The world of terms and definitions, which are describing the japanese swords are exotic and exciting as well. Here we try to be for help, that there is a chance of understanding and may give you the right words in describing the art of the Katana. This compendium claimes not to be complete, it just gives you an idea of what we are talking about.
Please enjoy the new world of words:
PS: Something missing or forgotten ? Please assist me with the information which is needed for making this section better ! THANKS !
A Glossary of Sword Terms:
AIKUCHI: Sword mounted without a guard (Tsuba).
ARA-NIE: Large coarse Nie.
ASHI: Leg or foot. Short lines extending from patterns of Nie or Nioi.
AYASUGI : A pattern of grain (Hada) forming regular wavy lines used mostly by the Gassan and Satsuma Naminohira schools.
BOHI: Wide groove almost filling the shinogi surface.
BONJI: Sanscrit characters occasionally carved onto the blade surface.
BOSHI: The shape of temper line in the point of the sword.
BO-UTSURI: Straight faint mirror like reflections of the temper line.
Bu: The japanese measurement equalent to 0,303 cm.
CHIISA KATANA: A general term for all swords shorter than a katana but also used to indicate a length between wakizashi and standard katana.
CHIKEI: A bright curved line ( e.g.Nioi) occurring in the ji.
CHOJI: Temper line in the shape of cloves.
CHOJI-MIDARE: Clove shaped temper line mixed with irregular shapes in the Hamon.
CHU-KISSAKI: Blade point of medium length in proportion to the width of the blade near the tang.
CHU-SUGUBA: Medium width straight Hamon.
DAISHO: A matched pair of swords (large-small) and/or fittings.
DAITO: A long sword. Literally a large sword.
FUKURA: The cutting edge of the sword point.
FUMBARI: A term used to describe a blade which becomes noticeably wider as it approaches the hilt. A feature of Koto blades.
FURISODE: A tang shape with the end deeply curved toward the back side which resembles a kimono sleeve.
GAKUMEI: The signature removed from the original tang and inserted into the shortened tang
GINSUJI: A silvery color kinsuji line in the temper line (yakiba).
GUNOME: A type of Hamon (temper) resembling regular half circles.
GUNOME-MIDARE: An irregular mixture of ragged gunome.
GUNTO: Machine made army swords.
HA: The cutting edge of the sword.
HABAKI: The collar around the blade above the tang to fit the blade securely into the scabbard.
HA-BUCHI: The border line between the Ji and the Yakiba.
HADA: The surface grain of the blade. There are many types and more than one type can be on the same blade.
HAGIRI: A flaw where the blade edge is cracked entirely through the edge of the blade at a right angle to the edge.
HAKIKAKE: A feature of the tempered edge in which Nie appear in a swept or brush-stroke pattern.
HAKO BA: A box shaped Hamon.
HAMACHI: The edge notch where the blade joins the tang.
HAMON: The temper line.
HANDACHI: A katana with partly Tachi mountings.
HI: Grooves cut into the sword.
HIRA: Flat surface of the blade.
HIRA-ZUKURI: A blade shape which is flat without shinogi ridges.
HITATSURA: A temper pattern known as full temper.
HITSU ANA: One or two holes in the sword guard (Tsuba) through which the kozuka and/or kogai are inserted into pockets in the scabbard.
HORIMONO: A general term for carvings on the blade surface.
IHORI-MUNE: Two surface shape to the mune (back edge) of the blade.
IKUBI-KISSAKI: A short and stubby point said to resemble the neck of a wild boar.
INAZUMA: Lightening shaped bright lines in the Yakiba or the Hada.
ITAME HADA: Wood grain pattern in the surface steel.
JI : The surface of the blade between the Yakiba and the Shinogi
JIHADA : Surface texture. The various patterns of Hada.
JI-NIE: The presence of Nie in the Ji.
KAEN: A flame shaped boshi pattern.
KAERI: The shape of the turn back of the boshi pattern.
KAI GUNTO: Modern Navel swords.
KAKU-MUNE: A square shape to the back of the Mune.
KANJI: Chinese writing characters used in Japan.
KANTEI: The study and appraisal of swords.
KATANA: The general term for a long sword (over two shaku) worn cutting edge up through the sash.
KATANA KAJI: Swordsmith
KATANA MEI: Signature on the side of the tang which is away from the body when the blade is worn slung with the cutting edge up.
KATANA TOGISHI: Sword polisher.
KATANA KAKE: A sword stand horizontal display.
KATAKIRIBA: A sword shape with a ridgeline on one side only and the other side flat.
KEN: Straight sword which is double edged.
KENGYO: A butt end of the tang with a symmetrical V-shape.
KINSUJI: Whitish golden lines along or in the Yakiba.
KISSAKI: The point of the blade. Many shapes.
KITAE: The style of forging.
KIZU: Various flaws or defects in a blade.
KODACHI: Short tachi blades usually two shaku or less from the Kamakura period.
KODOGU: Collective term for all the fittings except the Tsuba.
KOGAI: A hair arranger which fits into a pocket in the scabbard and is withdrawn through the tsuba (Hitsu Ana).
KOJIRI: Fitting on the bottom end of the scabbard.
KO-KISSAKI: A blade point of short length in proportion to the width of the blade near the tang.
KOMARU: A small round boshi.
KO-MOKUME: Small wood burl grain Hada.
KO-NIE: Tiny Nie (Martinsite) crystals along the Hamon.
KOSHIRAE Sword mountings including scabbard, fittings, and handle.
KOSHI-ZORI: A type of blade curve which has the maximum curve point nearer the tang than the middle.
KOTO: Old swords. Usually means swords made before 1596.
KO-WAKIZASHI: Short wakizashi.
