Japanese Natural Stones, Kanji & Information


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Japanese Natural Stones, Kanji & Information
(Updated: 2018, Feb, April, June, July, Okt)

Visit Razorshistory.wordpress.com
(stones for sale)

This article is meant to provide a bit of help with figuring out
kanji that is found on Japanese natural water stones, together
with some information of stones, mines,… (By the way,
not all of the described stones are meant for razors!)

By any means, I do not want to give the impression that I master the
Japanese language, far from it. The information, provided in this article is just
something that I’ve managed to gather in the past few years

If you would see a mistake, please contact me by the
contact form, available at the end of this article

If you would like to provide suggestions, new information, extra kanji translations
or comments, please don’t hesitate to use the same contact form

Thank you!

First of all, a few links of some fantastic sites 
“when you want to know your kanji”
(click to open the link in a new window/tab):
or the newer version: http://jisho.org/#radical


There is undoubtably proof of certain sellers who place fake stamps on stones.

I don’t mean Japanese retailers who stamp correctly old-stock stones
of which they know which stones are from which mines.

I mean non-Japanese sellers who buy unmarked stones from Japan and place
fake stamps on them, for example: “Maruka“, “Maruuchi“, “Hatahoshi“,…

Recently (’18, Okt) I found out that these type of stones also are sold through
a Japanese eBay address, although the style of pictures, letter type in the listing, stone stamps,…
are exactly the same as a Russian seller who sold/sells these fake stamped stones…
Apparently these stones from a “Japanese” seller are send from Russia…

Be aware for low priced stones with brightnew fresh stamps,
especially when there are a lot of them for sale…
Of coarse, these stones still can be amazing!

See further in this article “Hatanaka Hatahoshi


Japanese Natural Stones, Kanji & Information (general information):

  • Grit/grain size
  • Naori/Stratum/Layer/Type
  • Color
  • Stamps
  • Mines/stones (general introduction)


  1. “Arato” + “Unknown grit”
  2. “Nakato” → “Shiage toishi”
  3. “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”

Grit/grain size:

Grit approx. 200 – 600:
「粗目」 = “Arame” = “Coarse grain” – “Arado/Arato” 「粗砥」
⇒ 「荒砥石」 = “Arato” – “Aratoishi”
= “Rough whetstone”
Quarries: Wakayama 「和歌山」, Sasaguchi 「笹口」, Hirashima 「平島」
(=sandstone (eg. Ōmura),…)

Approx. 1K – 5K:
「中目」 = “Nakame” = “Middle grain” – “Nakado”;
3K – 5K:青砥」= “Aoto” = “Medium-grade whetstone”
3K – 5K:細目」= “Hosome” = “Fine texture”
⇒ 「中砥石」=  “chū toishi” – “Nakato” – “Nakatoishi”
= “Medium whetstone”
⇒ 「仕上げ砥石」-「仕上げ砥石」= “Shiage toishi”
= “Finishing whetstone”
Quarries:  Kyoto「京都」, Tsushima「対馬」, Nagura「名倉」, Amakusa「天草」,
Aoto, Numata, Aizu, Iyo, Sakeki,… (=claystone, quartzs-trachyt, tuff, andesite,…)

Approx. 5K – >20K:
⇒ 「仕上げ砥石」-「仕上げ砥石」= “Shiage toishi”
= “Finishing whetstone”
= “Finishing/Polishing stone”
Quarries: 「京都」= “Kyoto”
(=ganister, silica shale,…)


Also a classification can be found of certain characteristics;
One example for instance:

粒度区分 ryūdo kubun = Granularity classification:

  • 荒砥 Ara to = Rough grit stone → 50~59
  • 中砥 Chū to = Medium grit stone → 60~79
  • 仕上砥 Shiage to = Finishing grit stone → 80~95

硬軟度区分 kōnan-do kubun = Hardness classification:

  • 軟 Nan = Soft → 50~59
  • 普通 Shin Tsū = Common → 60~79
  • 硬 Kata = Hard → 80~95

Hones (especially razor hones) can be advertised with other classifications of
fineness, hardness,… for instance on a scale from 1-5 were Lv 1-4 is suitable
for knives,… & Lv 4-5 is suitable for razors, planes, chisels,…


  • Lv1 = Very soft
  • Lv2 = Soft
  • Lv3 = Standard
  • Lv4 = Hard
  • Lv5/Lv 5+ = Very hard (硬口 “Katakuchi”)


  • Lv1 = Very rough
  • Lv2 = Rough
  • Lv3 = Standard
  • Lv4 = Fine
  • Lv5/Lv 5+ = Very Fine

Or even on a scale from 1-3;

Sharpening feeling

  • Lv1 = Heavy
  • Lv2 = Standard
  • Lv3/Lv3+ = Smooth

Grinding power (proportional to the granularity)

  • Lv1 = Weak
  • Lv2 = Standard-soft
  • Lv3/Lv3+ = Strong


There are three forms of mountain geology (Naori, 成り):

Ai ishi naori, Chu ishi naori, hon kuchi naori

Each Naori has different layers or stratum (層 = Sō)

Layers (strata) in different Naori (from shallowest to deepest):

Ai ishi naori (合石成り):
honshiro, nakashiro, tenjyo tomae, naka tomae, shiki tomae.
Stones from this strata tend to be coarser & softer than those from Hon kuchi
or Chu ishi naori. Hideriyama stones are from this strata.

Hon kuchi naori (本口成り「ほんくちなおり」):

  • Aka pin「赤ピン」
  • Tenjyo/Tenjō suita 「天上巣板」(てんじょうすいた)
    (4 layers/strata: uchigumori, nagagumori, sotogumori, shiro)
  • Hachimai 「八枚」 (8 layers)
  • Senmai 「千枚」 (2 layers)
  • Tomae 「戸前」(とまえ) (48 layers)
  • Aisa / Ai – sa「合さ」(あいさ)
    (4 layers; Karasu is sometimes found in this strata)
  • Namito / Nami to「並砥」(なみと) ~ Daijyo / daiji yo
    「大上」 (だいじょう) (8 layers)
  • Hon suita「本巣板」(ほんすいた) (6 layers)
  • Shiro/shiki suita「白巣板 / 敷巣板」(2 layers)

The last 2 layers are also described slightly different:

  • Hon suita「本巣板」(ほんすいた) / Shiki suita 「敷巣板」(しきすいた)
  • Shiki shiro「敷白」 (しきしろ)

On “Maryuoyama (Mt. Maruo)” the 7th layer from the top,
“Namito / Nami to「並砥」 ~ Daijyo / daiji yo「大上」”,
is called “Daijyo / daiji yo「大上」”

(the mines around Mt. Atago, west (nishi mono) and east
(higashi mono), are of the Hon kuchi naori type, the quarry
of Atago itself is of the Chu ishi naori type)


Chu ishi naori (中石 成り): has no distinct difference
within the Naori, meaning there are no distinct layers,
Atago for example is a Chu ishi naori type


Line of “Hon kuchi naori/Honguchi naori“, 本口成り本層 (Honguchi-naori-honso)
and some of the mines which are situated on that line nearby Kyoto:


“Eastern mines”, “East side mountain” or “Higashi Mono / Higashi Mon” 東モン
= Positioned east of Mt. Atago/Atagoyama 愛宕山:

  • Gosenryou (五千両)
  • Kizuyama (木津山)
  • Nakayama (中山)
  • Narutaki (Mukoda/mukaida) (鳴滝)
  • Okudo (奥殿)
  • Okusugi / Oku sugi (奥杉)
  • Ozaki/Osaki (尾崎) (or Western?)
  • Ozuku (大突)
  • Sannodan / San no dan (三の段)
  • Shiroto (白砥, mine connected to Ozuku)
  • Shoubu (菖蒲)/ Shoubudani (菖蒲谷)
  • Takayama (高山)
  • Takitani (滝谷)
  • Tukiwa / Tsukiwa (月輪)
  • Yazutsu / Yadzutsu (矢筒)

