A Brief Synopsis of the History of Kendo

Originally published in Kendo World Issue 3.1, 2004

The Meiji Restoration and Kendo

The modern art of kendo, now practiced by millions of people in Japan and around the world evolved from tried and tested battlefield techniques. With the advancement of tenka taihei, or “peace throughout the realm” during the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), the martial arts took on new a role for the ruling samurai class. With no more wars to demonstrate martial valour, the military arts were studied as vehicles for self-development, with increasing emphasis placed on aesthetic and spiritual values rather than just as a means to kill. The Tokugawa period saw the martial arts decline temporarily towards the end of the seventeenth century then flourish with unprecedented popularity from the mid eighteenth century. Martial schools (bugei-ryūha) increased in number exponentially during this period with an estimated number of over seven-hundred schools of kenjutsu alone. Respect for the traditional martial arts was brought to an abrupt end with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s “Black Ships” from America in 1853. After centuries of self-imposed isolation (sakoku), Japan found herself out-dated, outgunned, and out of its depth with the Western nations. Although seclusion from the rest of the world had given the Japanese martial arts time to develop into fascinating martial anachronisms, rich in ritualistic symbolism and spiritualism, they were no match for the devastating firepower of Western nations demanding special rights and privileges for trade.

Following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the Japanese set about rebuilding the nation by drawing on the latest technology and ideas the West had to offer. This essentially meant that long-established Japanese martial arts such as kenjutsu fell into obscurity due to a lack of perceived practical application. Guns, cannons, and a new conscript army were the order of the day if Japan was to catch up with the rest of the world. The era abounded with catch phrases such as wakon-yōsai (Japanese spirit, Western technology) as they strove to educate the masses, arm the nation, and match the West in terms of a new modern civil society.

Kenjutsu, along with the other martial arts, was considered by many symbolic of the outdated feudal hierarchy which placed the minority bushi above all other echelons of society, and was thus relegated to the realms of old-fashioned nonsense with no practical use to the newly emerging modern society. With the abolishment of the Bakufu’s military academy the Kōbusho in 1866, and the dissolution of han (feudal domains) and the bushi controlled hankō (domain schools) in 1871, martial arts were no longer taught on a wide scale. The new national education curriculum was redesigned on the Western model to educate the masses rather than the privileged few, and martial arts classes were not included.

Former bushi rapidly lost their special privileges, and the final nail in the coffin was the edict denying them the right to wear the item considered the embodiment of their very soul, the katana. Many of those from bushi stock found themselves in a world of unemployment and poverty. Some high-ranking bushi were endowed with positions of authority in the organs of Japan’s new government, but many others were left without status, employment, or income, and a significant number were reduced to utter destitution. In the midst of this social upheaval, those hit particularly hard were the bujutsu instructors in the employ of the Bakufu or domains, or those who managed their own private dōjō .

Sakakibara Kenkichi and Gekken Kōgyō

A notable warrior who dedicated himself to reviving the martial arts was Sakakibara Kenkichi (above). He successfully initiated a series of public demonstration matches by celebrated martial artists in an event known as gekken-kōgyō (gekken or gekken=kendo, kōgyō=entertainment). The first of these curious martial shows was held in Asakusa for 10 days commencing April 11, 1873. Any member of the public was welcome to witness the spectacle as long as they paid the entrance fee. Spectators were even allowed to participate in matches if they thought they were up to the challenge.

Sakakibara’s initiative was well received by the public and the media, and the makeshift arena was packed to capacity. The success of Sakakibara’s first meet inspired similar demonstrations throughout the country, giving rise to a gekken-kōgyō boom conducted by newly set-up troupes of martial artists.

Apart with providing martial artists with income, of even more significance to modern practitioners of kendo was the role gekken-kōgyō played in ensuring the survival of the traditional martial arts. The martial arts had fallen into decline a few years after the Meiji Restoration, but gekken-kōgyō ensured that they didn’t fall completely out of view. In fact many acknowledge that if it were not for the gekken-kōgyō and the efforts made by Sakakibara Kenkichi, traditional bujutsu may not have made the transition into the modern period.

Nevertheless, there was also a perceived downside to gekken-kōgyō. To many critics, it was lamentable to see the once proud bushi “selling their souls and prostituting their martial skills” for financial gain. Furthermore, many of the shows were laced with sensational but hardly practical techniques and sound effects in the name of entertainment, just as one would expect to see at a pro-wrestling event today. This was viewed as detracting from the true spirit of the martial arts. Still, the historical importance of the gekken-kōgyō cannot be denied, and in many ways it is thanks to this chapter in history that we still have kendo today.

