Japanese Sword Terms Glossary
Iaido, Kendo, Kenjitsu Terms
Glossary of Japanese swordsmanship terms
Version 1.1 released on Iaido-L
by Kim A. Taylor
BATTO – Another name for iai.
IAIDO – The way of drawing the sword.
KENDO – The way of the sword, already drawn.
KORYU – Old school or lineage.
MUSO JIKIDEN EISHIN RYU – A style or school of Iai. Named for Hasagawa Eishin.
Muso Shinden Ryu style related to the above, originated by Nakayama Hakudo.
SEITEI – Basic, fundamental. Seitei Gata, fundamental techniques (kata).

Etiquette names:
HAJIME NO SAHO – Beginning etiquette
OWARI NO SAHO – Finishing etiquette
REIGI – Etiquette
REIHO – Etiquette, method of bowing
REISHIKI – Same as above.
SAHO – Method of etiquette

Sword positions:
DATTO – Taking sword from belt
KEITO – Same as teito shisei.
TAITO – Putting sword into belt
TEITO – holding the sword loose by the left side. Also used when sword is in belt and both hands loose at sides.
TEITO SHISEI – holding the sword by the left side, as if in the obi. Thumb on tsuba.

JOSEKI NI REI – Bow to the high section of the dojo.
KAMIZA NI REI – Bow to kamiza (gods)
OTAGAI NI REI – Bow to each other.
REI – Bow.
RITSU REI – Same as tachi rei.
SENSEI (GATA) NI REI – Bow to teacher(s)
SHINZEN NI REI – Bow to shrine.
TACHI REI – Standing bow.
TO REI – Bow to sword.
ZA REI – Kneeling bow.

ARIGATO – Thank you (informal)
DOMO – Thanks (informal)
DOMO ARIGATO – Thank you (formal)
DOMO ARIGATO GOZAIMASU – Thank you very much (very formal)
DOZO – Please go ahead
GOMEN NASAI – Excuse me, I’m sorry
ONEGAI SHIMASU – Please (when asking for something, usually as in Please lets practice together)
OSHIETE (KUDASAI) – “(Please) teach me”, such as a polite way to get a game with an older better player at a Go club, or before keiko with a visiting high ranked kendo sensei.
Onegai shimasu is used when asking someone to do something for you, but unlike kudasai, which needs to be attached to the verb, onegai shimasu can stand by itself, such as in giving an item to buy to the cashier, or to a waiter to get a dirty plate removed, or as an additional exhortation after the initial please, as in “Oshiete kudasai. Onegai shimasu.” Yarimasho-ka might also be better for “Let’s practice (play) together, shall we?”
ONEGAI OTSUKARESAMADESHITA A – thank-you that is used after training.
O TSUKARE SAMA DESHITA – You have become tired (because of the hard work you have done teaching) An expression of thanks.
SUMIMASEN – Excuse me (to attract attention).

Ranks and titles
KO HAI – Junior student.
SEMPAI – Senior student.
SENSEI – Instructor.
SHIHAN – A senior teacher, properly used within the school only, when outside, use sensei.
KYU – Student grade, from 5 to 7 up to 1, the highest.
DAN – More advanced grades, from 1 to 10.
YUDANSHA – Members with dan grades.
MUDANSHA – Members with kyu grades
HANSHI – Highest title from ZNKR, must be 55 or older and 8 dan.
KYOSHI – Middle title from ZNKR, must be 7th dan.
RENSHI – Title bestowed from ZNKR in addition to Dan ranks.
SOKE – Head of style (actually head of family, unifier of gods and lineage)
KAICHO – “Owner” of school (organization) eg. Sei Do Kai
KANCHO – “Owner” of school (building, hall) eg. Yugen Kan

Practice hall arrangement
DOJO – Practice hall.
GE – Side of dojo opposite shinzen
JOSEKI (JO) – High side, Shinzen.
SHOMEN – Front of room.
SHINZEN, KAMIZA – Altar, gods place.
SHIMOSEKI, SHIMOZA – opposite sensei, where students sit.
Students line up on one side of the room, instructors on the other. Shinzen is one of the two remaining sides, usually depending on where the door to the room is. If the door is in a corner, usually that corner is where the lowest ranked students would sit. Preferably, shinzen is to the east.
i J G
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Sempai -> decreasing rank door

Commands in the dojo
ATO – Move back.
HAJIME – Start.
HAYAKU – Quickly.
IAI KISOGEIKO – Fundamental practice.
IJO – That’s all (after recitation).
JUNBITAISO O OWARIMASU – Warm-ups are finished.
KATANA O MOTTE – Get your sword(s).
KIYOTSUKETE – Be careful.
MATE – Wait.
MAWATTE – Turn around.
MO MOTTE – More, eg. mo oki, bigger.
MOKUSO – Close the eyes, meditation.
OSAME TO – Replace swords into saya.
YAME – Stop.
YOI – Ready.
YUKURI – Slow.
