Hi there, Samurai fans! I received another question about the engraving on an old katana sword!Σ(・ω・ノ)ノ

KansaiChick is here for help!(*’▽’)/

I’d like to find out what the markings on the blade mean.

the meaning of kanji on katana sword

Let me see…oh, thank goodness, this one is clear enough for me to read everything!!  It says, “相州住盛重”.

How to Read Engravings on Samurai Swords

Japanese people call this engravings 銘(mei). Usually the blacksmiths engrave their name, plus their brand name (faction / location). Sometimes we find the first owner’s name of the sword there as well.

So, which is which? Ummm, that is the historian’s job to determine. However, even I can tell you one idea to figure out some info.

Please find a kanji “住”. This kanji 住 (住 juu/ 住む su-mu) means “where the person lives”.

The topper part than “住” most likely says where this blacksmith located. And the lower part can be his faction/guild/school name, his name, and so on.

If you don’t see any “住”, it might say only the name of the blacksmith.

The First Part: 相州住 (Aishu-ju)

I’m from Osaka, and Aishu doesn’t sound familiar for me. So, I looked up. 相州 is in Odawara, Kanagawa. Yes, I know Odawara!

katana sword blacksmith located there

Odawara is around the pink dot on the map above. It’s close to Tokyo. Kanagawa prefecture and Tokyo  are next each other.

The katana specialist says there were so many blacksmiths in Aishu in Muromachi Era. And they call them “小田原相州 (Odawara Aishu)” today.

The Second Part: 盛重 (Morishige)

After “住”, there are only “盛重”. I can tell it’s man’s name. Because Morishige is very natural boy’s first name even today. But again, I’m not a historian and I looked up who he was.((+_+))

OK, according to the katana specialist, 相州住盛重 is a blacksmith who was active around the 16th century.


So, 相州住盛重 means “(made by) Morishige located in Aishu (that was famous for blacksmithing during the Muromachi era”.

Thank you so much for the question again!

Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Katana is a Samurai sword.

samurai kanji shirt

If you want to know the meanings of any Japanese kanji that you don’t see English subs for in a particular animation or live action movie, tell me “Name of the Show”, “Season and Episode #” and “the Exact Moment (Minute: Second) if it’s available”!

If it’s just Japanese kanji that you see around you, like a shop sign or a tattoo, you can send me the photo as long as you are allowed to take picture of it.

I can’t promise to reply to everyone but I’ll try my best!

Email to: info@kansaichick.com


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