Agari: Rise or go up. When referring to the boshi, it means that the tip of the boshi is near the kissaki. Also means going up to the Capital City, such as Kyoto, or now, Tokyo, and in some cases, refers to going up to a larger regional city.
Ara-nie: Coarse nie.
Asai: Shallow. Kaeri asai is a shallow return of the boshi.
Ashi: Thin lines extending out from or entering the hamon.
Ashi iri: With ashi. Generally, iri means inserted.
Ashinaga choji: Choji with long ashi.
Atari: A widened spot at the beginning, or sometimes the ending, of a stroke. Often looks like a triangle. Read the section on Gimei for graphic definitions.
Atari: This means that the name of a smith give in kantei nyusatsu (kantei where the nakago is covered) is “on the mark”, or correct.
Are: Coarse or rough.
Ayamezukuri: Shaped like the leaf of the Japanese Iris. See shobuzukuri.
Ayasugi hada: A wavy grain especially used by Gassan and Satsuma Naminohira smiths.
Bo utsuri: Utsuri which is straight. Also called sugu utsuri .
Bohi: Stick shaped groove.
Bonji: Sanskrit characters with religious significance that are engraved on the blade.
Boshi: Usually refers to the hamon pattern above the yokote. The first combination literally means “hat”.
Boshi hakkake: Swept boshi. The tip has an appearance like that obtained when painting with a nearly dry or empty brush.
Buke: Samurai, warrior families.
Chakushi: legal heir. May or may not be a blood relative.
Chikei: A clear grey short thin line along the surface grain appearing to be below the surface. Similar to kinsuji or inazuma.
Choji: Clove-like hamon pattern.
Chokokushi: An engraver. Same as horimonoshi.
Chukan sori: Deepest point in sori is in the middle.
Chumon mei: Name of the person who placed an order for a sword to be made.
Chumon-uchi: Items made to order.
Chusuguba: Medium width suguba.
Chuzori: See chukan sori.
Daitsuke: Price assigned by Honami Ke in the early Tokugawa period.
Deki: A generic term meaning “done”. For example, “America deki no” is made in America. Nioi deki is hamon in which nioi is prominent, or is nioi alone. Deki can also just mean the overall quality of work or results. “Deki no yoi” can mean good results, or good workmanship, depending on context.
Dohai: Contemporary. See Gohai and Senpai.
Dokko: See Tokko.
Dokkoken: Engraving of a ken with a dokko beneath it.
Dot: (Pronounced TEN) The short strokes in the kanji, as opposed to LINES. Not a true “dot” in the English sense of the word.
Dozen: Smiths who are contemporary and similar, such as father and son, teacher and pupil, etc.
Fudo Myoo: Buddhist God of War.
Fukai: Generally means deep, but can sometimes be interpreted as being wide. For example, nie fukai means that the nie line on the hamon is wide.
Fukame: To be made thick, as in nioi or nie. The word FUKAI has been made into a verb form. As another example, TAKAI is high, and TAKAME is to make high.
Fukura: Cutting edge near tip. Extends from the YOKOTE line to the KISSAKI.
Fukura kareru: The fukura is rather flat, and not fully rounded.
Fukuro: Bag. Sometimes elements of the hamon are bag-shaped, and this is referred to as fukuro.
Fukuro yari: A yari which has a sleeve-like base, much like the mounting device on a shovel, into which the pole is fitted, rather than a nakago which fits into the pole.
Funbari: Blade is noticeably wider at the base than at the tip. Another meaning is that the first few inches above the habaki are wider than the rest of the blade.
Fushi: Pointed knot-like breaks in suguba. The FUSHI in bamboo are the joints between the sections.
Futasujibi: Two grooves side by side.
Gakumei: Mei enclosed in a frame, usually used to transfer mei from old nakago to the new one when a sword was shortened. This was also used to make gisaku blades, wherein perhaps the original blade was no longer any good, and the mei was removed, or a gimei was made, and the gakumai used to further mislead the unwary.
Gassaku: Something made jointly by two or more people.
Gimei: False signature.
Gisaku: Item intentionally made as a counterfeit.
Go: Professional name, pen name, etc. For example, my Go in a poetry chanting group is AFU.
Gohai: Junior classman. See Senpai.
-gokoro: A hint of whatever precedes, for example, notare-gokoro is a hint of notare.
Gomabashi: Grooves which look like a pair of chopsticks.
Gonome: Half round patterns in the hamon, like a row of half discs.
Gonome midare: Irregular gonome.
Gonome tsuranaku: I think it means the opposite of the next term. In other words, that the gonome is no continuous, and is broken up in sections.
