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The Nagasa correspond to the measurement of length (straight line) between the Kissaki and the Mune machi. The first thing to focus on is the Nagasa. Is the blade a standard length or is it noticeably shorter or longer than average? If it is noticeably longer, it may be a Kamakura-era or Nanbokucho-era blade that has not been shortened, or a Shinshinto-era blade. Or is it maybe a Daito, but if the blade is close to a large Wakizashi in length, it can be thought of as a Muromachi period sword. The Nagasa must therefore be considered as a whole, with the curvature, the Mihaba and all the other parts, because the indications given by the Nagasa are not really a precise indicator.








The Nagasa(blade length)is measured between the tip of Kissaki and Motohaba




Throughout history, for practical and aesthetic reasons, the curvature of the blade has been modified. This gave different types of curvature. There are for long blades, the Muzori with a barely perceptible curvature, the Chuzori with a balanced curvature along the entire length of the blade, the Sakizori with a more pronounced curvature towards the tip and the Koshizori, with a more pronounced curvature towards the Nakago.


The "Sori" curvature of the blade gives precious indications on the period of production.

​ This feature of curvature is sometimes difficult to discern. You have to imagine a straight blade that you would have curved by seizing it by its two ends and taking your knee as a point of support, like a stick that you would like to break. The position of the knee corresponds to the location of the arrow.

For short blades, there are 3 types of Sori: Muzori, Uchizori and Takeokozori. In the same way as for the long blades, the short blades with a Sori "Muzori" have no curvature or a very slight curvature. Blades with a Sori "Uchizori" have a reverse curvature to normal, ie they curve downwards. Takenokozori is really a variation of uchizori, slightly curved towards the edge. (when the blade is held in the hands with the cutting edge down).

To determine the Sori, one must draw a straight line between the Kissaki and the Mune-machi and measure the maximum distance between this line and the Mune. The Sori makes it possible to know the curvature.

katana nihonto.jpg

  • Koshizori or Motozori  :The curvature is pronounced at the Koshi, at the base of the blade, near the handle. A pronounced Koshizori is typical of blades forged between late Heian and early Muromachi and since it is found mostly on Bizen blades, it is also called Bizenzori. At the end of the Edo period, blacksmiths working in the Bizen style also reproduced this type of curvature.

  • Chuzori/Nakazori  :The arrow is located in the center of the blade, hence its name "Center Curvature". As it forms a regular arc of a circle, we will find different names : Toriizori and Kasagizori, because it resembles the lintel (Kasagi) of a shrine portico (Torii), Maruzori, "Round curvature" Wazori, "Ring Curvature" and finally, as is common on Yamashiro (Kyo-mono) blades, also called Kyozori.

  • Sakizori  :The curvature is pronounced on the side of the point and is characteristic of blades from the second half of the Muromachi period. Frequent on the blades of Soshu, it is also called Soshuzori.

Moreover, in some cases, for Tantô for example, the blade is not curved (Muzori) or has an internal curvature (Uchizori).


The Kissaki is strictly speaking the area delimited by the Yokote, the Koshinogi, the Fukura and the Munesaki.


There are several types of Kissaki. The most common are, in order of length, Ko-kissaki, Chu-kissaki and O-kissaki. The Ko-kissaki, therefore short, was mainly produced at the end of the Heian period / beginning of Kamakura and was found mainly on tachis. Chu-kissaki, of medium length, is the most common. Present in all periods since the middle of Kamakura, its dimension is a highly appreciated in-between. The O-kissaki is much longer, having a less harmonious aspect with the rest of the blade, and giving it a more aggressive appearance, especially encountered in the Nanbokucho, Shinto and Shinshinto periods.


There are also other less common types of Kissaki. The Kamasu Kissaki (Also called "Barracuda" in reference to the fish of the same name and its shape) has a short Fukura and is said to be similar to the tip of most Chokuto (Straight blades forged before the 10th century) and some blades at the beginning of the Koto period (Present therefore for structures in Kiriha-zukuri).

The Kissaki Ikubi, found in the middle of the Kamakura period, is very short (Generally shorter than the Saki-haba, i.e. the width of the blade at the level of the Yokote).

