|Tsurugi (剣, 日本剣)|
|Place of origin||Japan|
|Used by||Samurai, Onna-musha|
|Produced||5th century Kofun period till 9th century.|
|Blade length||overall approx. 100 cm|
|Blade type||Straight, double-edged|
|Hilt type||Metal, wood|
A tsurugi (剣) or nihonken (日本剣) is a Japanese sword. The word is used in the West to refer to a specific type of Japanese straight, double-edged sword used in antiquity (as opposed to curved, single-edged swords such as the katana). In Japanese the term tsurugi or ken, ja:剣 is used as a term for all sorts of international long, double-edged swords.
The term tsurugi (剣) designates a straight, double-edged, bladed weapon from Japan.The tsurugi were usually forged from the 5th century (Kofun period) to the 9th century (Heian period). It is a sword, which means that this weapon has two edges, one on each side of its blade, unlike the tachi, katana, wakizashi or odachi, which have only one cutting edge, on one of the two sides of the blade. From the 9th century, the development of the curved tachi began, from which the katana emerged. After the 10th century, it was occasionally dedicated to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.
Nowadays it is mainly associated with very remote historical times, as well as legends and mythology. There are some similarities with the Chinese Jian (called Chugokuken (中国剣) in Japanese), but the Jian has a different design with a wider shaped blade.
The most famous example is the legendary sword "Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi" which is one of the Three Imperial Regalia of Japan.
The Tsurugi-tachi -剣太刀, a straight sword with only one side of the blade sharpened throughout, was similar to the Tsurugi or Ken . The other (back) side was only worked into a second cutting edge in the front part near the tip.
A Japanese sword is one of several types of traditionally made swords from Japan. Bronze swords were made as early as the Yayoi period, though most people generally refer to the curved blades made after the Heian period when speaking of "Japanese swords". There are many types of Japanese swords that differ by size, shape, field of application and method of manufacture. Some of the more commonly known types of Japanese swords are the katana, tachi, odachi, wakizashi, and tantō.
A sword is a bladed melee weapon intended for cutting or thrusting that is longer than a knife or dagger, consisting of a long blade attached to a hilt. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographic region under consideration. The blade can be straight or curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, and tend to be straighter; slashing swords have a sharpened cutting edge on one or both sides of the blade, and are more likely to be curved. Many swords are designed for both thrusting and slashing.
A tachi (太刀) was a type of traditionally made Japanese sword (nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. Tachi and katana generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed, the latter depending on the location of the mei, or signature, on the tang. The tachi style of swords preceded the development of the katana, which was not mentioned by name until near the end of the twelfth century. Tachi were the mainstream Japanese swords of the Kotō period between 900 and 1596. Even after the Muromachi period (1336–1573), when katana became the mainstream, tachi were often worn by high-ranking samurai.
Iaijutsu (居合術) is a combative quick-draw sword technique. This art of drawing the Japanese sword, katana, is one of the Japanese koryū martial art disciplines in the education of the classical warrior (bushi).
This is a list of types of swords.
The jian is a double-edged straight sword used during the last 2,500 years in China. The first Chinese sources that mention the jian date to the 7th century BCE, during the Spring and Autumn period; one of the earliest specimens being the Sword of Goujian. Historical one-handed versions have blades varying from 45 to 80 centimeters in length. The weight of an average sword of 70-centimetre (28-inch) blade-length would be in a range of approximately 700 to 900 grams. There are also larger two-handed versions used for training by many styles of Chinese martial arts.
Dao are single-edged Chinese swords, primarily used for slashing and chopping. The most common form is also known as the Chinese sabre, although those with wider blades are sometimes referred to as Chinese broadswords. In China, the dao is considered one of the four traditional weapons, along with the gun, qiang (spear), and the jian, called in this group “The General of Weapons".
A tantō is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. Tantō were used in traditional martial arts (tantojutsu). The term has seen a resurgence in the West since the 1980s as a point style of modern tactical knives, designed for piercing or stabbing.
Swordsmanship or sword fighting refers to the skills of a swordsman, a person versed in the art of the sword. The term is modern, and as such was mainly used to refer to smallsword fencing, but by extension it can also be applied to any martial art involving the use of a sword. The formation of the English word "swordsman" is parallel to the Latin word gladiator, a term for the professional fighters who fought against each other and a variety of other foes for the entertainment of spectators in the Roman Empire. The word gladiator itself comes from the Latin word gladius, which is a type of sword.
The English language terminology used in the classification of swords is imprecise and has varied widely over time. There is no historical dictionary for the universal names, classification or terminology of swords; A sword was simply a double edged knife.
The chokutō is a straight, single-edged Japanese sword that was produced prior to the 9th century. Its basic style is likely derived from similar swords of ancient China. Chokutō were used on foot for stabbing or slashing and were worn hung from the waist. Until the Heian period such swords were called tachi (大刀), which should not be confused with tachi written as 太刀 referring to curved swords.
Japanese sword mountings are the various housings and associated fittings (tosogu) that hold the blade of a Japanese sword when it is being worn or stored. Koshirae (拵え) refers to the ornate mountings of a Japanese sword used when the sword blade is being worn by its owner, whereas the shirasaya is a plain undecorated wooden mounting composed of a saya and tsuka that the sword blade is stored in when not being used.
An uchigatana (打刀) is a type of Japanese sword worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The uchigatana was the descendant of the tachi.
The katana sword appears in many folk tales as well as legends. This piece of Japanese history not only appears in old folklore, it is also very popular in modern fiction as well as contemporary art pieces such as film and theater. The katana has reached far and wide in the world of fictional stories and can be used to tell tales of wisdom and bravery or evil and treachery. The sword can be seen not only as a tool for the hero but also a tool for the villain.
The Kogarasu Maru (小烏丸), or "Little Crow Circle", is a unique Japanese tachi sword believed to have been created by legendary Japanese smith Amakuni during the 8th century AD.
Bladesmithing is the art of making knives, swords, daggers and other blades using a forge, hammer, anvil, and other smithing tools. Bladesmiths employ a variety of metalworking techniques similar to those used by blacksmiths, as well as woodworking for knife and sword handles, and often leatherworking for sheaths. Bladesmithing is an art that is thousands of years old and found in cultures as diverse as China, Japan, India, Germany, Korea, the Middle East, Spain and the British Isles. As with any art shrouded in history, there are myths and misconceptions about the process. While traditionally bladesmithing referred to the manufacture of any blade by any means, the majority of contemporary craftsmen referred to as bladesmiths are those who primarily manufacture blades by means of using a forge to shape the blade as opposed to knifemakers who form blades by use of the stock removal method, although there is some overlap between both crafts.
Japanese swordsmithing is the labour-intensive bladesmithing process developed in Japan for forging traditionally made bladed weapons (nihonto) including katana, wakizashi, tantō, yari, naginata, nagamaki, tachi, nodachi, ōdachi, kodachi, and ya (arrow).
A katana is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the tachi, it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the blade facing upward. Since the Muromachi period, many old tachi were cut from the root and shortened, and the blade at the root was crushed and converted into katana. The official term for katana in Japan is uchigatana (打刀) and the term katana (刀) often refers to single-edged swords from around the world.
This is the glossary of Japanese swords, including major terms the casual reader might find useful in understanding articles on Japanese swords. Within definitions, words set in boldface are defined elsewhere in the glossary.