Military Review

Japanese sword: deeper and deeper ... (part of 4)

“Buy mochi from mochi cooking master; for rice cakes - go to the cakeman "
(Japanese proverb)

We can endlessly "dig" in the details of the Japanese sword and ... it will be all the same interesting. In general, this is a real "Pandora's box", it is not for nothing that Japanese swords have so many fans. But this is not surprising. Every detail in them is not only functional, but also beautiful. But this is not easy to achieve. Behind this is a century of thinking about the beautiful, comprehending the measure of things, the ability to feel the material and work with it.

Let's take another look at this - the line on the tip, which is called the bosi. How beautiful these waves are on polished steel! This line of quenching also has its name - midari-komi, that is, “wavy”. Although, it would seem, we have a completely utilitarian thing. By the way, here we see the blade naginaty, and not tati or katana.

But this photo shows kissaki - the actual tip, the hardened part of the blade (yakiba), and the quenching line - bosi, separating the tempered blade ha (or ha-saki) from the blade itself - ji-tsui. It is darker, but the hardened part is lighter and the Japanese naturally distinguish them. The light part is called ha-tsui and it is practically the same as the yakiba. In any case, we will not be mistaken, calling this part of the blade and so and so. But immediately there is also a line of the Ekote - a dividing point and a blade. As you can see - in the Japanese sword, everything is very, very difficult. A lot of terms describing the width of the blade (Mihab), its surface pattern (jihad), the butt of the blade at the point (mune-saki), and so on.

Had pattern. According to him, an experienced master could recognize the author of the sword, even without reading his signature on the shank of the nakago.

Naturally, the shank of the blade nakado nihonto was also not quite utilitarian detail. In the photo you see such a shank from the wakizashi blade with the signature of mei. Note the notches on the surface of the shank. They also had a special name - Yasuri-me. Their 13 types exist and they all do not resemble each other. And they were made for a reason, but in order to ensure a stronger contact of the wooden handle with the shank. The name of the blacksmith could be carved on the shank - kao, “name with title” (jure-mei), if the smith worked at the yard, age of the blacksmith, his nickname, name of helper (give-mei), verses (!), Is called the temple, which the blade was dedicated, and the result of the test was how many corpses and how many blows with this sword were cut. It is good that all this is never written on the same shank. With a dozen hieroglyphs - this is already a great text!

Japanese sword: deeper and deeper ... (part of 4)

This photo shows a beautiful 25,1 long Hamidashi dagger with the emblem of the Tokugawa clan. Very similar to tanto ... but not tanto. The difference in the absence of tsuba. Instead, a small roller and all. Ko-gotan with an engraved metal handle is inserted into the sheath. His blade with dol (hee) attracts attention. There were eight types of dol, running along the entire blade and four dol at the shank.

Dagger tantто from the collections of the British Museum in a disassembled form. Blade with a long dol - kuitigai-hee. From left to right: tsuba, seppa, habaki, kari-kogai - divided into the middle of the kogai (about him in the past material), and the "knife" of the co-goan.

Also seemingly inconspicuous detail on the blade of a Japanese sword or dagger, but of importance - habaki - fastener blade blade. Here we see the mekugi-ano - the hole for the mounting pin.

And here this detail (habaki) is well visible, firmly fixing the tsuba.

This is how habak looks when this item is removed. But interesting - it is not completely smooth. On it are made relief strips. What for? For some reason ...

The habaki clutch has the least artistic merit, but it is absolutely necessary, and it is on every Japanese sword, dagger, and even on spears. It is a thick metal sleeve, which is designed in such a way that its inner side fits tightly to several last centimeters of the blade of a sword or dagger and also its shank (nakago). It has several functions: first of all, it eliminates the friction of the blade and, above all, its hardened part on the surface of the scabbard. The blade of the sword under the hubs should be lightly oiled to protect this place from corrosion. But the main function of the habak is that it allows to transfer the recoil from the blow through the guard to the tsuba to the whole handle, and not to the peg of a mekugi made of bamboo or a horn.

Khabaki was made from copper, covered with silver or gold, or with gold or silver foil, and also with shakudo alloy foil. Its surface is either polished, or covered with oblique strokes neko-gaki ("cat scrapers"). The foil can be decorated with a stamped pattern. Khabak with the family coat of arms of mon usually belong to good swords.

Khabaki close up.

Two sepps and tsuba. Khabaki rested on seppu and thus pressed her to the handle of the zook. But not immediately to the handle ...

