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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 […]

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japanese kendo kenshi media

Kendo art

When the Tokugawa-Bakufu was dismantled in 1867/68 budo education was thrown into turmoil: gone were the domain schools as well as the short-lived Kobusho, and with that budo instructors suddenly lost their profession. Many (now ex-) samurai were suddenly jobless and facing destitution. One person that stepped up to help these people was the ex-samurai, […]

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history kendo kenshi kyototaikai media

Kyoto Taikai 2017

Whew, another Kyoto Taikai done! Again this year, I’ve tried to add some bonus historical information/insights to my usual Kyoto Taikai rundown, so I hope you enjoy this part as well as the photography.

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books kendo kenshi

Hotta Sutejiro’s Kendo Kyohan (1934)

Born in Tokyo in 1883, Hotta Sutejiro (Ono-ha itto-ryu) began kendo at around the age of 10, under the famed Shinto munen-ryu kenshi Watanabe Noboru. Where he worked and when is a little bit tricky to pin down, but we know he was employed as a budo instructor at Keishicho from 1905. At some point […]

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books kendo kenshi

Ozawa Aijiro’s Kendo Shinan (1938) and Kokoku Kendoshi (1944)

Ozawa Aijiro (1864-1950) is probably a name that is not familiar to most kenshi 24/7 readers, but his grandson’s might be: Ozawa Hiroshi sensei, the author of the first kendo book I ever bought and owner of Eishingijuku Kobukan (usually just referred to as Kobukan). Translated from the Kobukan website: Ozawa Aijiro. Born on the […]

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books kendo kenshi

Kensei Naito Takaharu

As I’ve discussed on kenshi 24/7 many times, Naito Takaharu sensei was – is, in fact – the single most influential figure in modern kendo’s history (the closest person to this title is his rival, Takano Sasaburo). His idea of kendo, both in execution and in thought, permeates kendo today. Often this idea is expressed […]

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history kendo kenshi

The mystery of the black-hand

During June last year I was invited to join an open keiko session at the dojo which probably has oldest (kendo-related) tradition in the Kansai region. During the break between the kihon and jigeiko parts of the session I was wandering around the dojo looking at the various pieces of calligraphy and what not that […]

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history kendo kenshi

Takano Hiromasa’s keys to improvement in kendo

Takano Hiromasa (1900-1987), kendo hanshi and headmaster of Itto-ryu*, was the the second son of kendo legend Takano Sasaburo. A brief bio: Hiromasa began studying the sword when he was 6 years old in his fathers dojo, Meishinkan. He graduated from Tokyo Shihan Gakko in 1923 and, in 1927, took over the day-to-day running of […]

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history kendo kenshi

Mei-shobu: Oshima Jikita vs Nakayama Hakudo

It was a relaxing Sunday autumn morning in Kyoto when the school dormitory’s door was flung open: “Everyone! Nakayama Hakudo and Kawasaki Zenzaburo are practising at the Gojo police station!!!!” The Butokukai’s bujutsu kyoin yoseijo (martial arts training school) was established in 1905 and was the direct forerunner to the legendary Busen. All five of […]