Highlight of a Japanese sword

highlight of a Japanese sword are followings .

Transition of the shape and history Highlight of the blade
Heian Era Jihada Boushi
Kamakura Era Hamon Nakago
Nanbokutyou Era Yakidashi Mei
Muromachi Era Nie and Nioi Tsukurikomi
Edo Era Hataraki Gokaden ( five schools )

The transition the shape of a Japanese sword and  history

Since the shapes of a Japanese sword changes with a time, we can know the time when the sword was made by looking the shapes of the sword. The shapes of the Japanese sword which we say now (Shinogi-dukuri and curved ) is supposed that it completed in the last stage of Heian Era. The middle of Heian Era is a transitional period. Although there was a sword also before the middle of Heian Era, the shapes are different from so-called Japanese sword. For example, they were straight blade and did not curve. Here, let's study how the shapes of a Japanese sword changed with the times..

Shapes of each period ( Tachi )

Since a scale of pictures are not the same, disregard the size of the sword, please.
In every time, the shapes did not change suddenly but changed slowly. For example, the shapes of middle stage of Kamakura reminds of that of first stage of Kamakura, and the shapes of last stage of Kamakura are close to that of next age Northern and Southern Dynasties Era. Therefore, not all Japanese swords are applied to this pictures. But if you remember the transition the shape of a Japanese sword, it is very helpful when you appreciate a Japanese sword.

The age of Tachi

Last stage of Heian Era ( 987- 1183)  Kotou
This is the time which is going to change to samurai government ( Genji and Heike ) from an aristocrat government. After the war happened in the middle stage of Heian Era, the battle style changed. That is, they began to battle with riding horses.
The shape of a Japanese sword ( Tachi ) in this age is Mihaba ( width ) of near Nakago is wider than that of near Kissaki, so to speak, like a man who standing with keeping his feet. Kissaki is small ( we call it Ko-Kissaki ) and Sori ( curvature ) looks like suddenly fall to the ridge side at right above Nakago. But Sori near Monouchi is little. This shape is refined in a sense. Please look at above picture.
Ko-midare Ko-Kissaki
Hawatari (lenght ) is about 75`80cm. This size is fit to chop the enemy on the ground with riding on Japanese horses. The horses in this age were not like present horses but small and massive. Moreover, it fit to stab the enemy on the ground  because the curvature around Monouchi is little. And Nakago is short compared with the percentage of the blade.
Naginata was also used in this age, but it is called Nagamaki. That is, they attached a long grip to a long sword and moed legs of enemy.
Hamon in this age is like left picture. We call it Ko-midare. It's pattern is small and Kissaki is also small like a picture.

First stage of Kamakura Era (1184-1231) Kotou
In this period, the Kamakura shogunate and court nobles.in Kyoto scrambled for political power. And internal trouble broken out in the Kamakura shogunate. Therefore, demand of sword increased all over the country. This period is a transitional period from the refined shape in the last stage of Heian Era to the mighty shape in next period.
Sori ( curvature ) does not look like suddenly fall to the ridge side at right above Nakago and the center of Sori moved upper in comparison with the previous period. We call Sori like this " Koshi-zori ". It means the sword curved at waist of a blade. The width near Kissaki is not so different from that of near Nakago, and Kissaki became little bigger. The shape became little mighty. A standard length of this period is about 79cm.
Hamon in this period is based on Sugu-ha and small Tyouji-ba ("Tyouji-ba" is same to the word "choji" = pattern) is mixed. Please refer to "Hamon"of this page about Sugu-ha and Tyouji-ba.
And remember that the swords until this period made of small Nie. Swords made of Nioi did not exist yet. Please refer to " Nie and Nioi " of this page about Nie and Nioi.
Middle stage of Kamakura (1232 - 1287) Kotou
After the war happened in 1232, Houjyou family held real power and Kamakura shogunate reinforced their authority. This Kamakura ( a place name ) became the center of Samurai culture and the demand of sword increased.
Kamakura shogunate called in some sword smith who have superior skill from Kyoto and Okayama. They moved with family and Kamakura became the center place of the production of swors. The shapes in this period did not remain vestiges of former period and changed to be more mighty.
Thai is, the width became to be more wide, but there is no difference between the width of near Kissaki and that of near Nakago. And thickness also became to be thick. Moreover, Kissaki became to be Ikubi-Kissaki ( below picture ) and the edge became to be Hamaguri-ba because of the edge became to be thich. Hamaguri means a clam., and we call it because the cross section of the blade looks like a clamshell. Please refer to below "Boushi and  Kissaki " about Ikubi-Kissaki. Sori is Koshi-zori and the center of Sori moved more upper and Nakago became to be little long compared with that of former period..
Ikubi-Kissaki Oobusa-Tyouji Jyuuka-Tyouji
About Hamon, the brilliant patterns became to be conspicuous. Especially Fukuoka-Ichimonji school in Bizen ( Okayama prefecture ) made the so-called Oobusa-Tyouji or Jyuuka-Tyouji. like the above pictures and they became to be popular. Oobusa means the shape of the head of Hamon ( round part of Hamon. ) looks like a big bunch of Tyouji and Jyuuka means Tyouji overlapped each other. Please refer to "Hamon" below this page about Tyouji. And a lot of Tantou became to be made from this period. The characteristic is Hira-dukuri and they curved toward the edge. That is, the blade curved contrary to the normal . We call this curvature Uchi-zori or Takenoko-zori. But originally the blade were straight, and the thin edge were whetted again and again, then the width of the edge decreased. Therefore it looks as if it curved countary. Hawatari is about 25cm. Please refer to below "Tsukurikomi " about Hira-dukuri.
Lower pictures are Tantou which were made by Yoshimitsu and his father Kuniyoshi in Yamashiro ( Kyoto ). Yoshimitsu is a master-hand of making Tantou.
And the shape of Naginata changed, too. Sori became to be big and the tip of the blade was spreaded
Kunimitsu Kuniyoshi

