Nihontô (Japanese Samurai Sword)

Tantô blade in wooden storage scabbard (shira-saya)
Produced during the early Edo period (1603 to 1868)
(Mino Tradition Sue-Seki School)

Last updated: 9 April 2017

I have included both English and equivalent romanized Japanese (rômaji) sword related terminology (in bold brown type) which I hope will be of assistance to those who are unfamiliar with Nihontô.

Primary references used throughout this page:

Blade made by Kanekado of Seki, Mino (Noshu) Province.

This is a short sword blade (tantô) housed in a wooden storage scabbard (shira-saya) and inscribed with a kanji attribution (sayagaki). I bought this sword from Fred Weissberg, renowned Nihontô dealer, researcher and author, several years ago. He noted: ".......... It is in an old but good polish with no rust or problems of any kind .........."

Overall shape

The blade shape (sugata) and length is typical for tantô of this school. The length (nagasa) is 28.5 cm (11.25"). The width of the blade (mihaba) is 2.2 cm (.87") and the blade is thin in cross-section (kô-kasane).

It is a straight blade with slight inward curvature (uchizori) toward the point (kissaki).

It is flat (hira-zukuri) without a ridge line (shinogi) or point dividing line (yokote). The back ridge (mune) is peaked (iori). The blade retaining collar (habaki) is overlaid with silver foil.

Blade surface grain and pattern
Activity (hataraki)

The surface grain (jihada) is tight wood burl (kô-mokume).
Magnified photograph of section.

Blade edge temper pattern
Activity (hataraki)

The temper line pattern (hamon) is narrow straight (hoso-suguha) with a soft nioi (very fine martensite) edge. The point (kissaki) temper line (boshi) terminates in a small circle (komaru). The point shape is medium (chû-kissaki). Photo by Fred Weissberg - used by permission.


The tang (nakago) is unaltered (ubu) with one mounting hole (mekugi-ana). The shape is standard (futsu) and the butt shape (nakagojiri) is like a chestnut (kurijiri). The smith's signature (mei) is on the omote. The file marks on the tang (yasuri-me) are plane-drawing (sen-suki).

The Kanekado who made this tantô was one of a long line of sword smiths (kaji) by that name from Mino Province.

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