Brown Ito - Leather
The tsuka ito or handle wrap goes over the same (ray skin). Same skin serves
to keep the tsuka in place so that it doesn't pack down or work loose under
constant use. The tsuka ito absorbs sweat and blood, providing a nonslip, comfortable
grip for a barehanded user.
Katanas were traditionally worn thrust through the obi (sash or belt) edge up.
The side of the tsuka closest to the wearer when worn in this fashion was called
the "private" or "personal" side. This is where the wrapping
begins. The tsuka ito is crisscrossed around the handle, then twisted and folded
360 degrees. This produces a beautiful series of diamonds. Traditionally tsuka
ito required wraps that produced an even number of these diamond shaped openings.
The mekugi (peg) should not be covered by the tsuka ito. Tsuka ito came in
various widths to better fit tantos, wakizashi, and katana.
The 'width' of Tsuka-ito has traditionally been measured with the ito drawn
tight. Our cord is measured when it is pulled tight (as it would be when wrapped)
and is 8 mm. When relaxed it is 10 mm.