Posted By Thomas L. Buck
Within the last year or two I have seen a growing trend in requests for reverse placement of the menuki to "improve the grip."

While studying in Japan, I was told that the placement of Menuki is meant to be as much for the grip of the sword as hubcaps are meant to affect a car's traction.

Takehashi-sama always maintained that, traditionally, menuki are meant to be ornamental and symbolic. Regardless of the style of mounts or maki, the menuki on the omote side (the side that faces out) is in motion toward, in concert with, and closest to the fuchi & tsuba. The menuki on the ura side (the side facing in) is closer to the kashira is simply to make it more visible.

The most common seeming "contraction" to this rule is found on transitional swords, or swords in handachi mounts, that were meant to be worn as either tachi or katana. These were designed to be carried daily on the street, as well as in battle with armor.

If anyone has any information on, or an example of a true Japanese sword style that varies from this rule, I would love to see it.

For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of working on Japanese swords is how each tsuka or saya that I receive is a new learning experience.
1 Comment(s):
Roman said...
You mean menuki are not compulsory for a practice sword and it affect only apperance of a sword? I ask because there are many people in Moscow who prefer menuki placement "under hand", not "under fingers". Some of them even manage to raise a blisters if menuki are not precisely placed. By the way, a while ago I've sent you an e-mail about tsukamaki in Moscow and I'm still waiting for your reply. Have you recieved it?
July 11, 2009 05:51:41 PM
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Thomas L. Bu...
Duluth, MN

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