“Western mines”, “West side mountain” or “Nishi Mono / Nishi Mon” 西モン
= Positioned west of Mt. Atago/Atagoyama 愛宕山:

  • Aono (青野)
  • Ashiya (Ashidani/Ashitani) (芦谷)
  • Hakka (はっか  or  八箇)
  • Ikeno-uchi (池ノ内)
  • Inokura (猪倉)
  • Maruoyama (丸尾山)
  • Mizugihara (水木原)
  • Kouzaki/Kōzaki (Tanba, 神前)
  • Ohira (大平)
  • Okunomon (奥ノ門)
  • Ōuchi/Oh-uchi (大内)
  • Shinden (新田)
  • Yaginoshima (八木ノ嶋 or 八木嶋 or 八木の嶋)


   Kyoto Narutaki area map.png

In the area around Kyoto city, on the northern edge, in the area called “Narutaki,” is a mountain called Atagoyama (Mount Atago). Clustered around this mountain, spreading
to the “East”, are a number of smaller mountains riddled with rock mines and quarries, the “Eastern mines” or “Higashi Mono”, for example Nakayama, Shoubudani, Narutaki.
West of Atagoyama (Mount Atago) are the “Western mines” or “Nishi Mono”, for
example Shinden and Ohira

There are two more quarries found in far Nord-east of the Kyoto area, Sougandani & Takashima, these quarries are as well of the Hon-kuchi naori. Also Wakasa is found there.

Example of different “strata” in a “Hon kuchi naori”:

The mountain Maruoyama (丸尾山, Western from Atagoyama),
Kyoto is of the “Hon kuchi naori” type of geology.
Following are different layers (strata), together with the type of extracted
stones within each layer, (from shallowest to deepest) (1):

  • Tenjō suita (天上巣板) →  Uchigumori (内曇)

  • Tomae (戸前) → Tomae (戸前), Tenjō Tomae (天上戸前),
    Hon Tomae (本戸前), Shiki Tomae (敷戸前)

  • ai (or aisa, 合さ) → Aisa (合さ), Karasu (“crow”, カラス)

  • Namito (並砥) or Daijyo / daiji ~you (大上  「だいじょう」)
    → Oujou (?, 大上), Suita-Giwa-Daijyo (巣板ぎわ大上)

  • Shiki suita (敷巣板) → Shiro suita (白巣板 = “white Suita”), Tamagoiro Suita
    (卵色 = “yellowish coloured Suita”), Kiiro Suita (黄色 = “Yellow/Amber Suita”), Kurorenge (黒蓮華 = “Black Renge”), Shiki utigumori/Shiki uchigumori
    (敷内曇 = “Clouds on the floor – deep Uchigumori layer”)


= Ai or Aisa = type of stone layer, in the “Hon kuchi Naori”, located under “Tomae” and above “Namito”, Karasu can be found in this layer


= Nagura:

Example of stamp:
検 – 浅野 (red stamp) = Ken – Asano = Examination – Asano
(This Nagura has been officially evaluated, by Nagayuki Asano)
Nagayuki Asano 1a
純三河白名倉 = Jun Mikawa Shiro Nagura
= Genuine Mikawa White Nagura
Jun Mikawa Shiro Nagura.jpg

別大上 = Betsu Ōgami = “oversized”
= larger white nagura, mostly square/rectangular shaped
Betsu Ōgami 別大上 1a
特級上 = Tokkyū-jō = Superior class
= larger striped nagura, mostly square/rectangular shaped
別上 = Betsu Jo = Superior grade, white nagura, odd shaped
Betsu jo.jpg
特級 = Tokkyu = High grade, striped nagura, odd shaped

There are 12 layers of Nagura, Mikawa region, Aichi prefecture
(from shallowest to deepest):

  • 目白 (めじろ) Mejiro = “White Eye”,
    a midrange Mikawa Shiro Nagura
    Nagura Meijiro.JPG
  • 天上 (てんじょう) Tenjyo (x2 layers) = “Heaven/Sky”,
    a midrange Mikawa Nagura
  • (“Serizuna”, some sources don’t refer this layer (kamakura-bori))
  • Buchi kō ぶちこう (a layer which isn’t mined)
  • コマ Koma (= 細名倉, hoso nagura)
    = “Fine”, the finest Mikawa Shiro Nagura
    nagura-komaTōken-yō Koma Asano Jun Mikawa Nagura.jpg 刀剣用 = , Tōken-yō (For swords);
    コマ = Koma; 検 – 浅野 = Ken – Asano;
    純三河白名倉 = Jun Mikawa Shiro Nagura
  • ボタン Botan = “Peony flower”, a coarse Mikawa Shiro Nagura
    Nagura Botan.jpg
  • 八重ボタン Yae-Botan, a coarse Mikawa Shiro Nagura,
    usually faster & coarser than Botan, sometimes has sand
    layers and quartzite inclusions.
    Yae Botan.jpg
  • むし Mushi
  • アツ (あつ) Atsu (= 中名倉, naka nagura), a coarse Mikawa Nagura
  • バン (ばん) Ban
  • Shiki-Ban

Besides the Mikawa nagura, there is also the black Kuro nagura
(黒名倉), mined in Tsushima, Kyushu

(1) → Also see “Nakato” → “Shiage toishi”

Classification of Jun Mikawa white Nagura (upper layer to lower layer) · · ·
‘Mr. Kōsuke Iwasaki’ From the book 「刃物の見方」”How to view knives”:
Mikawa 12 layers
①目白 Mejiro
②天上 Tenjyo
②天上 Tenjyo
③ぶちこう Buchi kō
④コマ(細) Koma
⑤ボタン Botan
⑥八重ボタン Yae-Botan
⑦むし Mushi
⑧アツ Atsu
⑨バン Ban
⑩しきばん Shiki-Ban

There are 12 layers in total, Tenyo has 2 layers, and there is 1 (useless) sand layer.

→ Also see “Nakato” → “Shiage toishi”: “Mikawa
→ Also see “Nakato” → “Shiage toishi”: “Tsushima

= Naka means “middle”

並み砥  or  並砥
= Namito (= type of layer), a deep strata (layer) in the “Hon kuchi naori”, located
below “Aisa” and above “Hon suita”. These stones are often hard, fine grained
and very consistent.


巣板 or スイタ or ス板
= Suita (= type of layer)
= “Su” means nest/beehive, and “Ita” means board/plate/layer, most “Suita” stones
have “Su”, small natural holes. “Suita” without “su” are called “Sunashi / Su nashi”
(巣なし) or “Sunashi Suita” (巣無し巣板), so the absence of “Su” doesn’t mean that a
stone cannot be a “suita”. On the other hand, certain stones like iromono (icolor) & some Tomae (layer) awasedo also can have “su”, so not only “suita” can have those small holes!
Suita 3.jpegSONY DSCスイタ Suita.jpgSuita 2.gifOhira Suita Renge Watanabe 1a2

  • 本巣板 = Hon suita
  • 敷巣板 = Shiki Suita = “Floor” Suita
  • 白巣板 = Shiro suita = “White” Suita
    Shiro Suita 1a
  • 天上巣板 = Tenjō Suita, Uchigumori is such type of stone


= Tomae
Tomae 1a.jpg

  • 天上戸前 = Tenjō Tomae = Highest Tomae layer
  • 本戸前 = Hon Tomae = Main/principal Tomae
    Maruoyama Hon Tomae 2b.jpgMaruoyama Namazu Hon Tomae 1c
  • 敷戸前 = Shiki Tomae (“Floor” Tomae)
    Maruoyama Shiki Tomae 1b



= Ao Renge = “Blue Renge”
Ohira Watanabe Renge 1a4

浅黄  or  アサギ
= Asagi = originally translated as “light yellow”, the actual color of Asagi quite
varies though, stones labeled “Asagi” can be in shades of blue or gray, or even green…
Asagi.jpegSONY DSCAsagi 7aasagi-3asagi-4Asagi 5.pngasagi-2Asagi 6.png
Asagi 1.pngSONY DSCOzuku 2 Asagi kopie.jpgSONY DSCAsagi Ohira 2a.jpegSONY DSCnakayama Asagi 2  kopie.jpg

Atarazuno hari  = Needle/point/dot pattern (Reflective), which isn’t toxic for the razor edge (= harmless), Harike is the toxic variant.