YURU YAKA NI – Smooth.

General vocabulary
AGE – Lift or raise up.
ATO DE – Afterwards.
BATTO – Draw the sword.
CHIGAU – Different.
CHIISAI – Small.
DAME – Not like that, wrong.
EGURU – To scoop out, gouge.
HAI – Yes.
HETA – Unskillful, poorly done.
IIE – No.
JOZU – Skillful.
KOGES – A Small form.
KYOJUN – Standard, basic level.
MACHIGAI – Mistake.
MIRU – Look.
NANKEN – “False sword”, bad style, twitchy tournament style
NAZA – Why.
OGESA – Large form.
OKI – Big.
SEMERU – Push, press.
SHITA – Under.
SHITO KOKYU – One breath.
SHIZUKANI – Soft, gentle.
SUKOSHI – A little, a small amount.
TATE – Standing, upright.
WAKARIMASU – I understand.
WARUI – Bad.

MAE Forward.
MIGI Right.
USHIRO Rearward, behind.
OMOTE Front.
URA Back.
UCHI Inside.
SOTO Outside.
CHUDAN Middle.
ICHI MON JI A straight line.
TATE ICHI MON JI A vertical line.
YOKO ICHI MIN JI A horizontal line.
CHOKKAKU Right angles.
DO Degrees, eg. kyu ju do is 90 degrees.
HEIKO Parallel.
MASSUGU Straight ahead.
NANAME Diagonal.
OTOSHI Dropping.
SHOMEN Straight ahead.
UE Up.
YOKO Horizontal, to the side.
ASOKO Over there.
BIKI To move, as in saya biki or hakama biki.
GYAKU Reverse, opposite, inverted.
HANTAI The other way around.
KIKU Lower.
KOMI Coming close or drawing near.
SOKO There, that position.
The uniform
BOGU Kendo armor.
DO The breastplate.
KOTE Gloves, gauntlets.
MEN The helmet.
TARE The protective skirt.
TENUGUI Small hand cloth to wipe face. Also worn under the helmet in kendo.
KEIKO GI Practice uniform.
KENDO GI Practice uniform for kendo.
EMBU GI Demonstration top / uniform.
GI Refers to top only.
KAMISHIMO Over vest / jacket.
KESA Lapel / part of monk’s costume hanging from left shoulder.
MON Family crests on uniform (5).
MONTSUKI Wide sleaved top with mon on chest, sleeve and back.
SODE Sleeve, on practice top.
TANOMO Large sleeves on formal tops.
UWA GI Practice top.
ZEKKEN Chest patch embroidered with own name and dojo name.
OBI Belt.
HAKAMA Split skirt, wide legged pants.
HIMO Straps / cords
HERA Peg in back of hakama.
MATADACHI Split in side of hakama.
KOSHI ITA Back plate on hakama.
TABI Japanese sock-slippers used in dojo.
ZORI Japanese sandals for use outside dojo.
HANMI Half forward stance.
HITOEMI Equal stance, feet parallel forward
IAI GOSHI Hips lowered, stable position.
IAI HIZA, TATE HIZA Kneeling on one calf.
KAMAE Posture, stance.
KIZA Kneeling, but up on the toes.
SEIZA Kneeling on both calves.
SONKYO squatting (crouching) position in Kendo practice.
TACHI Standing.
CHUDAN Middle kamae, sword in middle, seigan is a chudan gamae.
GEDAN Lower level, sword pointed down.
HASSO GAMAE Figure 8 stance, sword by side of head. Usually hasso hidari, sword on right, left foot forward.
JODAN Upper level, sword above head. Usually hidari jodan, left foot forward.
KARUMA like waki gamae, blade horizontal.
KASUMI Arms crossed over to hide technique (mountain mist).
KONGO Blade vertical in front of face.
SEIGAN Natural step, fundamental kamae.
WAKI GAMAE Sword pointed down and back, for a sutemi (sacrifice) waza. Usually sword on right side (migi waki gamae), left foot forward. Other purpose – hiding length of sword, especially in case of a broken one.
AIUCHI Strike together.
ATE Strike.
GYAKU KESA GIRI Diagonal upward cut.
KATATE UCHI One handed cut.
KESA GIRI Diagonal downward cut. A kesa is a sash worn diagonally across the chest by buddhist priest.
KIRI Cut. (kiru: to cut)
KIRI AGE Same as gyaku kesa giri.
KIRI GAESHI Large diagonal cut, sword finishing in waki gamae position. Different meaning in kendo, refers to partnered practice with attacker performing successive yokomen and defender blocking.
KIRI KUDASHI Finishing cut.
KIRI OTOSHI Dropping cut, straight down.
MOROTE UCHI Two handed cut.
SHOMEN UCHI Strike on front of head.
SUNE GAKOI Block to protect the leg (shin).
TSUKI Thrust.
UCHI Strike.
UKE NAGASHI Receive and deflect.
YOKOMEN UCHI Strike on side of head.
