What is Gakumei in Japanese Katana terminology?
"Gakumei" (額銘) refers to a method used to preserve the inscription (Mei) on a Japanese sword during the process of shortening or polishing (Oosuriage). In this method, the inscription is pre-cut into a strip shape to prevent it from being erased during the polishing process. After the sword has been shortened or polished, a space is created in the tang (Nakago) of the sword, and the pre-cut inscription is inserted into this space.
This method of preserving the inscription is not only important for maintaining the historical and cultural information contained in the inscription, but it also adds to the aesthetic appeal of the sword. However, due to the nature of this method, which involves inserting the inscription into the sword, it can also be used to create counterfeit swords. Therefore, it is crucial to verify the authenticity of the sword and the inscription when dealing with a sword that has a ""Gakumei""."