胡麻 = Goma = “sesame seeds”
= small black dots with the appearance of sesame seeds. It is believed to indicate
good speed. Goma can be harmless or toxic (it sometimes can scratch)


羽二重 = Habutae = “rice cake”
“Habutae” originally is very expensive pure white drapery used for kimono.
The whiter Shiro Suita has the nick name “Habutae” because of its colour.
It is also used for light yellow stones
Habutae 1aHabutae 1bHabutae 2aHabutae 3a

Harike  = Toxic needle pattern, the toxic inclusions can scratch the steel and possibly damage an edge. (Atarazuno hari is the non-toxic variant).


Ikimurasaki = purple-ish,
Murasaki means “purple”, Iki maybe means “plain on the outside but vivid on the inside”
It is a less common color (more expensive), found on Maruoyama stones
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “Maruoyama”

= Iromono
Iromono 1a.jpgIromono 3Takashima Iromono 1 kopie.jpgIromono 1.jpgIromono 2.jpg
Means “colourful laundry/coloured article” = appearance of abstract splashes of color; red, pink, violet and possibly other colours mixed in as well, mostly seen in softer Kiita


= Kan / Kan maki = “rings”, “ring winding”, appearance like the age rings in a tree,
most of the time harmless, although very pronounced “Kan” can be scratchy.

Kanesuji (kane suji), a hairline toxic inclusion with very hard particles that can damage the edge,
it can be felt under the razor while honing.

カラス  or  からす  or  烏
= Karasu = “Crow”
SONY DSCKarasu 4SONY DSCKarasu 1.jpgKarasu 2.png
カラス砥石 = Karasu toishi = Karasu Stone
カラス板 = Karasu-ban/Kara-Suita (?)

Kesuji (ke suji), a hairline inclusion with soft particles that will not damage the edge, they can absorb water though, over time they can cause the stone to split along this line.

= Kuro = “Black”

= Kurorenge = “Black Renge”

= Kiiro = “Yellow/Amber”

= Kiita = “Yellow Plate”, “Kiita” stones have a pronounced yellow coloration,
they are highly sought after, generally they’re a bit softer than most “Asagi” stones, allthough some “Kiita” stones are also very hard.
Kiita 1.pngKiita 2.jpg


= Mizuasagi (Asagi,浅黄 = light blue, Mizu,水 = water; Mizuasagi = light blue like water)
Mizuasagi 1.pngMizuasagi 2.pngMizuasagi 4.pngMizuasagi 3.png

木目 = Mokume = “Wood grain pattern”

紅葉 = Momiji, “Autumn Leaves” or “maple leaves” pattern.


癜  or  ナマズ  or  なまづ
= Namazu = “catfish” = usually comprised of irregular lighter-coloured blotches,
streaks or spots on the surface
Maruoyama Namazu Hon Tomae 1bMaruoyama Namazu Shiro Suita 1bMaruoyama Namazu Shiro Suita 1cNamazu

梨地  or  なしじ
= Nashiji, appearance of dots which resembles the look of a pear’s skin,
a stone with such characteristics is said to have higher cutting strength.
nakayama-kiita-nashiji-2 Nashiji (Kiita)


蓮華  or  れんげ
= Renge = “lotus flower/blossom”, refers to the lotus flower/blossom like pattern
with often pink to purplish colour (or even red, brown or black), a stone with such characteristics is said to have higher cutting strength, although other say it indicates
a reduction in cutting strength. “Renge” is only found in Suita stones

黒蓮華 = Kurorenge = “Black Renge”
青レンゲ = Ao Renge = “Blue Renge”


= Shiro = White
Shiro Suita.jpg

= Sikiutigumori/Shikiuchigumori = “Clouds on the floor”

= Suji = “sinew, tendon, fiber”, lines on the stone.
Some will be “safe” (Kesuji), others “toxic” (Kanesuji)

= Sujimono (suji mono) = “sinew, tendon, fiber thing/object/matter”,
a stone with lots of Suji (lines). Often (not always) it indicates an inferior stone.

= Suminagashi (Sumi nagareshi) = “Black ink flow”, a rare characteristic with
swirls of color, the name referring to an marbling ink in water process.
Suminagashi 1a1Suminagashi 2a1


= Tamagoiro = “mottled creamy yellow colour” (卵 = “egg”)


焼け  or  やけ = Yake = “burned” , a dark orange/deep umber colouring, most often
seen on Suita. Very dense and hard Yake can scratch the blade. This word is also
used to describe pronounced splashes of colour on a stone.


 へ  or  へへ

(Update ’18, July)

On old Japanese packaging, when you see a non-kanji logo that
consists of a top part resembling へ (or two overlapping へ ‘s) with
a single katakana or kanji character under it (for example マ (ma),
タ (ta), 三 (san),…), it is usually a trademark representing the
company which has produced the item, and it often,
but not always, includes part of the company name.
The upper part (へ) is typically thought of by the Japanese as representing
a mountain, and thereby representing an idea similar to:
“wishing for the company to reach the pinnacle of their industry”.
In some company logos which use this symbol, or a variation of it,
“へ” can represent the sound “Yama”, or something similar, such as “Fuji”
(the most famous mountain in Japan). But this is not always the case.
For example, “へタ” might represent the name “Yamata”, but it might
also represent something else. It could be, for example, “Fujita”, or it could
be a company name that begins with “Ta”. It might also have nothing to do
with the company name, and could instead be, for example, some other
name that is important to the founders of the company.
It is impossible to know for sure what it represents unless someone
with that knowledge tells you. About the only thing you can know
for certain is that in the case of “へタ”, “タ(ta)” is part of the name, possibly
“ta”, but this kanji can also be used for names like “Ibu”, “Yuu”, “Yuube”​ …
善 (Zen)
Hatanaka box
善 (へZen?) seen on “Hatanaka” – “Hatahoshi” stone boxes
善 = Zen = good; goodness; right; virtue…
善 = also used as a name: Zen; Zenji​; Zen’you
マ (Ma)
“Sun Tiger Brand” “The Matsunaga Co. LTD.” (松永トイシ , Matsunaga Toishi)
“へへabove マ” mark, マ being  the first sound of “Matsunaga”

Yamashiro 1 kopie.3a.4.Tanba no kuni 丹波國.jpg.Asahi tora? Matsunaga Co
マ = ma
マ = also used as a name: Ma; Sanji​; Zou


Narutaki 6a.2a.2b.1
タ= ta = evening
タ= also used as a name: Ibu​; Yuu​​; Yuube​
三 (San)

Suita ...San 1a1.Suita ...San 1b1
三 = San = three
三 = also used as a name: San; Sanji​; Zou


利 (Ri)
Numato-to 3a
利 = Ri = advantage; benefit; profit; interest
利 = also used as a name: Kaga; Satoshi​; Tooru


市 (Ichi)
Yamashiro 2.jpg.
Yamaichi 3a1 正本山 Shōhonyama Yamaichi Shoubudani 12K 1a.png 菖蒲 Shobu, Shoubu
市 = Ichi = city; town; market; fair
市 = used as a name: Ichi; Ichisaki​; Ichizaki


This example has something else which is interesting:


大日本山城特産 = Japan, Yamashiro Special product
大日本 is an old way to describe Japan (during the Meiji Constitution), used
around 1890 – 1947. The Narutaki kanji 鳴瀧 is kyūjitai (“old character form”),
used prior to 1946. However the kanji 国 is a “new character form” (shinjitai),
which is normally used after 1946.
My first assumption was that this stone had been mined/stamped/labeled around 1946.
Like many things in Japan, it isn’t that simple, things tend to be a bit more complicated…
With the enormous help of someone who wishes to remain anonymous, I learned this:

The official forms of the characters changed from
kyūjitai (“old character form”) to shinjitai (“new character form”)
around 1946, shortly after World War II.
Similarly, the name commonly used to describe Japan also
changed around this time. However, many of the shinjitai forms of
the characters were already in use before 1946, sometimes many
years before, as handwritten shortcuts (primarily to save time
when writing kanji by hand). For typeset text (that is, text that
was created by assembling small metallic forms of each character
one-by-one – see picture), generally, only the kyujitai forms were used.
Japanese_printing_type_2,Japan a
In other words, the shinjitai forms were chosen as the official forms
after the war, but the forms were not newly created at that time.
People were already familiar with many of them as handwriting shortcuts.
The shown stone label is NOT typeset…
Although the forms of the characters resemble
the standard typeset forms, the characters on
this kind of packaging were drawn by hand.
Because of that, it is possible that the shinjitai forms
of some characters could have been used before 1946.
However, the name 大日本 was very quickly abolished after the war,
and so it is unlikely to have been still used much longer after that.
As a result, it can be said with fairly high confidence that
this stone label was created no later than 1947.
However, even though the 国 form is used, it can not be said absolutely
that the label was created after 1946. It could have been created earlier.

