The red circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section
Chukan-zori (中間反り) ————— Chukan-zori Tanto has a straight Mune(back). Its back does not curve either inward or outward.
Hamon (刃文: Tempered line) ———–Sanbon-sugi (三本杉), O-notare (大湾), Yahazu-midare (矢筈乱), Hako-midare (箱乱), Gunome-choji (互の目丁子), Chu-suguha (中直刃). See below.
Horimono (彫り物: Carving) —————Often Hi (grooves) is curved
Tanto Length ———————— Standard Tanto length should be no longer than one Shaku*¹ (approx. 12 inches, 30.5cm). The standard size Tanto is called Jo-sun Tanto, which is 8.5 Shaku (approx. 10 inches, 25.7cm). Longer than Jo-sun is called Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延). Shorter than Jo-sun is called Sun-zumari Tanto (寸詰).
Sun-nobi Tanto > Jo-sun Tanto (approx. 10 inches) > Sun-zumari Tanto
*¹ Shaku is a Japanese old measurement unit for length.
Takenoko-zori Jo-sun Tanto (筍反定寸短刀) ———– Takenoko-zori Jo-sun Tanto was made during the Sengoku period. It resembles the swords made by Rai Kunimitsu of Yamashiro Den. (Illustration below)
Hamon (刃文: Tempered line)———–Hoso-suguha (細直刃: Narrow straight Hamon). Katai-ha (illustration below) shows somewhere on the blade. Masame–hada (Straight grain pattern) may appear on the Mune side.
Ji-hada (地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered line)————- Some Shirake (白け: a whitish surface) sometimes appears. Some Utsuri (a light, whitish, cloud-like effect) on Ji-hada appears.
Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延短刀)–————–This type of Tanto is similar to the Sakizori Tanto of the late Soshu Den time. You may see Hitatsura type Hamon. (Illustration below). Unlike the Soshu Den style, the Hitatsura shows more on the lower part and less on the upper part of the Tanto.
Hirazukuri Takenokozori Sunzumari Tanto (平造筍反寸延短刀)
This is a unique Tanto in the Sengoku period. Hirazukuri means a flat surface sword without Shinogi, Yokote line, or obvious Kissaki. Takenoko-zori means bamboo shoot shape (back of the sword curves inward). Sun-zumari means shorter than 10 inches long (shorter than 8.5 Shaku, or 25.7 cm). The lower part of the blade is wide and thick, and the tip is narrow and thin. It has a piercing sharp look.
- Horimono(彫物: Engraving) ——-Deeply carved Ken-maki Ryu (a dragon wrapped around a spear).
- Hamon (刃文: Tempered line)———Wide tempered line, Nioi base. Irregular Hamon, wide Suguha (straight), and Chu-suguha (medium straight). The Hamon in the Boshi area turns back long.
- Ji-hada (地肌)———–fine and wood burl pattern.
Moroha-Tanto (諸刃短刀: Double-edged sword)
Double-edged sword with a Hamon on both cutting edges. Often Bonji (Sanscrit) is curved.
- Hamon (刃文: Tempered line) ——— Wide tempered line. Nioi base. Irregular Hamon, wide Suguha (straight tempered line), and Chu-suguha (medium straight tempered line). Hamon turns back deeply.
- Ji-hada (地肌：Area between shinogi and tempered line)——- Fine and wood burl pattern.
The Swordsmith for Tanto during the Sengoku Period
The Bizen swords during the Sengoku period are called Sue-bizen. Sue is pronounced “su” and “e“ as egg. Bizen Osafune Yoso Zaemon Sukesada (与三左衛門祐定) is the most regarded swordsmith during the Sengoku period. He also forged Tantos. One thing to point out is that there were many swordsmiths called Sukesada. Yoso-Zaemon Sukesada is, however, the one who represents the era.