Last stage of Kamakura (1288 -1333) Kotou
The Mongolian Invasions ( 1274 and 1281) influenced on Japanese sword greatly. Until this period the metod of battle was single combat in Japan. At first exchange names each other and fight. But Mongolian attacked suddenly and attacked in a group. Moreover, their armors were tough and they used weapons which Japanese have never seen before. Their armors were light and they could move as their like. Then Japanese armors became to be light, too. And Japanese sword's shape  changed to fit to chop the light armors.
The former blade was Hamaguri-ba. When you chop a hard thing, Hamaguri-ba is suitable, but the armors began to be light and thin in this period. So the blade in this period became to be thin compared with the one of former period. And Kissaki became to be Tyuu-Kissaki. That is, Kissaki got longer because when Ikubi-Kissaki was damaged, we can not restore Kissaki. If we try to restore Kissaki , Boushi will be lost. Boushi is the most important part of a Japanese sword. The sword which lost Boushi is quite worthless. Please refer to below " Boushi and Kissaki " about this.
When you stab the enemy, Tyuu-Kissaki is suitable. Ikubi-Kissaki was wide but Tyuu-Kissaki is not so wide. Therefore, Mihaba ( width ) becomes to be narrow. This shape looks like the refined one of the first stage of Kamakura, but Kissaki in this period is bigger and the center of Sori moved more upper. In this way, if the edge became to be thin, strength of the blade decrease. Therefore, you have to make Mihaba wide and if Mihaba become wide, Kissaki become to be big naturally. The peak like this change is Oodanbira in the next Northern and Southern Dynasties.
Sugu-Tyouji Kataochi-gunome Hi go down
And The Mongolian Invasions influenced on Hamon, too. Oobusa-Tyouji and Jyuuka-Tyouji was giving way to Tyouji-ba based on Sugu-ha or Kataochi-gunome, because the blade with showy Hamon is easy to break. Sword smith realized it from experience. Hamon is harder than the other parts. If the harder part hold the most of the blade, the blade is easy to break because the blade can not absorb the shock.
And the top of Hi is invariably go down ( refer to the left-side picture ).Hi was engraved till more upper until this period. This is for enabling to repair when Kissaki is damaged. Therefore, I can say that there are no Japanese swords which have Hi like this before this period

In this period, Tantou increased and there is characteristic shape in this period. That is, Nakago is curved  We call this Tantou " Mete-zashi ". Samurai putted on this Tantou when they wore armors and they putted it on the right-side of their waist. You have to put Japanese swords on the left-side, but this Tantou is an exception.
This Mete-zashi is to stab enemy through a crevice of armors or cut off his neck, so Mihaba is narrow.
A left-side Tantou is a work of Kunimitsu who is famouse as a master-hand of making Tantou. And he is representative sword smith in this period. Please look at Nakago. It has curvature.

Northern and Southern Dynasties Era (1334 -1393) Kotou
The Kamakura shogunate ruined in 1333 and a court nobles came to power. but it ruined only 2 years. And then they split into two dynasties and began to fight. The method of battle changed to a battle between group and group. And the battle formation became that foot soldiers surround a boss who riding on a horse. Therefore, a very long Tachi became to be made to drive away them.
This long Tachi was for driving away enemy, so the length was about 85cm and even the length over 1m was made. Mihaba of these Tachi were wide, so the Kasane were thin to lighten the weight. " Kasane is thin " is the characteristic in this period. Therefore, when you look Tachi in this period, you need to make sure Kasane. If Kasane of the Tachi is thick, it is a fake. The Tachi is not the one which was made in this period.
Mihaba is wide, so Kissaki become to be big as a logical consequence. We call this big Kissaki Oo-Kissaki. We call the Tachi like this Oodanbira.
But this is too long to put it on, so usually boss give a follower his big Tachi to carry and he grasp Tsuka and draw as it is. Therefore, if the follower is killed or drived away, the Tachi becomes to be useless. Moreover, Naginata or Yari which oppose this Tachi became to be used, so battle with riding on a horse became to be disadvantageous. Then this big Tachi disappeared in a short period
The sword called Uchigatana newly became to be made in this period. The length is about 70cm and it was used long Tachi together. And Tantou in this period have peculiar characteristic. That is, the length is about 35cm and they were made by Hira-dukuri. Mihaba is wide and Kasane is thin. And they curved at middle of the blade. When we divide these according to the length, they are divided into Wakizashi. but these are not Wakizashi, but Tantou.
Hamon in this period is Notare or Hitatsura etc. Please look at the picture. It is said that the sword in this period have the most sharpness of a blade. In Edo Era a lot of these long Tachi were shortened to fit size when put them on the waist
Notare Hitatsura Oo-Kissaki peculiar Tantou

First stage of Muromachi Era (1394- 1595) Kotou
In Muromachi Era samurai gradually began to use Uchigatana instead of Tachi. They still used Tachi in this stage and the shapes looks like the first stage of Kamakura Era, that is, Mihaba is narrow and Kissaki is small. But Sori is different from Muromachi and Kamakura. In Kamakura Era, the center of Sori is near Nakago or little upper, but the center of Sori in Muromachi Era moved ahead. Curved around Monouchi is a characteristic of sword in Muromachi Era.
This period is a transitional period from Tachi to Katana, so it is hard to distinguish between Tachi and Katana. Sword smith made both Tachi and Katana. And  after this period it is the time of Katana.

The age of Katana

Shapes of each period ( Katana )

Middle stage of Muromachi Era (after 1467)
Around this period it became the age of continued war, that is ,the Age of Civil Wars. Katana which were suitable for chopping with one hand and drawing quickly began to be made. That is, the length was about 65cm.  We call these Katana Katate-uchi. Katate means one hand.
There is no difference of width between near Kissaki and near Nakago and the shape is strongly. Nakago became to be short to suitable for grip one hand. Please look at the left-side picture. The Nakago is short. These Katana are short, but you never confuse these Katana with Wakizashi. We classify Japanese sword by the length, that is, Katana, Wakizashi, Tantou. If the length of a blade is over 30cm and less than 60cm, it is classified into Wakizashi. But some of Katana in this period are shorter than 60cm. They are classified into Wakizashi according to length, but their uses is not Wakizashi but Katana. Now Japanese sword is a registration system in Japan. Each Japanese sword have a registration card. If you possess a Japanese sword without a registration card., you are punished by the law in Japan. When we resister a Japanese sword, it is classified by length for convenience. Therefore the classification by length is not always correct. They should be classified by the purpose of uses.
This period was the time of war, so a lot of swords were mass-produced. Some of swords in this period made of poor-quality materials and with corner-cutting. We call these swords Kazu-uchi or Taba-gatana. Kazu-uchi means mass-produced and Taba-gatana means they were sold in a bundle. These swords are disliked. Sword smith in this period engraved a client's name or common name with Mei on an elaborate works.
Wakizashi also became to be made and the length are about 40cm. They were made by Hira-dukuri and have no Sori. Shinto deities and Buddhas or Sanskrit characters enbraved on the blade. These Wakizashi are characteristic ones in this period.
And particular Tantou, we call Yoroi-doushi, and short Tantou and double-edged Tantou began to be made. Yoroi-doushi is to stab enemy through a crevice of armors and the cross-section of it is an equilateral triangle

It becomes Shintou time from here. It seems that the word "Shintou" became common after Meiji and Shintou means new swords, but it means not only the new swords but they were made of new materials and method.

