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68th AJKC / 59th AJWKC - Preview

The 68th All Japan Kendo Championships The 59th All Japan Women’s Kendo Championships

Sunday March 14, 2021 – White Ring, Nagano



The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected many, if not all, aspects of our life. One of its effects has been that for most of us around the world, we have not been able to practice kendo. In Japan, the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF) cancelled or postponed its April and May 2020 events in late-March. Then on April 4, 2020, the AJKF requested that all prefectures discontinue interpersonal keiko. Even when the Government of Japan ended its state of emergency in most prefectures in mid-May, the AJKF requested that people still refrain from keiko while they work out how to proceed in what is the “new normal”. Then on June 4, 2020, the AJKF lifted the request for self-restraint of interpersonal keiko but asked practitioners to abide by their Infection Prevention Guidelines (details of which can be found on the AJKF homepage).


On June 10, 2020, the AJKF then announced that the All Japan Women’s Kendo Championships (AJWKC) and All Japan Kendo Championships (AKJC) would not be held in September and November respectively, as is usually the case. This is because the qualifying tournaments are usually held from June to early-August for women and from July to late-September for men, and it was still not certain if the qualifying events could be held safely. Also, competitors had not been training for around two months. The AJKF said that it hoped both championships could be held sometime in January or February 2021. In the end, it was announced on November 6, 2020, that both events would be held on Sunday March 14, 2021, but without spectators, at the White Ring in Nagano, which has been the venue for the AJWKC since 2016. This arena was one of the venues for the 1998 Winter Olympics and hosted the figure skating and speed skating events. Four shiai-jo will be set up at the White Ring with two each for men and women, and both the AJKC and AJWKC will be held concurrently, which is going to be a challenge to cover them both!


Prefectural qualification tournaments for both the men and women began on December 6, 2020, in Okayama and finished as late as February 28, 2021, in Gunma, with the other qualifying tournaments being held in between. Normally police officers make up the overwhelming majority of competitors; usually over 50 of the 64 competitors in the men’s competition are police. However, this year the police are not allowed to take part so there are many more teachers, company workers, and students taking part. The breakdown of the men’s competitors is as follows, with the previous four years in parentheses for comparison:


Teachers: 22 (5, 5, 4, 7)

Students: 17 (1, 3, 3 2)

Company workers: 14 (2, 2, 3, 2)

Prison officers: 7 (2, 2, 2, 3)

Organization staff: 2 (0, 0, 0, 0)

Dentist: 1 (0, 0, 0, 0)

Carpenter: 1 (0, 0, 0, 0)

Police officers: 0 (54, 52, 52, 50)


Whoever wins this year will be the first non-police officer since Takenouchi Yuya in 2014 who was a third-year student at the University of Tsukuba. Before him, the previous non-police winner was Hayashi Akira, an office worker for the Hokkaido Kendo Federation, at the 36th AJKC in 1988. If one of the teachers is victorious, it will be the first since Migita Kojiro in 1976, and if one of the company workers takes the title, it will be the first since the late, great Toda Tadao took his second title in 1964.


The men’s competition certainly has a fresh feel to it with 49 of the 64 entrants making their debut, compared to 24, 27, 22, and 24 over the previous four tournaments. The most experienced AJKC competitor is company worker Hashimoto Keiichi (Saitama) who is in his sixth competition. Only two competitors have placed in the AJKC with 22-year-old student Matsuzaki Kenshiro finishing as runner-up at the 67th AJKC in 2019, and Hayashida Kyohei (27), a teacher from Fukui, finishing third in 2017. It is hard to make a prediction who will do well as there have been no other big tournaments from which to judge people’s form.


