Proper display of japanses swords

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by KageMusha, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. KageMusha

    KageMusha Yellow Belt

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    Forgive me if this has already been talked about, but I can't find it anywhere with the search engine.

    I am just curious how to properly display a daisho. I have seen it a number of ways. Which sword goes on top, edge up or down, handle on the left or right?

    Just curious. Thanks.
     
  2. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    Chuck, this is what I go with:



    As far as orientation goes:

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

    Thats from the guys at Cheness. It Jives with the coffee table book I have on swords, so I go with it.[/FONT]

    [/FONT]
     
  3. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    I concur with the 'orientation' notes but the 'order' is not one I'm familiar with.

    I have always seen daisho displayed with the katana at the top and the tanto at the bottom; I shall do a bit of research and pass on what I learn.
     
  4. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Kagemusha, thank you for an interesting post! I have swords on display at home and in the Dojo so this is of great interest to me.
     
  5. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Okay, I am surprised to find that it is indeed the case that, in some circumstances, the katana would go on the bottom of the rack and the wakizashi at the top. I found this from a seminar held by the University of Cambridge Kendo Society:

    "Normally, the wakizashi stored on the top rack
    and the katana on the bottom, both swords
    curving upwards. If the katana was stored on
    the top rack or the blades curving down it
    implied the owner’s suspicion to the outsiders
    (or even guests)."

    It would appear that I am a right aggressive and suspicious so-and-so as I have four complete daisho about the house and all of them have the katana top-most and the tsuka to the left :lol:.

    More research is needed to pin this matter down but it is surprising that I could find numerous references to sword orientation in the rack but hardly anything on sword 'order' :confused:.
     
  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    You and me both lol! I assume this is for right handed people? My other half is left handed and would pick up a sword with his left hand, perhaps I should have one set for left handers to grab and one set for right handers, the katanas will stay on top though!!
     
  7. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Very interesting reading.

    Sukerkin it would appear that you and I have almost always seen the Katana on top blade pointed upwards with the handle to the left and the wakazishi on bottom on the katana-kake. Tachi (horse sword) has a separate stand but if on a stand with a katana or wakazishi it should be blade down. This is interesting so I went and pulled a book of mine: Samurai - The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior and it confirmed this. Now that is just one book and one way and we know there is probably more ways. However I have almost always seen the katana on top blade upward with the handle going to the left not only in real life but also in pictures. Does that mean it is right. :idunno: I don't know but I am looking at a couple of books with Otake Sensei and that is the way he has his set up. [​IMG]
     
  8. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    :D If it's good enough for Otake Sensei then it's good enough for me :lol:.

    An interesting note about the tachi mounted longsword. I would have expected it to be 'racked' the same way as a katana for practical purposes (i.e. not furling the blade edge) but I can see that, for ease of drawing when in the rack, having the edge down is better.
     
  9. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    It is a measure of how rigidly structure Japanese society was and is that no consideration was given to left-handers whatsoever in these matters. If you were left-handed, then you learned to use the sword 'properly' in your right hand.

    Displaying a daisho with tsuka to the right illustrates suspicion of vistors is something I have seen repeated many times.

    Oh and a little more on the order of a daisho when stored. This is from C. U. Guido Schiller, a chap who I believe knows what he's talking about when it comes to the Japanese sword.

    "At home samurai put their daisho on a double-rack, edge up, katana on top, tsuka to the left. Actually they were greeted at the entrance of the house by their wives, who carried the swords after pulling the sleeves of their kimono over their hands in order to not touch the swords with their bare skin. They then put a tanto into their sash, which was not subject to any restrictions, and was often lavishly decorated."