Gonome tsure: I think it means that the gonome is continuous, instead of being broken up in sections.
Goto: Katana of around three shaku in length.
Gunome: See Gonome.
Gyaku: The reverse of anything, or opposition to something. In general terms, the reverse of whatever is normal, but when used in applications to something which is normally vertical, this is pronounced Saka. In the case of choji and ashi, this is read as saka, and means that the choji or ashi are slanted, or in opposition to the tip.
Gyo no kurikara: A kurikara carved in a style which is between the SHIN, or standard, and the SO, or arabesque style. The three styles are referred to as shin-gyo-so.
Gyobutsu Tohaku Meito Oshigata: Oshigata of Famous Swords of the Imperial Properties of the Tokyo Museum. Tohaku is an abbreviation for Tokyo Hakubutsukan or Tokyo Museum.
Ha: A group or clique.
ha: Hardened edge of the blade, the cutting edge.
Ha agari: Type of nakago end. Slants up (agari) towards the ha.
Ha shizumu: Hamon is indistinct and difficult to see, has sort of a watery appearance.
Habaki moto: Section of the blade for about three inches above the habaki.
Hada arai: Rough grain of the hada.
Hadatachi: Grain in the hada stands out, looking like the raised grain in a piece of wood, but it is not actually raised.
Habuchi: Borderline between the ji and the yakiba.
Habuchi hotsure: Stray lines between the ji and the yakiba.
Habuchi shimari: Very fine habuchi.
Hadaka nie: “Naked nie”, a nie which has a black luster.
Hadamono: The opposite of mujitetsu, in that there is a pattern in the hada, but even more, such a pattern is ostentatiously outstanding. It is also called YAKUMO GITAE or clustered clouds kitae, since hadamono sometimes has a negative connotation. Was used by some smiths in forgeries of Soshu works. (Token Bijutsu, English Publication, Summer 1983)
Hahaba: Width of the hamon. See also YAKIHABA.
Hairyu: Crawling dragon.
Hakikake: Swept. See boshi hakkake.
Hakkake: Swept. See Boshi hakkake.
Hako ha: Box-like hamon.
Haramairyu: Dragon wrapped around a sword with its body away from the sword.
Haki omote: The side facing out when the sword is slung ha down, as with a tachi.
Haki ura: The side facing in when the sword is slung ha down, as with a tachi.
Hakomidare: Irregular box-like hamon.
Hamune: The edge of the nakago on the ha side, unlikely to have rust re-applied in the event of tampering with the nakago.
Han: A feudal clan.
Ha-saki: The edge of the blade.
Ha shizumu: Indistinct hamon.
Hatahoko: A flag wrapped around a halberd.
Hatetsu: Steel of the ha portion of the blade.
Hidarite sagari: Yasurime slanting down to the left.
Higaki: Cross hatched pattern throughout the yasurime, representing a rock wall.
Hikari: Light reflections.
Hinohada: Sections in the hada in which white can be seen.
Hiraniku: Portion of the blade surface between the shinogi suji and the hamon. “Hira” means flat, but if the hiraniku is flat, instead of being bulged or rounded, it is referred to as “no hiraniku”.
Hiraniku ochite: The same as hiraniku sukunai.
Hiraniku oi: Hiraniku is curved or full.
Hiraniku sukunai: The hiraniku is flat.
Hiroi suguba: Wide suguba. Sometimes the “I” is not written, especially in older books, and is written hirosuguba.
Hitatsura: Full temper.
Honbamono: The “real McCoy”. See honmono.
Honmono: A genuine article, the real thing. Also refers to an article that was made where it originated. For example, a Pennsylvania rifle made by a man from Pennsylvania, but living in Chicago, cannot be a Honmono. It must be made in Pennsylvania in the traditional manner.
Hori do saku: Horimono was made by the same person that made the sword.
Hori do tsukuru: Horimono was made by the same person that made the sword.
Hori mei: Mei of the person who made the horimono.
Horimonoshi: Carving specialist.
Hososuguba: Narrow suguba. Also hosoi suguba.
Hotsure: Stray lines along the hamon.
Ichimai boshi: The whole boshi is tempered.
Ichimon: The common way of writing MON, or school, in Japanese. Since the Japanese language does not have plurals, this could be one or a thousand.
Ikubi: Ikubi kissaki, which is stout, resembling a boar’s neck, with a straight edge.
Inazuma: literally, lightning. Perhaps best described as short jagged streaks of kinsuji.
Inokubi: See Ikubi above.
Iri: Broadly speaking, means in or insert. Ashi iri means with ashi inserted.
