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  • 8th Dan

    Hi,
    I was just looking at the survey and I think it will
    be very interesting to find out the results to the question
    "will there ever be a western 8th dan?". I am interested
    in knowing roughly how many 8th dans there are in Japan??
    cheers!
    John W

  • #2
    Actually, the question "Do you think there will be a Western 8th Dan" may be a bit misleading. It seems, that in countries like the States, there are already "home-grown" 8th dans who were tested outside of Japan. So, in this sense, there already are western 8th dans.

    The motivation behind the question, though, was the infamous difficulty in passing the 8th dan examination in Japan. A few years ago, there was a very interesting NHK documentary about the 8th dan exam being the most difficult exam of any type in Japan, with an astoundingly low 1% pass rate (approx.) Thsi means that passing 8th dan in the kendo world in Japan is an almost impossible feat for the majority of kendoka. I am completely unaware of the pass rates and criteria for 8th dan examinations outside of Japan, (maybe they are harder???), but in the survey we were basing the question on the perceived Japanese standard for 8th dan, and whether people think it is likely that a non-Japanese kendoka will make the grade... I for one certainly think it is possible.

    Comment


    • #3
      documentary

      A few years ago, there was a very interesting NHK documentary about the 8th dan exam being the most difficult exam of any type in Japan, with an astoundingly low 1% pass rate (approx.)
      If anyone's interested, or doesn't know, this documentary has been translated into english and is screened sometimes on the National Geographic Channel as "Kendo's gruelling challenge"

      Unfortunately, they don't have the video for sale... I'd snap a copy up rather quickly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, I have seen that programme on the National Geographic Channel. It also has footage of, (forgive my spelling), Moriji Mochida? I think he was the last 10th Dan in Japan, fencing against what I have been told- a 6th Dan. I wonder what it took to pass a 9th or even 10th Dan grading?? Anyway, the late Mochida sensei made the fight against the 6th Dan look easy he was always in control . I suggest to anyone if you can watch this footage it really is something to behold!

        But I do have a question what does "Hanshi" mean???
        Cheers! John

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by John W
          what does "Hanshi" mean?
          Someone with a better grasp of the Japanese language could most certainly explain the meaning better than I. But I'll try...

          My understanding is that the term 'hanshi' is one bestowed at a certain teaching level (after successfully passing a certain testing process?). Hanshi, renshi, and kyoshi are also designations/licences for teaching levels I believe. Again, there are many others more qualified to define that term.

          Comment


          • #6
            .
            Last edited by Ian Russell; 9th April 2002, 09:41 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Official defination of the terms/titles are in here:-
              http://www.kendo.or.jp/japanese/rule/syogo_dan.html
              once again, in Japanese.

              Hanshi, Renshi and Kyoshi are titles for senior kendoka. Titles, in Japanese is Syougou. Hanshi is actually the highest position you can ever reach.

              According to Chapter 2 No.9, this is the way you go for a syougou exam-----

              Renshi (Ren means "refine"):-
              Reached Rokudan; after rokudan passed the training year duration limit; passed the local kendo association's exam; recommanded by the local association.

              Kyoshi (Kyo means "teach"):-
              Reached Nanadan Renshi; after the nanadan duration...; (same as the above)

              Hanshi (Han means "model"):-
              Reached 8th dan Kyoshi; 8 years or more after 8th dan exam; passed the local kendo association's exam; recommanded by the local association; approved by the All Japan Kendo Reimen president.

              hope that helps. @_@

              Comment


              • #8
                [QUOTE] Originally posted by John W
                Yes, I have seen that programme on the National Geographic Channel. It also has footage of, (forgive my spelling), Moriji Mochida? I think he was the last 10th Dan in Japan, fencing against what I have been told - a 6th Dan. I wonder what it took to pass a 9th or even 10th Dan grading?? Anyway, the late Mochida sensei made the fight against the 6th Dan look easy he was always in control . I suggest to anyone if you can watch this footage it really is something to behold!
                Cheers! John [QUOTE]

                The footage would I think be from the Tenran Taikai held in the late 1940s.
                A taikai held in front of the Emperor Showa.

                This is an old film that has been cleaned up and put on video. NHK TV use it infrequently.