As I said, it is a bit more complicated…

∧     ┐     〇     ♯     □     …

Some symbols and their general meaning:

∧ = 山(ヤマ)=  “Yama”, stands for
“wishing for the company to reach the pinnacle of their industry” (see previous)

┐ = 矩(カネ)= “Kane”. The rectangle (“kane”) represents a “model business”, example:
Kanetake 1a1  ┐(Kane), 武 (take) ⇒ Kanetake

〇 = 丸(マル)= “Maru”, symbolizes a “circle”, or “correct”, ‘good”,
“check mark” (inspection, examination), 
 〇 (Maru), カ  (ka)  ⇒ “Maruka”
(would mean for example: examined, approved by Kato)

♯ = 井桁(イゲタ)= “Igeta”, it symbolizes a framework to draw up
important things. It is also a symbol of water rights. Example:

□ = 枡(マス)= masu

◎ = “Favorite”, “very good” (better than)


Artificial stones

人造砥石 = Jinzō toishi
= artificial/synthetic whetstone

ベスタ  = Besuta / Bester
人造青砥  = Jinzō Aoto = Artificial Aoto
キング  = King
ナニワ  = Naniwa
シャプトン  = Shapton
シグマパワー  = Sigma power
スエヒロ  = Suehiro


= betsu jōhin = Special item
Betsu yo hin


= Fujibato
Fujibato Kyoto 1a1 Fujibato Kyoto 1a2
極上一本選 = gokujō Ippon-sen = The single best selection
フジバト= “Fujibato”
正本山 = shōhonzan = True Honzan
仕上砥  = shiagato = finishing stone
正本山合砥 = shōhonzan awasedo = True Honzan polishing stone
極上 = Gokujō = superb

(Update ’18, June)
Narutaki 10a

正本山合砥 = shōhonzan awasedo = True Honzan polishing stone
極上 = Gokujō = superb
本鳴瀧 = Hon Narutaki = Original Narutaki
(This could be from the actual Narutaki mine)
極上一本選 = gokujō Ippon-sen = The single best selection
小 = Koppa = “little, bits & pieces/small end”
= Small stone or a larger or small stone with an irregular shape.
(In this case, probably because it hasn’t got a perfect rectangular shape)
フジバト= “Fujibato” (a retailer or something like that…)
正本山 = shōhonzan = True Honzan
仕上砥  = shiagato = finishing stone
鳴瀧 = Narutaki (Old kanji <1946)
正本山 = Shōhonyama = Authentic Honyama (Honyama =
Narutaki (area, Nakayama/Narutaki, OR Narutaki mine,
in this case I believe Narutaki mine…)
仕上砥石  = shiagetoishi = finishing whetstone
刃物仕上用 = for finishing cutlery, edged tools, knives,…
品質極上 = Superb quality product
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”, 鳴滝 or 鳴瀧 = Narutaki

Fujibato 2a kopie
天然仕上砥石 = Ten’nen (Tennen) Shiage Toishi = Natural finishing whetstone
極上一本選 = gokujō Ippon-sen = The single best selection
三型 = san-gata = type 3
本鳴瀧 = Hon Narutaki = Narutaki
フジバト= “Fujibato”
正本山 = shōhonzan = True Honzan
仕上砥  = shiagato = finishing stone
刃物最上  仕上用  = hamono saijō shiaga-yō = for finishing top/best blades/cutlery
ハイクラス砥石製造元 = haikurasu toishi seizōmoto = High class whetstone manufacturer


= gokujō = Superb, Exquisite

= gokujō Ippon sen = The finest one


(Update ’18, April)

Hasami-ken-yō to
Scissors ハサミ研用砥 = Hasami-ken-yō to = Sharpening stone for scissors 1
純三河白名倉 = Jun Mikawa Shiro Nagura
= Pure/Authentic Mikawa white Nagura (whet)stone
ハサミ研用砥 = Hasami-ken-yō to = Sharpening stone for scissors

(Update ’18, Feb, June)

Hatanaka Hatahoshi


There is undoubtably proof of certain sellers who place fake stamps on stones.

I don’t mean Japanese retailers who stamp correctly old-stock stones of
which they know which stones are from which mines.

I mean non-Japanese sellers who buy unmarked stones from Japan and place
fake stamps on them, for example: “Maruka“, “Maruuchi“, “Hatahoshi“,…

Recently (’18, Okt) I found out that these type of stones also are sold through
a Japanese eBay address, although the style of pictures, letter type in the listing, stone stamps,…
are exactly the same as a Russian seller who sold/sells these fake stamped stones…
Apparently these stones from a “Japanese” seller are send from Russia…

Be aware for low priced stones with brightnew fresh stamps,
especially when there are a lot of them for sale…

Of coarse, these stones still can be amazing!

Sadly, before I begin about Hatahoshi, I need to share
that a certain non-Japanese seller makes fake stamps…

Fake stamps 1a Fake stamps 1b1
First (unstamped) example is from the original sale in Japan, second example is after
the purchaser bought it, and sold it WITH stamps! No more words are needed I think…Fake stamps 1a1 Fake stamps 1b2

The same non-Japanese seller sells/sold Shoubudani stones with a stamp
of the year 1926 (1年 = Shōwa 1 = 1926)…

I could be wrong, but I never saw a year stamp before on a stone
(It can be seen sometimes on a box or under the wooden stand though)

It seems a coincidence that he has/had at least 3 stones with such stamps,
the stamps themselves being exactly the same… Despite the stones possibly
being really excellent, I wouldn’t trust the date or mine stamps…

菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1a.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1b1.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1c1
菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1b4.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1c4.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1b3.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1c3
菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1b2.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 1c2

Stone sold by a Japanese address based seller with EXACTLY the same stamps
(with the same letter type & colour in the listing as previous mentioned (Russian) seller):
菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 2a1.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 2a2.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 2a3.菖蒲谷 - 昭和1年 - 1926 2a4

Hatanaka Hatahoshi
(the last owner of the Nakayama (中山) mine, after Kato-san
who owned the mine from the 1920s into the late 1960’s)
(thejapanblade.com/A bit about Nakayama)

Sometimes seen with Maruka ㋕正本山 stamp:

The “Hatanaka Toishi Company” of Kyoto has been for generations the premier
stone company providing the best sharpening stones from all of the Honyama mines.
The Hatanaka Co. were the main outlet of Nakayama stones for years, they maintained close ties with Mr. Kato, owner of the Nakayama mine. Eventually Hatanaka became
the owner of the Nakayama mine. Hatanaka though was not the sole wholesaler for
the Nakayama mine, stones also got distributed to other shops! (i)
The last Nakayama minings were between 1972-1982 and 1985-1988.


