Men (kendo)

Men are worn over a tenugui-covered head

Men is the helmet worn during Kendo, Naginata, Jūkendō, and Tankendo to protect the face, neck, throat, and shoulders of a kendōka. Only the top portion of the menbuton and the tsukidare are used as target areas.

Construction Edit

Each Men is constructed out of the following:

  • Mengane (面金), which is a metal grill designed to protect the face. Mengane may be made of either duralumin, titanium, or a hybrid of both (such as IBB). Often, the top two bars of the hybrids are made of titanium, which offers resilience against strikes, while the rest of it is made of duralumin, which offers lightness (and thus better balance).
  • Menbuton, which is the long rectangular cloth pad that covers the head and the shoulders. The wings of this protective pad cover the shoulders and are known as mendare. Mendare lengths vary slightly and can be customized for specific styles of kendo such as jodan and nito.
  • Tsukidare, which is the rigid pad attached to the bottom of the mengane protecting the throat.
  • Uchiwa, or the cloth padding that cushions the edge of the face. The part that contacts the forehead is known as the ten, while the portion that contacts the chin is known as the chi.
  • Yōjindare, which is the softer pad right behind the tsukidare.
Construction of a Kendo Men

Construction of a Kendo Men

Men are fastened on the head with leather mengawa and two himo. Himo are usually 7 shaku long, but can also range to 8 or even 9 shaku for those who tie in the Kansai style or those with big heads. When tied, length of the himo should not be too short and not exceed 40 centimeters. Thus, individual length adjustments may be necessary.

Wear Edit

How to Wear Your Kendo Men- The Finer Points

How to Wear Your Kendo Men- The Finer Points

The men is worn by placing the men over the tenugui and then wrapping the himo around the men and tying them together in the back. There are two styles of tying the men: Kanto and Kansai.

Kanto Style: This is the most common style of tying men. It is simpler than the Kansai style, making it it easier to tie quickly (and important factor in keiko). It requires two mengawa be attached to the 4th mengane from the bottom, each fastening one of the 7 shaku himo.

How to Tie Kansai Style Men

How to Tie Kansai Style Men

Kansai Style: This is the less common style. It is more complicated, requiring longer himo to wrap around the head. It is impractical to pre-tie the men, as is possible with the Kanto style, which means it requires more time to tie. It requires a special long mengawa that loops through the top, and 8 shaku himo to attach to it.

Fitting Edit

When bōgu is being ordered or purchased, measurements must be taken in order to ensure correct fit.

  1. Hachimaki (around the forehead)
  2. Chin-crown circumference
  3. Monomi height (needed only for customized bōgu)

Care and Cleaning Edit

Guide to Washing the Kendo Men

Guide to Washing the Kendo Men

One important part of caring for men is drying it after keiko. This prevents the growth of bacteria and foul odors they cause.

It is possible to wash the men. However, one must be careful not to ruin the rawhide leather under the lacquer of the menbuchi. This kind of water damage can ruin a men.

The tsukidare, which protects the throat, is of vital for safe practice. As such, it is important to avoid storing or carrying the men in ways that put weight or undue stress on the tsukidare. A loose tsukidare offers significantly less protection and is very dangerous.

See Also Edit


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