Finally the Kissaki Moroha Zukuri (Or Kogarasu zukuri) is a rarer double-edged kissaki. Inspired by Chinese Jians (Type of saber also commonly called "Gentleman of Weapons") especially present during the Nara period (710-794). The best known sword of this shape is the Kogarasu-maru attributed to Amakuni Yasutsuna, father of the Tachi.

The surface of the Kissaki is also largely influenced by the length of the Fukura, ie the roundness of the tip.

We talk about Fukura-kareru (Fukura sticking out little, quite incisive, often present on Tanto) and Fukura-tsuku (Rounded and therefore sticking out more, thus increasing the solidity of Kissaki in general, as well as its surface, the most current).


  • O-kissaki:Found on blades forged in Nanbokucho, early Shinto (Era Keicho) and Shinshinto.

  • Chu-kissaki:Most common point form, from the middle of the Kamakura period.

  • Ko-kissaki:Characteristic of blades dating from the late Heian and early Kamakura period. Moreover, whatever the length of the tip, the rounding of the Fukura is more or less pronounced.

  • Fukura-kareru:Kareru means "Wither, wither, die".

  • Fukura-tsuku:"With Fukura", Fukura can be translated as "Swelling / dilation / bulge… ".

  • Kamasu-kissaki :The name of this type of Kissaki comes from its resemblance to the head of the barracuda. The Fukura and the Koshinogi are straight. Also called Kamasu-zura and Kamasu-zuno, this type of Kissaki is found mainly on Kiriha-zukuri swords (6th - 9th century.).






The Nakago is the part of the blade that is inserted into the Tsuka (handle). The length and shape of the Nakago vary depending on the length of the blade.















For long blades (Katana, Odachi), there are:


  • THEFutsu-gata


  • THEKijimomo-gata


  • THEGohei-gata.

For short blades (Wakizashi, Tanto), there are 4 types: 


  • THEFurisode-gata


  • THEFunazoko-gata


  • THETanagobara-gata


  • THEYagen-gata.



The Nakago-jiri: the end of the Nakago



There are five types of Nakago-jiri:

  • THEkiri(also called Ichi-monji)

  • THEKuri-jiri

  • THEHa-agari-kuri-jiri

  • THEKen-gyo

  • THEIriyama-gata





After the return of the saber from the polisher, if he is satisfied with the result, the blacksmith signs his work with a hammer and chisel by writing his name on the tang (Mei). Other information may be there janointed, such as date (Kakihan), name of who ordered the sword, cutting test results (Tameshi-Mei). These indications are sometimes lacquered or inlaid with gold.


  • Tachi-mei and Katana-mei: Signatures are normally made on the Omote side of the Nakago (i.e. the side facing out when the sword is carried). The Tachi are carried sharp downward, unlike the Katana. Therefore, these two sabers are not signed on the same side : there are therefore two different names. Note that the date of manufacture is normally written on the ura side.

  • Dai-mei: A smith's disciple signs his Master's blade with his permission or creates a blade in his master's style by signing it with his permission.


  • Daisaku-mei:In this case, it is the signature of the student or the blacksmith which is placed on the blade forged by the student. This  was sometimes the case when the father, or Master Blacksmith,  was too old to make blades, but had not yet passed the title to his son or his apprentice.


  • Shu-mei:A red lacquer signature added by an expert.


  •  Gi-mei:False signature.


  • Ato-mei:“Ato” means “after” or “later”. This is an inscription added later, without the blacksmith's permission or knowledge. The Ato-mei can take many forms, many being in gold or red lacquer inlay. This signature is often made by an expert. 


  • Gaku-mei: IWhen a saber is shortened, the signature can be removed with the steel that surrounds it to be added on the shortened Nakago.


  • Orikaeshi-mei: Signature which was folded back with the steel to be embedded in the shortened Nakago.


  • Niji-mei:A two-character signature.


  • Kin mei:Gold inlay on the Nakago, normally placed by an expert.