(Update ’18, Okt)

I believe these last minings could very well
be at a different site on Nakayama (mountain).
The original Nakayama mine, located on the
eastern side of Mt. Atago, was closed in 1967:

“… The location of the Nakayama mine was (it was closed in 1967)
on the side eastern side of Mt. Atago, the highest peak in the region
was very near to Kyoto. …
…the last tunnel of the Nakayama mine
was closed and was bulldozed and sealed by Ishihara-san,
the owner of the Ohira mine in the late 1960′s …
… Ishihara-san of the Ohira Mine, Kato-san of the
Nakayama mine and Hatanaka-san were all charter members
of the Kyoto Miners Union, a small group of Kyoto families who
had associated with one another for multiple generations…”
(thejapanblade.com/A bit about Nakayama)


Hatahoshi 「ハタホシ」(Hata)
nakayama-hatahoshi-1-maruka-1e Nakayama Hatahoshi 3a2.jpg Nakayama Hatahoshi 4c.jpgNakayama Hatahoshi 3a3.jpg Nakayama Hatahoshi 4d.jpg Hatahosi.jpg
登録商標  (read R>L & Up>Down) = Tōroku shōhyō = Registered Trademark
ハタホシ (under 2 flags & star) = Hatahoshi
純眞正本山 (Middle, BIG kanji, read Up>Down) = Jun shin shō honyama (honzan)
= Pure Authentic Honyama (Nakayama)
レザー型 = Rezā-gata = Razor type

H. (Hatahoshi) Hatanaka (Trademark, Mining), Kyoto, Japan
nakayama-hatahoshi-2-stamp Hatanaka Ohira Shiro Suita 4.jpg
山城 本場 (read Up>Down) = Yamashiro, Honba = Yamashiro original place

Boxes (HTK+ Hatahoshi logo (flags)):

nakayama-hatahoshi-1-maruka-1d nakayama-hatahoshi-2a
Hatanaka Ohira Shiro Suita 1.jpg nakayama-hatahoshi-2-box

商標 (read R>L) = Trademark

大禮記念京都大博覽會 (read Up>Down) = Orei Kinen Kyoto Dai Hakurankai,
Kyoto Grand Exposition in Commemoration of the Imperial Coronation,
held in Kyoto from 
September 20 to December 25, 1928! (Showa 3).
→ See further

山城 本場 (read Up>Down) = Yamashiro, Honba = Yamashiro original place

優良請合御砥石 (read Up>Down, BIG kanji) = Yūryō ukea o toishi
= Guarantueed superior whetstone

優良國産推奨銀賞受領 (read Up>Down) = Yūryō kuni-san suishō ginshō juryō
= Received silver price for the best domestic products

採掘元 (read R>L) = Saikutsu-moto = Mine sourced

精撰 (read R>L) = Seisen = selection

(Update ’19, April)
大禮記念京都大博覽會 (read Up>Down) = Orei Kinen Kyoto Dai Hakurankai,
Kyoto Grand Exposition in Commemoration of the Imperial Coronation,
held in Kyoto from 
September 20 to December 25, 1928! (Showa 3).
dieselpunks.org/grand exposition
1928 Kyoto Grand Exposition to Commemorate the Showa Imperial Coronation, 1a 1928 Kyoto Grand Exposition to Commemorate the Showa Imperial Coronation, 1b 1928 Kyoto Grand Exposition to Commemorate the Showa Imperial Coronation, 1c
(大禮記念京都大博覽會 (read R>L) = Orei Kinen Kyoto Dai Hakurankai)

Jun shin shōhonyama awasedo  Jun shin shōhonzan 2.jpg 登録商標  (read R>L & Up>Down)
= Tōroku shōhyō = Registered Trademark
純眞正本山 = Jun Makoto shōhonzan = Pure Authentic Honyama (Nakayama)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 純眞正本山 = Jun Makoto shō honzan = Pure Authentic Honyama (Nakayama)

Nakayama Hatahoshi 3a4.jpg Hatanaka box.png

山城 本場 (read Up>Down) = Yamashiro, Honba = Yamashiro original place

採掘發賣元 = Saikutsu hatsubai-moto = Mining source

登録商標  (read R>L & Up>Down) = Tōroku shōhyō = Registered Trademark

純眞正本山合砥 (Middle, BIG kanji, read Up>Down) = Jun shin shōhonyama awasedo
= Pure Authentic Honyama (Nakayama) polishing stone

正本山産 = Sei Nakayama-san = Produced from Nakayama

京都へ善精撰 (read Up>Down) = Kyoto “Hatanaka” seisen = Kyoto wholesaler selection

Nakayama Hatahoshi 4a
Nakayama Hatahoshi 4a1 Nakayama Hatahoshi 4b.jpg
Nakayama Hatahoshi 5b  Nakayama Hatahoshi 5b1.jpg Nakayama Hatahoshi 5a
Nakayama Hatahoshi 6a
Nakayama Hatahoshi 6b Nakayama Hatahoshi 6c
商標 = Shōhyō = Trademark

山城國葛野郡梅ケ畑村特産 =

山城國 = Yamashiro no Kuni = ancient province
葛野郡 = Kazurano-gun = Kazurano district
梅ケ畑村 = Umegahata village
特産 = tokusan = special product

無雙正本山御砥石 = Musō shōhonzan o toishi = Non-standard (?) Honyama Whetstone
京都  採掘發売元特撰 = Kyōto   Saikutsu 發売 Moto tokusen
= Excavable (mining?) selling source special selection

(Update ’19, April, thank you Florin Pincotan (Zen Razor Japan)!)

Nakayama Hatahoshi 7a
Nakayama Hatahoshi 7b

純眞正本山 = Jun Makoto shōhonzan = Pure Authentic Honyama (Nakayama)
レザー型 = Rezā-gata = Razor type
徳用品 = Tokuyōhin = economical product; economy-sized goods

商標 (read R>L) = Trademark

大禮記念京都大博覽會 (read Up>Down) = Grand Exposition in Commemoration of the Imperial Coronation
(I searched for a long time for this, now I finally found a reference > Kyoto, 1928!)
Kyoto Grand Exposition in Commemoration of the Imperial Coronation
(大禮記念京都大博覧会, Orei Kinen Kyoto Dai Hakurankai), held in Kyoto from September 20 to December 25, 1928 (Showa 3).

Middle right:
山城國葛野郡梅ケ畑村特産 =

山城國 = Yamashiro no Kuni = ancient province
葛野郡 = Kazurano-gun = Kazurano district
梅ケ畑村 = Umegahata village
特産 = tokusan = special product

無雙正本山御砥石 = Musō shōhonzan o toishi = Non-standard (?) Honyama Whetstone

Middle left:
京都 = Kyoto 採掘發賣元 = Saikutsu hatsubai-moto = Mining source 精撰 = Seisen = Perfection
Left: 優良國産推奨銀賞受領 (read Up>Down) = Yūryō kuni-san suishō ginshō juryō
= Received silver price for the best domestic products

The kanji which are very probably before 1944, together with the reference of the
“Kyoto Grand Exposition” makes it very probably this is a stone from around 1928!
(or a bit after that)

Hatanaka 2a Hatanaka 2a1
別撰 = Betsu sen = special selection
山城 本場 (read Up>Down & R>L) = Yamashiro, Honba = Yamashiro original place
登録商標 (read Up>Down & read R>L) = Tōroku shōhyō = Registered Trademark
正本山合砥 = Shōhonyama Awasedo

山城國葛野郡梅ケ畑村特産 =
山城國 = Yamashiro no Kuni = ancient province
葛野郡 = Kazurano-gun = Kazurano district
梅ケ畑村 = Umegahata village
特産 = tokusan = special product

無雙正本山御砥石 = Musō shōhonzan o toishi = Non-standard (?) Honyama Whetstone
京都  採掘發売元特撰 = Kyōto   Saikutsu 發売 Moto tokusen
= Excavable (mining?) selling source special selection

(Update ’18, July)

This symbol is sometimes seen:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Hatanaka stamp 1.jpg (on box), Hatanaka stamp 2 (on stone, very faint),
apparently it some kind of symbol for “Hatanaka” or “Hatahoshi”
Or maybe it stands for a miner, or something else…
善 (Zen) means good; goodness; right; virtue…