In order to supply a lot of demand in the Age of Civil Wars which continued about 100years, sword smith had no choice but to mass-produce a sword. Therefore, it was too late for the date of delivery if they made carefully one by one. Then they make by an easygoing way. During about this 100 years, they did not use inherited method from ancestors. Therefore, inherited method from Kotou time came to an end.

Sword smith lived in the places where they could get materials in Kotou time, but sword smith in Shintou time became to live a castle town or a big city. They could get materials if they did not live near producing place of materials because of the transportation facilities improved

Sword smith in Kotou time made swords by only one method which inherited from a master. Japanese swords in Kotou time are classified into five schools according to the method of how to make swords. We call this five method ( or characteristic ) Gokaden. Sword smith in Shintou time made swords not only by one method but another method they did not learn from their master. Therefore, individual characteristic appeared rather than that of schools. And Tamahagane mass-produced in Shintou time, so materials became to be uniform. Therefore, local characteristic of materials did not appear on the blade. Moreover, Jihada seldom appeared because Shintou made by new method.

The difference between Kotou and Shintou which you can find easily is Boushi. Boushi in Kotou time became to be Midare-ba if Hamon on the blade was Midare-ba, but Boushi in Shintou time became to be Sugu-ha thought Hamon on the blade was Midare-ba.

First stage of Edo Era (1596 - 1623) Keigen-Shintou period
Keigen means the name of an era, Keityou and Genna in Edo Era. We mixed the name and call like this. We call Shintou which was made around these era, Keityou and Genna, Keigen-Shintou.
In this period a lot of Tachi in Northern and Southern Dynasties period were shortened the just size ( about 70cm ) to put them on the waist. because this shape is the most effective to battle. That is, Mihaba of near Kissaki and near Nakago is almost same size and Kissaki is Oo-Kissaki. And this shape became to be popular, so sword smith in this period made swords like this shape. .But the difference between Northern and Southern Dynasties period and this period is Kasane. Kasane in this period is thick. But Kasane in Northern and Southern Dynasties period is thin. These shape appears in unsettled times, so this shape appear again in the end of Edo Era.
Nanban-tetsu peculiar Tantou
The characteristic of Shintou is local characteristic of materials did not appear as Jihada on the blade. On the other hand, we should not miss the influence of the culture of Europeans. A lot of goods imported from Europe in this period and iron imported, too. We call this iron Nanban-tetsu or Hyoutan-tetsu. Nanban means Europe and Hyoutan means a gourd. The shape of iron looks a gourd-shaped, so we call like this. Some sword smith made sword by this Nanban-tetsu. But it is not clear that this Hyoutan-tetsu was better than Tamahagane
A peculiar shape of Tantou was made in this period. That is, it was made by Hira-dukuri and it seems to turn over to the ridge side because it's Sori is steep. Please look at the left-side picture.
Hamon is mainly Notare. And from this period, sword smith became to engrave Zuryou-mei. Please refer to " Mei " below this page about this.

Edo Era (1658 -1683) Kanbun-Shintou period
The center of making sword was Edo and Osaka in this period and new style of sword appeared.
In this period a lot of Daimyou ( a feudal lord ) were fired by the Tokugawa shogunate.The battle of Sekigahara ( in 1600 ) was one which was to decide who would rule Japan. There were boss in each area before this war, but Tokugawa Ieyasu who was nothing but one of them won this war. Tokugawa family made these enemy vassal. These boss possessed their territory and their own vassal from the first, but they lost the war. Therefore they were subjected to Tokugawa family and their territory virtually became to be Tokugawa family 's one. We call these boss who were under the control of Tokugawa family " Daimyou ". Syougun deposit territory with his vassal "Daimyou" and make them administer the territory and rice which produced there was income of Daimyou . In Edo Era  rice was equal money. Daimyou who administered a large territory where could produced a lot of rice was rich. Some of Daimyou took a defiant attitude, so the Tokugawa shogunate deprived their territory. If Daimyou was deprived his territory, his income was lost and his vassal lost their means of livelihood, too. We call them Rounin. In this way, Rounin increased in this period.
The quickest way for Rounin to find a new boss was to appeal that " I am a master swordsman." Therefore, Kenjyutu ( Kendou ) was in fashion.
Thereby, the shape of a sword also changed. That is, swords which had extremely little Sori like a stick were made. It is thought that they got used to a wooden sword like a stick which they used for practice
In 1683, Tokugawa shogunate prescribed the maximum size of Katana and Wakizashi. Therefore, sword smith commonly made a sword which the length of about 70cm.

Edo made and Osaka made

The difference between Edo made and Osaka made as follows.
<Edo made>
Edo was the base place of Tokugawa shogunate, so sword smith putted emphasis on the sharpness of a blade. The shape was functional and Hamon was wide. About Hamon they did not play cheap tricks.
Moreover, if Hamon waved widely, it's wave was lowered around Monouchi because if Hamon around Monouchi ( it is the part which is mainly used when you chop something ) was wide, the sword was in danger of breaking.  And a lot of swords were engraved Saidan-Mei. Please refer to below " Mei "< Saidan-Mei > about this.
most famouse sword smith in Edo
<Osaka made>
Sword smith in Osaka made more Wakizashi rather than Katana and they made splendid ones as a whole. And a lot of swords had Yakidashi. Please refer to " Yakidashi "  below.
Hamon called Touran-ba was in fashion after this period and in Shinshintou time..
Sukehiro's Touran-ba
most famouse sword smith in Osaka

Edo Era (1684 -1763) Genroku-Shintou period
The most splendid culture appeared in this period. People ( include samurai ) fell into luxurious habits and corrupted. In this time famous Yochimune held the eighth shogunate to recover social conditions.
In 1719, Yoshimune made each Daimyou hand in a report which the name of sword smith who lived in their territory was written. And then, Yoshimune made Daimyou select representative of a sword smith of their erritory and called them to Edo Castle and commanded them to make swords there.  Yoshimune choosed three most excellent sword smith and allowed them to engrave Aoi-mon ( an emblem of Tokugawa family ) on their works.
However, in spite of Yoshimune's efforts, the age became to be a sufferings time for sword smith. Samurai also became destitute and Samurai who were familiar with finance were given an important position rather than a master swordsman. Therefore, the demand of swords dropped sharply.
The shape of a sword in this period was not a stick like the former period,  but it curved and the width near Kissaki was smaller than that of near Kanago. Sword smith artificially gave full play to their technique on Hamon and these Hamon was in fashion. That is, Hamon like a drawing below pictures. This means that Samurai corrupted.
Aoi-mon Hamon like a drawing

From here it is the period of Shinshintou. Although there is various opinions about from when the time of Shinshintou start, generally we call Shinshintou which were made after about 1764.

