Japanese sword-Katana

   • Nihonto Terms

Chinese sword


 • Chinese Dao sword anatomy chart

Different styles of Chinese sword


  • Bronze sword- Zhanguo Jian

   Han dynasty sword

   Tang dynasty sword
   YeLing Dao - goose quill saber

   LiuYe Dao - willow leaf saber

   Niuwei Dao - oxtail sword

   LongQuan Jian/sword

   Da Dao/Chinese Sabre

The katana() is the type of Japanese longsword or backsword, it is a specific type of curved and single edged sword, traditionally used by the Japanese samurai, so it also be known as samurai sword. 

The katana always used for cutting and open combat. its curvature is generally gentle enough to allow for effective thrusting as well and it was predominantly used with a two-handed tsuka(grip). but many extant historical Japanese sword arts include single-handed techniques as well. it has been traditionally worn edge up, inserted in the sash from the sixteenth century. 

The sword was considered the soul of the samurai. For much of Japanese history, only samurai were allowed to carry swords. The peasant were prohibited carrying sword and they would be killed was enough reason if they carrying a sword after in early Edo period. 
Much of early Japanese culture revolved around swords. If somebody be forced to sell their swords for money, then they would be “soulless” in the eyes of a samurai. 

Katanas scabbard be called a saya, the handguard be called tsuba, Other aspects of the koshirae(mountings), such as the menuki (decorative grip swells), habaki (blade collar and scabbard wedge), fuchi and kashira (handle collar and cap), kozuka (small utility knife handle), kogai (decorative skewer-like implement), saya lacquer, and tsuka-ito (professional handle wrap), and Elaborate methods for cleaning, storing, sharpening, and making all of parts of sword.

Regarding Japanese culture of sword. Positioning of sword for an easy draw implied suspicion or aggression. For example, a samurai entering someones house might consider how to place his sheathed sword ashe 
knelt. whether he placed it on his right or left side, and whether the blade was placed curving away or towards him, was an important point of etiquette. 

The katana was typically paired with wakizashi and tanto. Katana was generally stored above the wakizashi on a rack, curving upwards, in the manner it was worn, with the omote side showing (tsuka or handle pointing left).

Sword Terms

 Nakago: Tang of blade

 Mune-Machi: Notch in the back of a blade to stop the habaki.

 Ha-Machi: Edge notch where blade joins tang

 Mekugi-Aan: Tang Hole

 Mei: Signature

 Yasuri-Mei: File marks on tang

Nakago: Tang of blade

Mune-Machi: Notch in the back of a blade to stop the habaki.

Ha-Machi: Edge notch where blade joins tang

Mekugi-Aan: Tang Hole

Mei: Signature

Yasuri-Mei: File marks on tang

Nagasa: Blade (from tip of kissaki to munemachi)

Kissaki: The point of a blade

Boshi: Shape of temper line at the kissaki (point)

Yokote: Line between ji and kissaki

Ji/Hiraji: sword surface between the shinogi and the hamon

Hamon: Temper pattern along blade edge

Shinogi: Ridges on each side of a blade

Shinogi-Ji: Sword flat between the mune and shinogi

Mune: Back ridge of sword blade

Mono-Uchi: Portion of blade 4 or 5 inches below the point. Striking point

Ha: Cutting edge of a sword

Sori: Curve

Hi/Bohi: Groove

Koshirae: Sword mountings including Saya, tsuka and Toso/Tosogu.

Toso/Tosogu: Sword-furniture, I.E.: Fittings, Fuchi-Kashira; Habaki, Seppa, Menuki and Tsuba

Tsuba: Sword guard

Fuchi-Kashira: set of hilt collar (fuchi) and butt cap (kashira).

Menuki: Ornaments under handle wrapping to improve grip

Habaki: Collar around blade above the tang to fit the blade securely into scabbard

Seppa: Washers to fill out space provided for tsuba on blade

Tsuka: Sword handle.

Ito/Tsuka ito: Braid for wrapping handle

Tsuka-maki: art of wrapping the handle of a sword.

Mekugi: Bamboo peg or metal rivet holding the handle on a sword

Same/Same-kawa: Patch of skin from belly of giant ray, used on sword handles and sometimes on scabbards

Saya: Scabbard of sword.

Sageo: Cord or braid attached to kurikata on side of scabbard

Koiguchi: The mouth of the scabbard or its fitting

Kurikata: Scabbard (saya) fitting for attaching the sageo

Kojiri: Bottom end fitting on scabbard

Shito-Dome: Small collars in the kurikata and/or kashira

Referenced page fromhttp://www.samuraisword.com/glossary/index.htm

Learn More Glossary about Japanese sword blade, please click here


Chinese sword

Chinese Swords have a long history. Bronze swords have been traced back to the bronze daggers of the Shang period. Bronze long swords suddenly appeared during the mid-third century BC. Later swords were made of iron or steel. These metals were wrought, never cast. Swords commonly reached a length of 70–100 cm, although longer swords have been found. Chinese iron swords were used in Japan from the third to sixth century AD, but were replaced with Korean and native Japanese swords by the middle of the Heian era.

