Iaito Minosaka Satsuma Koshirae

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The Satsuma Koshirae is a very high-end Iaito, fully order-made, crafted from scratch in Japan with a sand-casted bubble-free zinc/aluminum alloy blade. This model has a very special extra-long and heavy blade, for a concept loosely based on the Satsuma Han swords used during the Bakumatsu and Satsuma rebellion. It is said such swords were wielded by the very famous last samurai Saigo Takamori, although it hasn't been formally confirmed.

As this product is produced in extremely small quantities, pieces are not standardized the same way they are for regular Iaito. Saya, Habaki, Seppa, and Tsuka are custom made to specifically fit the blade, the exact same way Shinken (genuine swords) mounts are made. This is what explains the price of this model, as the Koshirae has roughly the same cost as a Shinken Koshirae. 

The blade features a double groove with a kakinagashi style hi dome (groove start), and a Notare Hamon.
The blade being made in very small quantities (a dozen pieces a year), with a specific mold, it cannot be customized, other than for the length.

Due to the structure of the blade, the Tsuka length is 1.1 shaku (33.3 cm) and cannot be modified. 
By default, the Satsuma Koshirae is Tsuka mounted with genuine black lacquered cow leather, wrapped with black cotton tsukaito in Hiramaki style, and does not feature any Menuki.
Menuki can be added as per your liking, which we would recommend if you select the Hinerimaki wrapping style.  

All other elements can be customized to your liking, but we recommend keeping the Hiramaki (Ikkan style variation, specific to the Satsuma model) tsukamaki and leather same, as it is characteristic of the Satsuma style as well as the Satsuma Tsuba (wrought iron) with rain pattern (ame no zu), that has been designed specifically to fit such a long and heavy blade and the Kurotataki Saya. 
The default Kurotataki Saya is quite similar to the Kuroishime Saya but has a slightly different finish on this model, as the Saya is a Shinken saya. We strongly recommend keeping this option as the finish is outstanding. 

Note that the standard mount designed by the workshop is the one on the product picture, with a Shonai brass Habaki, copper Seppa, Satsuma Tsuba, cotton black Tsukaito and Sageo, leather black same, Hiramaki wrapping,  2 mekugi, without menuki and kuroishime lacquer.

If you wish to add a customized Saya lacquer, please contact us for a quote, as the Saya used for this product is a Shinken one.

Within the Minosaka lineup, but also within any Japan-made Iaito lineup, this is the longest and heaviest sword manufactured today.


Technical Specifications
Fuchi/Kashira Satsuma Koshirae
Fuchi: 42 x 26 x 24 mm
Kashira: 38 x 24 x 16 mm
Blade bottom width ~36 mm
Blade end width ~30 mm
Blade bottom thickess ~8.5 mm
Weight for 3 Shaku ~1600 g without Saya | ~2,000 g with Saya

Iaito Customizations

All orders are final. No modification or cancellation will be accepted once an order is placed. Short production delays do not give right to cancellation.

The production time is 3 to 6 weeks for Minosaka Iaito depending on selected options. We will contact you within 3 business days after you passed your order if the completion date estimated by the workshop is later than the shipping date indicated at checkout.

To ensure that you haven't missed anything, all options must be selected, even when you want a standard element.
Even if an option is visible on the product's pictures, it is not available for this specific product if it is not visible in the selection. All available options are displayed in that selection and we will not accept any request for options not listed below.

We strongly recommend reading in details our guide "How to Choose your Iaito" and taking time to make sure that each option corresponds to your wish before placing an order for a custom Iaito.

Blade Length

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The blade length is measured in the Japanese traditional unit called Shaku. One Shaku equals 30.3 cm, or roughly 1 feet (0.994 Ft.). Its sub-unit is the "Sun". There are ten "Sun" in one "Shaku", so 5 Sun can also be written 0.5 Shaku. Please note that a blade length does not include the Habaki (see pictures), but is measured in a straight line from the tip (Kissaki) to what is called the Munemachi (base of the blade), hidden under and partly covered by the Habaki. Light and standard blades are available for lengths up to 2.55 Shaku and thick/heavy blades are available for lengths up to 2.70 Shaku, owing to the alloy’s resistance. Wakizashi are available from 1.30 to 1.50 Shaku.

The Satsuma Koshirae is the only Iaito that can be manufactured up to 3 shaku. The blade being specifically designed and manufactured for extra long blade, it is not possible to manufacture it under 2. 80 shaku.

