Shitodome – Decorative Accents
The Kurigata or Kurikata is a part of the Saya that has a hole. This is where the Sageo passes through so that the swordsman can wear his sword. 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 practical reason but, for aesthetic purposes as well. In modern sword reproductions, Katana Shitodome comes in gold like color. This is what makes the sword appear beautiful. Some people refer to this Katana part as an aesthetic accent. This is fitted into the Kashira before the handle is wrapped or into the Kurikata via the Saya. The common rule of thumb is to use the larger size for Kurikata and smaller size piece for the Kashira. Two brass Shitodome can be used on the Kashira.
How to Get the Sageo through the Shitodome
The ends are generally the problem why it is sometimes difficult to let the Sageo into the Katana Shitodome. One way of accomplishing this is to try and try until it gets in
Remove the Shitodome since these are not permanently glued and it would be easy to replace it back however, this will screw up the Sageo if the sword is used for Iai and other similar martial arts practice that uses a sword
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 Shitodome
Pinch down the thicker parts using pliers. Use the tape to start the threading process
Legacy swords that can be passed on to the next generation use silver Katana Shitodome. This is given an antique feel to it. The tsuba is forged with folded steel and prominent graining is used. Placing subtle characters enhances the appearance of the inlaid. Matching leather Sageo completes the picture as it is used on the mountings. The mountings use buffalo horn. The use of this material prevents the Saya from breaking even when it hits the floor 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 Kurigata and Shitodome. The Kashira can have gold or brass Shitodome; both of these will make the sword awesome in appearance. Sometimes the difference between an ordinary looking sword is what is added to it.
How Shitodome Enhances the Sword
In a wooden Saya the use of black high gloss finishing is preferred. The Sageo is Shigeuchi and tied over brass Shitodome
Cast Shitodome looks good with zinc alloy wakizashi
Classic simple Yasi can be complemented with the use of brass Shitodome, habaki and seppa
Some are copies of antique models found in Japanese swords and these are glazed with 24K gold plated Shitodome making it appear aesthetically beautiful as far as modern reproductions go. There are actually some designs that may come affordable but, looks as valuable as the more expensive ones