Keishichō Kendo
Many of the highest ranking kendo exponents in Japan have some affiliation with the police. This relationship extends back to the early stages of the Meiji government’s police system. After a temporary ban to prevent disgruntled former warriors (shizoku) hatching subversive plots to overthrow the government, gekken meets were eventually reinstated and became a recruitment ground for the newly formed police force. What Japan needed during these volatile times after the Satsuma Rebellion (1) was brought to an end was fighting fit police constables. Traditional kenjutsu was viewed as one way of achieving this.

Superintendent of the newly formed Meiji Police Bureau (Keishichō) Kawaji Toshiyoshi, admired the Battōtai division, a police unit armed only with swords that performed magnificently in the battle at Tabaruzaka (1877) and defeated Saigō Takamori’s rebel forces. This well-publicised battle encouraged many to reconsider the true value and potential of traditional bujutsu, in particular kenjutsu. Before making a trip overseas in 1879 to inspect foreign policing systems, Kawaji published his thoughts in an essay titled Kenjutsu Saikō-ron. He asserted that police officers must be in good physical shape for self-defence and also to apprehend criminals. His ideas were assented, and renowned kenjutsu exponents were recruited into the police force to serve as instructors.

On January 19, 1880, the Police Academy guidelines were established, and it was stipulated within that all cadets were to be instructed in kenjutsu. The gekken shows became the target not of government inspectors, but of scouts who went in search of likely candidates to teach kenjutsu to the police. The swordsmen ranking at the top of the programs were well aware of the opportunities that awaited, and one by one they found themselves with stable careers teaching kenjutsu.

This was a great turn in fortune for some swordsmen, but spelled the end of gekken-kōgyō. Apart from a few companies such as that led by Satake Kanryūsai who travelled the provinces, most other groups disappeared thus signifying the end of the gekken-kōgyō era.

Apart from holding competitions, the Keishichō were actively involved in the refinement and unification of kenjutsu by creating kata (set forms), and also a basic ranking system. It is difficult to establish exactly the Keishichō kata were created, but records of a demonstration of various kata at the 1886 Keishichō Bujutsu Taikai (police martial arts tournament) suggest that they were formulated around this time, and named Keishichō-ryū, a tradition that is still practiced by some members of the Japanese police today.

Kendo in Education
The road to include kendo into the school curriculum was long and complicated. From as early as the 1870s, there were a growing number of government officials, educators and private citizens who voiced their inhibitions about totally “Westernising” the education system, and at least wanted to retain certain aspects of “Japaneseness”. This was especially the case with physical education which was centred heavily on Western gymnastics. They raised the question of why it was not possible to incorporate traditional Japanese bujutsu into schools.

To investigate the potential benefits and demerits of such a policy, the Ministry of Education instigated a several official investigations. Of particular note was the 1883 survey done by the National Institute of Gymnastics (Taisō Denshūsho), and then the 1896 investigations conducted by the School Health Advisors Board (Gakkō Eisei Komonkai).
The 1883 investigation bore the following conclusions;

1. An effective means of enhancing physical development.
2. Develops stamina.
3. Rouses the spirit and boosts morale.
4. Expurgates spinelessness and replaces it with vigour.
5. Arms the exponent with techniques for self-defence in times of danger.

The demerits were listed as follows:
1. May cause unbalanced physical development.
2. Always an imminent danger present in training.
3. Difficult to determine the appropriate degree of exercise, especially as physically strong students must train together with weaker individuals.
4. Could encourage violent behaviour due to the rousing of the spirit.
5. Exhilarates the will to fight which could manifest into an attitude of winning at all costs.
6. There was a danger of encouraging a warped sense of competitiveness to the extent that the child could even resort to dishonest tactics.
7. Difficult to sustain unified instructional methodology for large numbers of students.
8. Requires a large area to conduct training.
9. Even though jujutsu only requires a keiko-gi (training wear) kenjutsu requires the use of armour and other special equipment which would be expensive and difficult to keep clean and hygienic.

Thus, their conclusion was that it would be inappropriate to introduce bujutsu into the school curriculum. On the one hand, it was recognised that it could be beneficial in complementing the knowledge-oriented school system with its emphasis on spiritual development. On the other, it was deemed to run counter to the medical or physiological benefits expected from physical education activities. It was thought to be detrimental to balanced physical development, encouraged violence, antagonistic competition, dangerous, difficult to find the common medium between styles to coach, expensive, and unclean.

