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Nokaji Hamono: Nokaji Blades

February 01, 2021

Nokaji blades (Nokaji Hamono) are traditional crafts mainly made for forestry work. such as axes, hatchets and scythes.
A Nokaji axe, for example, has long, narrow grooves on both sides of the blade: three on one side and four on the other. These grooves of each side have symbolic meaning. The three grooves, called “miki”, represent sacred sake that is offered to the gods in Shinto rituals. The four, called “yoki”, represent harvests from the sea and mountains. Such grooved axes, therefore, could take the place of actual offerings of both sake and seasonal foods to the god of the mountain. So before starting to fell trees, traditionally woodcutters would lean axes against the trees to express their gratitude to the god and pray for the safety of their work.
According to another tradition, the seven grooves on a Nokaji axe head represent the seven stars of the Big Dipper, implying their relationship with the ancient worship of the North Star.

Read the full article:
Nokaji Hamono: Nokaji Blades

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