Katana or Samurai sword is a Japanese sword carried by Samurai of feudal Japan. It is one of the most prestigious swords of Japanese culture. Katanas are manufactured by only expert swordsmiths to preserve the ancient essence of these swords.
Samurai Katana sword is not just a single piece of the sword; instead, it comprises many different parts such as Tsuka, Saya and Tsuba, etc. Below is a complete description and overview of Katana parts. Also you can learn more about the sword lengths of other types as wakizashi sword length and katana length.
Parts of Katana Swords
Kashira (Handle cap)
Kashira, also called as Pommel, is a knob or butt present at the end of the sword handle. It covers the bottom of the handle to keep the sword protected.
Tsuka is the handle of the sword. It has been tightly wrapped on the sword with the help of a cloth piece called tsukaito. The whole process of fitting the Tuska on the sword is known as tsukamaki and requires a great deal of skill and patience. Things that are needed for tsukamaki include a paper, piece of cloth (ito), glue, and of course, the tsuba.
Samekawa (Tsuka liner)
Samekawa, the backing of Tuska, is another wrapping, and it is placed under tsukaito. It prevents the ito from slipping and defecting the handle. Samekawa was traditionally made from shark or ray skin, but today many manufacturers use synthetic material for it.
Menuki (decorative carvings)
Menuki are the small decorative patterns engraved on top of the Samekawa but under the tsukaito. These are present on both sides of the handle. Menuki depicts the nature of the sword owner and usually had animal or mythological impressions. Nowadays, Menuki are carved for aesthetic purposes only.
Mekugi are small pins made of bamboo that act as screws to keep the nakago (tang) under Tuska in place. It’s important to ensure the flexibility and durability of these pins, otherwise, these could break under the impact, and the handle could fall apart from the sword.
Tang, also called as nakago, is the extended part of the blade that enters the handle. This extended shaft of the blade is held into place with the help of mekugi. Tang is one of the most crucial parts of the sword, and it ensures its durability. A full tang is highly recommended by experts. All our Samurai swords are full tang; you can browse our collection from here.
Fuchi (Handle collar)
Fuchi is the collar of the handle, which is made from metal. It keeps the Tuska locked together in place.
Hi is the longitudinal groove which absorbs and distributes shock stress and prevents the blade from breaking of bending.
Seppa are the metal spacers which are present on both sides of tusba. These are used to adjust the tightness of the sword handle and to keep the tsuba in place.
Tsuba is the Japanese word for a handguard. It is present at the fitting of the handle and blade. Tsuba keeps the hand protected from slipping onto the blade; that is why it is called as handguard. Tsuba is a piece of art in itself, and it is decorated with carvings of natural motifs and fascinating designs.
Habaki (Blade collar)
Just like Fuchi, all Samurai swords have a habaki, which is the blade collar. It is located at the end of the blade base. Habaki keeps the sword intact and provides maximum stability to the wielder.
Ken is a blade name for Japanese Samurai swords. It requires a great deal of hard work and skill to make a perfect Japanese sword blade. Experience swordmakers used to spend many days manufacturing a single ken, which was compatible with a Japanese Katana. The blade in itself is a piece of mastery, made from the traditional smelting process.
Yokote is the dividing line present near the tip of Katana. This line separates the tip from the rest of the blade length.
Hamon (Edge pattern)
The patterns present at the edge or tip of the Katana blade are called Hamon. These were carved for decorative purposes and to express the uniqueness of the sword. The waveform like patterns were engraved during the differential hardening process. Today, Hamon are generally produced from acid engraving.
Yaibi (Cutting edge)
Yaibi is known as the cutting edge of the Samurai blade. However, it is important to know that overshaping the sword could lessen its efficiency.
The rounded tip of the blade is known as Kissaki. It is one of the most challenging parts to polish because of its unique shape. A well-shaped, sharp, and polished Kissaki is the indication of a premium quality sword.
Usually called as scabbard or sheath of the sword, saya is one of the most vital parts of the sword. It keeps the sword protected from scratches and damage when not in use. It also protects every person who comes in contact with the sword unintentionally. Traditionally Saya was made from Honoki wood with decorative carvings on it. Most saya are waterproof and ensure the safety of the sword in harsh weather conditions.
Sageo is a hanging cord that is used to attach the sword to the warrior’s belt. Sageo made it more accessible and convenient to carry the sword anywhere without holding it in hand.