point).
Tsuka: handle, its heart is made of two magnolia wood shells.
Kashira, or Tsukagashira: decoration at the end of the pommel
Menuki: ornamental pin on the handle, it also helps with the input, it is not placed at the same level on the omote face as on the ura face
Mekugi: bamboo pin that fixes the blade to the tsuka, the tang (nakago) of the blade and the tsuka are pierced, and the mekugi crosses them right through
Samegawa: shark or stingray skin that covers the wood of the tsuka, this skin (containing silica) glued around or on each side of the handle was used in particular for its extreme rigidity
Tsuka Ito or Tsuka Maki: special braid lacing in silk or cotton, or even leather around the handle, allowing a better grip and maintaining the two shells constituting the tsuka. There are different types of lacing depending on the use of the katana: combat, war, pageantry ...
Tsuba: gardeseppa: metal parts between the tsuba and the blade, guiding the tang (nakago) during its insertion into the tsuka
Habaki: metal part located at the base of the blade; it is used to lock the sword in the scabbard (saya), to prevent it from falling; to draw, the fencer pushes on the guard (tsuba) with the thumb to release the habaki from the saya and be able to pull the blade
Nakago: silk, part inserted in the tsuka and pierced with one or two mekugiana (hole allowing the passage of the mekugi)
Hitoe: silk back
Yasurime: lime lines organized on silk, vary by school
Mei: signature engraved in the silk identifying the blacksmith
Mune machi: recess on the back of the blade, marking the start of the back of the tang (hitoe)
Mune: back of the blade
Bohi: gutter or groove, to lighten the blade
Yakiba: hardened part of the blade, forming the hardening line, (hamon). Presents different shapes: waves, boxes, etc.
Hassaki: edge of the blade
Shinogiji: parallel part of the sides, vertical when the sword is worn on the belt or on guard
Edges: the parallel part of the sides of the blade (shinogiji) has a certain thickness; the blade becomes thinner towards the tip (kissaki) and towards the cutting edge (hassaki), the transition of the parallel part and the thinner parts form three edges which meet at a point called mitsukado
Shinogi: lateral edge of the blade
Yokote: ridge separating the tip (kissaki) from the rest of the blade
Mono-uchi: the 9 cm from the yokote; it is mainly with this part that the cuts are made
Kissaki: chisel point; it is separated from the rest of the blade by a stop, the yokote
Sashi omote: when the sword is worn on the belt (on the left flank, curvature upwards), it is the part presented to the public (omote), the outer side; when the warrior is on guard (kamae), it is the left flank of the sashi ura blade: when the sword is worn on the belt, it is the hidden part (ura); when the warrior is on guard (kamae), it is the right flank of the blade
Saya: scabbard; it is made of magnolia wood which, when properly dried, absorbs moisture, limiting the oxidation of the blades; it is covered with traditional lacquer (22 coats) of smooth or granulated appearance with a pattern with or without inlay; this had two virtues: to make the whole saber scabbard waterproof, and to stiffen the scabbard made of fragile magnolia
sageo: cord on the scabbard
Shito-dome: bump on the scabbard, at the level of the sageo