In the AJWKC, as with the men’s competition, most entrants are usually police officers, but only around half or a third of the competitors, with the next biggest group being students. The breakdown of the women’s competitors is as follows, with the previous four years in parentheses for comparison:


Students: 33 (19, 15, 25, 22)

Teachers: 14 (6, 12, 10, 14)

Company workers: 8 (6, 7, 5, 4)

High school students: 8 (1, 5, 1, 2)

Organization staff: 1 (1, 1, 0, 0)

Police officers: 0 (29, 21, 20, 20)


Police officers are also the most dominant in the AJWKC winning every title since 2004. In 2003 in the 42nd AJWKC, Ogata Yuki was the last teacher to take the title and Tsubota Yuka the last student in 2002. Something that you do not see in the AJKC is the participation of high school students. There have been some high school students who have won the AJWKC, the most recent being 17-year-old Nabeyama Reiko at the 31st AJWKC in 1992.


With the absence of police officers, the AJWKC also has a fresh feel to it with 45 competitors making their debut, more than double the previous year. That being said, there are still some hugely experienced competitors in the AJWKC. Uchida Sakura, a 42-year-old school worker from Shizuoka, is making her fifteenth appearance and has been runner-up and finished third, as well as being on the Japan team at the WKC and winning the team event. She is also one of three 7-dan competitors with Miyaji Saeko (40, Kyoto, teacher), former world champion, and Suzaka Yoshie (44, Nagano, company worker) who is making her eleventh appearance. Apart from the aforementioned Uchida, there are another three competitors who have placed in the AJWKC: Onishi Nanami (runner-up and third), Takenaka Miho (third), and Saito Miki (third).


Like the men’s competition, it looks like the AJWKC will be hard to call due to the lack of competitions over the past year. It should make for an interesting day, and whatever happens, by the end of the day, there will be a new AJKC and AJWKC champion.


Kendo World will be there, but due to infection prevention measures, we are not able to take our usual contingent of staff. However, we have to video and photograph double the number of matches, but we’ll do our best! We hope to have some great videos of the tournaments soon after they finish.


Profiles of the men and women are below.

Men’s Competitor Profiles

Name, Age, Dan, Affiliation, Work, Appearance No.

Competition History

1. Taiji YAMAKAWA, 29, 5-dan, Okinawa, Carpenter, 1st App.


2. Mitsuya NIHASHI, 35, R6-dan, Shizuoka, Company Worker, 1st App. National Sports Meet: Winner


3. Yuji ISHIDA, 32, 6-dan, Tokyo, Company Worker, 1st App. Student Individual: 2nd place


4. Koji SHIRAKI, 28, 5-dan, Tokushima, Teacher, 2nd App. Student Individual: 2nd place


5. Koki SUGIMOTO, 21, 4-dan, Kangawa, Student, 1st App.


6. Jun YAMAZAKI, 32, R6-dan, Akita, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Team: 3rd place


7. Yuto WADA, 21, 3-dan, Mie, Student, 1st App.


8. Yuki YAMADA, 28, 5-dan, Nara, Company Worker, 5th App. Corporate Championships: Winner x2


9. Masayoshi YOSHIDA, 35, R6-dan, Wakayama, Company Worker, 1st App. Todofuken: Winner Corporate Championships: 3rd place x2 Student Team: Winner


10. Tohei MIYAZAKI, 33, 6-dan, Nagasaki, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Team: Winner, 2nd place Teacher Individual: 2nd place


11. Tatsunari HONMA, 25, 5-dan, Hiroshima, Prison Officer, 1st App. Correctional Officer Team: 3rd place


12. Takuma KARUKOME, 38, R7-dan, Chiba, Teacher, 1st App. Todofuken: 3rd place x2 Teacher Team: Winner Teacher Individual: 3rd place


13. Hiroyuki YANO, 26, 5-dan, Nagano, Teacher, 1st App.


14. Ryusuke KANNO, 29, 5-dan, Iwate, Teacher, 5th App. Teacher Individual: 3rd place x2 National Sports Meet: Winner


15. Kenshiro MATSUZAKI, 22, 4-dan, Ibaraki, Student, 3rd App. AJKC: 2nd place Todofuken: 2nd place Student Team: 2nd place x2 Student Individual: 2nd place National Sports Meet: Winner x4


