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Japanese Wooden Weapons Craftsmanship, the Beginning of the End | In addition to the structural crisis affecting the industry, in 2019, the closure of one of the largest Japanese workshops, Horinouchi, then, in 2020, the covid crisis have for consequences a drastic increase in prices and production times, and mid-term, a probable disappearance of the manufacture of wooden weapons in Japan. To learn more, you can read our article detailing the situation and the measures taken to help this industry.
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Japanese Style Engraving on Wooden Weapons
While it is very common in Japan to embroider one's name on one's clothing, weapon carvings are less frequent. They are found especially on dojos' weapons so as not to be confused with the weapons of other practitioners. The Aikidoka traveling in many courses / seminars sometimes carve their weapons in order not to lose them. In general, the carving is discreet and colorless. People sometimes look for a colored engraving in the case of weapons of decoration for the house or put in Kamiza.
As for the embroidery, the Japanese people tend to carve their surname, or family name, while Western practitioners usually engrave their given name. In fact, it is much more common to be called by one's surname in Japan. Japanese teachers mostly know about this difference however and will not hesitate to call westerners by their first names.
To ensure an optimum quality in a minimum of time, engravings are made by our team, using an especially designed laser engraving machine. After extensive testing we have come up with an exclusive method that allows us to engrave weapons very superficially, far less deep than regular engraving machines, so as not to affect the strength of the weapon . Our engravings are performed in batches once to twice per week, hence making this service deliverable in 5 to 10 days.
Carving your Weapons
Prints are available in Roman characters (classic alphabet, uppercase only), katakana (Japanese phonetic alphabet for the transcription of foreign sounds), hiragana (classic Japanese phonetic alphabet) or kanji (Sino-Japanese characters). We offer 4 different fonts for Japanese letter, and 3 for English letter.
In the case of a Japanese character engraving, you can send us a file or write to us when you checkout.
It is possible to use multiple prints on the same weapon. In this case, just add several embroidery modules to your cart and use the "comments" field in your cart to notify us of the position of each print.
Characters measure about 7.5mm ~ 12 mm in diameter, depending on your choice.
Engravings on Tanto and Bokken
- It is possible to write vertically or horizontally.
- On the left or the right side (when you hold the bokken in your hand).
- On the tsuka (handle), at the base or the center of the blade.
Engravings on Jo
- Horizontally or vertically.
- On the top, bottom, or center of the Jo.
Engravings on weapons stands
- All our stands can be engraved.
- The engraving is positioned at the center of the bracket (see pictures below), horizontal.
Positions for Bokken / Tanto
Positions for Jo
Engraving on Katanakake
Japanese carving and translation
SeidoShop offers free translation of your name and/or surname. This translation is performed after confirmation of your order based on official transcription tables. If your name is uncommon or the pronunciation is not usual, you can specify it in the engraving comments on each module, we will contact you if necessary. Transcription of a name can sometimes be done in several ways, particularly for "long" characters. All translations proposed are checked by our native Japanese staff, but if you already have an engraved equipment, the safest way is to send us a photo or the characters (by email). Note that we do not accept any complaint concerning a possible difference with a translation that you might have if you have not sent us a written example first.
Japanese is written using three separate alphabets. The kanji characters are Sino-Japanese from China are complex and are stylized semi semantics. They have from one to a dozen different pronunciations for the same character depending on the context. Hiragana and katakana are two alphabets so that they can express existing sounds in the Japanese language (Ka, Mi, Kou Shi, etc.). Kanji are mainly used for writing common names, Japanese verbs, and surnames. The primary function hiragana writing is as part of grammar and conjugation as well as simple words and some Japanese names.
Katakana are used for the transcription of words and names of foreign origin, allowing the Japanese to pronounce any foreign word using their own sounds (adaptation). The foreigners' names are translated into katakana, with very few exceptions. It is this "official" translation that we offer automatically and free of charge. Please note that if your request is for initials, it will not be translatable in Katakana and will be engraved in roman alphabet with the selected font.
It is possible to translate a foreign name in kanji, choosing characters whose pronunciation is approaching, it known as the "ateji" technique. However, for the same name, there may be hundreds of combinations, and since it is not customary for foreign residents in Japan to translate their name in kanji (this can lead to misunderstandings), we do not offer translation of names into kanji.
Carving in English
It is also possible to engrave your name in English or "Roman" alphabet. For those wishing to visit Japan, it will however be necessary to engrave names in katakana since many Japanese are unable to "read/pronounce" the Western alphabet.
Engravings in "Roman" characters can be done in uppercase print (block), lowercase print (block) or cursive (horizontal only).
Carving a Japanese word or phrase
If you want to write the name of an art or a Japanese school, simply indicate it in the engraving module. e.g. if you write "Aikido" or "Iwama Ryu" in English, then select the language "Japanese", we will automatically transcribe it into Kanji.
If you want to carve the translation of an English word in Japanese, enter the English word, we will do the translation. e.g. if you enter "Tiger" then select the language "Japanese", in Japanese we will translate it as "Tora" (Tiger). We will contact you if the translation is subject to interpretation.
For any complex expression, thank you to contacting us before you order. Although most common expressions have an equivalent in Japanese, it is not always the case.
Engraving of logos & designs
We can of course offer this service, however, the charge varies according to the complexity of the logo. You will need to contact us beforehand so we can provide a quote. Please note that we will not take into account any logo engraving requests ordered through the standard engraving module.
- Graphic charges: for designing the logo (to be paid once, the logo is kept for 10 years): between 1,000 YEN and 4,000 YEN. These costs depend mainly on the complexity of the logo (complexity of the shape, size of the smallest elements) and are estimated by our graphic designer within 3 days after receiving your request.
- Embroidery fee: depending on the size and complexity of the logo, between 1,500 YEN and 3,000 YEN. Charged per engraving.
- Delivery: production time is about 1 to 2 weeks.