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JAPANESE SAMURAI SWORD TSUBAS -
This section of the website provides information about the Samurai sword Tsuba. This is a part of the sword located at the junction point between the handle and the blade. refer to the sword anatomy section for further information.

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The Tsuba Anatomy is outlined in the following photo. This is a Maru Gata type tsuba, which is round in shape and the most commonly available.



A different design of Tsuba has a couple different features that are explained in the image below.





TSUBA PART NAME DESCRIPTION
Seppa-dai This is the area around the Nakago-ana. It is normally kidney shaped. If the Tsuba is signed, this is the most likely place where the signature would be placed.
Kogai Hitsu-ana Decorative opening on one side of the Tsuba. Round shape with a protrusion on one side .
Nakago-ana This is the opening where the blade of the sword goes through. This is normally the largest opening found.
Hozuka Hitsu-ana This is the area around the Nakago-ana. It is normally kidney shaped.
Mimi This is the rim of the Tsuba.
Sukashi The Sukashi are ornamental cuts applied to the Tsuba. Some of the designs involve multiple openings to the body of the Tsuba. Such pieces are known as Sukashi tsubas.
Sekigane The sekigane was a very popular way in which to adorn the Tsuba. The technique consisted of carving out designs and filling them up with gold color material. Some of the designs were basic shapes. In other cases the adornations took on the form of known figures such as flowers, animals, etc.


The manufacturing of Tsubas requires great craftsmanship. There were individuals who were dedicated specifically to their manufacturing. These individuals were artists. In some cases the swordsmith would make his own Tsubas.

A grading system exists for rating Tsubas.



RANKING NAME DESCRIPTION
1 Meijin Superior master. This is the highest grade available. Known as AAAA.
2 Meiko Great master. This grade ios known as AAA.
3 Joko Excellent artist. Also known as AA.
4 Ryoko Good artist. this is the lowest grade available. Also known as "A".


The Tsubas can be divided by their type of shape. The following is a list of some of the categories.



Adi Gata
Standard Tsuba for Japanese
Army during WWII.
Maru Gata
Round shape Tsuba.
Mokko Gata
Four smooth leaves tsuba.


The following photos are examples of some of the Tsubas found in the Samurai swords. The Tsubas shown here represent swords employed by different branches of the service as well as civilian swords.



The tsuba featured here is the traditioanl miltary fitting employed by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. A large percentage of the swords that were brought back by the GI's when returning home were outfitted withi this style of fitting.

This shape of Tsuba is known as the "Adi Gata". It is manufactured from iron.






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This Samurai Sword may be currently reproduced. It is becoming more difficult to be able to tell the fake ones from the real ones because the quality of the reproductions is improving. The collector must become familiarized with the construction style and materials employed in the manufacturing of this item. Attention to the details is critical in order to be able to determine the authenticity of the collectible.



If you have an interest is seeing other Japanese Samurai swords, you can do so by going to our Japanese Samurai Swords Price Guide identification guide. Where we cover Samurai swords from all periods.



 
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