There are many schools of ‘Kyujutsu’ or ‘Kyudo’ Japanese archery, one of the leading military arts ranked with ‘Kendo’ or ‘Kenjutsu’ Japanese swordmanship.
Japaneese archery ‘Kyujutsu’ or ‘Kyudo’, needless to say, stems from a weapon, and it had largely developed since the 13th century, when ‘samurai’ warrior became a de facto ruler of Japan. ‘Yabusame’ the art of shoooting arrows on horseback at ‘Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine’ in Kamakura is a faithful trace of the day.
In the 16th century, after the introduction of firearms to Japan, the role of bow as a weapon came to an end. Then, archery took root as a way of training of the mind and body in Edo period in the 17th-19th century. Because the firearms were regarded as the weapons for low-ranking samurai or ninja, middle-ranking as well as high-ranking samurai spent all their time practicing archery and riding.
The picture shows Japanese archery of ‘Ogasawara’ school, a representative school based on a traditional form and manners.
[posted by Masahisa Takaki]
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