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The Anatomy of a Nihonto


Composition of Nihonto 


Nihonto is a long piece of iron.  The sharp blade and "Nakago" or hilt, which is inserted into "Tsuka", a decorative grip.  The hilt is anchored to the grip, using "Mekugi", a small piece of bamboo that's inserted into a cavity of the grip and punched into the "Nakago" so it won't slip out.  "Tsuba" or handguard is placed at the end of grip.  Each mounting, called "Koshirae", is one of a kind and has its artistic characteristics.  The scabbard for Nihonto is "Saya". There are decorative ones and plain wooden ones used for blade storage.

Components of Nihonto


  1. Kashira: Buttcap

  2. Samehada: Rayskin

  3. Tsukaito: Handle braid

  4. Mekugi: Peg

  5. Nakago: Tang

  6. Tsuka: Handle

  7. Menuki: Ornament

  8. Huchi: Collar

  9. Tsuba: Guard

  10. Seppa: Spacer

  11. Habaki: Blade collar

  12. Mine: Back of brade

  13. Bohi: Groove in blade

  14. Shinogi: Blade ridge

  15. Sinogiji: Area between shinogi and mune

  16. Ji or Hiraji: Area betwee shinogi and hamon

  17. Ha: Entire blade

  18. Yokote: Dividing line

  19. Kissaki: Tip of blade

  20. Kashiragane: Hole where the tsuka is tied through

  21. Makidome: Knot which ties it to the kashira

  22. Koikuchi: Scabbard mouth

  23. Kurigata: Knob which attaches sageo

  24. Shitodome: Fitting

  25. Sageo: Cord

  26. Saya: Scabbard

  27. Kojiri: Scabbard tip

  28. Monouchi: Most sharpened, top area of blade

  29. Hasaki: Edge of blade

  30. Boushi: Temper line on kissaki

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