After forging the blade, the craftsman smooths the surface of the Nakago with a file to give it its final shape and prepare a flat and homogeneous surface before engraving its name. Here again, these   "Marks of lime" (Yasurime) give indications on the school, the region and the time in which the blade was manufactured. Yasurime can be classified into two main categories, depending on whether all the strokes are made in the same direction, or whether the smith draws lines whose angle generally changes at the longitudinal edge.


The first category includes horizontal Yasurime perpendicular to the blade "Kiri Yasuri", vertical parallel to the blade, "Sensuki", frequent on the bristles of spearheads. This category also includes oblique lines, in this case their name changes according to the importance of the angle : the Katte Sagari descends from left to right (The cutting edge of the blade is left, back to right) and is only slightly inclined. The angle of the Sujikai turns around 45° and beyond about 60° the Yasurime take the name of O-sujikai. When they are ascending, from left to right, they respectively take the name of Katte Sagari, Sujikai and Saka O-Sujikai.

Can be classified in the second category the Yasurime crosses like the "Higaki", or in "Gyaku Taka no ha" (Hawk feather) and many variants which are not represented here.


Horimono or Chokoku, ("Sculpture") means in Japanese an engraving made on the visible part of the blade. We speak relatively little about these Horimono, yet some engravings can be qualified as traditional because very widely used by many blacksmiths at various times.

Most of the time, these engravings were made on ceremonial swords (a lot of Tanto therefore). The engravers were not always the blacksmiths, it could be a trade strictly speaking. These craftsmen were called Horimonoshi or Chokokushi. These engravings generally had religious connotations.

The first Horimono were used as religious talismans, Some represent scriptures (Sanskrit or Kanji), others symbols (Buddhist deities dragons). Later, the ornaments could become purely decorative

It is essential to know the reasons why the blades are engraved with Horimono. There are two reasons. The first is that some blade owners believe that certain religious symbols will bring them good luck and offer them protection from evil and also symbolize their own beliefs. The other is simply the act of customizing and decorating a blade.


However, it can be said that practically all Horimono have a religious connotation and that over time the degree of quality of detail and the choice of representations have increased. Originally, the deities were often represented by Bonji (their names in Sanskrit characters), but were later carved artistically.


The details of such engravings can truly be of incredible finesse and quality. Later, the stylized religious symbols were no longer interpreted in an abstract way, but in a more realistic way.


With regard to Japanese representations, we distinguish three levels of representation:


Shin:Formal or most elaborate

Gyō:Semi-formal or intermediate degree

So:Informal, free


For the representation of Horimono (and in other Japanese arts as well), these terms are used as prefixes, for example Shin no, Gyo No, and So No. An important point to know is that it is not necessary to engrave them at the time the blade is or was forged. This means that all subsequent owners of a blade were able to decide whether to have a Horimono engraved or modified. This was sometimes to hide certain imperfections in the blade, or to modify an unsigned Nanbokucho Soshu-style blade and turn it into a pseudo-blade of the Grand Master Sadamune.


It's also important to know that when it comes to blades, Horimono's original themes have always been preferred. Thus, in any era, a swordsmith or sword owner, say Muromachi or late Edo, could have made or commissioned a blade inspired by the original Kamakura masterpieces, including the reproduction of the Horimono of those eras. Or, if it wasn't inspired by a specific style, make or order a sleek blade with an original twist by adding antique-looking engraving. As a general rule, it can be said that the first ancient Horimono are those that appeared before the end of the Kamakura period.


Often cited examples of what is believed to be the earliest Horimono are cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_:


A  Suken (embossed) in the throat of a Bizen Tomonari blade

A Fudo-Myoo Bonji resting on a Suken on a Ko-Hoki Ohara Sanemori blade

A Kurikara (embossed)

A Bonji and a deity as relief (experts argue to describe the deity depicted)

A crane poking into a pine cone on Bungo Yukuhira blades.


Along with these blacksmiths, these Horimono were from the end of the Heian period and until the beginning of the Kamakura period. These first Horimono, are engraved  close to the Nakago and were quite simple.


The Fukura is the line that starts from Yokote  and ends at the end of the Kissaki. It can be more or less curved, the Fukura-tsuku, or straight, the Fukura-kareru.