YOHO GIRI Horizontal cut.
Kendo techniques (wazas):
Ashi-waza Foot technique
Debana-waza Attack-at-the-start technique
Gedan-waza Sword lowered technique
Harai-waza Warding-off technique
Hiki-waza Stepping-back technique
Jodan-waza Sword-over-head technique
Kaeshi-waza reverse-side or rotating warding technique.
Katate-waza Single-hand technique
Katsugi-waza Shouldering-the-sword technique
Kiri-otoshi-waza Both cut men, the weaker cut bounces off and the stronger, more centred cut hits the target.
Maki-waza Rolling-off technique
Nidan-waza Two-step technique
Nuki-waza Displacement, dodging or avoidng technique.
Sandan-waza Three-step technique
Sayai-waza Small wrist swing technique
Shikake-waza Offensive techniques
Suriage-waza Literal meaning of suri-age is sliding up. It’s any oji or shikake (oji – counterattcking, shikake attacking) technique which involves creating the opportunity by sliding your shinai upwards along the opponent’s shinai.
Uchiotoshi-waza A downward strike used to knock the sword away or out of the opponent’s hands.
EMBU Demonstration.
KATA – structured practice; form or pattern.
JI GEIKO Free practice (kendo).
JOGEBURI (JOGESUBURI) Suburi with the finishing position with tip about 2″ above floor.
KAKARI-GEIKO Practice where the instructor offers openings to the student, who must attack the openings immediately.
KEIKO Practice.
KIRI KAESHI This is the migi-men, hidari-men practice with another person blocking.MI TORI KEIKO Watching practice.
NANAMAE MEN Suburi with the “corners” of the head as target, 45 degree angle – same technique as in kiri-kaeshi
OJI WAZA Receiving techniques.
SAIUMEN Suburi practising left and right yoko-men alternately.
SHIAI Competition.
TAIKAI Match within a competition.
TAMESHIGIRI Test cutting.
UCHIKOMIGEIKO – continuous attack practice
Parts of an iaido technique (kata)
HENKA WAZA Small variations in same basic technique.
KAE WAZA Substitute or totally different techniques.
WAZA Technique.
KOKYU Breath control.
CHOSOKU Breathing.
ENZEN NO METSUKE Gaze at the far mountains.
BATTO To unsheath a sword.
NUKI TSUKE or KIRI TSUKE, simultaneous draw and strike.
TATE HA Standing edge, draw with edge up.
JO HA KYU Acceleration, buildup to climax.
SEME Pressure.
SEMERU Pressing forward.
SAYA BIKI Movement of scabbard.
SAYA BANARE Tip at koiguchi during draw, just before strike, the flight from the scabbard.
KIME Focus
FURI KABURI Lifting sword from nuki to morote jodan.
KIRI KUDASHI or KIRI TSUKE the finishing strike.
HIKI TAOSHI Pulling down. (Usually the opponent).
HIKI KIRI Pulling cut, usually when pulling over teki.
HANE AGE Flipping over. (Flipping up the blade).
CHIBURI Shaking off the blood, cleaning the blade.
O-CHIBURI Large or circular chiburi.
YOKO CHIBURI Horizontal chiburi, move to the side.
CHINUGUI Wiping off the blood, as is done in Uke Nagashi.
NOTO Replacing the blade in the saya.
TATE NOTO Standing noto, blade replaced with edge facing up.
ZANSHIN Awareness, watchfulness, “lingering heart”.
TE NO UCHI Grip on sword with fingers pulling into palm.
SHIBORI Wringing. Twisting the hands inward over the handle on the cut.
HASUJI Angle of movement of the edge. Where the edge is “pointing”.
KIRI TE Grip that allows cutting action with blade.
SEME TE Pushing hand. Pressing forward with the blade.
MAMORI TE As for seme te. Covering or protecting hand.
SHINI TE Hand position that does not allow a cut. Dead hand.
TOME TE Stopping hand, one that is defensive.
NOBI TE As for shini te.
KATA TE One handed.
MORO TE Two hands on tsuka.
SOE TE “Assisting hand” One hand on tsuka, one on blade.
Descriptions of the sword
Sword names:
AIKUCHI a dagger with no tsuba, typically worn by women
BOKEN Hardwood replica of sword.
BOKUTO Hardwood replica of sword.
DAISHO Great small, the set of two swords, daito and shoto.
DAITO Great sword, larger of the set of two, daisho along with shoto.
GUNTO War sword, usually refers to those made just prior to and during WWII.
IAITO Practice sword for Iaido, usually not sharp.
KATANA Same as Daito. Mounted edge up.
KEN Sword, usually refers to the straight double edged type.
KODACHI equivalent to SHOTO, lit. “small TACHI” with the same fittings as a tachi.
KOTO “Old sword”. Blades before about 1600.
SUBURITO Wooden sword, usually heavy.
SHINAI Bamboo practice sword, used for Kendo.
