Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Kendo, The Way of The Sword – Sword Masters

Kendo has a very long and rich history of development in Japan. Some of the legendary sword masters of ancient Japan left writings to explain their philosophy and methods. Even though they are not really practitioners of the modern kendo, nevertheless, their philosophies and methods became a part of it.

Sword Masters That Influenced Kendo

Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, 1584 – 1645)

Musashi, as he was often simply known, also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was an expert Japanese swordsman and rōnin (a masterless Samurai). He became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書 Go Rin No Sho), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.

In Musashi’s last book, The Book of Five Rings (五輪書 Go Rin no Sho), Musashi seems to take a very philosophical approach to looking at the “craft of war”; “There are five ways in which men pass through life: as gentlemen, warriors, farmers, artisans and merchants.

4407649443_69775e016a_z

Miyamoto Musashi as depicted on a drawing in Suntory Museum, Osaka. (Photo by akaitori on Flickr)

Throughout the book, Go Rin No Sho, the idea which Musashi pushes is that the “way of the strategist” (Heihō 兵法) is similar to how a carpenter and his tools are mutually inclusive, e.g. — a carpenter can do nothing without his tools, and vice versa. This too, he compares to skill, and tactical ability in the field of battle.

Initially, Musashi notes that throughout China and Japan, there are many “sword fencers” who walk around claiming they are strategists, but are, in fact, not — this may be because Musashi had defeated some such strategists, such as Arima Kihei.

The idea is that by reading his writings, one can become a true strategist from ability and tactical skill that Musashi had learned in his lifetime. He argues that strategy and virtue are something which can be earned by knowing the ways of life, the professions that are around, to perhaps learn the skills and knowledge of people and the skills of their particular professions.

Yagyu Munenori (柳生 宗矩, 1571-1646)

Yagyū Munenori was a Japanese swordsman, founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, which he learned from his father Yagyū “Sekishusai” Muneyoshi. This was one of two official sword styles patronized by the Tokugawa Shogunate (the other one being Ittō-ryū). Munenori began his career in the Tokugawa administration as a hatamoto, a direct retainer of the Tokugawa house, and later had his income raised to 10,000 koku, making him a minor fudai daimyo (vassal lord serving the Tokugawa), with landholdings around his ancestral village of Yagyū-zato. He also received the title of Tajima no Kami (但馬守).

Munenori was a long time sword instructor for the first two Tokugawa shoguns and at the age of forty five became the sword instructor for the future shogun Iemitsu. Munenori became very close to Iemitsu, advising him in many matters other than swordsmanship. Munenori was one of the few masters that advocated the use of an early form of bamboo shinai and an early form of kendo armor for use while practicing swordsmanship.

References:

1. Kendo. Wikipedia.

2. Sword Masters of Ancient Japan. Best Kendo.

3. Featured Image from Kai Pan on Flickr

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

20141108_122440

Shimanami Kaido : Beyond the cycling routes

At this years company excursion, we traveled down south to Seto Inland Sea. Located in between Imabari, Ehime and Onomichi, Hiroshima. It took us about three hours to reach the port of Shitadami where we boarded a small cruise vessel to experience the Rapid Tides of the Kurushima Strait. Before the cruise started, the cruise […]

Read Article

Kanpai

Gaijin Chronicles : Kangeikai and Edamame

Japanese companies usually hold 歓迎会(kangeikai or welcome party) to welcome new employees and 送別会( Soubetsukai or farewell party) for those leaving. In some cases, the welcome and farewell parties are combined into one — 歓送迎会(kansougeikai). These are usually dinner parties held in nice restaurants.The party is usually started with speeches by the company president or any […]

Read Article

kagamimochi

New Year Holidays in Japan: Mochi

Japan is home to different types of cakes and snacks. Every prefecture has their own version of a snack. One of the popular food in Japan especially during the New Year holiday season is mochi or the Japanese rice cake. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) […]

Read Article

furisode

Kimono – Traditional Japanese Clothing

As someone who is not from Japan, when I think of a Japanese traditional garment, I always think of a kimono. We usually see on media as worn by Japanese women during special occasions but did you know that the kimono is not as simple as it looks like? Or did you know that there […]

Read Article

20141011_133610

Omihachiman and the man named William Merrell Vories – Part 3

Who is William Merrell Vories? William Merrell Vories was an american from Leavenworth, Kansas who at a young age of 24 left his country and moved to Japan to teach English at Hachiman Commercial High School and since his arrival at Omihachiman on February 2, 1905, he has called this place his new home. He quickly […]

Read Article

Jotaro Kujo and hist Stand Star Platinum! Ora!Ora!Ora!

I Love Konbini: No Coffee in Japanese Konbini, No Life

As I wrote in my previous post, I love konbini (convenience store) in Japan. I often use it, especially after work. And, I usually drink canned coffee when taking breaks.   This time, I’ll be introducing about coffee of konbini that every Japanese businessman cannot live without.   About product labels If you take a […]

Read Article

Honguu of the Konpira Shrine

Due south: Konpira Shrine in Kagawa – Part 3 –

Konpira in Kagawa (3) Konpira Shrine (3) [Shoin (Library building)] To reach here, you must walk up nearly 500 steps in total. The original meaning of “shoin” was a room used as a sitting room as well as a library of the master, but since around 1600, it has referred to a whole building. This […]

Read Article

sumo heya (2)

Sumo: More Than Just a Martial Art – The Sumo Wrestler

As sumo has its roots from a religious background (originally performed to entertain Shinto deities), sumo wrestlers lead a highly regimented way of life. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – […]

Read Article

Date Masamune Tanbo Art

Amazing Rice Paddy Art in Inakadate

People make art almost everywhere: canvasses, walls, streets, and rice fields. Wait, rice fields? Yes, you read it right. Rice paddy art or known as Tanbo art (田んぼアート) in Japan is the best thing to happen to rice fields before the rice are harvested and served on our plates. Inakadate, Aomori Inakadate is a village […]

Read Article

"Tachi" key ring

Katana : Japanese traditional sword – Part 2 –

Katana : Japanese sword (2) Japanese swords are famous as samurai’s weapons, but was it impossible for common people like farmers to own them?   Japanese swords for civilians If you have seen an old film “Shichinin no samurai” (Seven samurai) by Akira Kurosawa, you might think that Japanese farmers in the old times haven’t […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