A guide to understand Katana Menuki, a pair of decorative ornaments on the tsuka


Things You Need to Know Menuki

Menuki are the pretty little ornaments we see on the Katana's handle. However, you might want to know more about this part. So, in this article, I'll discuss the Katana part, "Menuki," in detail.

What Is Menuki?

Menuki are tiny ornamental pieces that swordsmiths used to embellish the Katana's Tsuka, under the Tsuka-ito. Most of these are made of metal. However, ivory and wood menuki are also available.

The Japanese term "menu," meaning "to fasten," is the root of the English word "menuki." It's because individuals first utilized it to support the grip of a sword. Traditional handle coverings for Wakizashi and Katana feature the Menuki. However, to make it simpler to hold the blade, it fits one's palm.

Well, manufacturers frequently produce Menuki in pairs. It can be plain or elaborate. Besides, its design often featured animals and other natural aspects. One popular style of Menuki is a dragon motif, representing strength and power. 

What's the Usage of Menuki?

Menukis are beautiful decorative pieces in the Katana's handle that make the sword look appealing. However, it makes it simpler to hold the handle.

People utilized Menuki to make it easier to hold a sword's hilt. Furthermore, it has more than just aesthetic value. They are pretty helpful. Menuki helps balance a sword's blade and improves control by applying load to the grip. Additionally, when one employs the sword in battle, Menuki can additionally aid in shock absorption.

Individuals may place their Menuki on their fingertips, palms, or elsewhere. One might modify the Gyakumenuki placement, which is the default for all Menuki, mainly if someone is left-handed.

Moreover, Menuki traditionally portrayed the sword owner's nature through a creature or mythological motif. But these days, manufacturers engrave these parts only for aesthetic reasons.

The Common Designs of Menuki

There are several designs of Menuki. However, the following are some of the most common Menuki types:

  • Dragon: In the Momoyama era, the dragon design was typical. It makes use of traditional solid gold hairy-style Goto dragons.
    • Funamusha: This Menuki has a silver base and is an antique variety. It generally portrays a boat warrior. 
    • Dragonfly: These Menukis have a gorgeous Yamagane and gold dragonfly theme. The design is little, flat dragonflies that appear adorable.
    • Horse: Some artwork features a horse wearing a harness. These come in shakudo and zogan gold.
    • Shishi: This Menuki design is pretty famous. This artwork resembles a temple lion-dog made of 24-karat gold.
    • Warrior: Some feature warriors with boats in frothy seas and other corresponding artwork. It shows the warrior as the central motif.
    • Peonies: People also know these Menukis as Botan. It was popular in Japan from the Edo period to the Meiji period until the late nineteenth century.
    You can select your desired Menuki (matched with Tsuba, fuchi & kashira) in our custom katana section.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Menuki

    What is the most common Menuki design?

    Lions and dragons are the most common designs of Menuki.

    What are some rare Katana Menuki?

    Mount Fuji, Golden Pagoda, Tori, Kirin, etc., are a few of the rare designs of Menuki.

    What are Menuki made from?

    Menukis are generally made of copper or brass or copper. However, manufacturers make more elaborate versions with solid gold or silver. Besides, one may also use plastic on incredibly inexpensive decorative copies.


    By now, you've got the necessary information about Menuki. Hopefully, you've found this article helpful. Thanks for reading through. If you are interested in other katana parts, please check here.

    Leave a comment

    All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
    You have successfully subscribed!
    This email has been registered