The investigation of the latter group resulted in similar findings, but they did suggest that bujutsu could be taught in schools as an extra-curricular activity for boys over the age of 16 who were of good health.

Another problem was the fact that there was no established method for teaching students simultaneously in large groups. Martial arts had traditionally been taught on an individual basis, but this was impossible in the modern educational environment. Thus, a revolutionary new way needed to be developed to address this particular issue. One of the first notable efforts to solve this problem resulted in the creation of bujutsu taisō or callisthenics.

During and after the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), a small group of educators attempted to develop a form of gymnastics utilizing martial techniques and weapons. The idea soon took on, and before long many schools throughout Japan allowed students to participate in newly developed callisthenic exercises with bokutō or naginata.

One of the pioneers of the system was Ozawa Unosuke. He stated that the purpose of developing bujutsu callisthenics was not only as a tool for education, but also to be engaged in by members of the public to “nurture a nation of people with physiques by no means inferior to the people of Western nations.” He also outlined the many problems faced by the current scheme of Western gymnastics such as the difficulty in procuring equipment and suitable facilities could be overcome by introducing bujutsu into schools. He argued that as a curricular activity, the bujutsu-derived exercises would be an effective method of nurturing physical wellbeing and encourage discipline.

In addition to Ozawa, others were also experimenting with an indigenous form of gymnastic exercises based on bujutsu. Of particular note was Nakajima Kenzō who had studied the Jikishin Kage-ryū in his childhood. It is unknown whether or not Ozawa and Nakajima ever collaborated, however, the efforts of both men saw their initiatives spread with seminars being held in various localities.

Still, there were also staunch critics who vehemently opposed the systems. Reasons were varied, but the most common criticism were that the techniques were unrealistic and ineffective, paying little attention to hasuji (blade trajectory), and too much twisting, turning and ostentatious movement.

Despite condemnation by some traditionalists, bujutsu-taisō did prove that bujutsu could be practiced and taught in groups, and it had a profound effect on the way instruction methodology for beginners in the budō arts subsequently developed. Books of this genre started appearing in the 1890s. Thereafter there was a plethora of books published that were essentially collaborations between educators and martial artists as they learned from each other ways to best adapt bujutsu techniques to suit the goals of the physical education curriculum in schools. It wasn’t until 1904-1905 that we see books appearing which were written as bujutsu textbooks (as opposed to taisō) for teaching beginners, but obviously heavily influenced by the taisō style and methodology.

The “martial artists” preferred to avoid referring to what they were doing as bujutsu-taisō but as “group teaching methodology”. In fact, after 1911 when bujutsu was finally accepted into the official school curriculum, albeit as an elective subject, many turned face and rained harsh criticism on bujutsu-taisō as being nothing more than performance exercises with sticks. This was, they asserted haughtily, in no way related to true bujutsu. This denigration was not exactly fair, but bujutsu-taisō was no longer needed, and didn’t survive into the Taishō period.

Dai Nihon Butokukai (Greater Japan Society of Martial Virtue)
Undoubtedly the formation of the Dai Nihon Butokukai in 1895 was the major turning point in the attempt to popularize the martial arts in schools, and ensured their survival into the next century and beyond. By this stage, Japan was forging ahead in its quest to modernize, and was starting to embark on expansionist activities with a nationalistic fervour on par with any other colonialist power of the day. The Sino-Japanese War encouraged a surge of nationalism in Japan which in turn led to an renewed fascination with bujutsu.

The year 1895 marked the 1100th year of Kyoto becoming the capital of Japan. At that time Emperor Kanmu is said to have constructed the Butokuden (Hall of Martial Virtue) to promote martial spirit and encourage the warriors to develop their military prowess. Thus, in commemoration of this, and riding a growing wave of nationalism, the Butokukai was established in Kyoto. Its goals were to promote and standardize the plethora of martial disciplines and systems found throughout the nation. In 1899, the Butokuden was rebuilt near the grounds of the newly constructed Heian Shrine in Kyoto.

