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Japanese Sword Dictionary

   

Sword Terms

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Bōhi

棒樋 [ぼうとい]

Large or wide groove in a sword blade

Bokken

木剣 [ぼっけん]

Wooden practice sword

Bokutō

木刀 [ぼくとう]

Wooden practice sword

Bōshi

帽子, 鋩子 [ぼうし]

Temper line in kissaki

Bu

分 [ぶ]

Japanese measurement (approx 0.12 inch)

Chōji

丁子 [ちょうじ]

Oil for the care of swords

Chokutō

直刀 [ちょくとう]

Very early straight single edged (sometimes with second partial edge) straight sword.

Chu-

中 [ちゅう]

Medium

Dai

大 [だい]

Great or large

Daishō

大小 [だいしょう]

A traditional matched pair of long and short swords

Daitō

大刀 [たいとう]

Long sword over 2 feet long

Dōtanuki

同田貫, 胴田貫 [どうたぬき]

Battle sword similar to a katana with a very thick blade.

Fuchi

縁[ふち]

Collar on the handle next the the seppa with the tsuba.

Fuchi Kashira

縁頭 [ふち かしら]

Set of hilt collar (fuchi) and buttcap (kashira)

Fukura

フクラ (ふくら)

The fine edge line of the kissaki.

Guntō

軍刀 [ぐんとう]

Army or military sword

Ha

刃 [は]

Cutting edge of a sword

Hasaki

刃先 [はさき]

The extreme point of the edge.

Habaki

鎺 [はばき]

Blade collar at the base of the blade ensures a snug fit with the scabbard.

Hada

肌[はだ]

Grain in steel, pattern of folding the steel

Hakama

袴 [はかま]

Pleated divided skirt/pants

Hamachi

刃区, 刃関 [はまち]

Notch at the beginning of the cutting edge

Hamon

刃文, 刃紋 [はもん]

Temper pattern along blade edge. The border of the ha (the tempered cutting area at the edge) and hara ji.

Hasaki

刃先 [はさき]

Cutting Edge

Hasuji

刃筋 [はすじ]

Proper sword angle while cutting

Hi

樋 [とい]

Grooves in the blade

Hiraji

平地 [ひらち]

The curved surface between the hamon and the shinogi.

Honoki

朴ノ木 [ほおのき]

Magnolia wood used for saya and tsuka

Horimono

彫り物 [ほりもの]

Carvings on sword blades

Iaito

居合刀 [いあいと]

Unsharpened practice sword

Iori

庵 [いおり]

The top line of the mune.

Ito

絃 [いと]

Silk or cotton hilt wrapping cord

Ji

地, 平地[ち]

Sword surface between the shinogi and the hamon

Jihada

地肌 [じはだ]

Surface pattern of the hada

Kami

上 [かみ]

The blade, the part that fits into the saya.

Kasane

重ね [かさね]

Thickness of the blade

Kashira

頭 [かしら]

Sword pommel or buttcap

Katana

刀 [かたな]

Sword worn in the obi, cutting edge up

Katana Kake

刀懸け [かたなかけ]

Sword rack

Keikogi

稽古着 [けいこぎ]

Training uniform top

Ken

剣 [けん]

Sword usually refers to double edged sword

Kissaki

鋒. 切先 [きっさき]

Point of blade

Kodachi

小太刀 [こだち]

Short sword

Kogai

笄 [こがい]

Hair pick accessory

Koiguchi

鯉口 [こいぐち]

The mouth of the scabbard or its fitting

Kojiri

鐺 [こじり]

End of the scabbard

Koshinogi

小鎬 [こしのぎ]

The extension of the shinogi at the tip.

Koshirae

拵え, 外装 [こしらえ]

Sword mountings

Kozuka

小柄 [こづか]

Accessory knife

Kubikiri

首切り; 首斬り [くびきり]

1) decapitation; beheading; 2) small samurai sword used for decapitation

Kurigata

栗形 [くりかた]

Knob at on the saya that the sageo cord goes through

Machi

区 [まち]

The notches that divide kami from nakago. Edge side = ha machi; back side = mune machi.