The shape of the blade of Japanese swords, or Tsukurikomi, is defined mainly by the curvature, the presence or absence of a Shinogi and/or a Yokote and especially by the shape of the section of the blades.


Thus, we have, for long blades, several types of Tsukurikomi:



While for short blades, there are mainly:




Tsukurikomi 02.png
Tsukurikomi 01.png


The Mune is the name given to the back of the blade of a Japanese sword, or katana. The Mune allows you to draw your Katana in complete safety and also to parry an opponent's cut, because it is the most resistant part of the blade.There are different types of Mune. The blades of Japanese swords have four types of Mune: Kaku-mune (totally flat), Mitsu-mune (3-sided tapered), Maru-mune (half-round) and Iori-mune (triangular).

Mune 001.png




Steel - Jigane generally allows to identify the type of production, the school of forge and the blacksmith.

Depending on different factors such as age of polishing, skill of the polisher and different methods used for finishing the Ji, the appearance of the Jigane can vary greatly, even if you observe the same two blades side next to the same blacksmith.

The focus should be on what is recognizable regardless of the polishing finish, namely the density and pattern of the forging structure. But when the polishing is too old, it is impossible to observe anything. So you can't see anything.

The rule is: the more uniform the Jihada, the better the skill of the smith. This means that a Jihada can be mixed with areas of different forging structures, but these areas should never stand out unnaturally. So if you have a blade with a tight Hada that shows very coarse, rough or inhomogeneous structures in one place, you can assume that this was not intended,   because not mastered by a blacksmith who lacked know-how.


A quality steel pattern is generally uniform with thin Hada, but this does not mean that a Hada with a more spaced structure is of lower quality. In other words, this means that the blacksmiths used the techniques unique to each school of blacksmithing, but that  only the uniformity and consistent quality of the blade indicates the skill of the blacksmith.

Here are the standard terms that have been established to refer to the different appearances of Jigane and Jihada. The prefixes Ko and O are used to indicate whether a forging pattern is small or large. For example, a Ko-itame, or O-itame.

There are subtle differences between a “thin” Hada and a “dense” Hada. The opposite of a fine Hada is a coarse Hada. This means that in such a case the different layers of steel are clearly visible. A 'coarse' Hada is not the same as a 'fine' Hada, as the former describes an 'unwanted' Hada some sort of forging error and the other refers to work done voluntarily by the blacksmith, in order to obtain the desired result.

There is also a large Jigane when the Jihada is really very visible and is accompanied by a lot of Ji-nie. A large Jigane is generally the characteristic of blades forged in the Sôshû tradition where the large amount of Ji-nie and Chikei gives very specific characteristics. We also find the opposite with the small Jigane where the Jihada is barely visible and shows no or very little Ji-nie.

Basically, and with the exception of some schools (e.g. the Kiyomaro school which revived the mighty Soshu Jigane), Shinshinto blades are described as having a weak Jigane because not much is seen in their steel.

Basically, and with the exception of some schools (e.g. the school of Kiyomaro which revived the mighty Soshu Jigane), Shinshinto blades are described as having weak Jigane because not much is seen in their steel.





































The Ji-nie is probably the most common feature in the Jigane and is in virtually any blade. As the term suggests, we are talking about visible martensite particles (Nie) that occur in the Ji.


The Ji-nie can be quite thin and evenly distributed on the blade or concentrated in certain areas and if the Ji-nie is correctly distributed, it is called Nie-utsuri. We speak of a high-quality Ji-nie when it is fine and uniform or when it has been made deliberately.


One can also distinguish if a blade was designed simply as a weapon or if there was a real artistic approach behind the making of this blade.


On a late Muromachi-era blade that shows a coarse and abnormally focused Ji-nie in certain areas, one can assume that the smith was simply lacking in skill.


But if you have a Shinshinto blade with a coarse and artificially concentrated Ji-nie in certain areas, it is not necessarily due to a lack of skill of the blacksmith but to be the work of one of the great master blacksmiths Soshu. For example, the very rudimentary and visible Ji-nie, characteristic of the style of Satsuma blacksmiths.



