sword kanji

Japanese swords have been made for over a thousand years. Many swords are inscribed with the date they were made. Swords with date inscriptions prior to 1200 C.E. are extremely rare; therefore those nengo have not been included. The inscriptions normally read from the top down, nengo (period); nen (number of years into the period); gatsu (month) and hi (day). A typical date inscription would read: "18th year of Showa, 2nd month, 8th day". To arrive at the corresponding Westernized calendar year, add the number of years into the period to the starting year of the period. During much of the 1300's, the Japanese Imperial Court was politically divided into the Southern Court and Northern Court. Most swords will have dates using the nengo of the Southern Court, but occasionally one will be encountered where the Northern Court nengo are used. There are other methods of writing dates, but the use of nengo is by far the most common. During the WW II era, some swords were dated using the archaic zodiacal dating method.



Feel free to print and/or save these Kanji pages for personal, offline use.
Attempting to decipher a mei by matching Kanji takes a lot of time!!


start 1200   start 1247
start 1324   north court   start 1455
start 1615   start 1764

[ Kanji A-G ] [ Kanji H-M ] [ Kanji M-T ] [ Kanji T-Z ] [ Provinces Kanji ] [Zodiacal Dates]

Home | Search | History | Care | Pic Glossary | Glossary | Military I | Military II | Dirks | Repros | Terms I | Terms II
Gendai | Jumei Tosho | Origami | Flaws | Polearms | Tsuba | Logos | Real? | Clubs | Books | Events | Listservs | Kanji | Sageo
Measure | NBTHK | FAQ | Nakirishi Mei | Sinclaire | Articles | Sword Sites | Japan Sites | Martial Arts | World Swords
Yoshichika | Kanefusa | Kanezane | Teruhide | Koa Isshin | Nagamitsu | Emura | Tanto | Yoshimichi | Yasunori | Shigetsugu