There even exists nagura’s of ‘Hatahoshi’:
Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 1a Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 1b Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 1c
Sold as a 1960’s HATAHOSHI NAGURA (7.3㎝x5.5㎝x4.5㎝, 254g )
Stamp/Seal (印) = こま名倉 = Koma Nagura
ハタホシ (under 2 flags & star) = Hatahoshi

Another one:
Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 Koma 2a1.Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 Koma 2a4 Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 Koma 2a3.Hatahoshi Nagura こま名倉 Koma 2a2

Other stamps, used (& owned) by Mr. Hatanaka – Hatahoshi (and earlier Mr. Kato):

Nakayama Hatanaka Maruka 2a Hatanaka Maruka 1a1 (together with “Maruka” stamp)
中山 – 車口 = Nakayama kuruma-guchi
中山車口 = Nakayama kuruma-guchi

車口= Kurumaguchi is the name of one of the first (highest) Nakayama mines,
stones mined from this area made Nakayama famous

車 = Kuruma, a wooden lorry car or pulley,
on which mined stones were first carried on wooden rails;
口 = Guchi = Mine entrance

車口 symbolizes that this stone originated from the first original Nakayama mine.

石銘 – 車口 is also seen (石銘 probably means “stone signature” or something like that)
For instance on this paper:
Hatanaka Nakayama stamps 1a kopie 3.jpg And on this stone:
Hatanaka Maruka 2d
(sharprazorpalace.com/hones/Stamp not seen often Nakayama Suita Kiita Hatanaka)
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”  (“T” → “天上巣板 内曇 = Tenjō Suita”)
→ Also see  “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”  (“N” → “中山 = Nakayama”)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 御仕上砥 = O shiageto(ishi) = Finishing stone
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 本山合砥 = Honzan/Honyama Awasedo = Honyama polishing stone
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 本山ス板砥 = Honyama Suita To(ishi) = Honyama Suita stone
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 砥 小倉山 = To(ishi) Ogurayama (situated nearby Atagoyama (Mount Atago))

Hatanaka Nakayama stamps Ohira.jpg 大平合砥 = Ohira Awasedo = Ohira polishing stone

Hatanaka Nakayama stamps 1a kopie 2
純 = Jyun
巣板   or  スイタ = Suita
center-of-the-medallion-bogu-and-along-the-corners-tennen-toishi-kyoto-tokusan-natural-sharpening-stone-kyoto-special-mined = stamp of “Kyoto Natural Hone Sales Association”
正本山合砥石 = Shōhonzan Awase Toishi
本山合砥石 = Honzan Awase Toishi
正本山合砥 = Shōhonyama Awasedo
正本山 = Shōhonzan
鳴瀧合砥 = Hon Narutaki Awasedo

Hatanaka Nakayama stamps 1a kopie
純鳴瀧本山 = Jun narutaki honzan = Pure Narutaki Honyama
大平山合砥 = Ōhirayama Awasedo
ハツカ山合砥 = Hatsuka-yama (?)
愛岩山合砥 = Aiiwayama Awasedo (?)
芦谷山合砥 = Mount Ashiya/ Ashitaniyama Awasedo
正本山鳴瀧合砥石 = Shōhonzan Narutaki Awasedo
本山菖蒲合砥石 = Honzan  Shōbu (Shoubu)
center-of-the-medallion-bogu-and-along-the-corners-tennen-toishi-kyoto-tokusan-natural-sharpening-stone-kyoto-special-mined正本山合砥 = “Kyoto Natural Hone Sales Association” – Shōhonzan Awasedo
菖蒲谷 =  Shōbudani (Shoubudani)

Obviously, Hatanaka wasn’t only distributing Nakayama stones, he also
was a wholesaler of stones from Ohira, Shoubudani, Ashitani, Ogurayama, …


Since some years now, there are no copyrights for the names of the mines
because all of the mines are closed now; except Ohira and Maruoyama,
there is no legal claim to the names themselves of Nakayama, Ozuko, Okudo,
Ozaki, Shinden, Narutaki, Mizukihara, etc. to be contested.

Anyone is free these days to use the names Nakayama, Shinden, Okudo,…
and to have stamps made up with those old names. New stamps/labels are
just for marketing. So, if a new stamped stone is stamped “Nakayama”, it
could be a Nakayama, or not…

Nevertheless, it will be a stone of that region!

Nakayama Kato 2 This star stamp seems to be used by members of
the  “Kato-family” 「加藤礦山 = “Katō kōzan”」, who first owned the Nakayama mine
for at least 3 generations, during the 19th – 20th century.

「HATAHOSHI」 or 「畑中砥石」(“Hatanaka Whetstone”). Any Nakayama stone that has this stamp (unless it’s a fake) is guaranteed of its highest quality. Maruka’s (= circled “Ka” = ㋕) “Ka” is Katō’s (Mr. Katō = first owner of Nakayama) first character “Ka”. It does not say though if it is a good stone for razors, or better suited for tools, or knives, swords…

「加藤礦山産出」= Katō kōzan sanshutsu = produced by Katō kōzan
= Mr. Katō = First owner & miner of Nakayama, producer of stones

「純真正本山」 ,「HATAHOSHI」or「畑中砥石」(“Hatanaka Whetstone”), …
= Stone vendor, retailer and owner of Nakayama mine after Mr. Katō

Stones marked「純真正本山」or「HATAHOSHI」, are only “MARUKA” stones if
they have a 「㋕ 正 本 山」 stamp at the side of the stone (unless it’s a fake…)!

Other Hatanaka stamps:
Hatanaka Maru Sō 1a1 Hatanaka Maru Sō 1a2 純眞正本山 = Jun shin shōhonyama
= Pure Authentic Honyama (Nakayama)
宗 in ‘circle’ (マル宗) – ‘特選’ = ‘Maru Sō’ – ‘Tokusen (Special selection)’

There also exists large bench size stones stamped Iwasaki & Maruka, also Nagura’s.
There were close ties between 岩崎重義翁 (Iwasaki Shigeyoshi okina = venerable
Iwasaki Shigeyoshi) and the Hatanaka family who have mined at Nakayama.
(munemasa-cutlery.com/products, → Also see Iwasaki ‘Stones,…’)

→ Also see “本山 = “Honyama”
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “中山 = Nakayama
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “山城 / 山城國 / 山城国 = Yamashiro
→ Also see “Maruichi”, “Maruka”
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “大平 = Ohira”

品質優良 = Hinshitsu yūryō = Good quality items

honyama-kyoto本山 =Honyama/Honzan,
Kyoto= a general term for whetstone mountains of Kyoto.

The name Honyama is nowadays used for any finishing stones, now it merely means “finishing stone”. Originally though it was the nick name for “Shoubudani mountain”. Nakayama is also one of the quarries from this mountain. In 1190 “Honma Tou-zaemon Toki-nari / Honma fujizaemon” (本間藤左衛門) had been appointed as mining leader
(日本礪石師棟梁, Nihon reiseki-shi tōryō = leader of Japanese stone miners) by the famous Shogun of the Kamakura period, Minamotono Yoritomo (源頼朝). The mountain was therefore called “Honma’s mountain” = “Hon-yama” (“Yama” = mountain). Shoubu-dani
and Nakayama stones are the only true genuine “Honyama” stones.


→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “中山 = Nakayama”
→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “菖蒲, 菖蒲谷 = Shobu, Shoubudani”


Imanishi Co. LTD. (wholesaler/retailer, a member of the Kyoto Toishi Miners Union)
Imanishi 鳴瀧礦山産出
= Narutaki kōzan sanshutsu = Narutaki mined product
品質優良 Hinshitsu yūryō = excellent quality
TRADE ^城 MARK = Yamashiro Trademark
正本山 Shōhonyama
合砥 = awasedo = finishing stone
京都特産 = Kyōto tokusan = Kyoto special product
Here “Narutaki” means the Narutaki region, not the mine it self, if there isn’t another stamp on the stone, its origin (mine) is unknown.