The Chikei, are shiny black lines of the steel of the blade, corresponding to the visible layers of the assembly of steels with different carbon contents, in particular higher, present in the Ji. Thus, the Chikei follow the layered structure of the Jihada.


As a general rule, the more Chikei, the more likely a blade was forged in accordance with the Soshu tradition, that is, by deliberately mixing steels of different carbon contents. In other words, reference is made to a Ji-nie which forms shred-like designs, but which may or may not be related to the layered structure of the Jihada.



Yubashiri are isolated spots or spots of Ji-nie reminiscent of water droplets. They resemble the Tobiyaki in that they detach from the Hamon, but since they are composed of Nie and are not embedded in a cloud of Nioi, they have a more transparent appearance with less sharp borders than the Nioi-based Tobiyaki.

Since they are made of Nie, Yubashiri appear well on tempered blades, with Nie-deki, or with lots of Nie. They therefore resemble Tobiyaki but are not identical. The Yubashiri often concentrate along the Habuchi and create more linear appearances there reminiscent of the Nijuba. We see them in Yamato, Yamashiro, or Soshu blades from the Kamakura era or in later works.


Jifu:the Jifu are areas in which the Ji-nie appears in a closed form, like a spot. When there are many Ji-nie which tend to be Jifu it gives the blade a mottled appearance.But the term Jifu is also used to refer to other different characteristics. Another term for the same feature is, in the particular context of the Aoe school, Namazu-hada (spots reminiscent of the slimy, scaleless, smooth, dark skin of a "Namazu" catfish).






Even those who see a Japanese   saber blade for the first time are captivated by the liveliness of the Hamon (pattern of tempering on the blade). The Hamon refers to the design left on the blade during the selective clay tempering process.

The blacksmiths could simply make a pattern straight and parallel to the edge of the blade, but it was generally during the preparation of the tempering that the blacksmiths could give free rein to all their artistic creativity and make Hamon worthy of the most beautiful works.

The pattern of the Hamon does not affect the quality of the blade and the artistic curves and gradients have a beauty that captivates all eyes that look at it. Hamon models differ according to the era, the school and the blacksmith. These vary wildly, making this an especially important area in the blade review process.

















The main  Hamon motifs:

CHOJI:The patterns of the Hamon   resemble a clove, with a round upper part   and a narrow, tight lower part. There are many different variations of Choji. There are Ko-choji, O-choji, Juka-choji, Saka-choji and Kawazu-no-ko choji. When   the whole Hamon is composed of Choji patterns, it is a Chojiba, or when it consists mainly of a mixture of Choji patterns, it is a Midare Choji-midare.

The Choji, or more specifically the Chojiba, was the most important feature of the Bizen tradition (whether for Koto swords or later by Shinto and Shinshinto swordsmiths who worked in this tradition), but Choji patterns also exist in many other schools and blacksmiths, for example in the tradition of Yamashiro and Soshu.

CHU-SUGUHA:Suguha of medium width.

FUJIMI-SAIGYO:Artistic interpretation of a Hamon referencing the poet Heian Saigyo (1118-1190) gazing at Mount Fuji. Saigyo was famous for depicting nature in his works. A Hamon Fujimi-Saigyo is not so obvious to determine and is therefore often overlooked. So first you have to spot a relatively large and protruding, rather isolated feature, and if it looks like Mt. If Mount Fuji is visible, we must, at a certain distance, find two salient elements. If so, you probably have a Hamon Fujimi-Saigyo. This type of Hamon was used for the first Shinto swords and in particular those of the Mishina school and for the Yoshimichi swordsmith in particular. But it could also be an Osaka-shinto sword,  de  Kawachi no Kami Kunisuke.


FUKURO-CHOJI:Bag/pouch-shaped hamon Choji (Fukuro), usually seen in the work of the forges of Fukuoka-Ichimonji or Katayama-Ichimonji, with Osafune Mitsutada, but also in Shinto times with the blacksmith Fukuoka-Ishido, _cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_as well as Koretsugu and Moritsugu.

