Hello Kanji Fans! Today, I want to share a very interesting question from a follower! It’s a historian’s job!

I bought this sword and I see some kanji on the blade. What does it mean? 

meanings of kanji on Katana sword
meanings of kanji on Katana sword

Wow, you got a Katana sword! Thank you for the pictures! Let me see…OK, you want to know what this means. Leave it to me! KansaiChick is here for help. (*’▽’)/

First of all, Japanese people call this 銘(mei). I think you might see something on the same spot of your kitchen knife. Today some makers engrave or print their brand name and stuff there. Ancient Japanese blacksmiths did that too.

Let’s see what this one says.


Yay, I managed to read it!

Everything is stuck together and I bet it’s really hard even for Japanese people to tell what it is. Seriously we need a historian! lol

The First Part: 南都住 (Nanto-ju)

The first part of the phrase 南都 (nanto) sounds familiar to me. This is an old way to call Nara. Nara is a city in Kansai area, Japan.

南 means “South” and 都 means “Capital City”. The ancient capital city was in Nara, then it moved to Kyoto later. So, sometimes they are called 北都 (hokuto: North Capital City: It means Kyoto today.) and 南都 (nanto: South Capital City: It means Nara today.)

meanings of Japanese kanji
住 (ju / juu / su-mu) means “live”. So, I can understand they were located in Nara from the first part “南都住”.

The Second Part: 金房 (Kanabou)

No regular Japanese people can recognize this name. But I found out it is the name of a blacksmith guild that flourished around 16th Century.

However, I can tell its Koshirae (All other parts except for the blade) is not from the era. This design is obviously made in way newer era.   So, we can tell only the blade was created around 16th Century. (If this 銘  is real.)

The Third Part: 兵衛尉 政次 (Hyouenojou Masatsugu)

It looks like person’s name but I didn’t know who he is but, so I looked it up! (*’ω’*)

They say that 兵衛尉 政次 is a chief level blacksmith in the Kanabou guild.

This is very ancient name and very different from our name today. I can tell there are 2 parts 兵衛尉 and 政次, but they are not his family name and first name. They look like Nickname and his first name, or whole thing could be this blacksmith’s nick name.


南都住金房兵衛尉政次 means “(made by) Hyouenojou Masatsugu of Kanabou Blacksmith Guild, located in Nara City”. (*´Д`)☆ Yay, I did it!

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


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *