The Munemachi is quite simply a 3-5mm notch at the back of the spine of a Japanese sword that slots into the habaki (blade collar) and is used to begin measuring a blade in a straight line from this notch to the very tip of the kissaki.

The word is made up of two Kanji characters mune 棟 meaning 'ridge' and machi 区 which is a bit harder to translate, but more or less means 'ward' or 'area' - so the ridge area. On the opposite side, it is opposed by the notch on the edge side of the blade known as the Hamachi.

Apart from its function to ensure a tight fit between the habaki blade collar and the blade itself, it is primarily used as a starting point to measure the nagasa of a Katana, that is to say the length - drawn in a straight line from this starting point right to the very end of the tip of the kissaki.

This part of the sword is technically the demarcation point where the tang (nakago) begins.

I hope this information on the Munemachi has been helpful. To return to Samurai Sword Terminology from Munemachi, click here

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