GUMONE:Series of ripples resembling semicircles of similar size. According to its size, this pattern of Hamon is called O-gunome (large Gunome) or Ko-gunome (small Gunome), but there are several variants of this interpretation of Hamon mentioned by their shapes. Mixed forms are described as Gunome-choji, Gunome mixed with Choji and Gunome-midare, Gunome mixed with Midare, for example.

HAKOBA:A Hamon composed mainly of box-shaped elements, often represented in the Sengo schools with (Muramasa, Masashige), Sue-Seki with (Kanesada, Kanefusa and Ujifusa) and the school of Shimada and during _cc781905-5cde-3194- bb3b-136bad5cf58d_the Shinto period, for example among the blacksmiths of Kashu Kanewaka and Takahira, also at Masanori and the school of Mizuta.

HAKO-MIDARE:  Hamon composed of a mixture of irregular box-shaped patterns.


HIRO-DUGUHA:  Suguha wide. Usually this term is used in case the Suguha is equal to 1/3 or more, compared   to the height of the Mihaba.

HITATSURA:It is a Hamon composed of mixtures of types, Gunome-midare, Notare-midare, or any other mixture of wavy patterns of Hamon with abundant Tobiyaki scattered all over the blade, most of the time also associated with Muneyaki. This achievement of the Hamon dates back to the Soshu blacksmiths of the Nanbokucho period, but was later applied by blacksmiths all over the country.

HOSO-SUGUHA:Narrow suguha.

HYOTAN-BA:A Hamon reminiscent of a more or less regular arrangement of gourd halves. This interpretation is particularly typical of blacksmiths in  Kotetsu and nearby blacksmiths.

​ITO-SUGUHA:Very thin suguha.

JUKA-CHOJI:Gorgeous overlapping Choji.

JUZU-BA:A regular and uniform, rounded Gunome Hamon, reminiscent of a Buddhist rosary (Juzu). This interpretation is particularly typical of Kotetsu  and nearby blacksmiths.

KATAOCHI-GUNOME:A Gunome with a uniformly straight Yakigashira but where each element is tilted towards the valley. As this Hamon is reminiscent of the sawtooth pattern (Nokogiri), it is also called Nokogiri-ba. It is said that the Kataochi-gunome was introduced by Kagemitsu, but traces of this Hamon are already visible on some works of his predecessor Nagamitsu.

KAWAZU-NO-KO-CHOJI: (lit: Tadpole Choji) A mushroom-shaped Choji with a long stem reminiscent of the shape of tadpoles. This interpretation of the Choji is particularly typical of Osafune Mitsutada, Hatakeda Moriie and Kamakura-Ichimonji Sukezane.

KENBO-MIDARE:A sort of large-scale Choji-midare that dates back to the blacksmith Kanefusa. Kenbo is the Sino-Japanese reading of the term "Kanefusa"

KIKISUI-BA:Artistic interpretation of the Hamon with chrysanthemum-shaped elements above the Habuchi, reminiscent of a Kikusui, namely a chrysanthemum floating on a stream. A Kikusui-ba is a variant of Sudareba, when you face a Kikusui-ba, you are surely in the presence of a blade from a Mishina Yoshimichi blacksmith.


KOBUSHIGATA-CHOJI:"First Form Choji". A Choji-midare rendition introduced by the second generation of blacksmith Kawachi no Kami Kunisuke and reminiscent of clenched fists. But we can also observe this type of Hamon which were made by the precursors of this style in Sue-Bizen Katsumitsu, with Sukesada and in the Taira-Takada school.

KO-CHOJI:Little Choji.

KO-GUNOME:Small Ko-gunome

KO-MIDARE:Small Ko-midare

KO-NOTARE:Small Ko-notare

KOSHI-NO-HITAITA:Term designating the elements of the Hamon which widen towards their base. Usually seen on Sue-Bizen school blades at Norimitsu, Katsumitsu, Sukesada, Kiyomitsu, Harumitsu, Uda school, Kanabo school with Kashu Kiyomitsu, Hooki Hiroyoshi and Takada school. In the Shinto period with Ishido Tameyasu, Tatara Nagayuki and the Sukesada blacksmiths of that time, and in the Shinshinto period with Taikei Naotane, Koyama Munetsugu,) Tsunatoshi and with Gassan Sadayoshi and Sadakazu.