16. Yuji KO, 31, 5-dan, Osaka, Company Worker, 1st App. Todofuken: 3rd place x2 Corporate Championships: Winner x2, 2nd place x2 Student Team: 2nd place


17. Tomoya KIMURA, 33, R6-dan, Niigata, Prison Officer, 4th App.


18. Yuta KAI, 30, 4-dan, Fukuoka, Company Worker, 1st App. Corporate Championships: Winner, 2nd place, 3rd place x2 Student Team: Winner


19. Seiki MURATOMI, 27, 5-dan, Tokyo, University Worker, 1st App. Todofuken: 3rd place Teacher Team: 2nd place


20. Shohei SAKAE, 31, 4-dan, Hyogo, Prison Officer, 1st App. Correctional Officer Team: 3rd place Correctional Officer Individual: 3rd place


21. Sho HONMA, 23, 4-dan, Chiba, Company Worker, 1st App. Todofuken: Winner Student Team: Winner x2 Interhigh Team: Winner High School Senbatsu: Winner


22. Keita HOSHIKO, 22, 4-dan, Kagoshima, Student, 1st App. WKC Team: Winner Student Individual: Winner


23. Shunsuke SAGA, 24, 4-dan, Hokkaido, Prison Officer, 1st App.


24. Hiroaki KANEKO, 38, 6-dan, Gunma, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Team: 3rd place


25. Kazuki IZUMI, 26, 5-dan, Saitama, Teacher, 1st App. Todofuken: Winner High School Senbatsu: Winner National Sports Meet: 2nd place


26. Hikaru IWABU, 20, 3-dan, Kagawa, Student, 1st App. Todofuken: 2nd place High School Senbatsu: 2nd place


27. Koji KAWASAKI, 31, 5-dan, Saga, Company Worker, 1st App. Police Team: Winner x2 Student Team: 2nd place, 3rd place x2 Interhigh Team: Winner National Sports Meet: Winner, 2nd place x2


28. Naohiro TAKEDA, 30, 5-dan, Miyagi, Teacher, 4th App. Teacher Team: 3rd place Teacher Individual: 3rd place


29. Shoma YAGI, 22, 4-dan, Shiga, Student, 1st App.


30. Daisuke UEDA, 32, R6-dan, Tottori, Tottori Budokan Staff, 2nd App.


31. Kazuma ANDO, 20, 3-dan, Aichi, Student, 1st App.


32. Masato MITSUISHI, 23, 4-dan, Yamanashi, Company Worker, 1st App.


33. Yuki YAMAMOTO, 45, R7-dan, Tokyo, Company Worker, 2nd App. Todofuken: Winner x3 Corporate Championships: Winner x3


34. Daisuke KAJIWARA, 34, R6-dan, Oita, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Team: 3rd place x3 Teacher Individual: Winner x3 Student Team: 3rd place


35. Shotaro MATSUDA, 25, 5-dan, Koichi, School Staff, 1st App.


36. Masaya HATANAKA, 21, 4-dan, Okayama, Student, 1st App.


37. Mitsuru TAKEKOSHI, 33, 6-dan, Saitama, Company Worker, 1st App. Corporate Championships: Winner


38. Daisuke MITA, 34, 6-dan, Fukushima, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Team: 3rd place Teacher Individual: Winner


39. Raita MURAKAMI, 31, 5-dan, Osaka, Teacher, 2nd App. Todofuken: 3rd place Teacher Team: Winner x2 Teacher Individual: 2nd place


40. Koki TERASHIMA, 33, R6-dan, Toyama, Teacher, 3rd App. Teacher Individual: Winner, 3rd place Student Team: 2nd place Student Individual: 3rd place


