Last Saturday I spent the morning and the first half of the afternoon working with my students at a shiai held at Shudokan, the dojo in the grounds of Osaka Castle (and five minutes walk from my workplace). The shiai in question was the “kokutai” preliminaries for Osaka prefecture. Kokutai translates into “National Athletic Meet.” The last time I wrote about this particular shiai here on kenshi 24/7 was way back in 2016.
We rolled up early and our first job was to lift the judo tatami from the dojo (half of the dojo is covered with tatami on it at all times) followed by setting up the shiai-jo (tables, chairs, and what have you) and then checking the competitors shinai. My students were then split into four groups, each looking after a particular court. Their job was to time the competition (including keeping track of encho), to record ippon and hansoku, and to keep the posters that were on the walls up-to-date (so that both competitors and spectators knew what was going on). It required a lot of concentration, but we managed to get through the entire event without mishap.
To save time, let me quote myself from the aforementioned 2016 post:
The crème de la crème of the Osaka shiai-circuit were out in force today to take part in the Osaka preliminaries for the Kokutai taikai (“National athletic meet”). What that translates to exactly is young tokuren police professionals, jitsugyodan (semi-pro business teams), and teachers. The odd random person tried their luck to (but to little avail): out of the 8 spots on offer (sempo, jiho, chuken, fukusho, and taisho for the mens team, sempo, chuken, and taisho for the ladies) 6 were decided by shiai, and the other 2 (mens and ladies taisho) by recommendation. All the spots save one were taken by professional police kenshi, with fhe final position being won by a prison guard.
Today’s shiai was exactly the same (almost exactly: the only difference being was the only position taken by a non-professional police kenshi this year was my friend who works as a normal businessman). It was literally a Who’s Who of the best competitors in the prefecture, including past and future Japanese team members.
As I was there in an official capacity I didn’t think it appropriate to take too many pictures, or video. Still, I did take a snap here-and-there, and that’s what I will share here today. Enjoy!
Here are the official vids from the finals of a couple of the spots fought for. To see more, check out Osaka Kendo Federations YouTube channel.