Irigushi: means “entrance” as opposed to deguchi for “exit” used in public and commercial buildings.
Itame: Wood grain pattern in the surface steel.
Itame nagareru: When the entire hada of itame kitae is flowing (nagareru) with a hint of masame, this is called itame nagareru.
Itame tachi: Distinct itame pattern having a raised look.
Itame tsumi: Tight itame pattern.
Ji: It can be seen from context whether this refers to the ji of the blade or is the common term used for one or more Chinese characters.
Jiba: Abbreviated term meaning both the ji and the ha. Note that the “h” becomes a “b”.
Jidai gimei: Gimei made about the same time as the genuine article.
Jidai nise: A counterfeit that was made during the era of the targeted smith.
Jifu: Black speckling resembling utsuri in the ji.
Jinan: Second son. The first ji means “next”, and the second means “male”.
Jitetsu: Steel of the ji.
Jizo boshi: Boshi pattern resembling the head of Jizo.
Juka: Reheated or retempered blade. Kanji are different than those of the next term.
Juka choji: Double choji. The ji for ka, means flower, and when used alone is pronounced “hana”.
Jumonji: Cross shaped.
Junin mei: Mei which includes the kanji for JUNIN, meaning “resident of”.
Juzu ha: Hamon shaped like a monk’s prayer beads. Also, juzuba.
Kaeri-taoreru: Fallen kaeri. See Kaeri-yoru.
Kaeri-yoru: Leaning kaeri. The turnback in the boshi dips towards the ha, making the boshi appear as if it is falling over, like a crumpled tall silk hat.
Kaerunoko choji: See kawazunoko.
Kagami-gane: Mirror like metal in the hada. See mujitetsu.
Kahyo: A gate to a shrine. When used to describe the sori, it is pronounced TORII, and is, of course, the chu-sori.
Kaisho: Printing style of writing, kanji are easily recognized.
Kaishomei: Mei in square style writing, approaching printing in appearance.
Kakinagashi hi: Groove which goes past the machi, but does not extend to the nakajiri.
Kakitoshi hi: Groove which extends all the way to the nakagojiri, and is open at the end.
Kakubari gonome: Squarish gonome. See hako ha.
Kakubari sakagokoro: Squarish, with a slight angularity.
Kakubari: When referring to the saki of a nakago, it means that the sides are not tapered, common in Bizen blades. See also Sakibari, Shippari.
Kakudome: Square stop on a groove.
Kani botan: Crab peony, which is a flower sometimes found engraved on nakago.
Kani no tsume: Hamon pattern which resembles a crab claw.
Kantei: Studying (kan) a sword, and making a decision (tei) as to its provenance.
Kanteika: One who judges, or does the “kantei” of swords.
Kao: A special type of signature, used like a seal, and which often looks like a picture. Commonly used on tsuba and kantei certificates, occasionally appears on swords.
Karakusa: Arabesque. Literally, the Kara is the kanji for Tang China, and the Kusa is grass. Frequently written with only the “KUSA”, in which case it is pronounced “SO”, as in SO NO RYU, or dragon carved in arabesque.
Kasagi sori: Same as chu-kan sori or tori sori.
Kasane: Cross section at the outer edge of the mune.
Kasane usui: Thin kasane.
Kashira: The heads of the choji in choji ha, or the cap on the tsuka.
Kata ikari: Square shouldered. For example, when the change from the ha to the fukura is abrupt, this is kata ikari. Kata nagare, or slope shouldered, is the opposite of this.
Katai: Tight or hard.
Katakiriba: Blades sharpened on one side only.
Katakiribori: Groove engraved with a flat border on just one side of it, as opposed to being in the middle of the ji with a border on both sides.
Katana hi: Groove that is shaped like a katana.
Katana mei: Application of the maker’s name on the side facing you when the sword is held pointing up with the ha to the left.
Kataochi gonome: Sawtooth shaped hamon. Literally, “drooping shoulder”.
Katte agari: Yasurime slanting up to the right.
Katte sagari: Yasurime slanting down to the right.
Kawazunoko choji: Choji which looks like tadpoles. Also called kawazuko or kaerunoko choji. “Kawazu” and “kaeru” are accepted pronunciations for the kanji for “frog”, and “ko” is “child”.
Kebori: Engraving using very fine lines. Ke means hair.
Kei: System or line. Can refer to familial line or guild line.
Keito: See Kei.
Keisohei: Lightly equipped soldiers, light infantry.
Kenmakiryu: Dragon wrapped around a sword. See Kurikara.
Kensaku: A kind of rope originally used for hunting. In Buddhist terminology, the means of capturing and taming evils. See also Sakujo.
