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history kendo kenshi

The three crows of Yushinkan

Late afternoon summer 1930, Hongo-shinmasago-saka (in modern day Bunkyo-ku). A tallish slender young man, about 19 years old, walked up to the entrance of Yushinkan, the dojo of Nakayama Hakudo. Dangling on the shinai bag that was resting heavily on his right shoulder was another bag with his bogu in it. In his left hand […]

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history kendo kenshi

Okumura Nito-Ryu

Tachiai  Early spring 1859. A young 17/18 year old kenshi from Okayama domain, Okumura Sakonta, was nervously standing in the renbujo (an open-air, on earth area used for practicing bujutsu) in the grounds of Tsuyama castle. Facing him was the far more experienced and well known Ikumi Tadaichi. Ikumi, 30 years old, was a Tsuyama […]

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history kendo kenshi

Takayama Minezaburo: the scourge of Keishicho

The political revolution that occurred in Japan across the entire second half of the 19th century brought in a slew of changes in all aspects of life for everyone in the country. The coup d’etat on the 3rd of January 1868 was the principal political event of the Meiji Restoration, but it took decades after […]

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history kendo kenshi

Shinbu-ken

About three and a half years ago I wrote about the sad fate of one of my dojo here in Osaka. It had been my “second home” for about 15 years, and 2020 would’ve been it’s 50th anniversary. As I wrote in the the linked article above, the disappearance of local dojo in Japan is […]

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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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kendo kenshi

Kendo ideology

In the last article I briefly touched on The Concept of Kendo and The Purpose of Practicing Kendo as published by the All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) in 1975. In the piece I referred to Ogawa Chutaro as the principal architect behind both. Now, this is my inference based on the kind of person he […]

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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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kendo kenshi

Next!

The strongest kenshi in the 20th century: Miyazaki Mosaburo When Miyazaki Mosaburo, then 35 years old, walked in to the Butokuden as a newly minted kendo instructor at the end of the summer of 1927, the young busen students weren’t aware of who he was. Well, perhaps they heard rumours, but they certainly weren’t ready […]

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books kendo kenshi theory

One hundred keiko

「小川さん、あなたは私と同じ道を歩いているようですね。」 “Ogawa-san, it seems like you are walking down the same road as me.” Mochida Seiji’s words to Ogawa Chutaro two months before his death in 1974 Following on from my last post I’d like to introduce to readers my favourite kendo (note-like) book: Ogawa Chutaro’s epic “hyaku-kai keiko” = “one hundred keiko.” I have […]

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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 […]