View Full Version : Japanese swords for Tameshi-giri ( Test cutting )

H. Hoshino
8th January 2004, 18:13
Dear fellow Tameshi-giri practitioners:

It is an ideal to own one of the 4 superior swords ( Koto, Shinto, Shinshinto or Gendaito ) for our Tameshi-giri practice, however, the price of these supeior swords might be anywhere from $ 2,500 to $ 3,500 or possibly more.

The swords used for Tameshi-giri and Batto-jutsu in our SF Kenjutsu Dojo are mainly WWII Hantanto Gunto ( 1/2 machine-made military swords ) or Manshuto Gunto ( Manchurian military swords ).

There are 2 main reasons for using them for our Kenjutsu training:

1. They are still inexpensive to obtain.

2. They are sharp enough to cut bamboo reeds & hay bundles.

The sources of Hantanto or Manshuto:

They can be easily located and purchased from local gun shows, garage sales, pawn shops, auction house, antique shows, flea markets, yard sales, etc. in the US.

We must restore them accordingly for our safety. The military swords handles are not really practical for Kenjutsu or Tameshi-giri training. Their furniture are made at least 60 years ago. The Tsuka-ito ( Cord ) in the handles must be replaced for our safety.

The alteration details:

1. A bigger and longer Habaki ( Metal sleeve ) construction / In actuality, the length of the swords will not be changed, but the location of the Tsuba will be further away from your opponent by 1/2 inch, or possibly by 3/4 inch.

2. A longer Tsuka ( Handle ) / The traditional Japanese Kenjutsu practitioner's Tsuka length is 25 cm or 10 inches in the major Kenjutsu Ryu-ha and Ryu-gi in Japan. I strongly suggest to use the Tsuka with a length of 11 & 1/4 inches or possibly longer if you are over 6 feet tall. This will make your sword's balance much much better, especially the Tameshi-giri practitioners.

3. A longer Saya for conpensating the length of Tsuka accordingly. / The Saya-guchi ring, Sageo cord and Kurikata ( Knob ) must be added to the Saya. The Kojiri is optional item. The normal ratio of Saya and Tsuka is 3 to 1 according to the Okite ( Unspoken rules & regulations ) followed by the ancient Japanese Kenjutsu-ka.

4. Togi ( Polish ) / Since we will be using the swords for Tameshi-giri and Batto-jutsu, we do not need the swords fully polished. The Ara-Togi ( Rough polish ) is highly recommended. One side of the sword must be polished with the Binsui stone ( Equivalent Grit number is 400 to 600 ) and other side of the sword must be polished with the Kaisei stone ( Equivalent Grit number is 800 ). This will make much more sense if you know the word " Nataba o awaseru ".

The Kaisei and Binsui stones are both natural stones imported from Japan, the birthplace of Samurai and Samurai swords.

Will be talking with you again.


H. Hoshino / On a Happy Day in San Francisco, California

PS. A few of my Kenjutsu training weapons:

1. A Gendaito produced in February, 1944 / Ha-cho 68 cm / The Tsuka length: 11 & 14 inches / Very wide blade but thinner than the majority of J-swords.

2. A Koto produced by Doudanuki Masakuni approxiamtely 400 years ago / Ha-cho: 2 Shaku 5 Sun 5 Bu ( Over 29 & 1/2 inches long )/ The Tsuka length: 12 & 1/2 inches / Very strong sword / No Kizu, only some battle scars in the Mine and Shino-ji areas !

3. A Hantanto ( Seki no Kunimichi )/ Ha-cho: 28 & 1/2 inches / The Tsuka length: 11 & 1/2 inches / The Uchi-zame ( Metal stingray skins ) used in the Tsuka under the Tsuka-ito. Note: The Uchi-zame was used during the Azuchi-Momoyama Era ( 1573 - 1623 ).

4. A Hantanto / Ha-cho: 28 & 3/4 inches

and much more !

Nathan Scott
28th January 2004, 19:55
Those thinking of taking Hoshino's advice seriously should look at this thread (and every other thread he has contributed to):


Mr. Hoshino, while I'm not particularly proud of authoring the following web page, I must say that I do look forward to recording your name here (it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt from "learning swordsmanship the hard way"):


Have a nice day in San Francisco. Did the Governor say anything recently?