Mei

銘 [めい]

Swordsmith's signature

Mekugi

目釘 [めくぎ]

Sword peg

Mekugiana

目釘穴 [めくぎあな]

Hole for mekugi in the tang and hilt

Mekuginuki

目釘抜き [めくぎぬき]

Tool used to remove mekuki

Menuki

目貫 [めぬき]

Hilt ornaments

Mihaba

身幅 [みはば]

Width of blade from ha to mune

Mimi

耳 [みみ]

Literally "ear". The rim of the tsuba.

Mitsukado

三つ角, 三角 [みつかど]

Point where yokote, shinogi and ko shinogi meet

Mon

紋 [もん]

Family crest

Monouchi

物打 [ものうち]

Main cutting portion of blade

Motohaba

元幅

Width at base of blade

Motokasane

元重

Thickness at base of blade

Mumei

無銘 [むめい]

Unsigned

Mune

棟 [みね]

Back ridge of sword blade

Mune Saki

棟先 [みねさき]

The point of the mune at the kissaki.

Munemachi

棟区, 棟関 [むねまち]

Notch at start of mune

Nagasa

長さ [ながさ]

Blade length (from tip of kissaki to munemachi)

Nakago

中心, 茎 [なかご]

Sword tang

Nakagoana

中心穴, 茎穴 [なかごあな]

The hole in the center of the guard that passes over the tang of the sword.

Nakagojiri

中心先, 茎尻, 中心尻 [なかごじり]

The tip of the tang.

Nihontō

日本刀 [にほんとう]

Japanese sword

Niku

肉 [にく]

Meat (blade having lots of fullness)

Nodachi

野太刀 [のだち]

Very long tachi worn on back

Nuguigami

拭紙 [ぬぐいかみ]

Special paper used to clean swords

O

大 [おお]

Large

Obi

帯 [おび]

Belt sash

O Dachi

大太刀 [おおたち]

Extended length tachi

Oroshi

おろし

The slope from the iori to the corner of the mune.

Sageo

下緒 (さげお)

Cord used for tying the saya to the obi

Sakihaba

先幅

Width at tip of blade

Saki Haba

先幅[さきはば]

Blade width at yokote

Sakikasane

先重

Thickness at tip of blade

Same

鮫 [さめ]

Rayskin used for tsuka (handle) covering

Samegawa

鮫皮 [さめがわ]

Ray skin wrapping on the hilt.

Saya

鞘 [さや]

Sword scabbard

Sayaguchi

鞘口 [さやくち]

Mouth of the scabbard (koi guchi)

Seppa

切羽 [せっぱ]

Washers or spacers between tsuka and tsuba, and tsuba and habaki.

Shaku

尺 [しゃく]

Japanese unit of measure approximately one foot

Shinai

竹刀 [しない]

Bamboo sword used in Kendo

Shinken

真剣 [しんけん]

Real sword

Shinogi

鎬 [しのぎ]

The ridge line between the edge and the back.

Shinogiji

鎬地 [しのぎち]

Sword flat between the mune and shinogi

Shirasaya

白鞘 [しらきさや]

Plain wood storage scabbard

Shōtō

小刀 [しょうとう]

Wooden wakizashi training sword

Sori

反り [そり]

Curvature

Suburitō

素振り刀 [すぶりとう]

Heavy wooden sword

Sun

寸 [すん]

Japanese measure, approximately 1.12 inch

Susudake

すす竹 [すすたけ]

Seasoned smoked bamboo used for mekugi pins

Tachi

太刀 [たち]

Long sword worn with cutting edge down

Tameshigiri

試し斬り [ためしぎり]

Cutting test

Tantō

短刀 [たんとう]

Dagger or knife with blade less than 12 inches

Tatami

畳 [たたみ]

Traditional Japanese straw floor mats

Tatami Omote

畳表 [たたみ おもて]

Replaceable tatami mat cover used for tameshigiri

Tōshin

刀身 [とうしん]

The whole of the sword.