Imanishi owns Nakayama, Okudo and Oozuku stamps

→ Also see “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo”: “鳴瀧 = “Narutaki”

= Ippon sen = first selection, first class
Ippon sen.png Ippon sen 2.jpg


人造砥石 = Jinzō toishi = artificial/synthetic whetstone

= Jun / Jyun = pure, genuine, real

純本山合砥 = Jun Hon Yama Awasedo = Pure Honyama polishing stone
Jun Shou Honzan:Honyama


= Kamisori to = Kamisori (Japanese razor) (sharpening) stone
kamisori to

= Kamisori-yō = (Use) For razor (kamisori)

= Kaname = necessaryessentialindispensable (?)

(Update 2018, July)

= Katakuchi – a term used to describe a very hard stone

= Kōkyū-hin = Luxury/high class/high grade goods

こっぱ    or   コッパ   or   小端   or   小
= Koppa = “little, bits & pieces/small end” = Small stone or
a larger or small stone with an irregular shape.
koppa-bits-and-pieces-size Koppa



= 市⃝ (丸市) 印特選
= Maruichi shirushi tokusen = Maruichi special selection (Nakayama)
丸市印特選 = Maruichi shirushi tokusen = Maruichi special selection .jpeg Maruichi shirushi tokusen 2.jpg
Some say “Maruichi” stones were quarried before the Nakayama mining was taken over
by the Hatanaka family, when the Kato family was owner of the mine. The Maruichi ink stamp was used by Mr. Kato, when he was owner of the Nakayama mine up into the 1970’s.
(The stamp doesn’t necessarily mean it is a Nakayama). A partner of him was the grandfather of Mr. Hatanaka. Upon Mr. Kato’s retirement the last mine tunnel was bulldozed and sealed by Mr. Ishihara, owner of the Ohira mine. Mr. Kato rights of the mine were transferred to Mr. Hatanaka, together with the stock and ink stamps.

Others say “Maruichi” is an authentic old ‘brand’


= Maruka Shou Hon Yama
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA maruka-1 nakayama-hatahoshi-1-maruka-1f nakayama-hatahoshi-3a1 Maruka 2 Nakayama Hatahoshi 4g Maruka Nakayama Hatanaka Maruka 2b kopie.jpg
Stones with such a stamp are the rarest and best graded stones from Nakayama sold by
the sole miner of this mountain, “Hatanaka Natural Sharpening Stones Stone Industry”, 「HATAHOSHI」 or 「畑中砥石」(“Hatanaka Whetstone”). Any Nakayama stone that has this stamp (unless it’s a fake) is guaranteed of its highest quality. Maruka’s (= circled “Ka” = ㋕) “Ka” is Katō’s (Mr. Katō = first owner of Nakayama) first character “Ka”. It does not say though if it is a good stone for razors, or better suited for tools, or knives, swords…

「加藤礦山産出」= Katō kōzan sanshutsu = produced by Katō kōzan
= Mr. Katō = First owner & miner of Nakayama, producer of stones

「純真正本山」 ,「HATAHOSHI」or「畑中砥石」(“Hatanaka Whetstone”), …
= Stone vendor, retailer and owner of Nakayama mine after Mr. Katō

Stones marked「純真正本山」or「HATAHOSHI」, are only “MARUKA” stones if
they have a 「㋕ 正 本 山」 stamp at the side of the stone (unless it’s a fake…)!

→ Also see “Hatanaka Hatahoshi”

MICOR: a retailer/seller/producer (around 1950 – 60’s) of
straight razors, (stainless) kitchen knives & forks and … stones

Stainless forks:
Micor 1a1 Micor 1a3
Micor 1a2
(terapeak.com/vintage micor works)

Straight razor (kamisori grind):
Micor 2a1 Micor 2a2
Micor 2a3
(ebay.co.uk/Micor 3000)

Stainless kitchen knife:
Micor 3aMicor 3b

Micor 4a1Micor 4a2 Micor 4a3
(Stamps under wooden base & stamp on stone)
(sharprazorpalace.com/J-Nat club, ezimport.co.jp)

大西精選 = Ōnishi Seisen = (careful) selected by Ōnishi

優 (in circle) = Yū = excellent

(Read from left to right & above to below):
? 正城
→ 山城國産正本山?証 = Yamashiro kuni-san Honyama – ? – shō:
Authentic Yamashiro area product, Honyama, warranted

(The listing of this stone stated that the seller bought it around 昭和40年 (=1965)
and (if I translated correctly) he said to have bought it for the price of about
half a year salary)


= nihon kamisori-yō = For Japanese razor (kamisori)
日本剃刀用 = nihon kamisori-yō = For Japanese razor (kamisori)  .jpeg


= Oka sen = “Supreme”
Oka sen 丘撰 Supreme Oka sen 丘撰 Supreme 2 I’m not entirely sure of the kanji 丘, but seen it written on different ways,
Oka kanji kopie,Oka kanji 3,Oka kanji 2, I presume this would be correct, 丘撰 would then mean:
Oka sen = “Supreme”


= Rezā-gata = Razor type
%e3%83%ac%e3%82%b6%e3%83%bc%e5%9e%8b-reza-gata-razor-type Rezā-gata Nakayama Hatahoshi 4e.jpg

レザ砥 / レーザ砥
= Reza to = stone for razors
reza-to-2 reza-to-1-kopie

= Rezā-yō = (Use) For razor
%e3%83%ac%e3%82%b6%e3%83%bc%e7%94%a8-reza-yo-for-razor rezā-yō 2.png


= Sai jōhin = Finest product/ Best quality
Sai jōhin.jpg

= Saijōkyū = Superlative/highest-grade (finishing stones)

= Sai kōkyū = first-class
Sai kōkyū

= Saikōkyūhin = Top/best quality/first-class products
%e6%9c%80%e9%ab%98%e7%b4%9a%e5%93%81-saikokyuhin-top-quality-products Saikōkyūhin 3 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

= Sai kōkyū toku sen-hin = The finest special goods
Saikōkyūhin 2

= Shiage = Finish
= shiage toishi = Finishing whetstone, finest stones, used at the end of the progression.
“Finish” in this case is mostly used for sword (knife) sharpening, not razor honing, meaning an excellent finishing stone for swords & knives isn’t necessarily a good
stone for razors!

= Shiki = “Floor” = relatively deeper layer
(for example: “Shiki tomae “is relative deeper (and harder) then “Tenyo tomae”)

= Sho hon yama = true original mountain
sho-hon-yama-original-true-mountain Shohonyama 2.jpg “(Jun) Shou Honzan/Honyama” ((Pure) True Source Mountain) is kind of a generic term applied to natural stones that come from mountain Atagoyama in the Shoubudani/Narutaki area of Kyoto. Nakayama, Narutaki Mukaeda, Oozuku, Ookudo, … can be labeled with that. Since they’re all from the same mountain, and they come from the same strata of rock (the Honguchi Naori) they are all from “the true source.”