The blade length depends on your height, on your arms length and on the school in which you practice. The size table below is the official recommendation of the Japanese Iaido Federation. Women are advised to use a blade one size shorter than that of men of the same height. We also recommend for people who are not specialists (Aikidoka for example) to use a blade a size shorter than the recommendation, because it will make the sword unsheathing/sheathing easier.
Blade length is of course related to the Saya length, but note that for a same blade length, the Saya length can slightly vary.

Please also make sure to consult your teacher to check that the size table below is applicable to your school.

Please note that the size recommendation does not apply to Wakizashi as the Iaido federation does not provide such recommendations. However, we do recommend avoiding too long blades for small practitioners

Your height Length for men Length for women

1.30 shaku / 39.4 cm 1.30 shaku / 39.4 cm

1.35 shaku / 40.9 cm 1.35 shaku / 40.9 cm

1.40 shaku / 42.4 cm 1.40 shaku / 42.4 cm

1.45 shaku / 43.9 cm 1.45 shaku / 43.9 cm

1.50 shaku / 45.4 cm 1.50 shaku / 45.4 cm
~ 150 cm 2.20 shaku / 66.6 cm N/A
~ 155 cm 2.25 shaku / 68.2 cm 2.20 shaku / 66.6 cm
~ 160 cm 2.30 shaku / 69.6 cm 2.25 shaku / 68.2 cm
~ 165 cm 2.35 shaku / 71.2 cm 2.30 shaku / 69.6 cm
~ 170 cm 2.40 shaku / 72.7 cm 2.35 shaku / 71.2 cm
~ 175 cm 2.45 shaku / 74.2 cm 2.40 shaku / 72.7 cm
~ 180 cm 2.50 shaku / 75.8 cm 2.45 shaku / 74.2 cm
~ 185 cm 2.55 shaku / 77.3 cm 2.50 shaku / 75.8 cm
~ 190 cm 2.60 shaku / 78.8 cm 2.55 shaku / 77.3 cm
Up to 200 cm 2.70 shaku / 81.8 cm N/A

Habaki & Seppa

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The habaki is the piece of metal circling the base of the blade. It has two main purposes: locking the tsuba in its place and holding the sword into the Saya.
Unlike the Shinken Habaki which can be very expensive, the Iaito Habaki are standardized and gently forced into place. This means removing or changing the Habaki on an Iaito blade is not recommended.
Habaki are made of brass and are available in three different designs: Muji, Shonai, and Yujo, and in 3 different finishes: black (oxidized), gold plated, and silver plated. Please note that due to the oxidation process, it is not possible to blacken the Shonai design.

The Seppa are washers used in front and behind the tsuba to tighten the fittings, made of copper or brass. They are compulsory to keep the Tsuba safely in place.
They are available in brass, copper, black (oxidized), gold-plated brass, and silver-plated brass.


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The Tsuba is the sword's guard. It has the function of protecting the hand from the opponent's blade but also from having one's hand sliding onto the blade during Tsuki (thrust) techniques.
However, it has two other qualities: aesthetics and balance adjustment. During the Edo period, the Tsuba turned progressively into a decorative ornament. It was often generously well made, giving every sword a personal and particular touch.

There can be one or two holes on the sides of the Tsuba. They were used to unsheathe the Kogatana (small knife) or Kogai (hairpin) that were fitted inside the sides of the Saya. Tsuba used to be made by entire dynasties of craftsmen who only specialized in that particular field; they have almost vanished in the present time.

The average weight of a standard Tsuba is 120 g.
A heavy Tsuba (> 120 g) will tend to shift the balance downwards the handle, making the Iaito easier to handle whereas a light Tsuba (< 120 g) will push the balance towards the Kissaki, the tip of the blade. The latter is recommended if you decide to focus on cutting training. You will find below some pictures of all our Tsuba but also details on size, material, and weight.

The Sukashi series, from TM031 to TM036 is a special series of widely opened Tsuba (called Sukashi). Made of blackened iron, they are coated by hand with a traditional lacquer.

Please note that the pictures above only display the front side of the Tsuba. You can find pictures of the reverse of each Tsuba on the dedicated product page.