Tsuba

鍔 [つば]

The hand guard between the hilt and the blade.

Tsuka

柄 [つか]

Sword handle

Tsukaito

柄糸[つかいと]

Handle wrapping or tape

Tsukamaki

柄巻 [つかまき]

The wrapping on the hilt, usually silk.

Uchiko

打粉 [うちこ]

Fine powder used to clean sword blades

Udenukiana

腕貫穴 [うでぬきあな]

The two holes in the tsuba through which the sageo may be passed.

Wakizashi

脇差 [わきざし]

Short sword (blade between 12 and 24 inches)

Yasurimei

鑢銘[やすりめい ]

Distinctive file marks on nakago

Yokote

横手 [よこて]

The line at right angles to the edge, dividing the kissaki from the under part.

Japanese Swords and Weapons

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

棒 [ぼう]

Stick, club, truncheon, hit, a 6 foot staff.

Bō Shuriken

棒手裏剣 [ぼうしゅりけん]

Throwing spikes

Bokken

木剣 [ぼっけん]

Wooden practice sword

Bokutō

木刀 [ぼくとう]

Wooden practice sword

Chokutō

直刀 [ちょくとう]

Very early straight single edged (sometimes with second partial edge) straight sword.

Daishō

大小 [だいしょう]

A matched pair of long and short swords

Daitō

大刀 [たいとう]

Long sword over 2 feet long

Donki

鈍器 [どんき]

Blunt weapon

Dōtanuki

同田貫, 胴田貫 [どうたぬき]

Battle sword similar to a katana with a very thick blade.

Guntō

軍刀 [ぐんとう]

Army or military sword

Hira Shuriken

平手裏剣 [ひらしゅりけん]

Flat throwing blades, usually star shaped

Iaitō

居合刀 [いあいと]

Unsharpened practice sword

Kama

鎌 [かま]

Sickle

Kamayari

鎌槍 [かまやり]

Spear with one or two curved secondary blades

Katana

刀 [かたな]

Sword worn in the obi, cutting edge up

Ken

剣 [けん]

Sword usually refers to double edged sword

Kodachi

小太刀 [こだち]

Short sword

Kusarigama

鎖鎌 [くさりがま]

Chain and sickle weapon

Kyoketsu Shoge

距跋渉毛 [きょけつしょうげ]

Weapon consisting of a hooked dagger, a long rope and a weighted ring

Kyoketsushoge

距跋渉毛 [きょけつしょげ]

Chain weapon with a sickle on one end and a ring on the other

Kyōki

凶器; 兇器 [きょうき]

Dangerous weapon

Makibishi

撒き菱; 撒菱 [まきびし]

Caltrop (spiked device scattered to maim infantry and horses);

Manrikigusari

万力鎖 [まんりきぐさり]

Ninja weighted chain weapon

Mantō

萬刀; 卍刀 [まんとう]

Ninja weapon disguised as a pair of garden shears

Nagamaki

長巻 [ながまき]

Polearm with sword blade

Naginata

薙刀 [なぎなた]

Polearm with curved blade

Nihontō

日本刀 [にほんとう]

Japanese sword

Nodachi

野太刀 [のだち]

Very long tachi worn on back

O-dachi

大太刀 [おおたち]

Extended length tachi

Sai

釵 [さい]

Sai (an Okinawan weapon)

Sasumata

刺股; 刺叉; 指叉 [さすまた]

Two-pronged weapon for catching a criminal; man-catcher war fork

Shikomizue

仕込み杖 [しこみづえ]

Sword cane

Shinai

竹刀 [しない]

Bamboo sword used in Kendo

Shinken

真剣 [しんけん]

Real sword

Shōtō

小刀 [しょうとう]

Wooden wakizashi training sword

Tachi

太刀 [たち]

Long sword worn with cutting edge down

Wakizashi

脇差 [わきざし]

Short sword (blade between 12 and 24 inches)

