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Saya - Japanese Sword Scabbards
This page uses Japanese Kanji. If you see '????' or random characters, you may need to set-up your browser to properly display Japanese fonts.

The scabbard, called saya, is made from wood and used to protect the sword. Scabbards are normally made form Ho wood, are usually lacquered and have fittings appropriate to  period and style. Many saya have pockets on one side, or both, for "accessories". Small knives, called Kogatana, and / or a "grooming aid" called a Kogai, are commonly found.

Shirasaya  (白鞘) -

A shirasaya is a 'white scabbard' and is used to store a sword.  They are also called resting scabbards, and hold blades that are otherwise not mounted. When a sword is sent to polish, the old scabbard is removed and a new shirasaya is made. This prevents old dirt or objects from scratching the new polish. This is considered a mandatory step to preserve a new polish.



Sayagaki  (鞘書) -

This refers to calligraphy that is added to the outside of the shirasaya. The inscription is a type of appraisal. Unless these are signed, and and a kakihan applied, by a well known expert, one should take the information with a 'grain of salt'. Sayagaki will describe the sword, maker and other features.

Itomaki-no-Tachi (糸巻太刀) -

Uchigatana (打刀) -

Aikuchi (合口) -

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