What is Saiha(再刃)?
- Saiha, which is also called as Saiba, refers to the re-hardening of the cutting edge of a sword in order to make a new HAMON(刃文). This technique is used to restore a damaged sword which has lost its Hamon. Actually, this technique was very common during the Edo period because before the Edo period, there were a large number of wars and many swords lost their Hamon due to the effects of fire, so re-hardening was encouraged in light of financial reasons and respect for these good old swords.
However, sometimes the technique is used to deceive sword collectors and appraisers by changing the original Hamon. For that reason, these days sword collectors are less interested in re-hardened swords. In reality, some Japanese sword preserve associations don’t give such swords any certificates unless a sword has great historical value. Because, if they permit all re-hardened swords, there will be too many deceptive swords on the market.
4 Signs of Saiha
- NAKAGO(茎) might look unnatural. There’ll be some pits and melted areas. YASURIME(鑢目) also might look different.
- The Hamon starts from 3cm – 5cm above the HA-MACHI(刃区), it’s so-called YAKIOTOSHI(焼落とし). It was a technique to make a sword more durable but in the case of Saiha, Yakinaoshi was a result of avoiding the Nakago from being damaged by the re-hardening process.
- There’ll be a slanted UTSURI(映り) called MIZUKAGE(水影), which starts at the Hamachi at the angle of 45 degrees and goes toward the back of the sword. The Mizukage doesn’t always indicate re-hardening but re-hardened swords often have Mizukage.
- If the Hamon pattern or the sword shape is different from a swordsmith or school, a sword might have been re-hardened.