MIDARE-BA:Irregular Hamon pattern that comes in several varieties.

MIDARE-CHOJI:Midare mixed with Choji.

MIMIGATA:Ear-shaped Hamon pattern, most commonly seen on Osafune Chogi (Nagai) swords. Also called Mimigata-no-gunome or Mimigata-ha (ear-shaped edge).

NOKOGIRI-BA:(saw blade) also Kataochi-gunome

​NOTARE:A Hamon with a moderately undulating wave pattern. There are differences between  the O-notare (large waves) and the Ko-notare (small waves), it all depends on the amplitude. A Hamon which is entirely made up of Notares waves is also called Notare-ba. Similarly, a low amplified Notare with lower waves is called Asai-notare. The first Notare appeared towards the end of the Kamakura period, mainly on the blades of the schools of the province of Soshu and their associated schools.

For the Koto times we find examples in Soshu Sadamune, Nobukuni, Rai Tomokuni, the Kanemitsu school, Tomomitsu, Masamitsu, Yoshikage, Omiya Morikage, the Kozori school, the Samonji school, etc., and for the Shinto era , for example in Yasutsugu, Kotetsu, Okimasa , Yamato no Kami Yasusada, Yasutomo, Masatsune, Teruhiro, Hizen Tadayoshi, Yasuyo, etc.

OBUSA-CHOJI:Bed. "Big Pompom Choji". As the name suggests, a Choji with remarkably large pom poms, which often makes this pattern look like a Gunome

O-GUNOME:Wide Gunome.

O-MIDARE:Broad Midare.

O-NOTARE:Large notary.


Koto time: Heianjo Nagayoshi,  the Sue-Bizen school (Norimitsu, Sukesada, Kiyomitsu, Izumi no Kami Kanesada, Ujifusa, Muramasa, Tsunahiro, Fuyuhiro, the Shimada school, the Uda school, etc

Shinto Times: Myoju, Horikawa School, Masatoshi, Shinkai, Echizen no Kami Sukehiro, Omi no Kami Sukenao, Shigekuni, Yasutsugu, Yasusada, Sadakuni, Masatsune, Nobutaka, Daido, Teruhiro, Tadayoshi School, etc.

SAKA-CHOJI:(inverted pod) - Sloping Choji.


Koto Time: Katayama Ichimonji School, Chu-Aoe School, Tsuguyoshi, Moritsugu, etc.), etc. Niji Kunitoshi also sometimes mixed it with his Hamon.


Shinto Time: Fukuoka Ishido School, Kishu Ishido School, etc.


Shinshinto Time: Naotane, Tsunatoshi, Munetsugu, Tomotaka, Sadakazu, etc.

SAKA-GUNOME:Angled Gunome.

SAKA-MIDARE:Inclined Midare.

SANBONSUGI:Bed. “Three cedars.” Artistic interpretation of a Hamon composed of groups of three Togari cedar tree tops, often seen on the blades of the Kanemoto school of Mino. Also called Sanken-ba (Lit. Ha to 3 peaks).

SUDAREBA:Bed. “Ha en Blind Bamboo Shade” A Sudareba is based on Suguha or shallow Notare. The pattern seen inside the Hamon resembles a bamboo blind. This artistic interpretation of this Hamon was introduced by Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi and applied by his successors and other blacksmiths in the area.


SUGUHA:Generic term to define a straight Hamon. Suguha-type Hamon were made by almost all schools and smiths, even occasionally by smiths who usually made Choji Hamon.

But we can see differences between each Suguha more or less obvious. The differences on the Nioi or on the Nie can help differentiate a Suguha. A Nioi-based Suguha is more associated with the Bizen and Mino tradition, whereas a Nie-based Suguha will more closely match the Yamashiro and Yamato tradition. As one can find Suguha, practically in all the schools and at all the blacksmiths, it is difficult to identify them. The Suguha is the most popular type of Hamon, and found on all blades from every province and period.  

SUGUHA-HOSTURE:It is a Hamon Suguha with a noticeable amount of Hotsure. The Hotsure looks like frayed pieces of fabric.