Sometimes the mon - coat of arms was knocked out on Khabak.

Habaki with smooth polishing.

Directly behind the seppa, facing its handle, was another clutch, futi. Futi covers the handle where it comes into contact with Seppa. This item is easily removed. But despite all its utilitarian purpose - to strengthen the end of the handle, it is a small work of art. It comes along with another component, which is called a Kasira (jap. "Head"). (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore)

Cut for blade shank in futi. Since Futi was made by a separate master (along with Kashira), she signed with him on the outside, adjacent to the sepp coupling. (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore)

Hole in the handle for the head of Kasira.

Kasira - "Sparrow and Orchid". (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore)

Both the futi, the kasir, and the tsuba should have been drawn up in the same style. But this rule was not always followed. Tsuba "Hares". (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

A very important thing is the mekugi fixing pin. It was on him that the whole rim of the Japanese sword rested! He does not allow the blade to fall out of the handle. The material is usually wood (!), Bamboo, but sometimes made from rhino horn. On one side of the handle is hidden winding, on the other is visible.

Menuki - on the contrary - the detail is decorative, but it seems to help tightly clasp the handle. Again, a sign of the good taste of the sword owner is a uniform style for each, Ko-Gotan and the menuki itself. Daisho-sorimono — that was how this complete set for two swords was called. Attach the menuki not only under the sheath, but simply on the arm tight.

Tsuka dagger tantто. And on her manuki. All the above-mentioned details of the rim of the blade are also clearly visible.

Manuki large. They liked to give each other samurai (it is clear that complete with other details). As they say, a trifle - but nice.

The very original tanto-yari dagger is the “spear dagger” of the Edo era. All the details of the kosirae - rim are shown: sheath, handle, braid, vari-kogai, go-goan.

Jutte is, in fact, not a dagger or a knife, because it has a cylindrical or multi-faceted blade without a blade and without a point. Jutte was a special weapon Japanese Edo-era policemen. With a blade with a side hook, they caught the enemy's sword and thus could pull it out of their hands or then break it with a second blade. A lanyard with a colored brush was attached to the ring on the handle, the color of which indicated the rank of a policeman.

Dagger jutte rimmed in the dagger of tanto.

The Japanese adored cases and cases. Here is a sword case in which it was stored during the journey. It was called katana-zutsu.

But the Japanese put the cases (sai) on the tips of their copies, including the most unusual ones. For example, for a tip of a spear of a jujonji-yari.

The sword in the rim was stored here in such canisters - Katana-Bako.

Stand for Katana Kake swords. On the sheath of daisyo, the characteristic braid with a cord is a sageo.

Stand for swords - Katana Kake 1861 (the State Museum of Munich)

1915 swords grinder of the year at work. Photo by Elstner Hilton.

Yes, the Japanese sword is a whole история, which can be immersed in a long time and ... very deep. But we will finish our “immersion” for now.
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  1. Curious
    Curious 14 December 2017 17: 50
    Yes, any weapon is a part of national and world culture, therefore the study of weapons, except for the aesthetic side, allows you to look into history.
    In my opinion, the cycle lacks yet another part - on the production technology of tamahagane - steel, from which Japanese swords were forged. This would make the series complete.
    And one more point illustrating the attitude towards national culture, of which, as I have already said, weapons are a part.
    As you know, during the occupation of Japan, the occupation authorities tried to destroy all Japanese swords. Therefore, in 1948, the Government of Japan created NBTHK, the Society for the Preservation of the Art of the Japanese Sword.
    It was it that was supposed to save the Japanese swords, which were in a critical situation of total destruction.
    Currently, the society still exists, there are American and European branches.
    1. Mikado
      Mikado 14 December 2017 18: 34
      It was it that was supposed to save the Japanese swords, which were in a critical situation of total destruction.