Chinese group all swords into two types, Jian () and Dao (). Jian are dual edged and Dao are single edged.

----------------From Wikipedia

1, Bronze sword of the warring states – Zhan guo Jian

Bronze jian/sword are well developed at Earlier of Warring States Period, Appearance of the earliest laminated bronze jian where they utilize bronze with higher tin content for the cutting edges and bronze with lower tin content for the spine. It results in a sword with harder cutting edges and a more flexible spine to absorb shockcopper sulphides for anti-corrosion coatings on the bronze jian/sword.

Earliest iron and steel jian also appear, made by the earliest and most basic forging and folding techniques.

2, Bronze long sword of Qin dynasty

Bronze jian/sword become longer and the handle is extended to be long enough for two-handed use at Later stage of Warring States Period and Qin Dynasty. Use of chromium oxide as an anti-corrosion protective coating on the bronze jian/sword. Steel jian/sword get 1 meter or longer is continued.  

3, Han Dynasty Bronze and Steel Jian/Sword.

Iron steel sword be used a lots in this period , Differential heat-treatment and Forge-welding/lamination and (using higher carbon steel for the cutting edge and lower carbon steels for the core or sandwich plates, depending on the design) implemented on steel blades, a standardized process for later Chinese blades for almost 2000 years.

The introduction of ring pommels on bronze and steel jian and dao ,typical style is Huan Shou DaoRing pommel sword, and polyhedron Jian sword,(octahedrons, hexahedron and  tetrahedral).

Use of white rayskin on the weapons handle-grips introduced on Imperial Regulation blades

4, Tang Jian/Dao-sword,.

Swordmaking continues to progress in the Tang, earliest use of disc-shaped guards displaced ring pommels to better protect the hand in the middle Tang,

Export quality Chinese blades and transmitted Swordmaking skills(forge-welding/laminated construction, differential heat-treatment using clay, repeated forging and folding of sword blanks to enhance the quality of the steel(tamahagane steel), ridged cross-sections (consisting of two variants known to the Japanese as kiriha-zukuri and shinogi-zukuri)) toJapanin the Middle Tang.


5YanLing Dao(goose-quill saber) of Ming & Qing Dynasty

The YanMao Dao or YanLing Dao, or "goose-quill saber", a type of dao made in large numbers as a standard military weapon from the late Ming through the end of the Qing dynasty. It is similar to the earlier zhibei dao, is largely straight, with a curve appearing at the center of percussion near the blades tip. This allows for thrusting attacks and overall handling similar to that of the Jian, while still preserving much of the daos strengths in cutting and slashing. This style sword originates from Yuan dynasty(Mongol Empire), it is the leading style sword in followed dynasty of Ming and Qing.

YanMao Dao

6, LiuYe Dao/Sword

The LiuYe Dao, or "willow leaf saber", a type of Dao that was commonly used as a military sidearm for both cavalry and infantry during the Ming and Qing dynasty. This weapon features blade narrow and thick and a moderate curve along the length of the blade. This reduces thrusting ability (though it is still fairly effective at same) while increasing the power of cuts and slashes. It was evolution from Yanling Dao/Sword, Liuye Dao and Yanling Dao is the leading sword style in Qing dynasty, so we also called it Qing Dao. Or QingYaoDao.

7, NiuWei Dao/sword

NiuWei Dao or oxtail dao, A type of Chinese saber(Dao) of the late Qing Dynasty period. It was primarily a civilian weapon, as Imperial troops were never issued it

Broad blade, so we also called it broad sword.



The Jian is a double-edged straight sword used during the last 2,500 years inChina. In Chinese folklore, it is known as "The Gentleman of Weapons" and is considered one of the four major weapons, along with the Gun(staff),Qiang(spear), and theDao(sabre),it is exist in different period of Chinese history, no unified name. sometimes referred to as  Wushu Jian(martial arts sword), Bao Jian, Longquan Jian, Taiji Jian(tai chi swords) etc.


9, Da Dao/Chinese Sabre

The Dadao (大刀) (lit. Big Knife), one of the varieties of Dao or Chinese saber, is also known as the Chinese great sword. Based on agricultural knives, dadao have broad blades generally between two and three feet long, long Hilts meant for "hand and a half" or two-handed use, and generally a weight-forward balance.

The sword emerged from World War II, it was provided on Chinese Army. It is very simple, but very practical.


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