TOGARI:The term Togari refers to all types of pointed Hamon patterns. For example, a Togari-gunome consists of a Gunome that is sharply pointed. Togari is a characteristic Hamon common to Sue-Seki blades. A Hamon made entirely of Togari patterns is called Togari-ba.

TORANBA:Bed. "Ha shaped like big waves." This representation of this Hamon is said to date back to Echizen no Kami Sukehiro and was later favored by some blacksmiths in Osaka-shinto. It was later revived by Shinshinto blacksmiths.

UMA-NO-HA-MIDARE:This Hamon is made up of large regular Gunome and/or Midare patterns reminiscent of a horse's teeth and which is generally associated with the Soshu tradition. In the Koto period, we see it for example in the Masamune school, Shizu Kaneuji, the Hasebe school, etc. ), Mizuta School, Mondo no Sho Masakiyo, etc. And in the Shinshinto era at the Kiyomaro school, Oku Motohira, etc.

YAHAZU:Patterns of Midare in the shape of a forest or the tail of a dove, resembling the empennages of an arrow (Yahazu). This pattern is often found on Mino blades. A special variation of the dove tail pattern is known as Kata-yahazuba and used by Higashiyama Yoshihira.

During Koto times, we find this Hamon in the Sue-Seki school, with the blacksmiths Kanesada, Kanetsune, Muramasa, Heianjo Nagayoshi, Tsunahiro, etc.

During Shinto times we find this Hamon in the Echizen Seki school, with the blacksmiths Kanewak, Nobutaka, Teruhiro, etc.



The quench line on the Kissaki, between the Yokote (ridge perpendicular to the cutting edge) and the tip, is called the Boshi.

The tempering line generally follows the Fukura (edge of the Kissaki) and very often, goes back on the Mune (back of the blade) in Kaeri. The Boshi are generally in line with the style of the Hamon. Originally, hardening the tip of the blade was the most difficult to achieve. This allowed the best blacksmiths to distinguish themselves by creating real works of art for some. Certain blacksmiths, or certain schools, are the only ones to have made a type of Boshi.

There are very many styles of Boshi which characterize the blades according to the blacksmith, the school and the time.













  • O-maru:The return of the quench line describes a large circle.

  • Ko-maru:The return of the quench line describes a small circle.

  • Ko-maru sagari: The return of the tempering line describes a small circle and intersects the line of Ko-shinoji.

  • Ichimai:The Kissaki is fully tempered, a frequent feature on Bizen blades from the Sengoku period.

  • Yakizume: Temper follows the Fukura to the Mune (back of the blade), but has no return (Kaeri).

  • Midare Komi:The layout is very irregular. (Gunome, Midare, etc.)

  • Togari:The layout is very irregular with pointed parts.

  • Kaen:Irregular boshi with a back (Kaeri) in the form of a flame.

  • Kaeri-Fukashi:Boshi with a very long return (Kaeri).

  • Jizo:A type of Boshi that appears more or less like Midare-komi but with a strongly constricted Kaeri area that makes it resemble the profile of a Bodhisattva Jizo statue. A jizo-boshi is particularly typical of Mino blades.

  • Ichimonji Kaeri:Boshi where the Kaeri goes straight towards the Mune and does not come back along the Mune (back), or comes back very little.

  • Kaeri Kataku Tomaru:Boshi with a return (Kaeri), ending abruptly towards the Mune.

  • Kaeri Yoru:Boshi with a wide return (Kaeri).

  • Nie Kuzure:Heavily charged Nie Boshi which looks frayed so that it is difficult to define the outline, or in extreme cases of Nie-kuzure no outline can be made out at all. Often seen on Soshu blades.

  • Hakikake Boshi:The Boshi splits into several Sunagashi (parallel lines) which are reminiscent of the traces left by a broom.

  • Fukura Yakihaba Hiroshi:Very wide Boshi following the Fukura (edge of the Kissaki).       _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_  .

  • Fukura Yakihaba Semashi:Narrow Boshi following the Fukura (cutting edge of the Kissaki).



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