Hello again Kanji Fans! I received another interesting question from a follower! It’s about a Samurai sword!


I bought this short sword and I see some letters on the blade. What do they mean? 

meanings of kanji on katana samurai sword meanings of kanji on katana samurai sword meanings of kanji on katana samurai sword


Woooo, you got a fancy one. According to the ratio, I can tell it’s a Tantou (短刀). Tantou is a short katana sword with the less than 30 cm (about 1 foot) blade.

In Japan, Katana swords bust be sold with a certificate describing what it is. But the owner says this one came with nothing.

Let me take a close look. (@_@)

meanings of kanji on katana sword

Wow, to be honest, I have no idea what it says. I can’t even tell if it’s a Japanese kanji or not. (T_T)

Anyway, Japanese people call this type of engraving “銘(mei)”. Ancient Japanese blacksmiths often engraved their name, address, school name, owner’s name, and so on.

If this is Japanese kanji, I think 1 or 2 letters are there. It’s very short. That means, this is most likely the name of the blacksmith who made it.

But who?? It’s really hard even for Japanese people to tell what it is. Seriously we need a historian again! lol

The Answer From the Expert on Katana Swords

Phew! It took a while, but I finally got some help from a Japanese expert on Katana Swords.

According to him, it says “兼舛 (Kanemasu)”.

Whaaaaaaaa? (@o@;)  It doesn’t look like that at all for me. lol

But I guess that’s true. Just like signatures, they seems to be written in their own way.

Here is the evidence.
meanings of kanji on katana swordI see the similar one on this blade indeed!

According to the historical record, Kanemasu was the blacksmith in Mino (Gifu prefecture). In the 16th century, there were 7 main backsmith schools in Minou, and they say Kanemasu was a part of Nara school (奈良派).

Hope this information helps!

Thank you so much for the question again!


Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Tantou is a short 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