Kerai: Retainer, vassal. Now then, SHIN, which also means retainer, refers to the Chief Retainer or Minister, and I have rendered this kanji as KERAI. This is an error on my part in pronunciation, but not in meaning.
Kijimomo: Pheasant’s thigh shaped nakago.
Kikusui ha: Hamon which has an appearance of flowers floating on a stream. Sometimes requires a bit of imagination to see.
Kinaibori: This refers to the engraving done for Echizen Yasutugu by Kinai. This does not refer to the part of Japan called Kinai.
Kindai: Recent times, as opposed to present day, or GENDAI. For the sword study purposes, 1935 is KINDAI, 1965 is GENDAI, when we are making these distinctions. This is a very subjective term. After all, 1935 and 1965 are in the same DAI, or era, of Showa.
Kinsuji: Whitish golden line in the hamon or yakiba.
Kinzogan: Gold inlay. Appraisal mei by the Honma family are in kinzogan.
Kiri aji or kirimi: Feeling of sharpness.
Kitae: Structure of the blade itself due to the manner of forging which is evidenced by the jitetsu, such as itame, mokume, and so on.
Kiri: In reference to yasurime, horizontal file marks; in reference to the nakagojiri, straight across. Kiri means cut, and things are usually cut straight across, hence the name.
Kiritsuke mei: A mei which replaces the mei when the nakago is osuriage, and in effect, the person who signs as having done the shortening is certifying that it was the original mei.
Ko-: In this translation, denotes early. The kanji means ‘old’.
ko-: In this translation, denotes small. Note that it begins with the lower case ‘k’, except when the whole word is capitalized.
ko-ashi: Little ashi.
Ko-Bizen: Early Bizen.
Koburi: A smaller size person, item or characteristic in a grouping.
Kobuse: Construction in which soft steel is covered by hard steel.
Kobushigata: Fist-like. Refers to a hamon in which the valleys of the choji are clustered like knuckle bones.
Kodai: later generation. Sometimes it seems to be used in the text to denote last generation, since it is referring to a particular person, while at other times later generation seems to be more appropriate.
Koi: Thick. Can also be read ATSUI, but ATSUI can also mean hot, depending on the ji that is used.
Ko-gonome choji: Small gonome with choji.
Ko-gonome midare: Irregular small gonome.
Ko-jimarishita tanto: Small tanto which is just as functional as a large one.
Kokon Kaji Biko: Registry of kaji, both ancient and modern, published in Bunsei 13 (1830). Kokon means ancient and modern, or roughly, all times.
Kokuji: Kanji carved in the blade.
Kokuji: Kanji which originated in Japan.
Ko-maru agari: The tip of the ko-maru boshi is near the point of the blade.
Ko-maru sagari: The tip of the ko-maru boshi is well away from point of the blade.
Komeikan: Abbreviation for the name of a book on swordsmiths, or possibly, refers to old meikans in general.
Ko-midare: Literally, small irregularities.
Konuka hada: Hada with a grainy appearance like rice bran and rice germ produced in milling rice.
Kosaku: Made in the koto period.
Koshi: When referring to the blade, the area a few inches above the machi.
Koshi: When referring to the hamon, the slope between the peaks and valleys.
Koshiba: Hamon in the area a few inches above the ha machi.
Koshi no hiraita gonome: Slope between the peaks and valleys of the hamon is long.
Koshizori: The highest part of the sori is towards the koshi.
Koto Meijin Taizen: Complete list of Koto Signatures, sometimes abbreviated as Taizen.
Kozumi: Claws, a type of horimono.
Kozumu: Not sure, but I think it means smallish.
Kudariryu: Dragon going down the sword. In other words, the head of the dragon is towards the machi.
Kuichigai ha: Hamon line is broken crisscross lines of nie and nioi nibbled away. The more common ji of KUI, which also means eat, is sometimes used, since it is acquired more easily when using a word processor.
Kuni: In sword terminology, province. Also means country, such as Japan, China, U.S., etc. In the old days in Japan, each Kuni operated to some extent as independent states. Also read as KOKU, as in Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States Period.
Kurikara: Dragon and sword. Also called Kenmakiryu, meaning dragon wrapped around a sword.
Kusa kurikara: Arabesque style of kurihara horimono. See Karakusa. Also read as So no Kurikara.
Kasamura nie: Nie clustered together.
Kuzure: Breaking up, such as an interrupted yakiba.
Kyogokaji: Five principle kaji of Kyoto.
Machi: Division between the nakago and the blade itself, characterized by the stepped sections at the ha and mune.