SHINKEN A real or “live” blade.
SHINTO New swords, from about 1600 to 1870.
SHIN-SHINTO Modern blades.
SHOTO the smaller of a pair of daisho, the other is the daito.
TACHI Old style sword, (koto) mounted edge down.
TANTO a knife-sized short sword, typically less than 1 SHAKU in length
TO Sword, curved type, single edge.
UCHI GATANA Inside sword, forerunner of Katana, worn in belt.
WAKIZASHI equivalent to SHOTO, the shorter sword in a DAISHO pair, typically less than 2 SHAKU in length
Other bladed weapons:
NAGAMAKI Similar to a naginata, a curved blade on a pole.
NAGINATA Halberd – a long pole with a curved blade on the end
YARI spear
Measuring the sword:
SHAKU 30.2 cm. or 11.9 inches.
SUN 1/10 of a shaku.
BU 1/10 of a sun, 0.3 cm
NAGASA Measure of length of blade from kissaki to mune machi in a straight line
SORI Measure of curve of blade from nagasa to mune at deepest point.
Sword length parameters:
Tachi, Daito, Katana, = 2+ shaku.
Shoto, Wakizashi, 1-2 shaku.
Tanto, &LT1 shaku.
Parts of the sword:
OMOTE For Tachi. That side that faces out from the hip when it is in the saya in its usual mounting. This side is signed by the swordmaker.
URA For Tachi. Side that faces the hip.
SASHI OMOTE (Katana) Side facing out.
SASHI URA (Katana) Side facing hip.
TACHI-MEI The side with the signature.
KATANA-MEI The side with the signature.
Points on the sword blade (tang to tip):
NAKAGO Tang of blade.
NAKAGO JIRI End of tang.
MEI Signature on tang.
YASURI MEI File marks on tang.
HITOE Back of tang, meets mune at mune machi. Also called Nakago-mune.
MEKUGI ANA Hole through tang.
MUNE MACHI Notch for habaki, at back of blade.
HA MACHI Notch for habaki, at edge side of blade.
TSUBA MOTO 1/3 of blade nearest tsuba.
CHU O Middle 1/3 of blade.
MONO UCHI 1/3 of blade nearest tip, cutting area.
KATAHABA Measurement at thickest part of blade.
MUNE Back of blade.
MUNE TYPES: Mitsumune (3 surfaces), Marumune (rounded), Iorimune (standard 2 surface)
SHINOGI JI Area of blade near back from shinogi to mune.
HI Grooves down shinogi ji.
SHINOGI Line of blade between shinogi ji and jigane, ridge at widest point of blade.
HIRAJI Area of blade between hamon and shinogi.
JIGANE Refers to the steel material. Jigane = skin steel. Shingane = core steel. These have different carbon contents. Appearance of the jigane is controlled by the smith’s folding technique. Can be of different patterns, courseness, etc.
HAMON Ha = edge, Mon = Pattern. The shape or style of the yakiba. This does not necessarily exactly follow the shape of the yakiba. A polisher will “improve” it sometimes.
HIRA Face of the blade between shinogi and ha, includes hiraji and hamon.
YAKIBA Yaki = fired, Ba (Ha) = edge. The hardened part of the blade near the edge.
HABUCHI Boundary of the yakiba.
HA Cutting edge.
YOKOTE Line between edge plane and tip plane.
MITSUKADO Point where shinogi, yokote, and ko shinogi meet.
KO SHINOGI Shinogi line through tip area.
KISSAKI Tip area, from yokote to end.
Ko kissaki = small, Chu Kissaki = medium, O kissaki = large.
FUKUSA Cutting edge in tip area.
BOSHI The hamon of the kissaki. Hardened area in tip / the curve leading to the point.
Fittings of the sword:
TSUKA Handle.
KASHIRA Fitting at end of handle, end of handle.
TSUKA MAKI The style, or pattern, or method of wrapping the handle.
TSUKA ITO The material used to wrap the handle. Silk, Leather, etc.
SAME Belly skin from a type of Ray. However, the word SAME means “shark”, not “ray fish”.
MENUKI Decorative fixtures on handle.
MEKUGI Retaining peg.
MEKUGI ANA Hole for peg.
FUCHI GANE Fitting between handle and guard.
SEPPA Spacers on either side of tsuba.
TSUBA Sword guard.
HABAKI Fitting between tsuba and blade, wedge for koiguchi.
KOGAI Skewer.
KOGATANA Ko = small, Katana = blade. Small knife carried in a pocket on the Saya.
KODZUKA Ko = small, Tsuka = handle. Handle of the Kogatana.
The scabbard:
SAYA Scabbard.
SHIRASAYA lit. “white scabbard”, a plain storage-only scabbard
KOIGUCHI Scabbard mouth (literally carp’s mouth).
KURIGATA Knob for tying sageo.
SHITODOME Metal fittings inside the kurigata.
SAGEO Cord from saya (kurigata) to hakama himo.
