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KATANA CONSTRUCTION

On this page you will find more detailed information about blade lamination techniques, katana parts, as well as some tips on maintenance.

With this knowledge of katana parts, you’re much better equipped to start shopping for a high quality sword. At BattleBlades Inc., we’re experts on traditional Japanese weapon design and forging. Reach out to us with any questions you may have about katana parts, sword terminology, or Japanese weapons history.

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KATANA PARTS EXPLAINED

The Blade

A traditional japanese katana's Nagasa (8) is forged to equal about two shaku or 60cm. They have a slight curve, Sori (9) and a single sharpened edge, Ha (25). The main characteristics of the blade that separate katanas from each other are:

  • Mune (24): This is the back edge of the blade

  • Ji (31): The softest section of metal in the back of the blade

  • Ha (25): The harder section of the metal at the front of the blade

  • Kissaki (11): This is the slightly rounded tip of the blade

  • Shinogi (29): The ridgeline of the blade (not the same as the hamon line).

The Hamon line (27) is a unique design on the blade that naturally forms through the clay tempering process the steel undergoes. This line visually separates the higher and lower temperature steel tempering. The temper line is like a fingerprint. Swordsmiths who make high quality katanas can be recognized from their unique hamon lines, as each has mastered their own technique for tempering the blade.

The Tsuka
The tsuka includes the whole handle part of the katana, made from many different components. To name a few important game changers:

  • Mekugi (7): These are wooden pegs that adhere the tang of the blade to the hilt.

  • Samé-Hada (3): This is the material that covers the hilt of the sword, traditionally made of ray skin.

  • Tsuka-Ito (5): This is a silk wrap that covers the samé for better grip of the hilt.

  • Menuki (6): A final, decorative charm that is wrapped into the ito. It covers the mekugi.

The Tsuka-Ito (5) can be wrapped in many ways to benefit different needs. For example the Katate-maki wrapping, also 

known as the battle wrap (see above on the Sōdai Tamahagane Katana),  ensures a firm grip of the handle, as the flatter wrapping makes sure your hand always hugs the handle tightly. The Menuki (6), also known as the palm ornament, exists to (as its name suggests), fill the empty space of the palm when gripping on the tsuka. Like the Fuchi (20), Kashira (1) and Tsuba (22), japanese katanas are usually themed to suit the katana's name, owner and purpose. The Tsuba (22) is the hand-guard of the sword and the Habaki (23), the metal collar right underneath it, locks the Tsuba (22) in its position with the aid of Seppa spacers (21). As you can easily see, a real custom made katana has plenty of distinctive details!

The Saya

While not technically part of the katana sword’s anatomy, the saya (18) is a scabbard. These can vary in material and style. Many prefer lacquered wood in their high quality katanas, others like horns or bone. The important thing about the saya is that it’s made to protect the blade part of the katana.

  • Kurigata (15): The loop for Sageo (17) on the side of the saya, usually made of buffalo horn and embellished with a golden Shito-Dome (16).

  • Sageo (17): The wrap around saya, which can also be used to secure the sword to the Hakama (type of traditional Japanese clothing). 

 

Katanas at BattleBlades Inc. 

With this knowledge of high quality katana parts, you’re much better equipped to start shopping for a high quality sword. At BattleBlades Inc., we’re experts on traditional Japanese weapon design and forging. Reach out to us with any questions you may have about katana parts, sword terminology, or Japanese weapons history.  BattleBlades Inc. is the number one choice to get your custom made katanas from! Please have a look at our products section to have an idea of different japanese sword types.