Machimune: Back edge of the machi, which are unlikely to have rust re-applied in the event of tampering with the nakago. Can be written with any of the above ji for MACHI.
Machi okuri: Machi has been redone and moved up slightly.
Majiri: Mixed. Choji ni gonome majiri means gonome mixed in choji.
Marudome: Round stop on a groove.
Marumi: A touch of roundness.
Masa: Used as short for masame.
Masame: Straight grain pattern in the steel on the surface of the blade.
Masame nagareru: When the entire hada of masame kitae is flowing (nagareru), this is called masame nagareru.
Matsukawa hada: Hada resembling pine bark.
Matsukuizuru: Crane eating a pine branch.
Meibun: The inscription in the mei in total, as opposed to just individual kanji.
Meigirishi: People who specialized in inscribing mei.
Meiji: Nengo of Meiji period (1868-1912). Also, the name of the Emperor during that period.
meiji: Kanji of the mei.
Meikan: Encyclopedia about people, literally, “name list”, such as “Toko Meikan”, for list of swordsmiths.
Meito: Famous swords.
Midare: Irregular. This kanji by itself can also mean war, rebellion or other disturbance.
Midare koshiba: Fancy patterns for a few inches above the ha machi.
Midareba: Irregular ha.
Midare ha: See midareba.
Midarekomi: Same as midare.
Mihaba: Blade body width.
Mishina boshi: Boshi with hakikake and a slight tarumi (slack) in the ha side.
Moshitetsu: High quality pieces of the crushed steel made from the raw iron. Produced in the Tohoku (Northeast) district.
Moji: Writing, also pronounced monji. In the context of swords, this refers to kanji engravings on the blade which are in the ordinary type of script, rather than the BONJI, which are specific religious characters.
Mokume: Burl wood grain hada.
Mokutachi: Mokume which stands out with a raised look. This is an abbreviated way of saying “mokume hada tatsu”.
Mon: A formal school with an actual physical location. The ji MON means gate, and you must enter the gate to go in the school.
Mon: Family crest.
Monji: See Moji.
Mono uchi: The section of the blade about six inches below the tip. “Mono” is “thing” and “uchi” is strike, so the mono-uchi is the part of the sword which imparts the blow.
Moroha: Double edged.
Moto-uchi: Area of the ha near the base.
Moto choji: Choji ha at the base.
Motte: With, by, of. Motte nanban tetsu saku means “made of nanban tetsu”.
Muji-gane: See mujitetsu.
Mujitetsu: No grain in the ji.
Muku kitae: Made of one kind of steel.
Munenagabori: Not sure of this, but I believe it refers to a style of horimono which was originated by Munenaga.
Musori: No sori.
Nado: And so on, etc., the like, and other vague terms which include any meaning of anything similar to the aforementioned which I may have forgotten. It also means that whatever is under discussion is not necessarily the specifically mentioned item, but could be one similar to that. An essential word for ending any listing of anything in Japanese, which covers the writer in any eventuality of omission or in-exact description.
Nakago: Tang of the blade. The second kanji actually means stem, and in ordinary Japanese is pronounced differently. There are various other terms which mean grip, center, handle center, etc., which have their own pronunciations but some of which, when used in a sword context are pronounced nakago.
Nakagojiri: Tang end. SHIRI is also the term used for buttocks, and when used within another word, as in this case, the “shi” becomes “ji”.
Nagamei: Long mei. There seems to be no clear cut definition as to how long it must be before it becomes a “nagamei”.
Nagare: Style or line, and was followed by someone who was not necessarily a part of the Mon or Ha under discussion. When the RE is not present, it is pronounced RYU.
Naginata hi: So called because it usually appears on naginata.
Naginata naoshi: Sword made by grinding down a naginata. In this case, the boshi is frequently yakizume.
Nanban: Southern barbarians, the Europeans. So called because they came up from the south (MINAMI or NAN) from China.
Nancho: Southern Dynasty during the Nanbokucho Jidai.
Nashiji hada: Hada which resembles pear skin in appearance.
Nendai: Age, epoch, period.
Nenki: Date inscription.
Nengo: Era name.
Nenrei: Age of the Maker at the time the sword was made.
Nezumi ashsi: Rat’s feet. Small numerous ashi.
Nidan Ha: Double hamon line.
Nie deki: Hamon that is composed principally of nie.
Nie-fukai or fukaku: Thick nie line on the hamon.
Nihonbi: Double grooves. NI is two, HON is a counter for long slender objects, and BI is a form of the word HI for groove.
Niji: Two kanji.
Nijuba: Double hamon.
