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The Japanese SAMURAI SWORD TANG - This page is dedicated to the study of the Samurai Sword blade tang. The different aspects of its construction are discussed here. Several photos and drawings are provided to facilitate its understanding.

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The tang is the end of the blade opposite to the point. Its promary function is to provide a place where the handle of the sword can be attached. The tang of the Samurai sword contains a good amount of information regarding the date, swordsmith, school/village and construction of the blade. It is important to note that not all of this information may be found at one time in every blade. Some tangs will contain less information than others.



TANG SHAPES (NAKAGO)

The tangs of the Samurai swords came in a variety of shapes. The following photographs feature some of the shapes. It is important to note that these are not all of the shapes that existed. The Japanese term to describe the shape is Nakago.

The following section shows pictures of the tangs and also provides a graphical interpretation as a means to provide a different way in which to look at the shape of the tang.



Tang type Funagata - This tang style is commonly found in swords from the Showa period (World War Two) as well as older blades.

Tang type Futsu - The tang featured here is found in most swords from the World war Two period (Showa).

Tang type Shiribari - This shape of tang is commonly found in blades that are from the early 1800's and older.



THE TANG FILING MARKS (YASURIME)
Another distinguishing factor found on various Samurai sword tangs are the filing marks. These consists of a series of straight lines that were applied by the swordsmith by using a file on the surface of the tang. The Japanese term used to describe the markings is Yasurime.

The following pictures and graphics illustrate the different types of tang file markings. Where available a photograph of the markings is provided. It is important to notice that the patterns shown here may not be all of the ones that were available but are the most commonly found.





FIRST SET OF FILE MARKS

Gyaku Taka No Ha - This design of tang file markings is known as the "V" pattern due to the fact that its lines are very similar to the letter. This is a fairly common pattern. Kesho - This is a more complicated design. The file markings are made in three different directions. Kiri - The pattern formed by this design consists of a series of horizontal lines. This is a fairly common type.


SECOND SET OF FILE MARKS

Higaki - Know as the "X" pattern due to the fact that the file marks follow the same pattern as an X. Also known as the checkered pattern.

Katte Agari - A file pattern consisting of perpendicular lines at an angle. The downward direction is from right to left. Very similar in design to the Sagari pattern except for the angle of inclination.

Kiri Sujikai - This tang file pattern consists of one side with a straigt set of lines then the other side angling downward.



THIRD SET OF FILE MARKS

Sujikai - This pattern consists of a series of perpendicular lines at an angle. The downward direction goes from left to right.

Katte Sagari - A file pattern consisting of perpendicular lines at an angle. The downward direction is from right to left. Very similar in design to the Katte pattern except for the angle of inclination.



This page is dedicated to the study of the Samurai Sword tang. The different aspects of its construction are discussed here. Several photos and drawings are provided to facilitate its understanding.

One of the most commonly asked questions is "How much is my Japanese sword worth?". A price guide is available and can be seen by visiting our Samurai Swords section. A trend can be observed. The present worth of the items in the collector's market is illustrated.

This service is provided free of charge to the visitor/enthusiast courtesy of MilitaryItems.com, a company dedicated to the preservation of military history and to providing quality military antiques and collectibles to museums, institutions and the general public.

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THE TANG - TIP SHAPE

The tang of the Samurai sword comes in a variety of shapes. Some of these were created by the swordsmith as a trademark. Others are the result of the shortening of a blade. The shape of the tang is known as "Nakago-Jiri".

The following photos illustrate some of the different shapes of Nakago found on the swords.

Kuri Jiri tang style. This type is characterized by the use of a smooth rounded surface. Composed primarily of a single line.

Haagari tang style. Two rounded lines are meeting at one point. Usually one line is shorter than the other.

Kengyo tang style. This tang tip is identified by the presence of teo straight lines meeting at one point where one line is usually shorter than the other.

Kiri tang style. This is the type of tang normally seen on swords that have been shortened. Consists of a flat end.

Liyamagata Tang. This type is composed of three lines. Two of them coming to a small flat section found at the very top.






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