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Japan's perspective on kyudo internationalization 弓道の国際化における日本の弓道について

This is the second post of my review of the official report from the 25th International Seminar of Budo Culture held in March. Over the next few days I'll highlight some key points listed by each Japanese budo group in regards to their perspective on their internationalization efforts and challenges.

This is not an exact or perfect summary, but it should be enlightening in regards to what budo leaders in Japan are thinking. Any mistakes are my own.

Tokyo Kyudo Federation Vice-Chairman & All-Japan Examiner: Kubota Fumiro

The first international kyudo moment was when Dr. Eugen Herrigel (1884-1955) returned to Germany from Japan after having studied kyudo and he wrote the book Zen in the Art of Archery, which led to kyudo starting in Germany. By 1972 the European Kyudo Federation was formed, followed by a North American Federation by 1993.

In May 2006 the International Kyudo Federation (IKYF) was founded, headquarted in the All Nippon Kyudo Federation. There are 18 countries with 3, 500 members.
The first international championship was in 2010 in Tokyo and the next will be in 2014 in Paris.

Reasons non-Japanese have commented on practicing kyudo;
-learn about Japanese culture
-beautiful form of budo
-improve concentration
-relax mind and body

In Oct 2012 a special seminar for foreign representatives was held at the Tokyo Chuo Dojo, followed by an Asia-Oceania seminar in Aichi prefecture in April 2013.

Because kyudo fires a projectile, this places a limit on training locations so the first challenge for kyudo's internationalization is overcoming the temporary training spaces overseas. Second challenge is getting equipment to overseas members and getting it repaired when needed. Third challenge is the language differences. Fifth challenge is instructors teaching correctly.

There was a participant comment on some kyudo practitioners focusing more on the sports competition and less on self-evaluation when doing Kyudo. Kubota replied there are many competitions and that while hitting the target is important, emphasis is also placed on proper technique.

Like all presenters at the seminar I'm sure, everyone is very sincere about promoting their Budo so while time is short and the participants are mainly quite experienced Budo-ka, these events really need to provide a chance at sharing valuable information others can find useful. For example, just giving one example how best to supply equipment to overseas branches or one example on how best-practices are determined, taught and assessed would be a good idea as these examples could be reviewed for adoption by other Budo groups.

For evaluating kyudo, 3 main points already exist;
Enhancing knowledge through seminars and tournaments.
Improving organizational efficiency through supporting overseas federations.
Increasing accountability through better instructors and more dan testing.

Now what really needs to happen is the sharing of what works well, and doesn't work well, so other budo groups can learn from it.

To attend the seminar next year, click here.