In 1902, an awards system was created to acknowledge individuals who had made great efforts in the promotion of budō, and a division was established to train bujutsu instructors in 1905. In 1911, the Butoku Gakkō (School of Martial Virtue) was founded, and this became known as the Bujutsu Senmon Gakkō (Bujutsu Specialist School) in 1912, and finally as the legendary Budō Senmon Gakkō in 1919 when the term bujutsu was officially replaced with budō to emphasise the martial “way” or spiritual aspects of the martial arts.(2) Thus, the Butokukai was instrumental in the promotion of budō through rewarding prominent individuals, publications, training instructors, holding special events and tournaments. The Budō Senmon Gakkō (or Busen as it became known) together with the Tōkyō Kōtō Shihan Gakkō (Tokyo Higher Normal School) led the way in producing young instructors to teach in schools throughout the country.

Creation of a Unified Set of Kata
Still, there were many problems that needed to be overcome before successful national popularization was realized. In an attempt to unify the many kenjutsu traditions and their techniques into something that transcended affiliation to a specific group or classical tradition, the Butokukai decided to develop a unified set of kata (prescribed forms) which could be practiced (and taught) by anybody. This was thought to be the best way to popularize the art and effectively facilitate its national dissemination.

Watanabe Noboru chaired the first committee set up to accomplish this task. In 1906, they presented the culmination of their efforts in the form of three kata: Jōdan (ten=heaven), Chūdan (chi=earth), and Gedan (jin=human). However, there was considerable opposition to this set of three kata and they were eventually discarded without seeing the national circulation they were designed for. The matter became increasingly urgent when it was decided that kenjutsu would be included as a part of the physical education curriculum in 1911.

The Butokukai convened another committee to develop a set of kata which would enable effective and unified dissemination. Kenjutsu masters from different ryūha tasked with the responsibility included Negishi Shingorō, Tsuji Shimpei, Naitō Takaharu, Monna Tadashi, and Takano Sasaburō. In 1912, they presented the “Dai Nippon Teikoku Kendō Kata” (Greater Japan Imperial Kendō Kata) which consisted of seven kata of tachi versus tachi, and three kata of tachi versus kodachi. There were numerous changes and amendments made to the original version in the following years, but it essentially constituted what modern exponents still practice as Nippon Kendō Kata. These kata contributed to the spread of kendō, and provided the means to teach a common style in schools.

Budō and Nationalism
Bujutsu was not to become a compulsory subject until 1931, an era of intensifying militarism. In January 1931, at the time of the Manchurian Incident, middle school regulations were revised again to make kendo and judo compulsory subjects as they were recognized as useful in nurturing a resolute, determined patriotic spirit and training both the mind and the body.

By the mid-1930s, schools were ordered to stress patriotism and seishin kunren, or “spiritual training.” This trend intensified with the onset of the Pacific War, and taisō (gymnastics) was changed in name to tairen (physical discipline) in 1941. By 1942, the government had banned participation in most Western sports, and even more weight was placed on the martial arts in schools. This was the year when the Butokukai became an extra-governmental organization, and the government exerted more control over budō to bolster the war effort. The method of training was harsh with combat application in mind. In the name of “battlefield realism”, matches were decided by ippon-shōbu, or the first person to get a point was the winner, as opposed to the best of three. The shinai was also shortened to resemble the length of a real sword. Grappling from close quarters was also permissible.

Budō Ban
After Japan’s Second World War defeat, martial arts were banned by the occupation authorities. The following is a SCAP report (3) concerning the role of the Butokukai (hence martial arts) in the instillation of nationalistic fervour in youth, and thus the reasons for the ensuing post-war ban on budō.

“With the gradual ascendancy of the military as the dominant controlling factor in Japanese politics culminating in the appointment of Tōjō as Prime Minister in 1941, the Butokukai increasingly became a means of inculcating the militaristic spirit among the masses of Japan. Ashida Hitoshi, who as Welfare Minister in the Yoshida cabinet, was interviewed concerning this society stated: ‘With the ascendancy of the Konoye regime in 1939, there was a tendency to amalgamate the society with the Tennō [emperor] Rule System, but not until after the outbreak of the war did the organization come under the control of the government. Premier Tōjō automatically became the national president, who directed the activities. The organization was transformed for military purposes. Juken-jitsu (bayonet practice) and shageki (rifle marksmanship) were included in the program.’ Going further into the wartime activities of the Butokukai, Watanabe Toshio, post-surrender business manager, stated that: ‘The organization was placed under the influence of five Ministries: Home Affairs, Education, Welfare, Army and Navy. A subsidy was granted by the government to the society for additional operating expenses. Militant nationalism was stressed. The March 1941 statistics revealed a total membership of 3,178,000.’”