Ninkanmei: Official title, such as Kami, Daijo, etc.
Nioi deki: Hamon that is composed principally of nioi.
Nioi fukaku: Wide nioi line on the hamon. Also written nioi fukai, depending on the grammatical location in the sentence.
Nioiguchi: The part of nioi line next to the ji.
Nioiguchi shimari: Very fine nioi line.
Nioi kuchi: See Nioiguchi.
Nioi saeru: Nioi line is clear. See SAERU.
Nioi shimari: Very fine nioi line.
Nioi shimaritaru: See nioi shimari.
Nioi shimaru: See nioi shimari.
Nioi shizumu: Nioi line is indistinct. SHIZUMU means to sink.
Nippon Koto Shi: History of old period swords of Japan.
Nippon Sansaku: The three greatest swordsmiths of Japan, a ranking conferred by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Nisemono: Counterfeit, a spurious item.
Nobi: Extended. Often refers to longer size than ordinary.
Noboriryu: Ascending dragon. In other words, the head of the dragon is towards the saki.
Nokogiri ha: Sawtooth ha, also read nokoha.
Nokoha: Sawtooth shaped hamon. Also see kataochi gonome.
Notare: Wavy hamon line.
Nukitagane: That portion of the stroke of a ji just before the stroke ends which usually appears as a triangular mark at the end of the line. Also see atari.
Nusa: Shinto offering of cloth, rope or cut paper. This is the shape of the nakago known as Goheigata, which looks sort of like the outline of an inverted pagoda.
Nyusatsu: To tender a bid. In the case of kantei, it is to offer a written opinion as to whom the maker is.
O-: A prefix maining large.
O-choji: large choji.
Oite: At. Oite Tokyo means at Tokyo, and would actually be read as “Tokyo ni oite”.
O-hada: Hada with large and loose grain structure.
Orikaeshi mei: A mei in which the original nakago is cut and folded back when a blade is shortened in order to save the original mei. Can also be used by clever counterfeiters.
Osoraku zukuri: Tanto form in which the yokote is at about the middle of the blade.
O-sujigai: Yasurime which is at steep angle to the nakago. Also pronounced o-sujichigai.
O-tawa: Large bow or curve line.
Rakugaki: Writing which is scribbled or carelessly done.
Rendai: Lotus pedestal for a horimono.
Rin: One tenth of a bu. 2 bu 3 rin may sometimes be written as 2.3 bu.
Ryochiribi: A groove which is engraved so that an equal amount of flat area is left remaining on both sides in the flat part of the shinogi.
-Ryu: The same as nagare above, but it is written slightly different in Japanese. For example, Osaka-Ryu, but Osaka no nagare. The former does not have the kana for “no” interposed, and the kana for RE does not follow the kanji for NAGA. There is no difference in meaning.
Ryutachi: Grains stand out. RYU means grains, as in sand.
Sabishii: See samishii.
Saeru: Clear and distinct. This word has strong poetic force, and is best described as “the appearance of the moon on a clear, cold autumn night”. It is so clear that it gives you chills. Saeru can also mean “the way something is supposed to look”. For instance, if a person has been hospitalized for some time, their facial complexion is not “saeru”.
Saka ashi: Slanted ashi.
Saka choji: Slanted choji.
Sakame: Upside down yasurime, in other words, katte agari yasurime, which is the opposite of katte sagari, considered to be the normal direction.
Saki: Tip, front, or end, depending on context. For example, it can refer to the point of the blade, the edge of the ha, or, as in the case of the Shinto volume, it is usually used as the term for the nakagojiri.
Sakumei: Mei of the smith who made the sword. Basically, the same as mei.
Saki agari: The tip of the boshi is near the point of the blade. This can also refer to the tip of a hi, or groove, engraved in the blade.
Saki sagari: The tip of the boshi is well away from point of the blade. This can also refer to the tip of a hi, or groove, engraved in the blade.
Sakibari: When referring to the saki of a nakago, it means that the sides are not tapered, common in Bizen blades. See also Kakubari, Shippari.
Sakizori: The highest part of the sori is towards the saki.
Sakujo: A kind of rope originally used for hunting. In Buddhist terminology, the means of capturing and taming evils. See also Kensaku.
Samishii: Sparse additional features showing in the hamon, such as very few choji in suguba. Means subdued, sad, melancholy, lonely and so on, and is the opposite of exuberant. Also pronounced sabishii.
Samoji: Kanji written in their mirror image. Said to be due to the smith being left handed. It has been suggested to me that perhaps the smith was illiterate, and copied the kanji given to him by the priest from the wrong side of the paper. Who Knows?
