Military Swords of Imperial Japan (Guntō)

The name of each part of a Guntō

Table of contents |  Changes of a Koshirae  |  Scabbard, Spring clip & tassel | Mounting metal parts
Search in a page     Tsuka |  Hilt binding |  Tsuba & Seppa | Name of a blade | Tachi & Katana

The prototype of a new Guntō

  The new Guntō of the army and the navy made the model the Hyōgo Kusari Tachi and the Tachi of the Kamakura period.

Hyōgo Kusari Tachi Koshirae: About 900 years before

The name of each part of a Guntō Koshirae

Ex.Type 98

      Kabuto-gane           Fuchi  Tsuba   Kuchigane  Haikan
※1                Semegane      Ishizuki

      Same-gawa          Seppa      Tosho
        (Ray skin)        (Washers)※  (Tassel)

   Sarute    Tsukaito        Menuki       Mekugi                  Wooden scabbard enter into a metaled scabbard.
(Knot-loop)             (Metal ornaments)   (Peg)

  ※1 Army Type 94 & naval Tachi  has two Haikan   ※2 The "inner scabbard" of the magnolia is inserted in iron or
    aluminum scabbard.Type 98 Guntō "informality mounting " has covered wooden scabbard by leather. And it equips
    with an informal suspension mount and Semegane, a throat, and a chape are nothing.Type 3 Guntō omits a knot
    loop and Seme-gane.

Tsuka (Ex. Type 98 and Type Tachi)

                   Kabuto-gane                              Mekugi Peg-hole  Fuchi

            Knot-loop receptacle  Oyatsubu     Same-gawa      Menuki        Kyōgi    Chusō (Clip)

The rayskin of the hilt of a navy sword applies black Japanese lacquer.

A hilt pastes together the magnolia of two sheets which carved the shape of the swod-tang with boiled rice paste.
 The rayskin(Same-gawa) is wound around the whole hilt for reinforcement the Tsuka-ito, and the hilt , and the skid of grip hand. By informality and second-half type mounting, the rayskin is stuck only on the side of the hilt.
 Rayskin:  A grain is large and a thing with parents' grain is an article of excellent quality. The rayskin of an army
       sword is still cloth. The rayskin of a navy sword applies black Japanese lacquer.
 Kyōgi:  Thin layer-like tree. It sticks for the upper and lower sides of a hilt and a Tsuka-ito winding, and
      beginning. The standard of assignment is inscribed when rolling a Tsuka-ito.
 Peg:  Bamboo goods. It inserts, after uniting the peg-hole of a tang, and the peg-hole of a hilt, and a blade and a
        hilt are fixed.

Hilt binding styles

             Army: Morohinerimaki                       Navy: Morohinerimaki or Hiramaki

Type 94,98: Morohinerimaki is a standard

      Type Tachi: There is much Hiramaki 

   Type 98: Ikkanmaki is rare
        Type 3: Ikkanmaki is a standard

A Tsuba(guard) and a Seppa (washers)

 The grace of a Guntō mounting is decided by the kind and number of sheets of a washers. 
 Furthermore, an army sword has grace in the guard of a openwork.
 The first-class mounting(Koshirae) has four-kind the washers of eight sheets. The kind and number of sheets of a washers are omitted by the Koshirae manufactured in the second-the third grade and middle-last stage at the wartime.

             for Armies                       for Navies

 Right and left of the upper row 

← Mallow-shaped big washers
     Rising sun big washers →

Lower berth:
Three-sort smallness washers.
Right and left from a center:
Kikuza, Tateshino, Ko-kizami

         Center of the upper row: Tsuba   upper row: right and left: Big washers(Dai-seppa)
         Lower berth:   Three sorts of small washerses(Ko-zeppa)
       Right and left from a center:   Kiku-kizami (Kikuza),  Tate-kizami (Tateshino)  and Ko-kizami

 Three sorts of small washers (Seppa)
 From a top:  Ko-kizami, Tateshino and Kikuza

The common number of the reverse side of a washers (Example 2737)


 Tatekizami of a small washers has big influence on the 
 grace of a Koshirae

鍔・切羽細部 Details of a guard and washers

The name of a blade

            Nakago   棟区(むねまち)           Hacho     Sori
             (Tang)    Munemachi                    (Blade length)  (max curve)

       Nakago-jiri Mekugi-ana   Ha-machi       Jigane          Ha            Hamon        Yakiba        Yokote  Kissaki
       (Tang end)  (Peg hole)  (Lower blade surface)        (Edge)      (Tenpered line) (Tenpered edge)        (Point)

            Yasuri-me    Habaki            Mune          Shinogi-ji      Shinogi
            (File mark)   (collar)        (Back edge)  (Upper blade surface) (Ridgeline)         Ko-shinogi

                Mei (Signature)    Ura-mei  Tachi-mei

 There are two kinds of swords, a "sword" and a "Tachi." It is a "Tachi-Mei" although the swordsmith Mei is minced to the front with the photograph. It is called "Mei" to have cut fine reversely of this photograph.
 Therefore, the blade which has minced the "Mei" is a "sword=Katana " and the blade which has minced the "Tachi-Mei" is
a "Tachi-sword=Tachi."
 The manufacture time etc. by the side of opposite of a Mei is called a "Ura(back) Mei."


A Tachi and a Katana


Katana (Uchigatana)

Tachi: The form of the old sword from the Heian period to the Muromachi period. The Tachi turned the edge downward and
     hung it at a level with a hip girdle with the belt picking string(Obitori). 
     It is easy to draw a Tachi on horseriding. Once it draw a sword, it becomes two steps of operation of cutting
         to an enemy.
Uchigatana: It shifted to the Muromachi period and an on foot game, and the edge was turned up, and it put to the hip
         girdle, and became one step of operation which cut while drawing an enemy. The name of "Uchigatana" was named
         by the method of this operation. All the swords of the Edo period are Uchigatana-mountings.
         Since a Uchigatana-mounting is aslant put between the waist-belt, a blade is short compared with a Tachi.
Wakizashi: Blade length is a short sword of 60cm or less. The townspeople were able to carry the Wakizashi at the Edo

 The display of a Japanese sword has formal manners.
 How to place the photograph published upwards is formal.
 The side which is visible to the front, respectively is the surface of "a Tachi and a Katana.

The outline of a Japanese sword

                        November 26, 2013 無料カウンター
To the top of a page

← Changes of a Koshirae Table of contents 
The scabbard of a Guntō