The report continues to outline the post-surrender activities of the Butokukai.

“Following the surrender, officials of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, possibly fearing that the Occupation authorities would order them to dissolve, reorganized to their pre-1942 status. This step was taken by the society to cover up its war-time record and to continue its activities under the camouflage of democratic reorganization. The reorganization which took place was superficial and designed to replace those officials who had been apprehended as war criminals, or who, having fallen under the purge directive, might discredit the society in the eyes of the Occupation were they to remain at their posts. The Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, in recommending dissolution of the organization stated: ‘The official purpose of the organization has not been changed, so far as its charter reveals, and this is to promote military arts and to contribute to the training of the people’ In fact, Shimura Hisaku, prominent Butokukai leader in Ibaragi, said at this time: ‘We wish to introduce to the general public the real nature of military arts by continuous meetings in various places, and to propagandize the reason why we should absorb the real spirit of military arts in order to rebuild a peaceful Japan. We want to have the people acknowledge that the military arts are obviously not the tools for war, but for peace, and are really the national arts of Japan.’ The contradiction inherent in such rationalization should have been obvious but the Japanese Government hesitated to add the Butokukai to the list of proscribed organizations since to do so would render its officials subject to the purge.”

Not surprisingly, the Butokukai was dissolved.

Post-war Kendo
For a few years, the sound of grinding bamboo strikes and blood curdling kiai could hardly be heard in Japan. There were undoubtedly sessions being held in secret, but officially kendo and the other budō arts were banned.

In May 1948 a fencing and kendo demonstration was held in Tokyo. The following year in September 1949, the Tokyo Collegiate Kendo Federation alumni formed the Tokyo Kendo Club, and set about investigating ways to revive kendo as a “sport” suitable for a post-war democratic society. They came up with a plan for shinai-kyōgi (shinai competition). As the name suggests, the sporting aspect of kendo was stressed, and the overt combative aspects from the previous generation were consciously removed.

The shinai used in shinai-kyōgi was different to the conventional instrument of four slats. The top third was divided into 32 slats, the middle third 16 slats, and the end closest to the grip was eight slats. The bamboo was encased in a leather sheath resembling the early fukuro-shinai of the 18th century. The protective equipment bore a resemblance to Western fencing. Practitioners did not wear traditional keiko-gi and hakama, but shirts and trousers. Matches were conducted in a defined court, and a time limit was implemented so that the player who scored the most points by the end was the victor. There were also penalties given for foul play, body clashes (taiatari) were not permitted, and the utterance of anything more than a grunt was prohibited. Three referees presided over matches, as is the case with kendo now.

With the formulation of the new sport shinai-kyōgi, the All Japan Shinai Kyōgi Federation was inaugurated in 1950, and this organization continued to propagate and refine the rules and methodology of this new sporting creation. In 1952, shinai-kyōgi was endorsed by authorities as an elective subject in junior and senior high schools. The All Japan Kendo Federation was formed the same year, and conventional kendo was once again permitted, albeit in a far less violent form than a decade earlier.

At this time shinai-kyōgi and kendo co-existed, although there was considerable opposition against the hybrid form. Shinai-kyōgi was combined with kendo to become gakkō-kendō (school kendo). At this point the All Japan Shinai Kyōgi Federation was liquefied. Despite the criticisms aimed at shinai-kyōgi, it cannot be denied that it was the instrumental factor in the reinstatement of kendo, and also had a profound effect on how post-war kendo developed, especially in regards to match rules. It is interesting that barely a paragraph is dedicated to shinai-kyōgi in the recently published 625 page Kendo no Rekishi (History of Kendo) compiled by the All Japan Kendo Federation.

Following the inauguration of the All Japan Kendo Federation in 1952, the 1st All Japan Kendo Championships were held in 1953, the All Japan Student Kendo Federation was formed in the same year, the All Japan Company Kendo Federation in 1957, and the All Japan School Kendo Federation in 1961.

The year 1964 was a turning point for budō with the inclusion of judo in the Tokyo Olympics. The Nippon Budokan was built in central Tokyo for the event, and kendo, kyudo, and sumo were performed as demonstration sports at the venue. This international exposure to kendo culminated in the formation of the International Kendo Federation in 1970. The International Kendo Federation was launched at a meeting in Tokyo attended by 17 countries and regions with the aim of cultivating goodwill through the international propagation of kendo (including iaido and jodo). The IKF (now FIK) is responsible for holding the World Kendo Championships every three years, international seminars, assistance in developing federation infrastructure in kendo developing countries, and information exchange.