Yari

槍 [やり]

Japanese spear

Yumi

弓 [ゆみ]

Japanese style bow (for shooting arrows)

Uniform Terms

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Hakama

袴 [はかま]

Pleated divided skirt/pants

Haori

羽織 [はおり]

Over jacket

Hera

箆 [へら]

Tab inside rear of hakama

Himo

紐 [ひも]

Cord, lace

Kamon

家紋 [かもん]

Family crest

Keikogi

稽古着 [けいこぎ]

Training uniform top

Koshiita

腰板 [こしいた]

Board at back of hakama

Mon

紋 [もん]

Family crest

Montsuki

紋付; 紋付き [もんつき]

Formal kimono top with with mon (family crest).

Obi

帯 [おび]

Belt sash

Tabi

足袋 [たび]

Split toe socks

Zori

草履  [ぞうり]

Japanese sandals

Numbers

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Ichi

一 [いち]

One

Ni

二 [に]

Two

San

三 [さん]

Three

Yon/Shi

四 [よん/し]

Four

Go

五 [ご]

Five

Roku

六 [ろく]

Six

Nana/Shichi

七 [なな/しち]

Seven

Hachi

八 [はち]

Eight

Ku/Kyuu

九 [く/きゅ]

Nine

Juu

十 [じゅう]

Ten

Useful Phrases

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Dō Itashimashite

どう致しましてどういたしまして

Your welcome

Dōmo

どうも

Thanks (informal)

Dōmo Arigatō

どうもありがとう

Thank you (formal)

Dōmo Arigatō Gozaimashite

どうもありがとうございまして

Thank you very much for what you have done

Dōmo Arigatō Gozaimasu

どうもありがとうございます

Thank you very much

Dozo

どぞ

Please (go ahead)

Gomen

御免

Pardon me, excuse me.

Gomen Nasai

ごめんなさい

Sorry

Gomen Nasai

御免なさい

Excuse me (apology)

Hai

はい

Acknowledgment

Iie

No

Konbanwa

今晩は

Good Evening

Konnichiwa

今日は

Good Afternoon

Ohayō Gozaimasu

お早うございます

Good Morning

Sayōnara

さようなら

Goodbye

Sumimasen

すみません

Excuse me

Wakarimasen

わかりません

I don't understand

Wakarimasu

わかります

I understand

Misc Class and Competion

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Aka

Red

Akai No Kachi

赤の勝ち

Red wins

Akai Yama No Koshi

赤山の公示

Red has left a mountain cut

Battō

抜刀

Drawing the sword

Chiburi

血振り

Action of removing blood from the blade

Dame

駄目

Don't, bad, not like that

Furikaburu

振りかぶる

Raising the sword to cut

Ganbatte

頑張って

Hold out, persevere, do your best, good luck.

Hai

はい

Okay

Hajime

始め

Start.

Hantei

判定

"Judgment" or "decision." a command by the referee to the judges to choose the winner of a match when neither contestant has scored or if the score is tied.

Hayaku

早く

Quick, fast

Iaigoshi

居合い腰, 居合腰

Step forward with the right foot and backwards with the left foot going into the proper sword posture.

Kiwotsuke

気を付け

(Stand to) attention!

Kumitachi

組太刀

Partner practice with swords.

Nōtō

納刀

Returning the sword to its scabbard.

Sanpo

散歩

Walk – command to move into the starting position of a kata.

Sayabiki

鞘引

Pulling the scabbard back, Saya control, usually pulling back

Seiza

正座

"Correct sitting." A kneeling position sitting on both calves.

Senshu Maeni

選手前に

Competitors, come close

Shidachi

仕太刀

Defender who must react to a confrontation

Shinpan Rei

審判 礼

Bow to judges

Shiro

White

Shiro No Kachi

白の勝ち

White wins

Shiro Yama No Koshi

白山の公示

White has left a mountain cut

Tagaini Rei

互いに礼

Bow to each other

Tatehiza

立て膝

Sitting with one knee drawn up

Uchidachi

打太刀

Attacker who initiates confrontation

Yame

止め

Stop

Guard Positions

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Chu-dan No Kamae

中段の構え

Chu-dan no Kamae is a middle guard posture with point of sword level with throat. The arms are held forward with only a slight bend at the elbow. This is the most common kamae (posture).