    Also, in Kanzan Sato's book, "The Japanese Sword", it is explicitly stated that daisho should be mounted hilt to the left and blade upwards, with the Katana above the Wakizashi.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    My two cent's worth.
    I have always been told that the katana goes on the top rung of the kake. However, it is hardly an unbreakable rule. Anything involving the Japanese always has exceptions. I can't count the number of times I've been told "kesu by kesu". :)

    As far as right or left pointing signifying aggression, I don't buy it. In various discussions with Japanese seniors of the arts, I've heard that line a few times. However, you also have to take into account what side of the door the kake is located, where the house shrine is in relation to the kake, etc ... The general conclusion that is usually reached (much beer and sake later!) is that it should be displayed with the handle to the left since that is the omote (outside) when you are wearing it, and so is the "display" side. This is why a tachi is displayed upside down, since that is how it's worn and so should be displayed the same way.
     
  11. Grandmaster Yue men quan

    Grandmaster Yue men quan Orange Belt

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    Place the scabbard to the left because you draw with the right. Probably the reason a different sword was on top is because it made more since to use it in the space it was contained in. Japanese houses were traditionally small so wealding a 3 and a half foot sword where you could not use it probably didn't make sense. The presentation of the sword was blade down so the luck didn't pour out of it. And the wearing of the sword was upside down so that when you went to put it away you didn't Mar the sharp side of the blade with the scabbard. Sorry for using western terms I find it easier to understand what the heck anyone is talking about.
     
  12. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    What are you basing this on?
     
  13. Grandmaster Yue men quan

    Grandmaster Yue men quan Orange Belt

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    Well the commentary on Ido says you alway keep the sword where you can draw it with the right hand. It also stated that you wear the blade side up to keep from maring the blade when putting it away. Having the bend in the sword up has been a good luck symbol since wwII because they carried swords on ships and if the bend was down the sword would fall out of the sheath with the rocking of the boat. And the order of too to bottom classically I had no idea two trains of thought would be most likely everything in its place. 1st was stated order of operations like getting dressed, second order of use, I started being rules of space contained. Martially you can build a system for operation for modern day from the content of the past or simply from order of operations. Most systems use them in some form.
     
  14. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Ido? Cause, I gotta say, nothing you've said is even close to correct... I mean... naval mounts for gunto in WWII were more like a tachi... which means the edge was down, not up... and the rest is just, well, wrong. As with everything Japanese the only answer that can be applied is "it depends"... on a lot of things.
     
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  15. Grandmaster Yue men quan

    Grandmaster Yue men quan Orange Belt

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    To be honest im not Japanese
     
  16. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Neither am I. The point wasn't your nationality, it was that the information you were giving was not correct in any aspect, and I was asking where you got your (incorrect) ideas from.
     
  17. Grandmaster Yue men quan

    Grandmaster Yue men quan Orange Belt

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    Well I got to thinking about a katana and ido and the sword resting on the spine was to prevent damaging the sharp part of the blade. They would wear the sword with the edge up so when drawing or putting it away you would not hit the edge of the blade. They also don't clash swords swords are for cutting. I was just going along with this train of thought. And reasoning why I would do something similar certain way. I have always placed my sword with the blade down on the rack bease I place a jian under it and if I had to grab a sword in a hurry I would grab the jian and don't want the katana in the way! But when I was little the service men from WWII would tell us about different things the Japanese soldiers would do some of those stories just stuck. Vietnam soldiers did the same. Etc...
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Do you mean Iaido?

    Not so much about the blade edge being protected, no...

    Er... nope. It's more to do with the usage, rather than anything like what you're suggesting. After all, tachi were worn edge down, with no concern for the ha... it's all in how you draw...

    Not overly, but there is a modicum of that happening.

    Yeah, for the most part... but not exclusively. There are a number of other uses and applications for them.

    So you were going with your imaginings and thoughts, not actually anything you knew? Okay.

    And your using your own actions to base your ideas on? Okay.
     
  19. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    At home (Japan) my weapons are edge up, tsuka to the right. If someone is to visit and enter the room blades are turned with the tsuka to the left. This shows lack of intent to guests.

    The real way to do it in Japan? Keep you prized blades in good quality bags in a clean dry cupboard. Occasionally take them out to check and clean them. Don't display them!

    I guess some people watch too much Kill Bill :couchpotato:
     
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  20. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    So if the visitors see that you haven't done this they know they are unwelcome and will leave? It could make for some awkward moments I imagine!
     
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