Tsuba Technical Specifications

Tsuba Technical Specifications
Description Material Dimensions Weight
Eagle Blackened iron 75 mm x 70 mm x 4.1 mm 136 g
Name of a famous Samurai clan. Also called Kuruma Sukashi. Blackened copper 75 mm x 73 mm x 5.3 mm 123 g
The 7 treasures (gold, silver, pearls, agate, crystal, coral, lapis lazuli) Blackened iron 74 mm x 70 mm x 4.1 mm 135 g
Favored by the famous samurai Hanjiro. Blackened copper 79 mm x 65 mm x 6 mm 142 g
Design by a famous blacksmith of the Edo period Blackened iron 84 mm x 75 mm x 4.3 mm 150 g
Gourd (calabash) Blackened copper 71 mm x 70 mm x 5 mm 126 g
Used by the most famous of all samurai Blackened copper 74 mm x 74 mm x 7.1 mm 146 g
Kasuga refers to the shape of the Tsuba. Blackened iron 84 mm x 76 mm x 4.1 mm 138 g
Dragon under the rain Blackened iron 81 mm x 77 mm x 4.1 mm 147 g
Holothuroidea (sea cucumber) Blackened iron 74 mm x 69 mm x 4.1 mm 90 g
Plain (no pattern) Blackened iron 74 mm x 69 mm x 4.1 mm 134 g
Butterfly shadow Blackened copper 74 mm x 72 mm x 5 mm 106 g
Waves Blackened iron 81 mm x 77 mm x 4.1 mm 145 g
Design by a famous blacksmith of the Edo period Blackened copper 76 mm x 72 mm x 4.5 mm 120 g
A famous design of the Higo province (now Kumamoto) Blackened iron 75 mm x 71 mm x 4.1 mm 90 g
Shin Umetada
Design by a famous blacksmith of the Edo period Blackened iron 85 mm x 76 mm x 4.1 mm 165 g
Icho Zogan (Kasuga)
Kasuga shape with silver ginkgo arabesque Blackened iron 84 mm x 77 mm x 4.1 mm 141 g
Mitsuboshi Sansumi Sukashi
Represents a constellation of 3 stars in triangle. This is also Minosaka's logo. Blackened iron 77 mm x 77 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Mokko Namako Sukashi
Namako (Holothuroidea) within a Mokko shape Blackened iron 72 mm x 75 mm x 5 mm 110 g
Yatsushiro Kagecho Sukashi
Copy of an ancient Tsuba made by master Yatsushiro. Represents the shadow of a butterfly. Blackened Iron 77 mm x 75 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Shiho Namako Sukashi
4 Holothuroidea (sea cucumber) Blackened Iron 79 mm x 74 mm x 5 mm 115 g
Akasaka Musashino Sukashi
Japanese pampas grass turned over after a storm, under a moon crescent Blackened iron 75 mm x 78 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Hanamon Sukashi
Flower petals - Famous Japanese crest Blackened iron 79 mm x 79 mm x 5 mm 60 g
Yotsuwa Sukashi
4 imbricated rings. Blackened Iron 72 mm x 73 mm x 5 mm 90 g
Ouka Sukashi
Represent a Sakura flower (cherry blossom). Also the lightest of all Tsuba. Blackened Iron 77 mm x 82 mm x 4.5 mm 60 g
Owari Sukashi
Tsuba made in the tradition of the Owari province (now Aichi prefecture). Blackened Iron 81 mm x 80 mm x 4.5 mm 100 g
Kuyo Sukashi
Features the symbolic 9 planets planets in the buddhism cosmogony. Blackened Iron 86 mm x 86 mm x 5 mm 165 g
Kagi Sukashi
Japanese hook symbol Blackened iron 83 mm x 83 mm x 5 mm 100 g
Yatsu Warabite Sukashi
8 Warabite (Japanese traditional symbol) Blackened iron 79 mm x 79 mm x 5 mm 130 g


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The Tsukaito has two main goals: it serves as a grip and it holds the Tsuka tightly. A tightly wrapped Tsuka is extremely important for security.

Cotton allows better absorption of the sweat but it is less durable than silk and leather. It is the standard option for most Iaito.
Silk feels a little harder and is sometimes not recommended for beginners. However, it has a significantly longer lifespan.
Sweat is not really absorbed by Leather but this latter offers an excellent grip and it is the most durable material. Leather is available in standard and suede version (napped finish). The latter has a slightly better grip but it is slightly less durable.

Please note that those materials are made traditionally - they are not mass-produced. Therefore, colors can slightly vary depending on the batch.
In general, the Tsukaito is of the same color as the Sageo to keep the fitting harmonious, but this is not compulsory; you can select two different colors if you like.

Tsuka Same & Maki

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The Samekawa or "shark skin" is the part under the Tsukaito. Shark hunting is no longer practiced nowadays; therefore, despite the name “samekawa”, it’s actually stingray skin which is used. Its main goal is to keep the Tsukaito into place and to reinforce the Tsuka structure. The Same is sanded and polished in order to produce a durable superior-quality type of leather.
On live blades (Shinken) mounts, the Same is a "maki same", which wraps the Tsuka wood. However, for cost reasons, the Iaito Tsuka is made with two rectangular pieces of Same inlaid in the Tsuka. This is called Tanzaku-same.
The "Makisame" is a large piece of stingray skin which wraps the Tsuka. It makes the Tsuka slightly bigger and it significantly strengthens it, which improves its grip and its lifetime. The Makisame is made the same way Shinken Same are made.

