Saya – Traditional Katana Scabbared
Saya is the term that simply refers to Japanese sword or knife scabbard. Generally the scabbard is made of lightweight material like wood and coated with lacquer on its exterior. When taking out the sword from the scabbard take it slowly or some fingers might be severed out. If the person handling the drawing out the sword from its scabbard is a professional, he can do this quicker than somebody who is a novice. The Katana Saya has a wooden knob as well or Kurigata. This is attached to the braided cord or Sageo. The scabbard is hand carved and sanded to fit the sword blade. Traditional versions used Honoki wood. Each of the scabbards is fitted with water buffalo horn parts. Traditional versions does not use plastic or wood. After this the scabbard is coated with cashew lacquer. This produces a scabbard that looks superior than the average one sold by manufacturers of Japanese swords.
The Different Parts
Sageo. This is a cord made of cotton, silk or leather hanging from the scabbard. There are several ways to wrap and tie the Sageo on the Katana Saya to make the sword aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. In some schools of practice the Sageo is tied to the Hakama during martial arts practice sessions
Kuri-kata. This is a knob attach to the Katana Saya. The cord secures this part to the Obi or Japanese belt by passing through the hole in the Kurikata
Kogai. This a spike for hair arranging that goes into the pocket of the Saya
Kojiri. This is the end point of the scabbar or the protective part of the end part of the scabbard
Kogatana and Kozuka. Kogatana is a small utility knife that fits on the pocket of the scabbard while the Kozuka decorates the handle of the Kogatana. It is easy to understand how these parts complement each other
Tsuka. Handle of the sword
Umabari. This is a small knife which looks different from the Kogatana. This is small enough to fit into the pocket of the scabbard
Types of Katana Saya
Same covered. This has been sanded smooth and filled with polished lacquer. There are un sanded models that are painted black because some owners wants a rougher texture
Rattan covered. Rattan is used to cover the Koiguchi area of the sword. Clear lacquer is use to match the color of the Saya
Red Streaked Saya. This is considered a classic design that is popular during the trouble times in Japan from 1860s through the 1870s
A custom Saya color that has metal parts is counted as extras. Over certain periods of time because of constant sheathing and un-sheating the Saya becomes loose. An even good kind of scabbard becomes loose over time. Some experts recommend buying a tight one to avoid encountering this scenario while some says learn how to shim the Saya. This is accomplished by fixing a thin piece of wood into the saya on each side. This will feel any undesirable spaces to make it fit into the Habaki.