If you stick around long enough, you will probably encounter the word shitaji on our page more than once.
This term is used to describe a base component. with tsuka-shitaji we mean the basic wooden handle core without ray skin and wrapping and with saya-shitaji we are talking about the basic unlacquered sheath.
Japanese sword polishing is divided in two stages of which the first one is called shitaji togi. During this stage the geometry is set through coarse stones. Once the shape is ok, we can start working on the aesthetics. This process is called shiage togi.
Why explain the word shitaji? How else to describe this beautiful half-finished sword (mounting).
Please have a look at this astonishing picture of a full koshirae shitaji.
This is almost an x-ray image of sword koshirae. See through the lacquer, rayskin and tsuka-wrapping and see the exquisite workmanship a genuine Japanese sword requires. Only if every element in a Japanese sword is executed perfect you can achieve a perfect final result.
This image was published by NBSK, an organization which holds shinsaku (~ modern made) competitions for traditional crafts of the Japanese sword.