Shitodome – Decorative Accents

The Kurigata or Kurikata is a part of the Saya that has a hole. This is where the Sageo passes through shitodome so that the swordsman can wear his sword attached to the belt.

The Shitodome is the decorative metal mounted that fits inside the Kurikata. Katana Shitodome prevents the Sageo from becoming frayed. This is accomplished by reducing friction between the Sageo and the inside of the Kurikata.

This is not just for a practical reason but, for aesthetic purposes as well. In modern sword reproductions, Most of our Katana Shitodome comes in gold-like color, however, some feature a darker accent of black.

This adds some beauty to the sword. Some people refer to this Katana part as an aesthetic accent. The Sageo is fitted into the Kurikata via the Shitodome. Usually, those are made of brass and inserted on the Saya from both sides of the Kurikata.

How to Get the Sageo through the Shitodome

Sometimes difficult to let the Sageo into the Katana Kurikata if done by self, One way of accomplishing this is to try and try until it gets in, here are some suggestions of how to do it properly:

  • Remove the Shitodome since these are not permanently glued and it would be easy to replace it back, however, be warned that this will mess up the Sageo tying if the sword is used for Iaido and other similar martial arts practice that uses a sword and require you to wear it on your obi.
  • File the Shitodome holes. This will not show as the Sageo will fill these holes
  • Roll the tip of the cord in plastic and thread this into the Kurikata

Match the Sageo to the ito wrap so they will be complementing each other. For higher-end saya we use Buffalo horn tips. The use of those materials gives extra durability to the Saya especially when it used during Iaido training.

Functional swords that want to place an accent for the purpose of improving the sword aesthetic value can use lacquered wooden scabbard with traditional Buffalo horn Kurigata, Koijori, and Koiguchi.

The addition of the Buffalo horn makes the sword awesome in appearance and more functional if needed to unsheathe and sheath the sword frequently.


How the Sword is Enhanced

In a wooden Saya the use of black high gloss finishing is preferred, however most of our Shitodome parts are made of brass.

Overall it helps protect the sageo when wrapped around the saya, some martial arts practitioners will need to open the Sageo wrap and remove the shitodome parts as in that case the Sageo needs to be tied to the Obi and uses another tying method.

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