All Japan Kendo Federationfs Perspective of Kendo
Dear Kendo Friends,
Recently, many of you may have seen postings on various Internet websites
suggesting the gorigin of Kendo is in Korea and not Japan.h The All Japan Kendo Federation (heretofore, AJKF) has not bothered to reply
to these assertions, because we think Kendo is a culture characteristic
of Japan which developed from the life and spirit of the Samurai ( or Bushi, synonym
of Samurai ) of Japan. However, since the above-mentioned assertions seem to be increasing, we
feel that it is necessary to make a formal statement of our opinion and
position so that it may be known to you all.
Kendo denotes the gnature (Riho)
of the Kenh which was self-taught and
acquired by the Japanese Samurai (warrior) through their experiences in many battles using their sword. Therefore, the learning of Kendo means
learning the nature of the Ken. To state further, it is important to study
the spirit of the Samurai which is
within the nature of the Ken. And a means of learning this spirit is
learning how to use the sword through harsh training. This is the reason why the objective of Kendo
is usually referred to gthe way of developing the person.h
Perspective of the Origin of Kendo
Battles with the use of swords began with the discovery of iron and the
development of the iron sword. The shape
of the iron swords and their handling methods have changed with the passage of
To begin with, cultures of all regions influence each other from the
movement and exchange of goods and people, and eventually develop over a period
of time. And, gradually it becomes a
culture that is known throughout the world beyond races and the borders of
From this point of view, it is quite difficult or even ridiculous to
assert that one particular culture developed from one particular era and
originated from one particular country.
In the same way, Kendo is no exception.
Various types of sword skills were founded and developed in all parts of
the world. However, the Kendo that we know now, as is explained in gThe History of Kendoh, has a long historical background of development in Japan
History of Kendo
In the middle of the 10th century (Heian Era ) of Japan, swords that had original features of Sori (a slightly arched blade) and Shinogi ( raised ridges of the blade), were made and became the main weapon used
in the battlefields. These swords symbolized the Samuraifs spirit. From this, the Japanese sword is said to
embody the gmindh of the Samurai, and
it has developed and flourished as a work of art that represents the strength
and beauty of the true gMind.h
During the 15th and 16th centuries (during the era
of warring states and the early Tokugawa
Era), many schools of Kenjutsu were
established, and in the 18th century (in the middle of the Tokugawa Era) Kendo-gu was developed. As a
result, a new Kenjutsu training
method using Shinai (bamboo swords)
was established, and a new type of Kenjutsu
competition gained popularity in the local Dojos
and spread across the country in the middle of the 19th century
(around the end of the Tokugawa
Era). Early in the 20th
century (after the Meiji Restoration
and in the beginning of the Taisho
Era), this type of training which was referred to as Gekiken or Kenjutsu was
renamed Kendo. And, Kendo was said to
represent Budo which was based on the
spirit of the Japanese Samurai. In this manner, Kendo that we know now is the
Kendo that developed through this long historical process.
Promotion of Kendo
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 gspirit of the Samuraih 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 Samuraifs sword. Keiko-gi
and Hakama are a Samuraifs formal attire.
They should not be considered simply sports-wear. Without understanding this gspirit,h 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.
All Japan Kendo Federation