Kendo saw an unprecedented boom and growth in numbers from the mid-1960s. This popularity sparked many debates, in particular, the issue of whether kendo is a form of traditional culture or a sport still fuels heated discussions, often without a suitable definition for either. This is mainly due to the importance placed on kendo competitions, particularly at high school and university level. This is deemed by more conservative practitioners as being in discordance with the true “way” or essence of kendo, where issues of victory or defeat detract from the more important goal of character development.

It was with this in mind that the All Japan Kendo Federation decided to put on paper what kendo was “ideally” supposed to be. In 1975, they created the official Concept of Kendo, and Purpose of Practicing:

The Concept of Kendo
The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana (sword).

The Purpose of Practicing Kendo
The purpose of practicing Kendo is:
To mold the mind and body,
To cultivate a vigorous spirit,
And through correct and rigid training,
To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,
To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,
To associate with others with sincerity,
And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.
This will make one be able:
To love his/her country and society,
To contribute to the development of culture
And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

Kendo Now
Kendo is still a popular activity in Japan and abroad. However, in Japan the number of actively participating enthusiasts continues to drop. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the social problem of lowered birth rates, and also the attraction of young people to professional sports such as baseball, and more recently football. There are also other problems which need to be tackled. How relevant is the prescribed kendo tradition of character building “through the application of the principles of the katana” to people living in the 21st century? As I have shown in this article, modern kendo is not as old as some would suggest, and many refinements have been made to rules, concepts, and techniques over the last century to facilitate kendo’s integration and acceptance as a socially useful and fulfilling activity for the times.

Of course, times change, so how is that being addressed by the governing bodies of kendo now? What will kendo look like in the future? Perhaps it would be best to allow the All Japan Kendo Federation to answer these crucial questions to conclude this brief synopsis of the history of modern kendo. The following statement is quoted from the official website of the All Japan Kendo Federation. I leave the statement (now moved) in its original English as I believe it demonstrates, perhaps not the way the author intended, the extent to which certain aspects of kendo tradition are in disarray.

“The AJKF will engage in the promotion of Kendo or what can be considered as Budo, a culture of Japanese distinction. Promotion of Kendo neither means merely to increase the number of Kendo practitioners, nor to hold more competitions. The AJKF believes that promotion will involve the communication of the ‘spirit of the Samurai’ through everyday training and competition. Kendo should not be promoted just as a competitive sport.

With this in mind, there is one thing that needs to be understood by those engaging in Kendo around the world. And that is, through the harsh training of Kendo, our hope is that you learn not only the technical skills of the sword, but to understand the social and ethical aspects of the Samurai as well as the spirit (mental attitude) of the Samurai. In other words, we hope that you will understand Kendo as Budo and to experience the training of it. A Shinai is a Samurai’s sword. Keiko-gi and Hakama are a Samurai’s formal attire. They should not be considered simply sports-wear. Without understanding this ‘spirit,’ Kendo will merely be another physical exercise. We hope that you will try to understand and appreciate the profundity and cultural values of Kendo. The AJKF hopes to promote what we believe to be authentic Kendo. We would like to ask for your full support and cooperation to our activities. Thank you for your attention. Jun Takeuchi- Managing Director, AJKF (In charge of International Affairs).” (4)

There are many other areas which require attention when mapping the development of kendo. For example, in this article I did not give details of waza systemization, the Tenran Shiai matches held in front of the emperor, student contributions to kendo, match and refereeing systems, grading systems, and so on. These are topics I will take up in detail in future articles and the detailed book on the history of kendo which I am finishing now..

1. The Seinan Sensō was the last major armed uprising against the new Meiji government and its reforms. It was carried out by former bushi of the Satsuma domain (now Kagoshima Prefecture) under the leadership of Saigo Takamori from 29th January to 24th September 1877 where the newly formed government conscript army proved its effectiveness.
2. It was from this time on that the terms gekken and kenjutsu were replaced with kendō. Guttman & Thompson, p. 155, 156.
3. Political Reorientation of Japan, September 1945 to September 1948; Report. Contributors: Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Government Section- Publisher: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, DC. 1949.)
4. http://www.kendo.or.jp/english-page/…e-of-Kendo.htm, retrieved June 20, 2004.

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