The characteristic of swords in this period is that sword smith tried to make swords by the method of Kotou time.

The days not rain continued for a long time and great many people died of starvation because of a poor havest in 1783. Moreover, European and American or Russian fleet came to Japan, so Japan fell into crisis Therefore, the demand of sword increased suddenly and reached its peak around 1789. Around this age is the golden age of Shinshintou.

The characteristic of Shinshintou is it's wave of Hamon started from Machi like Kotou ( A lot of Shintou's Hamon started straight from Machi and waved ) and Boushi also waved if Hamon on the blade waved. But Jihada do not appear clearly and Ji is shiny so it looks like a mirror.

Edo Era <First half of Shinshintou > (1764 - 1829)
Kamada Natae who was a learned man of swords praised Sukehiro and Shinkai ( one of the most famouse sword smith in Shintou time ) in his book, so sword smith in this period imitated their works. That is, strong shape and Hamon is like Touran-ba.
It is not too much to say that swords in this period imitated Osaka made
Masahide's  beginning works / imitated Touran-ba
Masahide ( one of most famouse sword smith in Shinshintou time ) advocated in his book that "we should made swords by the method of Kotou time." Jihada never appear if you make sword by only Tamahagane. Combining materials which have different quantity of carbon, Jihada will appear. Therefore, sword smith use a lot of materials like old nails or something and adjust the quantity of carbon to be suitable for making sword. We call this work Orosi-gane. I already wrote that an easygoing way of method of the last stage of Muromachi inherited  in Shintou time and sword smith could get good quality Tamahagane. Therefore, it seems that they did not do this Oroshi-gane. But some of sword smith like Kotetsu or Hankei in Edo seems to do this work.
The upper picture is a sword made by Masahide after he advocated that we should made swords by the method of Kotou time. The style is different from his beginning works which he imitated Sukehiro's work.
Edo Era <the latter half of Shinshintou > (1830 - Meiji Era 1913 )
Swords which more emphasized mighty shape were made in this period. That is, Mihaba is wide and the length is long. They look like the Tachi in Northern and Southern Dynasties Era. And sword smith tried to reproduce the sword in Kotou time.
Kiyomaro/one of most famouse sword smith in Shinshintou time
Kiyondo/one of most famouse sword smith in Shinshintou time
Yukihide/one of most famouse sword smith in Shinshintou time


Itame/ It is a pattern like the surface of a wooden board.
Jihada is the pattern on the blade and it appeares when the steel is bended double and is forged again and again. Please look at above picture. You can see a pattern like a surface of timber. This is Jihada. There is a pattern like a cross grain and straight grain, just like timbers.
Mokume/ like wooden annual rings. Masame/like straight grain of wood
Matsukawa/ like the surface of a pine tree. Yakumo/ like a clouds in the sky
Nashiji / a fine Jihada which we can not distinguish the pattern and has a granule Ji-Nie.
Jihada is change evry schools, so it is the point when you distinguish a school or a group of sword smith.
In Kotou time, that is before Edo Era, Japanese sword smith belonged to five school.  Each school has a characteristic method of making swords, and that characteristic appear on the sword. Please refer to Gokaden. In Shintou time, that is after Edo Era, the material of a sword changed and new method appeared, then individual characteristic came to appear rather than school's.  We can see the difference of Kotou and Shintou clearly to look at Jihada.. Jihada of Shintou is clearly different from Kotou. Therefore, we distinguish and divide a Japanese sword into Kotou (old sword ) and Shintou ( new sword ) or etc by the time which the sword was made.


I think when you appreciate a Japanese sword, the part you most pay attention is Hamon(more details on USAGIYA`s webpage), and this is one of the highlight of Japanese sword. It is classified Sugu-ha and Midare-ba.
Hamon is straight in the upside picture. We call this Sugu-ha . and call Midare-ba except this.
Tyouji-ba Gunome
The picture above are example of Midare-ba. Midare-ba has an individually  name according to the shape. The above picture  is one of a example.  There are a lot of type except these.

Tyouji is fruit of clove like left-side picture and  the head of Tyouji-ba  looks like the head of this fruit of clove, so we call this Hamon " Tyouji-ba ". This fruit of clove have already imported in Nara Era ( before Heian Era ) and Japanese have used this oil to care a Japanese sword.

In case of the width of Hamon is wide we call  it Takai ( high in Enblish ). And the top of the wave is called Kashira (  top in English ). And lower of wave is called Tani ( valley in English ) and a slope Kashira from Tani is called Koshi ( waist in English ).
each parts name of Hamon


We call a edge near Hamachi Yakidashi. It means the start point of Hamon. There are some shapes of Yakidashi, and  according to the shape, it is named.

Usually the edge near Hamachi is not used, so some of a sword smith dose not quench the edge near here for preventing from bend. We call the edge not be quenched like this Yakiotoshi.

B:Osaka Yakidashi
A sword smith in Osaka in Shintou time, often start the edge like this. First is Sugu-ha and the rest is Midare-ba.

Start with especially wide width.

D:Kyou Yakidashi
A sword smith in Kyoto in Shintou time, often start the edge like this. First is Sugu-ha and the rest is Midare-ba. This looks like Osaka Yakidashi, but the straight edge is not long than Osaka.

The sword which has Yakidashi starting  straight is only after Shintou time

Nie and Nioi

Hamon has two types.. That is made of mainly Nie and the other is made of mainly Nioi. Nie and Nioi are the structure of steel which is called "martensite" and they are the same thing originally. Martensite changes to Nie or Nioi according to how to quench the steel.
Each schools is classified into Nie group or Nioi group. So when we apprise the sword, we can get a hint to realize the school by looking at Hamon.
The martensite of Nie is coarse-grained, and you can distinguish a particle with the naked eye, and the martensite of Nioi is small-grained so you can not distinguish a particle with a naked eye. But almost of all Hamon has both Nie and Nioi, so if it includes Nie more than Nioi, we call it Nie-made. And if it includes Nioi more than Nie, we call it Nioi-made.