KOJIRI Fitting at end of saya, end of saya.
Parts of a shinai:
sakigawa – leather tip of shinai
nakayui – the middle knot that holds the shinai staves together
tsukagawa – the leather handle
tsuba – disc guard
tsubadome – the rubber that keep the guard from sliding down.
Body motions
TAI SABAKI Body motions. TAI Body. SABAKI Movement.
HIRAKI ASHI Rear foot moves forward and turns to face opponent, front foot turns to establish feet again in kamae but with opposite foot forward.
IRIMI Entering.
JIKU ASHI Turning foot, the main axis of rotation.
KAITEN Turning.
MAWARI Swinging around.
SEME ASHI Pushing or pressing foot.
SURI ASHI Sliding foot.
TENKAN Moving one foot behind the other to face 180 degrees.
AYUMI ASHI Normal walking motion, back foot slides up to become front foot.
CHIDORI ASHI “Bird walk” as in ayuma ashi.
FUMI KOMI Shift forward, as in a strike, using the hips.
FUMI KOMI ASHI Foot motion as shifting forward, front and back slide together, not two different movements.
OKURI ASHI Following foot, step forward with front foot, then rear foot moves same distance forward to regain original distance apart.
TSUGI ASHI Half step, rear foot up to front then front forward again.
The swordsman
Names of roles:
KASSO TEKI Invisible opponent.
MOTODACHI Defender, teacher side in waza practice.
NAGE Performer of technique.
SHIDACHI (SHI TACHI) Completing sword. Finishes partner practice.
TEKI Opponent
TORI Attacker.
UCHIDACHI (UCHI TACHI) Entering sword. “Attacker” in partner practice.
UKE Receiver (of technique)
The body (top down):
NAKAZUMI Centreline of body
MEN Head.
SHOMEN Front or top of head.
YOKOMEN Side of head.
SHAMEN Side of head, temple
GAMMEN Point on face between the eyes.
SUNMEN Same as gammen.
ME Eye.
JINCHU Centre of upper lip.
NODO Throat
DO Chest / side of body at ribs
SUI GETSU Solar plexus.
MUNE Chest. Particularily the area over the heart, in kendo, the embroidered part of the do above the do target.
TE Hand.
TE KUBI Wrist.
OMOTE Open / palm of hand.
KOTE Wrist (forearm).
HIJI Elbow
KATA Shoulder
UDE Arm in general.
URA Back of hand
YUBI Finger / toe
HARA Abdomen.
TANDEN Centre of balance, below navel.
SEIKA TANDEN As per tanden.
ASHI Foot or leg.
ASHI KUBI The ankle.
Philosophical concepts
AIUCHI Mutual strike, strikes at the same time.
BUDO Way of war.
BUSHIDO Way of warrior.
DAI KYO SOKU KEI Big strong fast smooth.
DEHANA WAZA Strike at the outset, as opponent moves, like sen no waza.
DO Activity, motion.
FUSHIN Frozen or stopped mind.
FUDOSHIN Immovable mind, calm spirit.
FUKAKU Personal character.
GOKAI Grandeur, large feeling, full motions.
GO NO SEN NO WAZA (GO NO SEN) Strike at a suki, a mind stopping. Strike before the opponent forms the intention to strike.
HEIJISHIN Ordinary mind.
JO HA KYU Slow, faster, fastest.
KAKE GOE Yelling to get extra energy.
KENSEN Pressure from the sword, esp. the tip.
KI Spirit, energy, inner strength.
KI KEN TAI ICHI Spirit, sword, body, one.
KIAI Shout, yell.
KIME Sharpness of movement, positive end of cut or thrust.
KIMOCHI Feeling, sensation.
KIRYOKU Willpower.
KOKYU Breath, breath power.
MA Distance, space, interval (in time).
MAWAI (MAAI) Mutual distance (in space.
MUSHIN, MUSO No mind, no rationalization.
MUGA No ego.
MUNEN No thought.
OI WAZA Chasing or following strikes, attack as opponent retreats.
RIAI Unification of action and theory.
SAE OF SWORDSMANSHIP The skill beyond technique only.
SAYA NO UCHI NO KACHI Saya = scabbard, uchi = inside, kachi = victory. The sword in the saya, winning without drawing.
SEN Initiative, to forestall.
SEN NO WAZA (SEN) Strike faster than opponent, before attack delivered.
SEN SEN NO WAZA (SEN NO SEN) Strike as opponent commits to an attack but before he moves.
SEI Motionless, inactive.
SHU HA RI Keep, break, leave. Memorize technique, question and understand, forget technique.
SUKI Opening.
SUTEMI Sacrifice technique, accept a blow to deliver one.