Samonji: See Samoji above.
Sanji: Three kanji.
Sankoken: Sanko tsukakan. Engraving of a sword with Bhuddist Vajra handle.
Sashi omote: The side facing out when the sword is worn ha up, as with a katana. A blade with mei on the sashi omote is signed katana mei.
Sashi ura: The side facing in when the sword is worn ha up, as with a katana. A blade with mei on the sahi ura is signed tachi mei.
Satetsu: Sand iron, iron made from black sand.
Sen: A cutting tool for metal, possibly a drawbar. The marks left by its use are called sensuki yasuri, which are yasurime that are longitudinally parallel to the nakago. Said to take great skill to do properly.
Sengoku Jidai: Warring States Period in Japanese history. Specifically, 1490-1600.
Senpai: A term which can mean upperclassman, lead worker, or any other terms in which one person is more experienced or skilled than another, but who is not a sensei. The opposite is GOHAI.
Sensuki: Yasurime that is parallel to longitudinal axis of the blade. Said to require great skill.
Shaku: A unit of measure, which is slightly less than 1 foot.
Shimari: Generally means tight or restricted. Nioi shimari means a narrow nioi line.
Shimi: The color of the steel fading, usually due to over polishing. It also sometimes appeared in the original ha of some famous smiths in the Koto period.
Shinae: Cross-wise cracks in a blade.
Shin, Gyo, So: Basically, this denotes three styles of something. For example, MITSU MUNE is called SHIN NO MUNE, IORI MUNE is called GYO NO MUNE and MARU MUNE is called SO NO MUNE. Also, the three styles of KURIKARA are called SHIN, GYO, and SO.
Shingane: Core steel.
Shingi: real or false? From shinmei and gimei.
Shinmei: Genuine mei. Also called Shoshinmei.
Shin no kurikara: Style of carving. Is the most life-like, if you accept the idea of “life-like” dragons.
Shinogi suji: Shinogi line.
Shinogizukuri: Made with a shinogi, as opposed to a flat, or hirazukuri blade.
Shippari: When referring to the saki of a nakago, it means that the sides are not tapered, common in Bizen blades. See also Kakubari, Sakibari.
Shirake utsuri: Utsuri which has faint whitish or cloudy appearance.
Shirazomi: Whitishness. I am not exactly sure as to where this appears.
Shodai: First generation.
Soebi: Additional hi alongside main hi which is smaller than the main hi.
Soemei: Additional mei or inscription. As you might guess, Soe means additional.
So no Kurikara: Dragon wrapped around a sword, carved in Arabesque.
Shobuzukuri: Blade construction in which the blade resembles the iris leaf in shape.
Soshomei: Mei in grass writing. Very difficult to read without special studies.
Sotoba gata: A nakago shape which resembles the sotoba, or grave marker, in outline.
Sudareba: Rattan blind shaped lines along the hamon.
Sugata: Form, body. Implies more than just shape, so as to include overall appearance.
Sugu: In this book, this is used as short for suguba. Sugu is also another reading for the kanji for straight.
Suguba: Straight hamon.
Sugu choji: Suguba with choji.
Subuga fushi hamon: Jointed suguba. In the case of suguba, when the joints in the hamon are pointed towards the ji, the quality is not too good. See FUSHI.
Sugu ha: See suguba.
Sugu hotsure: Suguba with strays.
Sugu ko-midare: Suguba with ko-midare.
Sugu nijuba: Double suguba.
Sugu yakidashi: Suguba for the first inch or so up from the Hamachi.
Sujichigai: See sujigai below.
Sujigai: Yasurime which is at angle to the nakago. Literally, “different lines”.
Sumi: Small black splotches.
Sun: A unit of measure, which is about 1.2 inches. 10 sun equals 1 shaku, which is about 1 foot.
Sunagashi: Literally, flowing sand. A pattern in the hamon. More properly pronounced sunanagashi.
Sun-nobi: Longer than average. Stretch limousines are sun-nobi.
Sun-zumari: Slightly shorter than average.
Suriage mei: Signature of the smith who shortened the sword.
Tabagatana: Mass produced swords. TABA or SOKU means bundle.
Tachi: When referring to hada, this means that whatever pattern there is in the hada stands out clearly. A literal meaning is “stand up”. Can also form the word “dachi” when joined with a preceding word.
Tagane: Punch or chisel. This can also refer to the marks made by the punch or chisel, and this is usually clear from the context.
Tagane kizami: Mark made with a chisel or punch.
Tagane makura: The metal which is raised around a punch mark.
Takanoha: Hawk’s feather, or the yasurime pattern resembling hawk’s feathers.
