Japanese swords have been polished up by innumerable swordsmiths over a long time
including the history of many civil wars.
Even now, Japanese swords are the sharpest edged tools in the world and their function
is exceptionally excellent.
Unlike other swords in the world, Japanese swords are great not only in their function
but also artistically.
There are many ways in which to appreciate Japanese swords, but I would like to explain
the points which are basic and are very important, this time.
The curve of a sword is vital to its shape and symbolizes a beautiful Japanese sword.
In order to cut anything effectively, you need to strike it and pull it. A curve was created
to absorb the impact and to facilitate pulling it out.
According to a change in the way of fighting, the shape of a curve went through
A curve is roughly divided into the following 3 types.
A curve is created between a nakago (a hilt) and a blade. It has the strongest usage.
It can be seen on the swords made from the end of the Heian-era to the beginning
of the Muromachi-era.
This type tends to appear in the swords which were made in Bizen (present Okayama prefecture).
The center of a curve is placed in the middle of a sword. It is called Wazori in another word.
The curve is uniform from the kissaki (edged point) to the nakago (a hilt) and it has
an extremely beautiful shape.
The curve is more rounded at the monouchi (the part from the edged point to
6-9cm down towards the hilt).
It can be seen on the swords in the Muromachi-era and the Age of Civil Wars.
This is the concluded shape after pursuing the convenience of pulling out the sword
from its scabbard.
Hamon means the pattern on a sword blade.
There are various patterns depending on the swordsmith’s originality.
They also differ depending on an era or a style.
Therefore it is one of the good points when appreciating a sword.
The typical Hamons are as follows.
It is a straight pattern. Compared to other Hamons, it is relatively plain, but is
a professionally preferred one.
It has small ruffled patterns. The name was taken from the berries of Thouji (clove),
as the pattern resembles the Thouji.
It is the pattern which looks like the continuous round go (Japanese chess game) pieces.
●Nie & Nioi
When you closely look at the pattern of a blade, you can see the large particles
like sand and the small particles resembling a haze.
The former one is called Nie and the latter one is called Nioi.
The shape of the edged point is called Boushi.
A shape varies depending on a swordsmith’s habit and technique.
It is crucial to identify the craftsman of a sword.
There are many other ways in which to appreciate Japanese swords.
Please feel free to ask any questions when you look at Japanese swords.