= Sho hon yama awase do = true original mountain finishing stone
→ Also see 正本山 = sho hon yama
shohon-yama-awasedo-3 sho-hon-yama-awase-do-true-original-mountain-sharpening-stone sho-hon-yama-awasedo-1 Shohonyama Awasedo 2a.jpg sho honyama awasedo 4b sho honyama awasedo 5b

= Shōhonyama honkaku-hin = True original mountain authentic product
A typical stamp, used by a certain present Japanese seller/miner in Kyoto
330mate 2 山城銘砥 = Yamashiro mei to = Yamashiro inscription/marked stone
正本山本格品 = Shōhonyama honkaku-hin = original mountain authentic product

= Sho hon yama kamisori to
= true original mountain razor (kamisori/Japanese razor) stone
→ Also see 正本山 = sho hon yama
正本山剃刀砥 = sho hon yama kamisori to  kopie.jpeg

= Shōhonyama-sha kuchi (?) = true original mountain exit/entrance (?)
Shōhonzan-sha kuchi


Imanishi Size 24 kopie.jpg 二十型 = Nijū-gata = “Size/type 24”
Imanishi Size 40b.jpg Yoto-gata 2.jpg 四十型 = Yoto-gata = “Size/type 40”
Rokujuggata  六十型 = Rokujuggata = “Size/type 60”
Yaso-gata 1a 八十型 = Yaso-gata = “Size/type 80”

“Suisa Ōmura” (?) with kanji:
天然翆砂砥 = Ten’nen (Tennen) Midori suna to = Natural gravel sand sharpening stone
Ten'nen Midori suna to.png Apparently a very consistent natural stone with a grit range of
1 – 3K (compared to synthetics)

= Suishō-hin = Recommended product/item
Suishō-hin.jpg suisho-hin-2-kopie


= Tenjō = “Heaven”, ceiling = relatively shallower layer
(for example: “Tenyo tomae “is relative shallower (and softer) then “Shiki tomae”)

= Ten’nen (Tennen) Toishi = natural whetstone/hone

= Ten’nen (Tennen) Shiage Toishi = Natural finishing whetstone
SONY DSC Ten'nen (Tennen) Shiage Toishi.JPG Tennen Shiage Toishi 2.jpg

天然 = Ten’nen/Tennen = natural
砥石 = Toishi = whetstone/hone
京都 = Kyōto
特産 = Tokusan = Special product
⇒ special product natural whetstone/hone of Kyoto
center-of-the-medallion-bogu-and-along-the-corners-tennen-toishi-kyoto-tokusan-natural-sharpening-stone-kyoto-special-mined Kyoto Natural Hone Sales Association 2 Kyoto Natural Hone Sales Association.jpg
= stamp of “Kyoto Natural Hone Sales Association”


= To
= Toishi = whetstone/grindstone/sharpening stone

= Tōken-yō = “For swords”, can be found on “Mikawa nagura”, “Uchigumori”,…
Tōken-yō.jpg Tōken-yō 2a1 Tōken-yō 3a1 内曇 = Uchigumori

= Tokkyū-hin = Special price goods/products

= Tokuyōhin (?) = Virtue item (?)

(top: 請合, read R>L) 純正本山 = Ukea junsei honyama
= Genuine/guaranteed real Honyama
(whetstone mountains of Kyoto, or even Nakayama)
%e7%b4%94%e6%ad%a3%e6%9c%ac%e5%b1%b1-junsei-honzan-genuine-nakayamamotoyama Ukea junsei honzan 2 kopie Ukea junsei honzan 2


= Yū = excellent

優良仕上砥 (石)
= Yūryō shiageto(ishi) = Excellent/superior finishing (whet)stone
%e5%84%aa%e8%89%af%e4%bb%95%e4%b8%8a%e7%a0%a5%e7%9f%b3-yuryo-shiage-toishi-excellent-finisher-whetstone yuryo-shiageto-2 Yūryō shiageto(ishi) 3.jpg

pictograph of a mountain (“yama”) + マ (“ma “)
印 = Shirushi = stamp, seal, trademark
梅 = Ume =  plum

三合砥 = Mixed abrasive (?)
三合砥 1a1 (stone), 三合砥 1b (label)
天然中花山 = ten’nen chū Hanayama = Natural medium Hanayama
極上 三合砥  = gokujō = Superb mixed (?) polishing stone (awasedo)

(general introduction):

 Whetstone map Japan.jpg

Seeing the following map, Japan has a lot of different quarries!
(every dot is a production area (the size of each dot has no meaning)):

Japan Map all mines 1a


Japan Map all mines 1d

An = 阿仁石  Ani ishi (N)
Ki = 金山石  Kinzan/Kanayama to (A Grit range?)
Ma = 前森砥  Maemori to (N)
Mi = 御堂石  Midō ishi (N)
Mo = 文字石  Moji ishi (A)
Ōk1 = 大葛砥  Ōkuzo to (N)
Ōk2 = 大葛石  Ōkuzo ishi (N)
Sh = 志戸前砥  Shitomae to (N)
Taz = 田沢砥  Tazawa to (A)
Wa = 脇野沢石  Wakinosawa ishi (A Grit range?)

Japan Map all mines 1cAra = 荒内砥  or  荒内青砥  Ara uchi / Arauchi to (Aoto) (N)
Ch = 銚子石, 銚子砥  Chōshi ishi, Chōshi to (A)
Ga = 合掌寺砥  Gasshō tera to (N)
Gu = 郡上砥  Gujō to (N)
Ha = 羽黒砥  Haguro-to (A)
Hi = 飛駒 (ヒコマ)  Hikoma (S)
Ig = 五嵐 , 五十嵐, 五十嵐砥  Igarashi to(ishi) (N)
Jō = 浄教寺砥  Jōkyōji to (Jōkyōdera-to) (N)
Ka = 上赤沢 (カミアカサワ)  Kamiakasawa (S)
Kyoto/Umegahata, Yamashiro, … (Various Shiage toishi, Awasedo,…) (SN)
Mi = 三谷  Mitani / Miya (N)
Ma = 前森砥  Maemori to (N)
Man = 真名子石  Manago to (N)
Mik = (Jun) Mikawa nagura  純三河白名倉砥 (NS)
Min = 水上砥  Minakami to (N)
Mo = 文字石  Moji ishi (A)
Na = 名倉砥石 Nagura toishi (NS)
Oi = 大泉砥  Oizumi-to (N)
Su = 助川砥, 助川青砥  Sukugawa Aoto (N)
Tak = 滝の原砥  Takinohara to (N)
Taz = 田沢砥  Tazawa to (A)
To = 十島みかげ  Toshima Mika-ge (A Grit range?)
Te = 寺中砥  Tera nakato (N)
Ue = 上野砥  Ueno-to (N)
Ya = Yamagata Kazama (S)

Japan Map all mines 1bAm = 天草  Amakusa (AN)
Bi = 備水砥  Binsui to (AN)
Ki = 紀州砥 (富田砥)  Kishū to (Tomita to) (A)
Mih (Shimane) = 三原砥  Mihara to (N)
Min = 水上砥  Minakami to (N)
Ta = 蓼野砥  Tadeno to (N)

⇒ Next chapter: “Arato” + “Unknown grit”


(1): http://rk-trading.ocnk.net/page/28
(a): http://www.japan-tool.com/tech_knlg/toishi/Natural_Stone_Mines.html
(b): http://yhst-27988581933240.stores.yahoo.net/shobu-asagi-karasu-natural-whetstone-1544g-1544377.html
(c): http://yhst-27988581933240.stores.yahoo.net/nakayama-iromono-hatahoshi-japanese-natural-sharpening-stone.html
(d): http://sharpologist.com/2012/04/an-introduction-to-japanese-hones-pt-1.html
(f): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanba_Province
(g): http://thejapanblade.com/blog/
(h): http://www.thejapanstone.com/Aritcle_hardstone.html
(i): http://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/buying-nakayama-stones-from-ohira-and-imanishi.421539/
(j): http://sharprazorpalace.com/hones/82246-maruichi-question.html
(k): http://sharprazorpalace.com/hones/105095-maruka-nakayama-stamps-2013-a.html
(l): http://www.thejapanstone.com/article_ink_stamps_nakayama_mine.html

Other interesting links:















If you can read Japanese, these books contain more information:

[ 大工道具・砥石と研ぎの技法 ]

[ 京都天然砥石の魅力(改訂・三版)]

This entry was posted in 3)Honing Stones, Japanese Natural Stones and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Japanese Natural Stones, Kanji & Information

  1. Pingback: ㋕ MARUKA 中山 Nakayama | Fikira

  2. Pingback: Nakayama Kurumaguchi Kiita Lv5 | Fikira

  3. Pingback: Iwasaki | Fikira

  4. Pingback: “Nakato” → “Shiage toishi” | Fikira

  5. Pingback: “Arato” + “Unknown grit” | Fikira

  6. Pingback: “Shiage toishi” → “Awasedo” | Fikira

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