The 67th All Japan Kendo Championships (mens) was held on Sunday the 3rd of November in the Osaka Prefectural Gym. Luckily for me, some repairs and/or renovations on the Nippon Budokan for next years Olympics brought the shiai (for the first time) to Osaka, the venue being about a 20 minute bicycle ride from my flat.
The first time I attended this particular event was in 2003, just after I arrived to Japan (my plan was to be here for two years max…), and I went every year after that until about 2008 I think. Every time, except once, meant spending lots of money on a Shinkansen ticket and travelling for hours there and back. The one time I took the cheap option – an overnight bus – I regretted deeply as it was a truly miserable way to travel!
During that period I also realised something: watching the Osaka preliminaries for the shiai at close range was much better than travelling all the way to Tokyo and watching from afar, so after 2008 I stopped bothering to attend, instead just watching the live broadcast on NHK. Still, if you have never attended before I do think it is something you should do, at least once in your life.
When I heard that the the shiai was moved to Osaka this year I wasn’t sure whether I’d attend or not, but I picked up a ticket anyway. In the end, I am glad I went, as who knows when it will – if ever – be held here again.
Today’s post is basically a picture-fest with links to official media and the odd embedded YouTube video. Enjoy!!!!
Kata embu: Makita sensei (uchidachi) and Kasamura sensei (shidachi):
Gallery one: early rounds
Gallery two: mid-way through
Gallery three: the final couple of rounds
The winner of this years competition was Kunitomo Rentaro, a 29 year old 5th dan policeman (graduated Kokushikan) representing Fukuoka prefecture. He had twice been runner-up in the event before.
Second place was 21 year old 4th dan – and current 3rd year student at Tsukuba university – Matsuzaki Kenshiro. Originally from Nagasaki, he was representing Ibaraki prefecture. I am sure we will hear more from him in the future.