Japanese Sword Collector Terms
Glossary of Japanese Sword Collectors terms
From Richard Stien’s Japanese Sword Website
AIKUCHI – a tanto with no tsuba (guard)
AOI – hollyhock, commonly used as a Mon
ARA-NIE – coarse or large nie
ASHI – legs (streaks of nioi pointing down toward the edge)
ATOBORI – horimono added at a later date
ATO MEI – signature added at a later date
AYASUGI – large wavey hada (grain)
BAKUFU – military government of the Shogun
BO-HI – large or wide groove
BOKKEN – wooden sword for practicing sword kata
BONJI – sanskrit carvings
BO-UTSURI – faint utsuri
BOSHI – temper line in kissaki (point)
BU – Japanese measurement (approx 0.1 inch)
BUKE – military man, samurai
BUSHIDO -the code of the samurai
CHIKEI – dark lines that appear in the ji
CHISA KATANA – short katana
CHOJI – clove shaped hamon
CHOJI OIL – oil for the care of swords
CHOJI-MIDARE – irregular choji hamon (temper line)
CHOKUTO – prehistoric straight swords
CHU – medium
CHU-KISSAKI – medium sized point (kissaki)
CHU-SUGUHA straight, medium width temper line
DAI – great or large
DAI-MEI – student smith signing his teacher’s name
DAIMYO – feudal lord
DAISHO – a matched pair of long and short swords
DAITO – long sword (over 24 inches)
FUCHI – collar on hilt
FUCHI-KASHIRA – set of hilt collar (fuchi) and buttcap (kashira)
FUKURA – curve of the ha or edge in the kissaki (point)
FUKURE – flaw; usually a blister in the steel
FUKURIN – rim cover of a tsuba
FUNAGATA – ship bottom shaped nakago
FUNBARI / FUMBARI – much taper of the blade from the machi to the kissaki
FURISODE – shape of sword tang that resembling the sleeve of a kimono
GAKU-MEI – original signature inlaid in a cut-off (o-suriage) tang
GENDAITO – traditionally forged sword blades by modern smiths
GIMEI – fake signature (mei)
GIN – silver
GOKADEN – the Five Schools of the Koto period
GOMABASHI – parallel grooves
GUNOME – undulating hamon
GUNOME-MIDARE – irregularly undulating hamon
GUNTO – army or military sword mountings
GYAKU – angled back, reversed
HA – cutting edge
HABAKI – blade collar
HABUCHI – the line of the hamon
HADA – grain in steel, pattern of folding the steel
HAGANE – steel
HAGIRE -edge cracks in the hamon (fatal flaw)
HAKIKAKE -broom swept portions in the boshi
HAKO BA – box shaped hamon
HAKO-MIDARE – uneven box shaped hamon
HAKO-MUNE – square shaped blade back
HAMACHI – notch at the beginning of the cutting edge
HAMIDASHI – tanto or dagger with a small guard (tsuba)
HAMON – temper pattern along blade edge
HANDACHI – tachi mountings used on a katana or wakizashi
HATARAKI – activities or workings within the hamon or temperline
HAZUYA – finger stones used to show the hamon and hada
HI – grooves in the blade
HIRA-MUNE – flat blade backridge
HIRA-TSUKURI / HIRA-ZUKURI – blade without a shinogi (flat blade)
HIRO-SUGUHA – wide, straight temper line (hamon)
HITATSURA – full tempered hamon
HITSU / HITSU-ANA – holes in the tsuba for the kozuka or kogai
HO – kozuka blade HONAMI – family of sword appraissers
HORIMONO – arvings on sword blades
HOTSURE – stray lines from hamon into the ji
ICHI – one or first
ICHIMAI – one-piece sword construction
ICHIMAI BOSHI – point area (kissaki) that is fully tempered
IHORI-MUNE – peaked back ridge
IKUBI – boar’s neck (a short, wide kissaki)
INAZUMA – lightning (a type of activity in the hamon)
ITAME – wood grained hada
ITO – silk or cotton hilt wrapping
ITOMAKI NO TACHI – tachi with top of saya wrapped with ito
ITO SUGU – thin, thread like hamon
JI – sword surface between the shinogi and the hamon
JI-GANE – surface steel
JI-HADA – surface pattern of the hada
JINDACHI – tachi
JI-NIE – islands of nie in the ji
JIZO BOSHI – boshi shaped like a priest’s head
JUMONJI YARI – a yari with cross pieces
JUYO TOKEN – highly important origami for sword by NBTHK
JUZU – hamon like rosary beads
KABUTO – helmet
KABUTO-GANE – tachi style pommel cap
KABUTO-WARI – helmet breaker
KAEN – flame shaped boshi
KAERI – turnback (refers to the boshi at the mune)
KAI GUNTO – naval sword
KAJI – swordsmith
KAKIHAN – swordsmiths or tsuba makers monogram
KAKU-MUNE – square back ridge
KAMIKAZI – divine wind
KANJI – Japanese characters
KANMURI-OTOSHI – backridge beveled like a naginata
KANTEI – sword appraisal
