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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 […]

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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 […]