      if not mistaken, swords of Japanese work can not be exported from Japan?
      1. Curious
        Curious 14 December 2017 19: 21
        Can. It is impossible to take out only swords that are of particular artistic or historical value. In 1950, Japan passed the Law on Cultural Heritage, which, in particular, determined the order of preservation of Japanese swords as part of the cultural heritage of the nation. Usually, when buying in a store, the seller assumes the necessary documents that the purchased sword does not belong to one of the categories: guarded, especially guarded, important, especially important, important cultural heritage (less than 900 to all of Japan) and a national treasure less than a hundred and a half). It will take ten days, no less.
        In addition, police permission is required, as the sword is considered a cold weapon. Therefore, immediately carry away from the store will not work. The issuance of such permission is usually also undertaken by the seller.
        1. Michael_Zverev
          Michael_Zverev 14 December 2017 19: 46
          But military swords of industrial production during WWII cannot be taken out. They are seized and destroyed.
          1. 3x3zsave
            3x3zsave 14 December 2017 20: 02
            Because a cheap craft disgracing national art or as a symbol of militarism?
            1. Michael_Zverev
              Michael_Zverev 14 December 2017 20: 41
              Quote: 3x3zsave
              Because a cheap craft disgracing national art or as a symbol of militarism?
              Well, as a symbol of militarism, and it seems like a shameful craft. Found an interesting wording in one book: the sword is the soul of a samurai, but the soul cannot be made by car.
          2. Curious
            Curious 14 December 2017 21: 08
            Someone misinformed you.
            In 1934, to revive the samurai traditions, the Japanese government decided to arm its warriors with samurai-like swords. The “tati” combat sword served as a model for the new weapon, both in form and in methods of use. Such a sword was called "Sin-Gunto."
            Unlike traditional Japanese bladed weapons, tachi and katana, which the craftsmen made by hand, the shin-gunto swords were produced in factories. Over time, to reduce their cost, these swords began to simplify. For example, for the sergeant, they released syn-gunto with extruded aluminum handles.
            For naval ranks in 1937, the naval department for the officers and midshipmen of the imperial fleet introduced its military sword "kai-gunto." He represented a variation on the theme of Sin-Gunto, but differed in design - the braid of the hilt is brown, the hilt is black stingray leather, the sheath is always wooden (the Sin-Gunto has metal) with black trim. The swords had in their design all the elements typical of traditional Japanese tachi swords.
            Sometimes shin-gunto was made from old family tati, katan, or wakizashi. There were very few such weapons, hardly more than 10 percent of the total mass. Also rare were the shin-gunto, which were made in private forges of a high level and quenched in water.
            Most of these swords are indeed destroyed by order of the occupation authorities.
            The Japanese themselves do not specifically destroy them. They just belong to the category of infantry weapons of the Second World War. You can buy even at online auctions. The price is up to 500 000 rubles.
            1. Michael_Zverev
              Michael_Zverev 14 December 2017 21: 13
              Quote: Curious
              Someone misinformed you.
              ... ...
              Most of these swords are indeed destroyed by order of the occupation authorities.
              The Japanese themselves do not specifically destroy them. They just belong to the category of infantry weapons of the Second World War. You can buy even at online auctions. The price is up to 500 000 rubles.
              Maybe. Maybe my source has outdated information related to the post-war period.
            2. kalibr
              15 December 2017 14: 15
              And here is the problem. I know a museum where there is such a sword of 1905, a trophy. People do not live, but they are begging there. But to open the storeroom and give me a shot - they will strangle you! Especially, I emphasize, especially for the money. There is no logic, but it is so!
        2. Mikado
          Mikado 14 December 2017 20: 42
          The issuance of such permission is usually also undertaken by the seller.

          paraphrasing the famous phrase about the incident in Otsu: "Japanese you are a bureaucrat!" laughing I saw more terms. Especially when the customer is “trampling” with the contract for a month, at first he can’t plainly fill out an application, then he finds fault with each item, then he tries to pay for another two weeks, and then .. then he needs everything urgently! fellow I feel like an actor for "movies not for everyone", in the sense tired. drinks The end of the year! request it seems like so many what
          1. 3x3zsave
            3x3zsave 14 December 2017 20: 56
            Cry from the heart!!! I’m fooling around alone. I feel like a bastard.
            1. Mikado
              Mikado 14 December 2017 21: 02
              it’s necessary to rest, and with taste. Appreciate minutes of rest. You still have time to work. No one will save you except yourself. hi
              1. 3x3zsave
                3x3zsave 14 December 2017 21: 39
                Well, in my philistine view, you need to rest with money ...
                1. kalibr
                  15 December 2017 07: 41
                  This is true, but ... there are nuances. On my trip to Europe on the bus there were several senior citizens. Pension 7 thousand. One woman SAVED for the trip. I ate what I typed myself on the buffet and then ate all day. Somehow we saw her on the lawn with a buter. And she says, yes, I save. But I save sitting here, not there. I see everything, I go to museums. This is better than sitting there on a bench. On May XNUMX, a familiar couple saved up for a luxurious trip with money for several years. And we went to the sea every year, but not luxuriously. And they rested very well, but they did not eat barbecue with wine every day. They ate porridge ... The sea and the sun did not decrease from this, but health increased!
                  1. 3x3zsave
                    3x3zsave 15 December 2017 08: 56
                    Yes, I don’t argue, it was just a play on words, I have such a painful craving, fortunately, the Russian language provides unlimited possibilities for this.
      2. kalibr
        14 December 2017 20: 04
        A real Japanese sword or dagger can be bought without leaving them to Russia, moreover, with delivery from Japan and even a certificate of authenticity. There is a company Japen Antiques - here they are doing it. But this is not a cheap pleasure. They helped me with the design of the book Samurai. There is their photo. This is what they were selling and are selling!
        1. Mikado
          Mikado 14 December 2017 20: 47
          This is what they were selling and are selling!