KAO – carved monogram of swordsmith on tang (nakago)
KASANE – thickness of blade
KASHIRA – sword pommel or buttcap
KATAKIRI – sword with one side flat (no shinogi)
KATANA – sword worn in the obi, cutting edge up
KATANA KAKE – sword stand
KATANA-MEI – signature side that faces out when worn edge up
KAWAGANE – skin or surface steel
KAZU-UCHI MONO – mass produced swords
KEBORI – line carving done on sword mounts
KEN – straight double edged sword
KENGYO – triangular or pointed nakago-jiri
KESHO YASURIME – decorative file marks on nakago
KIJIMATA – pheasant thigh shaped nakago
KIJIMOMO – pheasant leg shaped nakago
KIKU – chrysanthemum
KIKUBA – chrysanthemum temperline (hamon)
KIN – gold
KINKO – soft metal sword fittings (not iron)
KIN-MEI – gold inlay or gold lacquer appraiser’s signature
KINZOGAN MEI – same a kin-mei
KINSUJI – golden line (type of activity in hamon)
KINZOGAN-MEI – attribution in gold inlay on nakago
KINSUJI – whitish line along hamon
KIRI – paulownia
KIRI HA – flat sword with both sides beveled to the edge
KIRI KOMI – sword cut or nick on the blade from another sword
KISSAKI – point of blade
KITAE – forging
KIZU – flaw
KO – old or small
KOBUSE – blade constructed with hard steel around a soft core
KO-CHOJI – small choji hamon
KODACHI – small tachi
KODOGU – all the sword fittings except the tsuba
KOGAI – hair pick accessory
KOIGUCHI – the mouth of the scabbard or its fitting
KOJIRI – end of the scabbard
KOKUHO – national treasure class sword
KO-MARU – small round boshi
KO-MIDARE – small irregular hamon
KO-MOKUME – small wood grain hada
KO-NIE – small or fine nie
KO-NIE DEKI – composed of small nie
KOSHIATE – leather suspensors (hangers) for a sword
KOSHIRAE – sword mountings or fittings
KOSHI-ZORI – curve of the blade is near the hilt
KOTO – Old Sword Period (prior to about 1596)
KOZUKA – handle of accessory knife
KUBIKIRI – small tanto for cutting the neck or removing heads
KUNI – province
KURIJIRI – rounded nakago jiri
KURIKARA – dragon horimono (engraving/carving)
KURIKATA – scabbard (saya) fitting for attaching the sageo
KUZURE – crumbling or disintegrating
KWAIKEN – short knife carried by women
MACHI – notches at the start of the ha and mune
MACHI-OKURI – blade shortened by moving up the ha-machi and mune-machi
MARU – round
MARU-DOME – round groove ending
MARU-MUNE – round mune
MASAME – straight grain (hada)
MEI – swordsmith’s signature
MEIBUTSU – famous sword
MEKUGI – sword peg
MEKUGI-ANA – hole for mekugi
MEMPO – face guard or mask
MENUKI – hilt ornaments
MIDARE – irregular, uneven temperline (hamon)
MIDARE-KOMI – uneven pattern in boshi
MIHABA – width of sword blade at the machi
MIMIGATA – ear shaped hamon
MITOKOROMONO – matching set of kozuka, kogai and menuki
MITSU KADO – point where yokote, shinogi and ko-shinogi meet
MITSU-MUNE – three-sided mune
MIZUKAGE – hazy line in ji commonly due to re-tempering
MOKKO – four lobe shaped (a tsuba shape)
MOKUME – burl like hada
MON – family crest
MONOUCHI – main cutting portion of blade (first six inches from kissaki)
MOROHA – double-edged sword
MOTO-HABA – blade width near habaki
MOTO-KASANE – blade thickness
MU – empty or nothing
MUJI – no visible grain
MUMEI – no signature (unsigned blade)
MUNE – back ridge of sword blade
MUNEMACHI – notch at start of mune
MUNEYAKI – regions of temper along the mune
MU-SORI – no curvature
N.B.T.H.K. – Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kai (sword preservation group)
NAGAMAKI – halberd weapon mounted as a sword
NAGASA – blade length (from tip of kissaki to munemachi)
NAGINATA – halberd
NAKAGO – sword tang
NAMBAN TETSU – foreign steel
NANAKO – raised dimpling (fish roe)
NAOSHI – corrected or repaired
NASHIJI – hada like pear skin
NENGO – Japanese era
NIE – bright crystals in hamon or ji
NIE-DEKI – hamon done in nie
NIKU – meat (blade having lots of fullness)
NIOI – cloud like hamon
NIOI-DEKI – composed of nioi
NIOI-GIRE – break in hamon
NODACHI – large tachi worn by high officials
NOTARE – wave like hamon
NOTARE-MIDARE – irregular wave like hamon
N.T.H.K.. – Nihon Token Hozon Kai (sword appraisal group)
NUNOME – overlay metal-work
O – large
OBI – belt sash
O-CHOJI – large choji hamon
O-DACHI – very long sword (over 30 inches)
O-KISSAKI – large kissaki
