Hi there, Kanji fans! I received a question about the Japanese kanji on the sheath(saya) of the katana sword today!

KansaiChick is here for help!(*’▽’)/

Can you help me with the meaning of these two kanji (archaic, I believe) in the saya of my katana?

Kanji on case of katana sword

Oh, I see! Even in Japan, we don’t see this kanji today. As the owner of this katana says, the kanji “戰” is the old character form of today’s “戦”.

So, “戰い” and “戦い” are the same things.

戦い(tatakai) means “Fight”, “Battle”, “(small) war” and so on.

Usually Japanese samurai sword blacksmiths engrave only Kanji and Katakana script on their works if necessary. But we can see some ひらがな(Hiragana script) on costume katana swords that anybody can buy at the souvenir shops.

By the way, the kanji 戦 can be pronounced as “ikusa” by itself. Ikusa is the ancient way to say the “War”. 戦争(sensou) means a Modern War. So, the word 戦争 reminds Japanese people “guns, cannons  and tanks” mainly. On the other hand, 戦(ikusa) and 戦い(tatakai) remind them “swords, bows, and horses”.


Thank you so much for the question again!

Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Samurai swords are beautiful!

samurai kanji shirt

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