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Japanese Swords

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The Anatomy of a Katana 

Below is a reference for terminology related to theJapanese katana.

The Blade

The traditional Japanese daito, or long sword,  has been crafted in a variety of lengths and blade shapes througout the history of this samurai weapon.  Pictured below is a katana blade representing the Shinogi Zukuri, one of the more common shapes for Japanese nihonto.


The Tsuka

The tsuka, or handle of the samurai katana can involve intricately detailed components that vary widely in terms of craftsmanship, materials used and aesthetic appeal.  Most typically, quality Japanese swords will feature a silk ito braided around a ray skin same' and bookended with a fuchi and fuchi-kashira made of iron, silver or other quality metal. The tsuba and menuki are particular opportunites for differentiation and craftsmanship, although traditionally, every aspect of the swords' creation is carefully and skillfully executed.

The Saya

The saya, or scabbard of the katana, will vary greatly in materials and quality as well.  Laquered wood such as Honoki provides a quality housing for today's Japanese katana, with fittings of buffalo horn making a fine detail.  Look for low moisture wood and durable materials to protect your investment, and a qualtiy bag to keep the finish in tact.

Cold Steel's Dragonfly Katana scabbard pictured.