Gedan No Kamae

下段の構え

Gedan no Kamae is a low guard posture with point of sword held just below the waist level.

Hassō No Kamae

八双の構え

Similar in form to hidari Jōdan, but the kamae is slightly above the right shoulder instead of overhead. The right hand is even with and about one fist away from the mouth, the left hand is aligned with the centerline of the body, sword at 45 degree angle.

Hidari Jōdan No Kamae

左上段の構え

Overhead kamae, left foot forward, sword at 45 degree angle, left hand one fist from the forehead. The left hand is positioned above the left eye, so the tip is slightly to the right, behind the head.

Jōdan No Kamae

上段の構え

Jōdan no Kamae is an upper guard posture with point of sword pointed up and slightly back. The hands are over the head with the Kashira in the edge of the peripheral vision.

Kamae Toku

構え解く

Kamae with lowered, slightly turned sword (of conquered opponent)

Migi Jōdan No Kamae

右上段の構え

Overhead kamae, right foot forward, sword at 45 degree angle, left hand one fist from the forehead.

Seigan No Kamae

正眼の構え

Seigan Kamae is a middle guard with point of sword pointed at the opponent's eyes. The arms are held forward with only a slight bend at the elbow. This is a variation of Chu-dan no Kamae.

Wakigamae

脇構え

Hidden guard posture. Step back with the right foot, and position the sword so that it angles down with the tip hidden from the opponent, with the left hand near the right hip.

Cuts

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Chu-dan

中段

Middle vertical cut ending with kissaki even with throat

Dōgiri

胴切り

Cutting horizontally into the torso (with a sword)

Gedan

下段

Low vertical cut ending with kissaki even with knee

Gyaku Kesa

逆袈裟

Reversed rising diagonal cut

Hidari ichimonji

左一文字

Horizontal cut going to the left

Hidari Kesa

左袈裟

Downward diagonal cut going to the left

Hidari Kesa

Gyaku Kesa

左袈裟 逆袈裟

Downward diagonal cut going to the left followed by upward reverse cut

Hidari mayoko giri

左真横斬り

Horizontal cut going to the left

Jōdan

上段

High vertical cut ending with right hand even with shoulder

Katate Tsuki

片手突き

One handed thrust

Katate Uchi

片手打ち

One hand cut

Kesa Giri

袈裟斬り

Diagonal cut.

Kiri Age

切上

Upward cut

Kiriotoshi

切り落とし

Vertical, forward cut, Cutting drop.

Migi ichimonji

右一文字

Horizontal cut going to the right

Migi Kesa

右袈裟

Downward diagonal cut going to the right

Migi Kesa

Gyaku Kesa

右袈裟 逆袈裟

Downward diagonal cut going to the right followed by upward reverse cut

Migi mayoko giri

右真横斬り

Horizontal cut going to the right

Morote tsuki

諸手突き

Double-handed thrust.

Morote Uchi

双手打ち

Two hand cut

Nukitsuke

拔付

Drawing cut.

Nukiuchi

抜き打ち

Drawing and attacking in the same stroke

Suihei

水平

Horizontal cut – Warm up cut goes from to the right followed by reverse cut going back to the left

Tsuki

突き

Thrust

Yokomenuchi

横抜き

Cut to the side of the head

Initiative

Rōmaji

Kanji

Description

Ato No Sen

後の先

Take initiative after the attack.

Go No Sen

後の先

Responsive initiative – Strike an opponent as a response to their movement.

Sen No Sen

先の先

Strike as opponent commits to an attack but before he moves. Attacking between the opponent's decision to attack and his movement

Sen Sen No Sen

先々の先

Anticipate the attack.

Tai No Sen

待の先

Take initiative after the attack.