41. Ryusei MORIYAMA, 21, 4-dan, Kanagawa, Student, 1st App. Student Team: 2nd place


42. Hiromichi FUJIOKA, 30, 5-dan, Fukuoka, Teacher, 3rd App. Todofuken: Winner Teacher Team: Winner Teacher Individual: Winner National Sports Meet: Winner


43. Yasuyuki OZAKI, 43, 6-dan, Ishikawa, Prison Officer, 1st App.


44. Masaki HASHIMOTO, 22, 4-dan, Kyoto, Student, 1st App. Student Team: 2nd place x2


45. Ryutaro SUGITA, 21, 4-dan, Gifu, Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 2nd place


46. Kazuma YAMASHITA, 27, 5-dan, Ibaraki, Teacher, 3rd App. Todofuken: 2nd place, 3rd place Teacher Team: Winner Teacher Individual: Winner Student Team: Winner x2


47. Keisuke SANJO, 37, 5-dan, Yamagata, Dentist, 1st App.


48. Yusuke IMAMURA, 27, 5-dan, Kumamoto, Prison Officer, 1st App. Correctional Officer Team: Winner Student Individual: 3rd place


49. Yuya SHIRATORI, 22, 4-dan, Chiba, Student, 1st App. Student Team: 2nd place Student Individual: 3rd place


50. Taro SAEKI, 30, 6-dan, Miyazaki, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Team: 3rd place Student Individual: 2nd place


51. Yuki OSADA, 21, 3-dan, Shizuoka, Student, 1st App.


52. Junki OKIMOTO, 26, 5-dan, Yamaguchi, Teacher, 1st App.


53. Takeshi TSUBAKI, 38, R7-dan, Hyogo, Teacher, 1st App.


54. Terutomo TAKAHASHI, 36, 6-dan, Ehime, Teacher, 1st App. Todofuken: 2nd place Teacher Team: 3rd place Teacher Individual: 3rd place Student Team: 3rd place


55. Ryoga TSUKAO, 22, 4-dan, Aomori, Student, 1st App.


56. Yuki NAKASHIMA, 23, 4-dan, Tokyo, Company Worker, 1st App.


57. Masahide NOZAKI, 21, 4-dan, Hokkaido, Student, 1st App.


58. Tatsuki KUSAKA, 29, 5-dan, Osaka, Company Worker, 1st App. Corporate Championships: 3rd place Student Team: 2nd place High School Senbatsu: 3rd place


59. Shoshi OHIRA, 20, 3-dan, Tochigi, Student, 1st App. Interhigh Individual: winner, 2nd place


60. Kyohei HAYASHIDA, 27, 5-dan, Fukui, Teacher, 3rd App. AJKC: 3rd place Teacher Individual: Winner Student Team: Winner Student Individual: Winner National Sports Meet: 3rd place


61. Taro CHIKAMOTO, 21, 4-dan, Aichi, Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: Winner


62. Ryota TAKASE, 27, 5-dan, Shimane, Teacher, 1st App.


63. Hiroshi HAYASHIDA, 37, R6-dan, Fukuoka, Prison Officer, 2nd App. Todofuken: 2nd place


64. Keiichi HASHIMOTO, 40, K7-dan, Saitama, Company Worker, 6th App. Todofuken: Winner, 3rd place Corporate Championships: 2nd place Student Individual: 3rd place National Sports Meet: Winner


Women’s Competitor Profiles

Name, Age, Dan, Affiliation, Work, Appearance No.