Please look at upper left-hand picture. Can you see a coarse-grained particle ? This is Nie. You can distinguish a particle with a naked eye. And the right is Nioi. You can not distinguish a particle. And we call Nie on Ji " Ji-Nie ".
Nie-made Nioi-made


Hataraki is a effect to beautify Hamon

<Appears in Hamon>

Nie is entwined with Jihada, and it became the state of line.
It looks like sand is fiowing.
Ashi (Leg)
Projection sticks out toward the edge of a blade from Hamon
It looks like a leg sticking out of Hamon.
Uchinoke Hamon became crescent-shaped frayed
Nijyuu-ba Hamon along the main Hamon
Kuichigai-ba Hamon which is off to the side
The line which included a lot of martensite and brilliantly shine
It looks like a flash of lightning
Suna-nagashi Kin-suji

<Appears on Ji>

Chi-kei The line which is shining black and entwined with Jihada.
Tobi-yaki The top of Hamon is torn off and fly about Ji
Yu-bashiri Nie appears on the part of Ji deeply.
Utsuri It looks like the white shadow of Hamon fell on Ji.
Chi-kei Utsuri

Boushi and Kissaki

Boushi is a part of the quenched edge of Kissaki. Characteristic of school or sword smith is appeared and we can see the technique of the sword smith by looking at it.
Moreover, since the shape of a sword is what was most suitable for the battle method of a time, the shape of Kissaki of the time is mostly fixed. Therefore, it becomes the point in the case of appraising a Japanese sword.

<The shape of Kissaki>

The Kissaki is divided into three kinds by the size as shown in a left figure.

The Kissaki, left-side picture, is width but the length is short. It looks like the neck of wild boar. We call this characteristic Kissaki "Ikubi-kissaki" It means the neck of wild boar in English.


Fukura is the curved point of Kissaki.
The swelling of a curved line of left-hand side picture is big. It is expressed as "Fukura-tsuku" in this cases. It means "Fukura is attached" in English.
Fukura is straight on the right-hand side picture. It expressed as "Fukura-kareru" in this case. It means "Fukura is gone" in English.


Boushi ( a part of the quenched edge of Kissaki ) are named by the shape.

Ichimai is quenched all of Kissaki.

Togari is sharp-pointed .

Midarekomi is Midare-ba on Kissaki.

Tarumi is the width of Hamon became narrow at Kissaki..

Kaen looks like a flaming fire.

Hakikake is the shape like a trace when you sweep sand with a broom.

Hamon which stopped at the ridge is called Yakitsume. There is no Kaeri.

Jizo is named that it's shape looks like a Jizo, a guardian deity of children,in Japan


There is what is called Kaeri in Boushi. Boushi is going to the direction of the tip of Kissaki, and making a U-turn at a vertex to a ridge side. Making a U-turn at a vertex to a ridge side is called Kaeri.

What has the large radius of U-turn is called Oomaru and the small called Komaru

Kaeri which goes long below is called Fukai (left side picture), it means deep in English. And Kaeri just turn to the ridge and stop (right side picture) is called Kataku-tomeru, it means just turn and just stop to the ridge in English.


Nakago is a grip of a blade of a Japanese sword. Usually it hides into Tsuka, but this is important part to appraise or appreciate a Japanese sword, because the characteristic of school or sword smith appears on this part. Nakago of an old sword is more rusted than new one. And this condition of rusts is also important to appraise the era which the sword was made.

<The shape of Nakago>

A :An ordinary shape of Nakago

B :Kijimomo-gata: It looks like a thigh of a pheasant

C :Furisode: It looks like a long sleeve of Kimono

D :Tanago-bara: It looks like a belly of a Tanago, a Japanese fish.

<Nakago-jiri ( The shape of a bottom of Nakago )>

There is a name also about the bottom shape of Nakago. This is the example.
A: Haagari-Kurijiri  Nakago, the edge side, inclined.
B: Kuri-jiri  It looks like a bottom of a chestnut.
C: Kiri  The bottom of Nakago is cuted off straight.
D:  Iriyama-gata  The top got point and the width of ridge side is narrow. 
E:  Kengyou   The top got point at the center.
F:  Sotoba-gata

<Yasurime (The trace of a file )>

Yasurume is devised not to leave out the blade of a Japanese sword from Tsuka and characteristic of shool or sword smith appears on it. Please look at the picture below.. Left-hand side is an edge toward a picture.
A:  Kiri
B:  Kattesagari
C:  Sujichigai
D:  Oosujichigai
E:  Gyakuyasuri
F:  Kesyouyasuri
G:  Higaki
H:  Takanoha
I:   Gyakutakanoha
J:  Sensuki


Since sword smith has responsibility in its own work, he engraves Mei. To be exact, sword smith not ngrave Mei. He cuts through the surface of steel along a character by a cold chisel.. I can not find a suitable one word about this in English, so I translate this "engrave".

A left-hand side is a enlarged picture of Mei. I think you can see that the surface of steel is cuted through along a character

Some of sword smith use a different name according to his age, and many sword smith engraved  a date when he made it. Moreover, every sword smith engraved Mei with a great deal of personality. So Mei is a important to judge the era or genuineness or spuriousness of the sword. There are a lot of swords engraved a bogus Mei on which resembles a famous sword smith's made, so you need to beware.
Usually, sword smith engrave Mei, but they often did not engrave when they present it to temples or an employer under the direct control.


Zuryou-mei is the name of an official post according to the political system of Nara and Heian Era. For example, the name of an official post of a chief who governs the country ( a prefecture ) is "Kami". Although sword smith did not engaged in official post, they applied  to the Court and were awarded mainly this "Kami". Sword smith engraved this Zuryou-mei with their name.


Even if the time of Tachi finishes and it becomes the time of a sword, it is natural that Samurai wants to use Tachi which was handed down carefully until now. If the length of Tachi is so long, Samurai, in Edo Era, can not put it on his waist as it is. Or when he gets a new sword, he may think that this one is too long to put it on.
Now, we do not use a sword, only appreciate, but Samurai need to shorten a sword to suit his height. When you shorten a sword, you may cut the tip of a blade. Oh, no. In case of shortening a Japanese sword, you have to cut a bottom of the blade of a sword. Cut the tip, and shape Kissaki newly, that's all.-you may think. But if you cut the tip, Boushi will be lost.
Please look at the right-side picture below
Supporse that you cut a blade at line A, and shape Kissaki like B. Then, the shape of Kissaki was made, but Boushi is lost (Kaeri is lost). It is said that a Japanese sword without Boushi is the same as a human being without a head. Therefore you have to shorten from Nakago side.
Then how should I cut ? Please look at left-side picture A. The part of a dotted line is the original shape.  Make a new Machi upon the original, then Nakago become long naturally. But this Nakago is too long. Then cut Nakago.
Orikaeshi-Mei and Gaku-Mei If you cut tip...
Mei remains on Nakago in case of picture A,  but when you cut Nakago more longer like B,  Mei may be lost at the same time. In case of that you cut Nakago just below Mei, and turn Nakago to the back side like picture C.   We call this Orikaeshi-mei. Orikaeshi means turn to the back side.
When you want to cut Nakago more longer than C, you cut Mei an oblong and bury in Nakagolike D.  We call this Gaku-mei.
When unbearable for losing Mei, these method are taken. Shortening a sword like this, we call "Suriageru", and a sword which was shortened and lost Mei is called "Suriage-mumei". A sword which wsa not engraved Mei from the first, as I explained above, is called  just "Mumei". There are a lot of sword which was shortened and lost Mei in this way.