Please note that we also offer a plastic Same option for customers concerned about animal protection. The plastic Same is only available as a "Tanzaku Same only" (Makisame is not possible).

The Tsukamaki is the way the tsukaito (cord) is wrapped around the Tsuka. The Hinerimaki is the standard wrapping, known by all practitioners.
The Hiramaki is a very specific wrapping that enables to make the centre of the Tsuka flat. This is a popular wrapping in Iai schools which use an important number of single-handed techniques/moves.  
In order to hold the Menuki correctly, the cord goes over the Menuki on each side (which may significantly hide the Menuki if it’s a small one).  Please note that we do not recommend this wrap for intensive practice as it is less durable than the standard Hinerimaki wrap.
Finally, the Katatemaki style is more designed for decoration than practice because it doesn't hold as well as the other wrappings. It is however proved that it was the wrapping used by the famous Samurai Akechi Mitsuhide. Given that the side parts of the Tsuka are left naked, this wrapping is only available with the Makisame option.

In option, we offer to put 2 Mekugi (peg) in the Tsuka. This may reassure you as 2 Mekugi make you feel safer. However, from the craftsmen's point of view, since Iaito are very rarely taken apart, this option is unnecessary. This option is not available for the Hiramaki.


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The Menuki are ornaments on the Tsuka to insert into the handle so as to fit into the palm for grip. Originally, they are meant to distract the eyes from the Mekugi (peg). It is generally placed under the wrapping, but they may also appear on the wrapping, especially with a Ikkan-maki or Hira-maki wrapping style. Several thousands of designs have been created over the centuries. It is considered as jewellery and as such it has inspired many craftsmen.

The Menuki are usually located on the top of the left side (omote) and at the bottom on the right side (ura). We also offer two other possibilities: center both Menuki (on each side), or reverse positions (also called Sakasa Menuki) which will place the Menuki under your palms rather than under your fingers.

Menuki Technical Specifications

Menuki Technical Specifications
Code Description Material Length x Width
This made in Japan Menuki features is a caltrop, also called "devil pod", an aquatic plant. Aluminum 15 mm x 34 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a chum salmon. Sake symbolizes luck and was a very common offering to the gods. Brass 14 mm x 45 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a dragon wrapped around a sword. Aluminum 09 mm x 68 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a dragonfly. The dragonfly, or Tombo in Japanese is also called "Kachi Muchi", insect of victory. Aluminum 13 mm x 39 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features cherry blossom, the luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral Japanese cherry tree flower. Aluminum 11 mm x 11 mm
Ryu Sho
This made in Japan Menuki features a small dragon. It is similar to the bigger version. Brass 11 mm x 38 mm
Ryu Dai
This made in Japan Menuki features a big dragon. It is similar to the smaller version. Brass 11 mm x 53 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a horsetail, or Equisetum for its scientific name. Brass 06 mm x 58 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a peony flower. Brass 12 mm x 54 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a lamb, symbol of peace and well-being. Brass 11 mm x 27 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features the "Maru ni Kenkatabami" Kamon. This Japanese crest was very popular among the samurai class and was adopted by many clans. Bronze 16 mm x 49 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a Mukade, a rather huge Japanese centipede. Brass 9 mm x 52 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features the symbolic 9 planets in the Buddhism cosmogony. Bronze 15 mm x 45 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a prawn. Its popularity comes from its symbolism of vigor and longevity. Aluminum 11 mm x 7 mm
This made in Japan Menuki features a Tachibana flower over Acala's sword (Buddhist's deity). Aluminum 48 mm x 12 mm

Saya Kurikata (optional)

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The Kurikata is the piece placed 8 cm from the Koiguchi (Saya hole) on the Omote side of the Saya, used to interlock the Sageo.

The Kurikata is usually placed 8 cm from the Koiguchi. Depending on your body type and on the school you practice, you may want to move away the Kurikata a little. You can set the position up to 20 cm from the Koiguchi, but it shouldn't be farther than 12 to 15 cm. This option increases the production time to about 5 to 6 weeks.

The Shitodome is a small piece of brass, gold or silver plated, inserted in the Kurikata (the hole in which the Sageo goes). The Shitodome is purely decorative.
Shitodome can only be fitted on standard Kurikata. Selecting a Shitodome will change any special Kurikata (ie. Dotanuki) to a standard Kurikata.

Please note that Shitodome only fit on regular Kurikata. If you select a Shitodome for a Dotanuki model with a metal Kurikata, it will be replaced by a standard Kurikata.