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history kendo kenshi

Yagyu Kaido

“Known as the village of master swordsmen, Yagyu is the birthplace of Yagyu Shinkage School of swordsmanship… Long ago, Japan was a land engulfed in war where the principal objective was slaying ones’ enemies by sword. From this war-torn wold, the mast swordsman Yagyu Muneyoshi was born. He created the school of Yagyu Shinkage where […]

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history kendo kenshi

Finding Naito

On a boiling hot morning in May 2017 I set off armed with a 50 year old picture to find the grave of the person who I consider the single most influential kenshi in the history of modern kendo: Naito Takaharu sensei. I had known for a while before then the general location of his […]

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equipment history sword

Katana

Last year my high school kendo club celebrated it’s 60th anniversary. 60 sounds a lot, but the school itself was actually founded in Meiji 19 (1886), over 130 years ago, when the girls department of the Osaka-fu Shihan Gakko (“Osaka Normal High School”), separated itself into a different institution.  Of course, long term kenshi 24/7 […]

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history kendo kenshi

Kyudan

Almost 10 years ago, I wrote an article entitled “A brief investigation into the shogo system” which, kind of by accident, also went on to discuss the dan-i (or “dan-kyu”) system as well. Over the years, the topic of gradings has crept up now and again here on kenshi 24/7: sometimes I’d look at a […]

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history kendo kenshi

The tenth-dan that wasn’t: the story of Oshima Jikita

十段になれた筈:大島治喜太の物語 About four years ago I briefly introduced a kenshi who I have been interested in for a good while via a couple of small articles: Oshima Jikita. In one of those articles I wrote a brief bio, but today I want to look at his life in more detail. This more detailed article is […]

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history iaido kendo kyototaikai media

Embu

The window for applying for this years Kyoto Taikai has finished. I have been attending now for over 15 years, taking pictures and cataloguing my experiences here on kenshi 24/7. Unexpectedly, my first experience of actual participation was in the koryu section, not the kendo one… way back in 2009 I think it was.

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history kendo

The end of one era, the start of another

With the scheduled abdication of the current Japanese Emperor on April the 30th 2019, a new era will begin. Well, not a really a new world-changing epoch or anything so exciting, but a change in the Japanese calendar name that happens along with the succession of a new head to the imperial family. For people […]

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history kendo kenshi media

Kendo art – a piece of kendo history

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote an article about a wonderful gift I received: a Ukiyo-e print of the first Gekken Kogyo event, held in Asakusa, Tokyo, in April 1873. Here’s a reminder of what it looks like: This was one of three woodblock prints by Utagawa Kunitera the 2nd commissioned to commemorate the […]

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history kendo kenshi

Busen and Koshi

Over the last few years I’ve repeatedly mentioned Budo Senmon Gakko (Martial arts vocational school, known as “Busen”) and Tokyo Koto Shihan Gakko (Tokyo Higher Normal school, or “Koshi”) in articles. Their respective kendo head instructors, Naito Takaharu and Takano Sasaburo, have also made appearances all over kenshi 24/7. Despite this I hadn’t really gone […]

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history kendo theory

Suburi: a brief discussion

A few months ago I was sitting down in an izakaya with Yano sensei discussing the upcoming Edinburgh Kendo Seminar. Over food and beer we discussed this and that, including of-course lots of kendo related things. During the conversation, in a rather off-hand manner, Yano sensei asked (because he knows I am a kendo history […]