Mei which is buried gold in is called "Kinzougan-mei". The Hon-ami House, a professional whet man of a Japanese sword, moreover a connoisseur in Edo Era, engraved the sword smith's name and his sign and buried gold in the engraved trace. This work is done for only the sword which was shorten and lost Mei ,the so-called Suriage-mumei. Kinzougan-mei is the proof by the Hon-ami House that the sword was certainly made by the sword smith.

Please look at left picture. Left-side one is sign of Hon-ami, and right-side one is the name of sword smith. This is a most famous sword smith Masamune in Kamakura Era.

And Hon-ami House buried a vermilion Japanese sumac if the sword was not engraved Mei from the first. We name these generically "Kiwame-mei". Kiwame means that the Hon-ami House judged the sword is a genuine article.


A left side picture is Saidan-mei. The result of sharpness and a name who try it was engraved.

In the case of a left side picture, it engraned "Yamano Kan-emon, 67 years old , cut piled three dead bodys off".


The shape of a blade is called "Tsukurikomi " . There are followings.

A black part in a picture  is a cross section  of a blade

It is a plane blade

An edge is attached only to one side and the reverse side has become the plane.

The edge is attached also to the ridge side.

The blade which has Shinogi and a most generat shape

It is looks like a leaf of a Japanese iris.

F:Kissaki moroha-dukuri
Kissaki or an upper half has a edge also the ridge side, and lower has different Tsukuri from the upper.

Only an upper half looks like a Japanese iris.

This shape looks like Kanmuri-otoshi, but a part of Shinogi-ji is scraped off,  and Shinogi between Kissaki and lower half is not scraped off. Please refer to a picture H . Left-hand picture of H is the view that look from the ridge side.You can see clearly that a part of Shinogi is scraped off.

This name is derived from Wakizashi that words was engraved, "osoraku", on the blade. "Osoraku" is "probably" in English. It is said that the mean of the word on the blade is probably there is not a sword which has strange shape like this. It's Kissaki is more than a half.


Swords which were made in Kotou time are classified into five schools according to the method of how to make swords.
They are Yamashiro(Kyoto), Yamato(Nara), Bizen(Okayama), Sousyuu(Kanagawa), and Mino(Gifu).  Kyoto, Nara , etc  are the name of prefectures of Japan. Yamashiro, Yamato, the others are the name of the area (a prefecture) of past Japan, and we named  the school  like Ymamashiro-den (method of Yamashiro), Yamato-den (method of Yamato). We call these five schools "Gokaden".
Swords were made from their local material, and the time which began to be made also differe from shools. And sword smith in Kotou time made swords keeping the method of school that they belonged to. Moreover a master of sword smith passed on his knowledge to a disciple .Therefore swords in Kotou time has a obvious character which we can distinguish the school. And basically a sword smith who belonged to Yamashiro-den lived in Yamashiro, moreover they made swords only by Yamashiro-den. But some of sword smith migrated to another prefecture and made a sword on the land and pased on his knowledge there.
In the last of Muromachi Era, the war lasted for a long time and the demand for swords suddenly increased. As a result, to reply the demand, most sword smith, scamped their works, made a loot of swords skimped the materials.
In Shintou time, transportation facilities was improved and sword smith began to live in a castle town, because it has demand of sword more than the country.  Moreover new steel was imported from foreign country and new method was thought out. They began to make from new steel or by new method and not cling to tradition. Therefore the local character or the character of school was lost gradually. And a sword smith in Shintou time made swords by various method of schools unlike in Kotou time.  In place of this, personal character began to appear on a sword. We call this new method of making swords in Shintou time "Shintou-tokuden".
I explain the relation between forge and quench, it goes without saying that we quench wide Hamon on rough Jihada like Itame and quecch narrow Hamon on fine Jihada . But sword smith in Shintou time quenched wide Hamon on fine Jihada contrary to this.
The Hon-ami House, a professional whet man of a Japanese sword, moreover a connoisseur in Edo Era, named these obvious character of Kotou time and Shintou time "Okite". Okite is the rule when sword smith make a sword. This Okite is different from Kotou and Shintou.
But it is not correct to say that this Okite itself existed in Kotou or Shintou time and sword smith made swords according to this Okite. We came across  the character as a  result of  researching  of Japanese swords.  Therefore, not all swords agrees in this Okite. However, by knowing this Gokaden and Shintou-tokuden, the study of a Japanese sword starts.
Now I introduce the character of each school here.
Yamashiro-den reached the acme of its prosperity from the last stage of Heian Era and the last stage of Kamakura Era. And it prospered around Kyoto.
The characteristic of Yamashiro-den
Jihada Nashiji
Hamon small Nie-made and the pattern is based on Suguha and mixed tyouji.
Hataraki Ashi or Kin-suji or Chi-kei, Nijyuu-ba, Uchinoke, Yu-bashiri  are appeared
Boushi Kaeri is Oomaru or Komaru
Main schools belonged to Yamashiro-den in Kotou time
Sanjyou The most old school of Yamashiro-den. Sanjyou is the name of a place 1000 years ago
Gojyou They are a splinter group of Sanjyou school. 970 years ago
Awataguchi Awataguchi is the name of a place. Jihada of this school is the most beautiful 800 years ago
Rai It is said that they came from Korea 750 years ago
Ayanokouji Ayanokouji is the name of a place 750 years ago
Sousyuu-den which prospered in the last stage of Kamakura Era derived from Yamashiro-den, but Yamashiro-den became to be dull when the main current changed to Sousyuu-den and quite declined in Muromachi Era.
The characteristic of Yamashiro-den in Edo Era is Hataraki is little and Hamon is mainly Tyuu-Sugu-ha. Tyuu means the width is medium size. In Edo Era, Tadayoshi school in Hizen ( Fukuoka prefecture ) left a style of old Yamashiro-den.
Sugu-ha and Ashi Tyuu-Sugu-ha