Competition History

1. Ayuko FUKUDA, 22, 4-dan, Hokkaido, Student, 1st App. Student Team: 2nd place x2


2. Rio ONISHI, 18, 3-dan, Kumamoto, High School Student, 1st App.


3. Natsuha MATSUSHITA, 20, 3-dan, Tokyo, Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 3rd place


4. Mizuho MATSUMOTO, 22, 4-dan, Wakayama, Student, 2nd App. Student Team: Winner, 2nd place, 3rd place


5. Keiko FUKAMI, 19, 3-dan, Hyogo, Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 3rd place


6. Nanami ONISHI, 25, 5-dan, Fukui, Teacher, 6th App. AJKC: 2nd place, 3rd place Teacher Team: Winner Student Individual: Winner National Sports Meet: Winner


7. Yuka SUGAHARA, 21, 4-dan, Shimane, Student, 2nd App. High School Senbatsu: 2nd place


8. Shiori NAITO, 18, 3-dan, Yamanashi, High School Student, 1st App. Interhigh Team: 2nd place National Sports Meet: Winner


9. Yumie HORI, 19, 3-dan, Shiga, Student, 1st App.


10. Kaho TSUBOI, 21, 3-dan, Tokushima, Student, 1st App. Interhigh Team: 3rd place


11. Yuki TAKEUCHI, 25, 4-dan, Aichi, Company Worker, 1st App. Student Individual: 3rd place


12. Miho TAKENAKA, 23, 4-dan, Tochigi, Tochigi Sports Specialist, 5th App. AJKC: 3rd place WKC Team: Winner National Sports Meet: Winner


13. Chihiro TAZOE, 20, 4-dan, Chiba, Student, 1st App.


14. Chino IKEUCHI, 19, 2-dan, Yamaguchi, Student, 1st App.


15. Midori SUZUKI, 18, 3-dan, Miyagi, High School Student, 1st App.


16. Hina NAKAMURA, 19, 3-dan, Saga, Student, 1st App.


17. Yukari SAKAI, 18, 3-dan, Yamagata, High School Student, 1st App.


18. Yuka HAMADA, 20, 4-dan, Ibaraki, Student, 2nd App.


19. Akimi TSUNO, 29, 5-dan, Koichi, Teacher, 1st App.


20. Ririka OGAWA, 21, 4-dan, Niigata, Student, 3rd App. Student Team: 3rd place High School Senbatsu: 2nd place National Sports Meet: 3rd place


21. Sakura UCHIDA, 42, 7-dan, Shizuoka, School Worker, 15th App. AJKC: 2nd place, 3rd place WKC Team: Winner Student Team: 2nd place Student Individual: 2nd place Interhigh Team: 3rd place


22. Juri SHiNGAI, 24, 4-dan, Fukuoka, Company Worker, 1st App.


23. Kako SOGAWA, 19, 3-dan, Osaka, Student, 1st App.


24. Sanae OGAWA, 18, 3-dan, Saitama, High School Student, 1st App. Interhigh Team: 2nd place National Sports Meet: Winner


25. Saki IIJIMA, 32, 5-dan, Nagano, Teacher, 2nd App.


26. Atsuko MOROOKA, 20, 3-dan, Tokyo, Student, 1st App.


27. Miki NORITA, 25, 4-dan, Mie, Teacher, 1st App. Student Team: 2nd place High School Senbatsu: Winner National Sports Meet: Winner


28. Haruna MIZUKAWA, 18, 3-dan, Okayama, High School Student, 1st App. Todofuken: Winner


29. Aoi UENO, 20, 3-dan, Fukushima, Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 3rd place


30. Saeko MIYAJI, 40, R7-dan, Kyoto, Teacher, 13th App. WKC Individual: Winner Student Team: Winner, 2nd place Student Individual: Winner Interhigh Team: 3rd place Interhigh Individual: 3rd place National Sports Meet: Winner, 2nd place, 3rd place


31. Miki SAITO, 30, 5-dan, Kanagawa, Teacher, 5th App. AJKC: 3rd place Todofuken: 2nd place Student Team: Winner x2, 2nd place


32. Momoko MURATA, 22, 4-dan, Kagoshima, Student, 3rd App. Todofuken: 2nd place Student Team: Winner, 2nd place, 3rd place