          I want to kill myself with special cynicism, I will not regret the money. soldier Although .. this is how much you need to drink? what just then Marat will be called into drinking buddies! good drinks he knows a lot about good drinks! wink
          I wonder how the wakizashi of the work of Muromas (one of the four remaining swords of his) got into our exhibition? what and the rest of the items. And the exhibition has still not been continued! Although I once was on it already twice request
          1. Curious
            Curious 14 December 2017 22: 10
            Four are those in museums. In total, about forty were preserved. The rest are in private collections. Prices are fabulous. Apparently - and this one is from some sort of private collection. Apparently Storks persuaded someone. No exhibits were brought from Japan at this exhibition.
        2. 3x3zsave
          3x3zsave 14 December 2017 21: 05
          Oh, again, the question is about the author’s "kitchen". I understand that the photos in this article were taken by this company? How legitimate are your use of these photos in other publications or the media? (This is not "catching fleas", just broadening one's horizons)
          1. kalibr
            14 December 2017 21: 32
            I understand you. Those photos taken at the Tokyo National Museum are public domain, that is, the "public domain". And those that the company provided me ... they were provided for the corresponding inscription at the end of the book. But here they are just not there. But in those articles here on VO where they are - at the end the corresponding text and email address is given. So it is done.
            1. 3x3zsave
              3x3zsave 14 December 2017 21: 46
              I'm understood, thank you!
    2. kalibr
      14 December 2017 19: 59
      Good suggestion, thanks!
  2. Michael_Zverev
    Michael_Zverev 14 December 2017 18: 18
    Excellent weapon.
    1. kalibr
      14 December 2017 20: 05
      I especially like daggers based on the spears of Tanto Yari and Hamidashi.
      1. Michael_Zverev
        Michael_Zverev 14 December 2017 20: 48
        I like Tanto Yari too. smile
        I wonder what size they were, only small ones, or did the large tips also mount? Yes, and naginata blade is also suitable for weapons with a hilt.
        1. kalibr
          14 December 2017 21: 28
          I saw a tanto-yari with a blade 16 cm long.
  3. kalibr
    14 December 2017 21: 35
    Quote: Mikado
    how did the wakizashi work of Muromas (one of his four remaining swords) get to our exhibition?

    Exactly - how? This is a question ??? By the way, permission was also obtained from them for the use of photographs taken without a tripod (my daughter was shooting) at this exhibition.
  4. soldier
    soldier 14 December 2017 23: 45
    The Japanese sword is such a THING that can only be talked about with aspiration.
    I support Curious in terms of additional interest in manufacturing technology
  5. marline
    marline 15 December 2017 08: 38
    Thanks for the article - interesting and informative. And as always, the photo is beyond praise.
    I join Curious in his desire to see your tamahagane article. Also, I think that a similar cycle about the European sword should turn out even more interesting for you.
    1. Some kind of compote
      Some kind of compote 15 December 2017 12: 30
      With both hands for
    2. kalibr
      15 December 2017 14: 12
      He's getting ready. But you have to re-read a lot. And find interesting photos. The latter is perhaps the most difficult and time consuming.
  6. Gunther
    Gunther 16 December 2017 16: 31
    “Buy mochi from a mochi master; for rice cakes - go to the cake ”(Japanese proverb)
    ))))) Hmm, to the shoemaker

    The author’s level is understandable - I don’t even succeed in stealing someone else’s text, but I did not expect anything else from the former teacher of Marxist-Leninist philosophy (who changed his shoes in flight with a bow).
    餅 は 餅屋 (も ち は も ち や) - mochi are best sold in a mochi shop
    In a word - "27 shades of green")))
    But good illustrations partially compensate for the author’s ignorance, plus for the pictures.