Updated: February 5, 2024
The katana is a traditional Japanese sword with a long and distinguished history. It is characterized by its curved, single-edged blade and is renowned for its strength and sharpness. While modern katanas are typically mass-produced, traditional katanas are crafted with great care and attention to detail. Before delving into the anatomy of a katana, it is important to understand the various parts that make up this iconic weapon.
The blade of a katana is made up of several parts. The ha, or blade edge, is the sharpened cutting edge of the katana. The shinogi is the ridge that runs along the length of the blade and separates the ha from the mune. The mune is the flat surface of the blade that runs opposite the ha. The kissaki is the point of the blade and the yokote is the line that separates the blade from the kissaki. The nakago is the tang of the blade and is used to attach the blade to the tsuka, or handle.
The tsuka is made up of several parts, including the tsuka-maki, which is the wrapping of the handle. The tsuka-gashira is the end cap of the handle and the fuchi and kashira are the metal pieces that join the tsuka and tsuba, or guard. The tsuba is the metal guard that sits between the blade and the handle and is used to protect the user’s hands from the blade. The menuki are small decorative ornaments that are often found on the tsuka.
The saya is the scabbard of a katana and is typically made of wood and covered in lacquer. The koiguchi is the opening of the saya and the kurigata is a small knob on the saya that is used to attach the sageo, which is a cord used to secure the katana to the waist. The kojiri is the end cap of the saya and the koiguchi is the opening of the saya.
The parts of a katana are all integral to its design and function. While the katana has changed over time, the parts remain largely the same. Understanding the anatomy of a katana is important for anyone wishing to learn more about this iconic weapon.