                There were two Judan. The other one was Oasa Yuji Sensei (My teachers teacher) If I remember, two others had also refused the honour based on the fact that they did not wish to become senior to the other Kyudan that had wished to promote them. Oasa sensei's Dojo Reiudo has sinced closed. But remaining practicing members go to my old dojo.

                As to Hachidan. With the sempai, kohai system used within the ZNKRs prefectural groups there are a lot who would never even get the chance to try, let alone pass. I should hasten to add that Shodan Shiken in Japan is age related. If numbersd are sufficient you will probably end up fighting someone of similar age.

                There are literally thousands who challenge Rokudan plus every year. A trip to the Shiken Jo held in various places throughout the year is an expensive trip. Most of then get the number chalked on the tare and stand up from sonkyo to get a yellow flag (we have seen enough flag) because they did not show the right fighting spirit at the outset. I have friends that have made that trip ten times or more and some that get it first time out.

                There is far more to it than just the Shiken. Some travel far a wide to meet the right people and be seen and heard. That's a part of it I would rather not participate in.

                Renshi, Kyoshi, Hanshi is ZNKR Shogo and should not be confused with other Shogo of particular Ryu.

                Hyaku

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you Ian, Mingshi and Hyaku for your replies I have learned lots. This forum is such a good idea!!!
                  Anyway a question for Hyaku. What does ZNKR stand for? And also by getting the yellow flag -do you mean that they did not engage in any combat at all? And if so, did they approach the grading casually or by not showing enough zanshin or fighting spirit before fighting, I take it that the grading panel will consist of a lot of 8th Dan's.

                  Thanks, John

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There were a lot more than just 2 Judan. Takano Sasaburo sensei , Saimura Goro sensei, Naito sensei, Sasamori Junzo sensei, and so on...

                    John mate, ZNKR stands for Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei- ie All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF).

                    For lots of juicy info about kendo shogo, check out the next issue of the magazine coming out very soon.

                    cheers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey guys,

                      Question -> before the war the highest Dan-I grade was godan, right, then the shogo as normal?? Then after the war the dan-i changed to go to judan, and a bunch of godans were whooshed up to judan.. thus in 1956/7 a *bunch* of judans appeared.

                      Isnt this the case??

                      Maybe I am mixed up. Colin? Alex?

                      btw make sure and check back on http://www.kendo.org.uk/ often as I am uploading bits n pieces most days.

                      Cheers,

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE] Originally posted by John W
                        Anyway a question for Hyaku. And also by getting the yellow flag -do you mean that they did not engage in any combat at all?

                        As I said they wave a yellow flag to say its the end of that pairs practical test. If you dont get up right from sonkyo and show you mean business its more or less try again next time.

                        You would be amazed at the number of people that turn up at the dojo a few months before a grading to give it a try. My interpretation is a years between grades is years of training, not a break!

                        Hyaku

                        http://www.bunbun.ne.jp/~sword

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE]Originally posted by Hyaku
                          My interpretation is a years between grades is years of training, not a break!

                          I would totally agree with this statement. I don't think you ever should give up kendo training even if you are ill ie- mittori-geiko.

                          Another question though for George- what is the picture next to your name of?



                          Thanks, John

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            http://www.gem.kurume-nct.ac.jp/~kid...n/ronbung.html

                            This Japanese article has a little history of the Dan & Shogo system.

                            ".....blahlblahblah (in japanese...some info on Shogo in Meji period, eg. the Renshi was formerly a "Certificate of Excellent Refinement" for kendoka above 5thDan....)
                            "In 1917, the police in Butokukai (THE police dojo) adopted the 10-Dan system
                            "In 1927, the 10-Dan system was kept in pace with the one in Kyudo & Judo
                            "...in 1926, the 'birth' of 60 6thDan, 20 7thDan, 5 8th-Dan & 5 9th-Dan
                            "... in 1945 Butokukai was dismissed (because of the war), and everything was no longer valid
                            "In 1950 with the establishment of Zen Nihon Shinaikyogi(competitive sports?) Renmei... 10-Dan system was used again
                            "In 1952, ZNKR established; in 1953 the Dan & Shogo system was clarified ...
                            "In 1957, 10-Dan system re-adopted; and here came 4 10th Dan Sensei..."

                            ~the end of the history section & confusion~

                            :P

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John W
                              Another question though for George- what is the picture next to your name of?
                              I do believe that's Himura Kenshin from the manga Rurouni Kenshin.

                              Comment

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