Takenokozori: Small sori at the tip which resembles a bamboo shoot, or takenoko, in shape.
Tamagaki ha: Ha which resembles the pattern of a stone wall.
Tamayaki: Cannot find a definition, but I would assume it is round TOBIYAKI.
Tameshimei: Cutting test mei.
Tani: See valley.
Tansotetsu: Carbon steel.
Tatsu: To stand up or to stand out. This is the verb form of “tachi”. Mokume tatsu means the mokume appears to be raised up.
Tekuse: The manner of using the hands, as is evidenced by the inscription style, yasurime nado.
Tobiyaki: islands of temper pattern in the ji, also called yo, or leaves.
Togari: Pointed. Also refers to the shape of the boshi.
Togari-gokoro: A hint of togari.
Togari ha: Sharp pointed patterns in the ha.
Togari ha-gokoro: Hint of togari ha.
Tokensho: Books on Japanese Swords.
Tokko: A type of sword from India used as Horimono.
Tosho: Master swordsmith.
Tsukurikomi: Generally speaking, the overall construction of the swords in regard to shape, as opposed to the type of ji, hada, and such.
Uruoi: Watery looking.
Uchigatana: Two handed fighting sword.
Uchi no ke: Small moon shaped patterns of nie in the hamon.
Uchitagane: See atari tagane above.
Ura nenki: Date inscription on the ura, or back of the nakago.
Urumi-gokoro: Watery looking hamon. Misty. See also HA SHIZUMU.
Utsuri: “Reflections” in the ji. These may or may not be the same as the hamon. They get their names from their resemblance to a hamon pattern, such as midare utsuri. However, a straight utsuri is referred to as bo utsuri.
Uzumaki: Swirl, like the patterns in burl wood.
Valley: When referring to the choji of a hamon, this is just the opposite of what you might think. It refers to the section which is nearest to the edge of the blade, and not the section towards the ji.
Yahazu: Hamon pattern resembling arrow notches.
Yakaji: Not sure, but I think it is just a country blacksmith.
Yakemi: Burned sword. “Yake” is burn, “mi” is body.
Yakiba shizumi: See ha shizumu.
Yakidashi: Portion of hamon two or three inches above the base.
Yakigashira: Heads on the hamon pattern on the ji side of the hamon.
Yakihaba: Width of the tempered portioni. See also HAHABA.
Yakikomi: The hamon of the yakidashi goes in toward the shinogi.
Yaki kuzure: The hamon is not even and there are breaks in it, such as the hamon running out to the edge of the blade, or picture what a choji ha would look like if the blade was polished away too much. Kuzure means crumbled.
Yaki otoshi: Hamon runs out into the ha saki an inch or so before the ha machi. Otoshi means “to drop”, thus the yakiba is “dropped”.
Yakisageru: The tip of the boshi is way down from the kissaki. This can also mean that the return on the boshi goes way down the mune. Pictures help a lot in this case.
Yakisomi: I cannot find a definition for this, or even be sure this is the proper pronunciation. However, “yaki” is burn, and ”somi” can mean to dye or discolor, and this may refer to either heat discoloration or loss of the hamon in a section due to excessive heat.
Yakumo-gitae: See hadamono.
Yanone: Arrowhead. Incidentally, “NE” means root, and I guess the head becomes the root if it is buried in someone.
Yasuri: File. Also, this is commonly used as an abbreviation for YASURIME, which is obvious from the context of the sentence in which it is used.
Yasurime: File marks.
Yakiba: Tempered surface along the edge. The hamon is the line between this and the ji.
Yakizume: Boshi line with no turnback. This is characteristic of a naginata which has been reshaped into a katana, but does not necessarily mean that this was done.
Yo: Small patterns in the hamon which look like leaves.
Yodomi: Stagnation. In the case of swords, this refers to a step formed by the meeting of the two holes drilled from both sides to make the makugi ana.
Yokote: Line separating the point from the rest of the blade.
Yotetsu: Western steel.
Yowai: Weak. Also, 5 sun yowai means a little less than 5 sun.
Yubashiri: Concentrated nie in sections of the ji.
Zaimei: Has a mei, the opposite of mumei.
Zanguri: Coarse pear skin-like hada.
Zokumei: A name of the smith in addition to his regularly used name, for example, HIKOBEINOJO SUKESADA.
-zukuri: This is the spelling taken on by ‘tsukuri’ and denotes that the object being discussed was made in the manner of the preceding word, such as hirazukuri – made flat.
-zumi: Piled up or packed tightly. “Tsumi” becomes “zumi” when joined with a preceding word.