O-MIDARE – large irregular hamon
OMOTE – signature side of the nakago
O-NIE – large nie
O-NOTARE – large wave patterned hamon
ORIGAMI – appraisal certificate
ORIKAESHI MEI – folded signature
OROSHIGANE – specially processed steel for making swords
O-SEPPA – large seppa (usually on tachi)
OSHIGATA – rubbing of the signature on the nakago
O-SURIAGE – a shortened tang with the signature removed
SAGEO – cord used for tying the saya to the obi
SAGURI – catch-hook on saya
SAIHA/SAIJIN – retempered sword
SAKA – slanted
SAKI – tip or point
SAKI-HABA – blade width at yokote
SAKI ZORI – curvature in the top third of the blade
SAKU – made
SAME’ – rayskin used for tsuka (handle) covering
SAMURAI – Japanese warrior or the warrior class
SANBONSUGI – “three cedars” (hamon with repeating three peaks)
SAN-MAI – three-piece sword construction
SAYA – sword scabbard
SAYAGAKI – attribution on a plain wood scabbard
SAYAGUCHI – mouth of the scabbard (koi-guchi)
SAYASHI – scabbard maker
SEKI-GANE – soft metal plugs in the tsuka hitsu-ana
SEPPA – washers or spacers
SHAKU – Japanese unit of measure approximately one foot
SHAKUDO – copper and gold alloy used for sword fittings
SHIBUICHI – copper and silver alloy used for sword fittings
SHIKOMI-ZUE – sword cane
SHINAE – ripples in steel due to bending of blade
SHINAI – bamboo sword used in Kendo
SHINGANE – soft core steel
SHINOGI – ridgeline of the blade
SHINOGI-JI – sword flat between the mune and shinogi
SHINOGI-ZUKURI – sword with shinogi
SHIN-SHINTO – New-New Sword Period (1781 to 1868)
SHINTO – New Sword Period (1596 to 1781)
SHIRASAYA – plain wood storage scabbard
SHITODOME – small collars in the kurikata and/or kashira
SHOBU ZUKURI – blade where shinogi goes to the tip of the kissaki (no yokote)
SHOGUN – supreme military leader
SHOTO – short sword (between 12 and 24 inches)
SHOWATO – sword made during the Showa Era (usually refers to low quality blades)
SHUMEI – red lacquer signature
SHURIKEN – small throwing knife
SORI – curvature
SUDARE-BA – bamboo blinds effects in hamon
SUE – late or later
SUGATA – shape of sword blade
SUGUHA – straight temper line
SUKASHI – cut out
SUN – Japanese measure, approx. one inch
SUNAGASHI – activity in hamon like brushed sand
SURIAGE – shortened tang
TACHI – long sword worn with cutting-edge down
TACHI-MEI – signature facing away from body when worn edge down
TAKABORI – high relief carving
TAKANOHA – hawk feather style of yasurime
TAMAHAGANE – raw steel for making swords
TAMESHIGIRI – cutting test
TAMESHI-MEI – cutting test inscription
TANAGO – fish belly shaped nakago
TANAGO-BARA – fish belly shaped nakago
TANTO – dagger or knife with blade less than 12 inches
TATARA – smith’s smelter for making sword steel
TO – sword
TOBIYAKI – islands of tempering in the ji
TOGARI – pointed
TOGI – sword polish or polisher
TORAN – high wave like hamon
TORII-ZORI – sword curve in the middle of the blade
TSUBA – sword guard
TSUCHI – small hammer/awl for removing mekugi
TSUKA – sword handle
TSUKA-GUCHI – mouth of handle
TSUKA-ITO – handle wrapping or tape
TSUKAMAKI – art of wrapping the handle of a sword
TSUKURU – made by or produced by
TSUNAGI – wooden sword blade to display fittings
TSURUGI – double edged, straight sword
UBU – original, complete, unaltered tang (nakago)
UCHIGATANA – fighting katana
UCHIKO – fine powder used to clean sword blades
UCHIZORI – curved inward
UMABARI – horse needle
UMA-HA – horse teeth hamon
UMEGANE – plug used to repair kizu
URA – side of the nakago facing toward the body
URA-MEI – signed on the ura (usually the date)
UTSURI – reflection of temperline in ji
WAKIZASHI – short sword (blade between 12 and 24 inches)
WARE – opening in the steel
WARI-BASHI / WARI-KOGAI – chop-sticks
YAKI DASHI – straight temperline near the hamachi
YA-HAZU – arrow notch shaped hamon
YAKIBA – hardened, tempered sword edge
YAKIDASHI – hamon beginning just above the ha-machi
YAKIHABA – width of yakiba
YAKI-IRE – fast quenching of sword (tempering)
YAKIZUME – temperline in boshi with no turnback
YANONE – arrow head
YARI – spear
YASURIME – file marks on nakago
YOKOTE – line between ji and kissaki
YOROIDOSHI – armor piercing tanto
ZOGAN – inlay
ZUKURI – sword

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