KOZUKA: Small utility knife which fits into the pocket in the scabbard.
KURI-JIRI: Chestnut shaped tang end. A rounded asymmetrical shape.
KURIGATA: Knob on the side of the scabbard for the belt cord.
MACHI: Notches in the blade to stop the Habaki. Edge=Hamachi; back=Munemachi.
MACHI OKURI: When the notches have been moved up the blade.
MAKI ITO: The braid for wrapping handles.
MARU-DOME: The round end of a groove.
MARU MUNE: Rounded back edged of the blade.
MASAME-HADA: Straight grain
MEKUGI: The peg holding the handle on the sword.
MEKUGI-ANA: The hole for the Mekugi
MENUKI: Ornaments under the handle wrapping to improve the grip.
MIDAREBA : Irregular Hamon patterns.
MIDARE-CHOJI: Irregular clove shapes in the Hamon.
MIHABA: The width of the blade.
MITSU MUNE: A three surface back edge of the blade.
MIZUKAGI: White diagonal stripe at the base of a retempered blade.
MOKUME-HADA: A burl wood grain Hada.
MONO -UCHI: The striking area of the blade 4-5 sun below the point.
MOTOHABA: The width of the blade measured at the Hakabi.
MUMEI: Without signature.
MUNE: The back edge of the blade.
MUNE MACHI: The notch in the back of the blade to stop the Habaki.
MUNEYAKI: Temper pattern along the back edge of the blade.
NAGAMAKI: A kind of koshirae used on a Naginata in the late Kamakura and early Muromachi days. It came from the fact that the hilt for the long blade was wrapped with a cord or a leather strip wound around it. Sometimes this term is used incorrectly to describe a type of halberd.
NAGASA: The length.
NAGINATA: A halberd. A sword blade of one of several similar shapes that was used attached to a long pole. Also called a polearm.
NAKAGO: The tang of the blade. The part of the blade which fits into the handle.
NAKAGO JIRI: A general term used for the butt end of the tang.
NAKAGO MUNE: The back edge of the tang.
NAMBAN TETSU: Foreign steel.
NAMBOKUCHO: The period of the Northern and Southern dynasties, ca. 1300″s.
NAOSHI: Corrected or repaired.
NIE: Martinsite crystals formed during the heating and quenching process. Nie are crystals which are large enough to be viewed as individual particles.
NIOI : The same as Nie except that these particles are too small to be discernible to the naked eye and appear like a mist or fog.
NOTAREBA: A term refering to a Hamon outline that is wavelike.
O-CHOJI: Hamon of large choji patterns.
OMOTE: The side of the sword away from the body as it is worn. The opposite side is called the ura or back.
ORIGAMI: A certificate of appraisal.
ORIKAESHI-MEI: Blade signature folded into the opposite of the tang when the blade is shortened.
OSHIGATA: A rubbing of the inscription on the tang.
O-SURIAGE: A shortened sword losing all or most of the original tang.
O-WAKIZASHI: Long Wakizashi, almost two feet long.
SAGEO: The cord or braid attached to the Kurikata on one side of the scabbard.
SAIHA: A retempered edge.
SAKA-CHOJI: Choji shapes slanting down toward the base of the blade.
SAKI-HABA: The width of the blade at the Kissaki.
SAKI-ZORI: Curvature of the blade with the more pronounced curve toward the point.
SAME: Patch of skin from a ray fish used on sword handles.
SANBONSUGI: A three tree pattern Hamon. Kanemoto of Mino was famous for this.
SAYA: The scabbard.
SEPPA: The washers used to fill the space between the tsuba and the sword.
SHAKU: The Japanese unit of measurement equaling 30,3 cm.
SHINAE: Small cracks cross-ways in a blade. A flaw.
SHINOGI: Ridges on each side of the blade.
SHINOGI-ZUKURI: Blades made with a ridge line.
SHINTO: New swords. Swords made between 1596 and ca.1800. Then started the SHIN-SHINTO times. It is like new,new swords, between 1800 and 1876.
SHIRASAYA: White wooden scabbard.
SHOWA-TO: Hand made blades made since 1926.
SORI: Curvature of the sword.
SUGUBA: Straight Hamon paralleling the edge curve.
SUN: The Japanese measure for one-tenth of a shaku, equaling 3,03 cm.
SUNAGASHI: Sweeping lines along the Hamon like floating sand ridges.
SURIAGE: Shortened blade.
TACHI: General term for all slung swords.
TACHI KAKE: Sword rack or stand for a Tachi.
TACHI MEI : Signature on the side of the tang which is away from the body when the blade is worn slung with the cutting edge down. It is the omote side.
TAMESHIGIRI: Cutting test on a sword.
TANTO: Daggers less than one shaku 30,3 cm long.
TOGI: Polish on a sword.
TORII ZORI: Curvature of the sword with the deepest part in the center of the blade.
TSUBA: Sword guard.
TSUKA: Sword Handle.
TSUKA ITO: Braid for wrapping handle.
TSUKA MAKI: Sword handle wrapping.
TSUNAGI: Wooden sword made to keep in Koshirae.
UBU NAKAGO: Original unaltered tang.
UCHIZORI: A type of curve that bends slightly towards, rather than away from, the cutting edge.
URA: The side of the sword next to the body when the sword is worn.
UTSURI: Reflections. Faint lines appearing to reflect the Hamon.
WAKIZASHI: Medium length sword between one and two shaku ( 30,3 – 60,6cm long ).
WARI KOGAI: Kogai split to form chopsticks.
YAKIBA: The tempered surface along the edge.
YAKIDASHI: The end section of the Hamon near the tang.
YASURIME: File marks on the tang.
YOKOTE: The line separating the blade portion of the sword from the point portion.