Transition of Yamashiro-den

Sanjyou school / The last stage of Heian Era / incomplete Yamashiro-den

The shape is that of the last stage of Heian Era, that is, Mihaba of near Nakago is wider than that of near Kissaki, so to speak, like a man who standing with keeping his feet. Kissaki is Ko-Kissaki and Sori looks like suddenly fall to the ridge side at right above Nakago.Hamon is Nie-made and the width is narrow. Hamon is based on Sugu-ha and has a lot of Hataraki along Hamon. Jihada is small Mokume and mixed large pattern.
Awataguchi school / The first stage of Kamakura Era / complete Yamashiro-den

The shape became to be strong and Jihada became to be Nashiji. This Jihada of Awataguchi school is said that it is the most beautiful one of Japanese swordsYu-bashiri appeared like a  river and  has a lot of Hataraki. The width of Hamon became to be little wide..
Rai school / The middle stage of Kamakura Era / the golden age of Yamashiro-den

The shape is that of middle stage of Kamakura Era, that is, Mihaba near Nakago and Kissaki is aimost the same size and Kissaki became to be Ikubi-Kissaki. The width of Hamon became to be wide and flowery Hamon became to stand out. The black part in the picture is Shintetsu. The Shintetsu of this school did not straight, so there is a part that Shintetsu came near Kawatetsu. Then if it was wheted again and again, Shintetsu appeared.  Properly speaking, this is flows, but about Rai school this is not a flow but a characteristic.
Rai school / The last stage of Kamakura Era

In this time, the shape became to be gentle and Hamon became to be plain. In this time, Sousyuu-den was in fashion and sword smith who belonged to Yamashiro-den also made by Sousyuu-den style. Ane in the  Northern and Southern Dynasties Era, Sousyuu-den was at the height of prosperity. Then Yamashiro-den gradually declined.
Tadayoshi schoolEdo Era

Tadayoshi school left a style of old Yamashiro-den. That is, Jihada is like Nashiji and Hamon is based on Sugu-ha. But they made Tyouji, too. The right end of picture is the example. Ashi of Tadayoshi school is very long and this is the characteristic of their Tyouji. And there is the part which Shintetsu appeared like Rai school.

Yamato-den is the most old  of Gokaden and  they were made for practical use. Kasane is thick but Kasame of Shinogi is thin for making the weight right. We call this Shinogi " Shinogi Takai ". This is one of the characteristic of Yamato-den.Please refer bellow picture.
Shinogi Takai / upper one

The characteristic of Yamato-den
Jihada mainly Masame.
Hamon Nie-made and is based on Sugu-ha  and mixed Gunome or Tyouji.
Hataraki Nijyuu-ba, Uchinoke, Hakikake appeared along the straight grain on Ji. (Hataraki of Yamashiro-den appeared inside of the edge.)  
Boushi Hakikake or Yakitsume or Kaen.
Note Nie of Yamato-den is strong ( the temperature when a sword is quenched is high ) and Nie around Kissaki is  stronger than that of lower
After the  Northern and Southern Dynasties Era, these characteristic gradually began to fade away and in Muromachi Era, it's  characteristic is only Masame and Sugu-ha.
Main schools belonged to Yamato-den in Kotou time
Sensyuin Sensyuin is the name of temple 700-850 years ago
Tegai Tegai is the name of a gate of temple 700 years ago
Shikkake Shikkake is the name of place 700 years ago
Housyou Housyou is said that it is a family name 700 years ago
Taema Taema is the name of temple 700 years ago
They belonged to Buddhist temples. That is, sword smith of Yamato-den were  under exclusive contract to temples. You wonder that why Buddhists needed swords. But at that time Buddhist priests fought with swords. Sword smiths of Yamato-den delivered directly to their employers, so they need not to engrave Mei, so there are a lot of swords which were not engraved Mei in Yamato-den.

Transition of Yamato-den


This school is the most old one of Yamato-den and the sword which existed now is little. And the Hamon or Jihada are not definite, so it is hard to grasp the characteristic.

This school is known that they made typical Masame. And please look at the part of Kissaki of bellow picture. Straight grain drifted to Mune along Hamon. This is the most important  characteristic.

Jihada near Shinogi is Mokume ( like wooden annual rings ) and near the edge is Masame. This is the most important  characteristic.

The most Shinogi Takai and Nie is most strong. Some of swords the Hamon of front side and back side are different.

The most calm style. Please look at Yokote of bellow picture. Jihada around Yokote is Itame ( like the surface of a wooden board.), but it became Masame above Yokote. We call this " Taema-hada ".
The above is the style of Kamakura Era. There exsists little swords after Northern and Southern Dynasties Era,

This school has been inherited from the last stage of Heian to the Shintou time and Bizen ( Okayama prefecture) was the biggest swords-producing center.  The characteristic of Bizen-den is Tyouji-ba and Utsuri. Swords of Bizen-den from the last stage of Heian Era to the first stage of Kamakura Era were small Nie-made and Hamon waved slightly. That is, they were look like Yamashiro-den. In the middle stage of Kamakura, Ichimonji school appeared and then swords changed to Nioi-made. And Tyouji-ba began to rise and fall and  to be flowery. We call these Hamon " Jyuuka-Tyouji" or " Oobusa-Tyouji ".Jihada began to be fine Mokume( like wooden annual rings ) and Utsuri appeared. Utsuri is the quenched part of Ji. Usually only the edge was quenched. The part which becomes an  edge is coated thin and the other part is coated thick. Then the edge becomes to be hard when it is quenched. The edge is hard and Ji is comparatively soft. Utsuri is contrivance not to be broken. That is, if  the  part , hard and soft ,alternately  exist, the shock is absorbed and not to be easily broken.
The characteristic of Bizen-den
Jihada fine Mokume
Hamon Nioi-made and mainly Tyouji-ba
Hataraki Utsuri appeared
Boushi similarly waved like Hamon

Main schools belonged to Bizen-den in Kotou time
Ko-Bizen The oldest school 700-1000 years ago
Ichimonji Ko-Ichimonji old Ichimonji 800 years ago
Fukuoka-Ichimonji Fukuoka is the name of a place 780 years ago
Syoutyuu-Ichimonji Syoutyuu is an era name 670 years ago
Yoshioka-Ichimonji Yoshioka is the name of a place 700 years ago
Katayama-Ichimonji Katayama is ithe name of a place  They are a splinter group and lived Bittyuu( next Bizen ) 780 years ago
Osafune Osafune is the name of a place 700-760 years ago
Ukai ( Unrui ) Nie-made but like Yamashiro-den. Hamon is mainly Suguha 700 years ago
Souden-Bizen mixed Sousyuu-den and Bizen-den 670 years ago
Ouei-Bizen Ouei is an era name of the first stage of Muromachi Era. 600 years ago
Sue-Bizen the group which was active in  the Age of Civil Wars 430-530 years ago

