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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 […]

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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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kendo kenshi theory

Volume, quality, transcendence

The following is a short translation of part of a lecture by Ogawa Chutaro (hanshi, kyudan) in which he discusses the the shugyo process of one of his main teachers, Mochida Seiji (hanshi, judan).

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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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kendo kenshi

27 teachings from past masters

The following is a list of sayings from three well known sensei of the past: Naito Takaharu, Takano Sasaburo, and Nakayama Hakudo. The former two are known as the fathers of modern kendo and were known as rivals. Naito and Takano made for an interesting pair. Naito was a laconic speaker who emphasised the power […]

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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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kendo kenshi

Become a fool

一、悪いことをしない (Don’t do anything bad) 一、勉強する (Study) 一、親に孝行する (Be dutiful to your parents) 一、国を愛する (Love your country) 一、善いことをする (Do good deeds) The above is the inscription on the gravestone of Ogi Manboku (1897-1993, hanshi kyudan). Ogi was an early graduate of the koshukai (part-time) program at Busen (1916), and counted some of the most renowned […]