Copyright Robert Cole 2014 - No copying or distributing - Note: Missing graphics


The HAMON consists of two basic constituents, NIE and NIOI.

NIE are globules of crystalline steel differentiated from soft. When present, NIE can be clearly seen. In the lesser work it may appear as splotchy patches or as if it were droplets of spray. NIE in the better work is more defined and color-rich. Its hardness often resists the polishers' stone in such a way that it can appear, and in fact remains, rounded and slightly protruding from the surface. In some work it can appear gem-like and as if "floating" in its sea of folded steel. MURA-NIE is profuse NIE.

NIOI is crystalline steel as well, but the term means "Scent." NIOI appears like a white or silver mist or vapor. NIOI has been referred to as "white cloud" and usually defines the HAMON.

NIOI-DEKI means "finished in NIOI."

Crystalline steel can form straight, curved or arcing, sometimes color-rich lines called KINSUJI "Golden Line," or GINSUJI "Silver Line." There are similar lines often found in YAKIBA that run parallel like "Waves of Sand," called SUNAGASHI.

INAZUMA "Flashes of Lightning" has been called Violet Lightning. These can arc into the JI.

CHIKEI are lines that appear in the JI. They may appear dark and are places where the folding method wrought HADA to reveal line-shaped forms of carbon-rich steel. These lines also may or may not "take temper."

TOBI or TOBI-YAKI are round-shaped patches or islands, often NIE-rich, that appear in the JI attendant to the HAMON. They may appear to "jump up" or "dart up" from the HAMON.

HOTSURE means "strays" and describes drifts that leave the line of HAMON. They may look like wind-pulled clouds clinging to the horizon. Strays into the YAKIBA are also called HOTSURE.

YO means "leaves." These can be "blown leaves," "falling leaves" or "fallen leaves" and are small dot-like formations of NIOI within the YAKIBA. Dots. Grouped dots or dots attending CHOJI BA.

YAKI-KUZURE or "Crushed YAKIBA" can refer to openings that cause island-like shapes in the HAMON.The term is used to describe large or small forms separated, or appearing to be torn, from the HAMON and can appear much like broken ice-floes or ice that is breaking up. YAKI-KUZURE can be similar to a map overview of continental drift. -Patches broken out along a horizontal crevice or on fiord-like openings of the HAMON.

YUBASHIRI can appear as cloud-wisps. Application of this term has been evoked for shapes caused either by style of HAMON or the interactions of sword laminate structure at the quench. YUBASHIRI means running or boiling water, and has been used to describe the swirling appearance of a certain form of running HADA as well.

ASHI "legs" is NIOI that falls from the HAMON toward the HA, or cutting edge, often from the trough of a valley. ASHI may appear as notches in the line. Small radiating ASHI, or the radiating ends of longer ASHI, can appear similar to little clawed feet and when seen are called NEZUMI or NEZUMI-ASHI "Rat's Feet."

One of the most beautiful and rare NIOI forms is UTSURI, or "Reflections." This was created by temperature differential at the quench. Perfected by the ICHIMONJI, UTSURI has been called the "ghost temper" and is a mist or vapor-like reflection of the HAMON. It appears across the JI and SHINOGI-JI sections of the blade.

NIJUBA "Two-fold HA" refers to double HAMON. This effect is said to have been perfected, as a matter of purposeful technique, by few smiths.

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