33. Rie FUJII, 21, 3-dan, Shimane, Student, 1st App.


34. Airi HONKAWA, 32, 6-dan, Tokyo, Company Worker, 1st App. Student Team: Winner Student Individual: 3rd place High School Senbatsu: Winner National Sports Meet: 2nd place


35. Manami ONISHI, 21, 3-dan, Hyogo, Student, 1st App. Student Team: 3rd place


36. Rina Yamasaki, 21, 4-dan, Miyazaki, Student, 2nd App. Student Team: 2nd place x2 Student Individual: 2nd place


37. Kie YAMAMURA, 28, 5-dan, Saitama, Teacher, 1st App. Teacher Individual: Winner


38. Haruka KANEKO, 18, 3-dan, Aichi, High School Student, 1st App.


39. Ayano TAKEUCHI, 21, 4-dan, Toyama, Student, 1st App.


40. Yuka SUNAMI, 19, 3-dan, Kagawa, Student, 1st App.


41. Misato NAKANO, 20, 3-dan, Chiba, Student, 1st App.


42. Haruka OSHIRO, 26, 4-dan, Okinawa, Teacher, 1st App. Student Team: 2nd place


43. Rena FUJIGA, 20, 4-dan, Hiroshima, Student, 1st App.


44. Yumi KINDAICHI, 33, 6-dan, Iwate, Teacher, 2nd App.


45. Yoshie SUZAKA, 44, K7-dan, Nagano, Company Worker, 11th App. Todofuken: 3rd place Corporate Championships: Winner, 2nd place x2


46. Mako OKUTANI, 19, 4-dan, Oita, Student, 1st App. Interhigh Team: Winner x2 High School Senbatsu: Winner National Sports Meet: 2nd place, 3rd place


47. Saki SUGIMOTO, 19, 3-dan, Kanagawa, Student, 1st App. Interhigh Team: 2nd place High School Senbatsu: Winner


48. Arisa NAKAHARA, 24, 4-dan, Osaka, Company Worker, 1st App. Student Team: Winner, 2nd place


49. Koko IWAMOTO, 18, 3-dan, Nagasaki, High School Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 2nd place National Sports Meet: 2nd place, 3rd place


50. Sayano AIHARA, 23, 4-dan, Nara, Company Worker, 4th App.


51. Yuka KATO, 37, 6-dan, Akita, Teacher, 12th App.


52. Nozomi HORIGOME, 28, 5-dan, Gunma, Teacher, 1st App.


53. Ayako SHITO, 28, 5-dan, Saitama, Company Worker, 5th App. Corporate Championships: Winner


54. Yuka DOI, 25, 4-dan, Ishikawa, Teacher, 4th App. Student Team: 3rd place x2 Interhigh Team: Winner


55. Nao TOYAMA, 21, 3-dan, Gifu, Student, 1st App. Todofuken: Winner


56. Hinako SAKURAI, 20, 4-dan, Tokyo, Student, 1st App. Interhigh Team: 3rd place


57. Kaede KOMMOTO, 21, 4-dan, Osaka, Student, 1st App.


58. Marin HIRAYAMA, 19, 3-dan, Aichi, Company Worker, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 3rd place


59. Momoka OTSU, 21, 3-dan, Fukuoka, Student, 1st App. Teacher Team: Winner x2 High School Senbatsu: Winner National Sports Meet: 3rd place


60. Ayae YOSHITAKE, 21, 3-dan, Chiba, Student, 1st App. High School Senbatsu: 2nd place


61. Fumiko NAKAJIMA, 35, R6-dan, Niigata, Teacher, 1st App.


62. Kana KOMATSU, 22, 4-dan, Aomori, Student, 5th App. Student Team: 2nd place x2 Student Individual: Winner


63. Akane WATANABE, 20, 4-dan, Ehime, Student, 1st App. Interhigh Individual: 2nd place National Sports Meet: 2nd place


64. Minami KAITSU, 21, 4-dan, Ibaraki, Student, 1st App.


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