One hundred fifteen asymptomatic Japanese volunteers aged from 13 to 76 years were examined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate age-related meniscal degeneration and to determine the prevalence of discoid menisci. Each meniscus was graded in the anterior and posterior portions according to intrameniscal MRI signals. Discoid meniscus was diagnosed if a bow-tie configuration was noted on three or more contiguous sagittal sections. Meniscal abnormalities on MRI became more prevalent with age in both men and women. The posterior horn of the medial meniscus showed a significantly higher prevalence of degeneration than other parts of the meniscus. Discoid menisci were noted in 15 subjects (13% prevalence), always representing the lateral meniscus. Subchondral changes were observed in 13 subjects more than 40 years old, mostly women, and were located in the medial compartment. These abnormalities were not correlated with severity of degeneration in the posterior portion of the medial meniscus. This study demonstrates considerable prevalence of meniscal abnormalities in asymptomatic Japanese subjects.