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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 […]

Kendo History

This page attempts to organise well over a decade of kenshi 24/7 historical articles in broad themes to make them more easier to access for the discerning reader. Sections are divided in to: Historical Timeline, Kendo People, Kendo Places, Kendo Events, and Kendo Books. I have also hand picked some of my favourite/useful/popular articles (when […]

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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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updates

May Blues

In Japanese the term “Gogatsu-byo” (五月病) – literally “May sickness” – refers to a sort of malaise that comes over people during May who have started a new life at the beginning of the year, which is the 1st of April here in Japan (no joke). Whether you are someone starting a new job, a […]

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gradings kendo

My route to hachidan (Ishida Toshiya)

In January a couple of years ago I translated and an abridged article from the book “Kendo: the route to promotion” (part one). The article I chose for translation was one by Yano Nobuhiro sensei, a professional police kendo instructor here in Osaka. Later that same year I took Yano sensei with me to Scotland, […]

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kendo media

Almost done

One more keiko and this year is done. Whew. I must admit that this year has been a long one! Long though it may have felt, however, it wasn’t a particularity prolific one here on kenshi 24/7 compared to past years. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get anything done. Event-wise there were plenty of shiai […]

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equipment kendo

Zansho (残暑)

A few years ago, I am not sure how many exactly, but it wasn’t soooo long ago, a slow change in the garments people were wearing for keiko began. Thicker, heavier dogi were giving way to super light and sporty “jersey” types, especially keikogi. These super-light keikogi looked (and still look mostly) absolutely awful… at […]

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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 […]