Transition of Bizen-den

Kobizen / From the last stage of Heian Era to the first stage of Kamakura Era / incomplete Bizen-den

Swords in this time is not pure Nioi-made but small Nie-made. The width of edge is narrow and Hamon is based on Suguha. Boushi is Komaru.
Ko-Ichimonji / The first stage of Kamakura Era /  incomplete Bizen-den

Hamon is like Kobizen but Boushi is a little waved.
Fukuoka-Ichimonji / From the first stage to the middle stage of Kamakura Era / complete Bizen-den

Fukuoka-Ichimonji completed  Nioi-made Tyouji-ba continued from Machi to Kissaki.. The shape became to be strong and Hamon was flowery and Utsuri appeared. 
Katayama-Ichimonji / Bittyuu

This school was a splinter group of Fukuoka-Ichimonji and their characteristic is Hamon which is called " Kataochi-Gunome ". Kakaochi means the Kashira ( top of the wave ) towards a Nakago side.
Osafune the early days / The middle stage of Kamakura Era

Hamon is not flowery than Fukuoka-Ichimonji but the highest part almost reached Shinogi. And Hamon was lowered around Monouchi. This is contrivance not to be broken.
Syoutyuu-Ichimonji / The last stage of Kamakura Era

Swords of this school do not seem to be that of Ichimonji school. They were very plain.
Souden-Bizen / Northern and Southern Dynasties Era

This Era was the golden age of Sousyuu-den, so sword smith who belonged  to Bizen-den made swords by mixing   Sousyuu-den. Nie began to increase and Jihada was Itame.
Ouei-Bizen / The first stage of Muromachi Era

Tani of Hamon began to be gently-sloping and  Utsuri  appeared. But this Utsuri looks like straight. Usually, Utsuri waved alike Hamon, but Utsuri of Ouei-Bizen became straight. This is the characteristic of Ouei-Bizen.
Sue-Bizen / Age of Civil Wars

Hamon looks like claws and Utsuri did not appeare. We can realize their drop in the technique.
In Edo Era, group appeared called Ishidou in Edo, Oosaka, Fukuoka. They made swords like Fukuoka-Ichimonji. But Shinogi became Masame.It is the difference from Fukuoka-Ichimonji. ( It is the characteristic of Shintou that Shinogi became Masame)

In the last stage of Kamakura Era, sword smith family  migrated from Yamashiro and Bizen to Sousyuu. Sword smith in Sousyuu mixed  Yamashiro-den or Yamato-den and their method and built up the base of Sousyuu-den. Sousyuu-den was made by most strong Nie-made.
The characteristic of Sousyuu-den
Jihada Itame
Hamon Nie-made Notare, Gunome, Hakomidare, Hitatsura
Hataraki Kin-suji, Inazuma, Ch-ikei, Suna-nagashi
Boushi Midarekomi
Sousyuu-den is divided into three period as follows
Main sword smith belonged to Sousyuu-den in Kotou time
Yukimitsu, Masamune, Sadamune From the last stage of Kamakura Era to the first stage of Northern and Southern Dynasties Era
Hiromitsu, Akihiro Mainly  Northern and Southern Dynasties Era
Hiromasa, Tsunahiro, Odawara-Sousyuu Muromachi Era. Sword smith in this period called Sue-Sousyuu lump together. Odawara is the name of place in Sousyuu.
In Shintou time, Sousyuu-den came into fashion and almost all  sword smith  were affected  by it. And new Hamon such as Touranba appeared.

Transition of Sousyuu-den


Yukimitsu is the founder of Sousyuu-den. Nie-made and Kin-suji, Inazuma appear. Jihada is fine Itame and Chikei appear.

The shape became to be strong and rough Itame mixed. The width of Hamon began to be wide and Inazuma or Kin-suji furiously mixed.

The pattern of Hamon waves big as near Kissaki and Nie of edge tears and  flies over Ji. We call this " Tobi-yaki ". And inside of Tobi-yaki is full of Nie.
Sue-Sousyuu / Hiromasa

Jihada became to be fine and it became not to be characteristic Itame. Hamon is flowery, but inside of Tobi-yaki, there is no Nie.
Odawara-Sousyuu / Fusamune

In this age, Hamon began to be Nioi-made and little Nie mixed. Hamon is flowery, but the characteristic of Sousyuu-den was lost.

This is the newest one of Gokaden. Mino-den found by sword smiths  who separated from Yamato-den. The most clear characteristic of Mino-den is that pointed Hamon is mixed. If they made Sugu-ha, always pointed Hamon was mixed.
The characteristic of Mino-den
Jihada Itame and near Shinogi is Masame
Hamon Nioi-made. Gunome, Notare, Sugu-ha and aiways mixed pointed Hamon
Hataraki Suna-nagashi, Nijyuu-ba, Shirake-Utsuri
Boushi Jizo, Hakikake, Togari
Mino-den is devided into three period as follows
Main sword smith belonged to Mino-den in Kotou time
Kaneuji, Kaneshige Northern and Southern Dynasties Era
Naoe-Shizu school From Northern and Southern Dynasties Era to Muromachi Era
Seki school After the middle of Muromachi Era
In Shintou time, 70 or 80 percent sword smith were connected with the sword smith of Mino-den, so Shinogi of their swords became to be Masame.

Transition of Mino-den


Jihada is Itame and mixed Masame and it looks like Sousyuu-den. Hamon is Nie-made and Gunome and pointed Hamon is mixed. Boushi  waves and Hakikake and Kaeri is Asai ( shallow ).

Naoe is the name of place and Shizu means Kaneuji. Kaneuji lived Shizu. Pupils of Kaneuji  migrated to Naoe after Kaneuji died, then we call them Naoe-Shizu. Masame became to stand out and Shinogi-Ji became to be Masame and  Shirake-Utsuri appeared. Shirake-Utsuri is a kind of Utsuri . It became to be lightly white as if you  breathe on Ji. This Shirake-Utsuri is one of the characteristic of Mino-den.

Seki is the name of place and Seki school is devided into 7 groups. This example is Zenjyou group which is one of Seki. Masame appesred in the center of ji and pointed Hamon mixed in Sugu-ha. Shirake-Utsuri appeared, too.
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