The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts 9781138571693, 9780203702574

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The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts
 9781138571693, 9780203702574

Table of contents :
List of figures
1 Introduction
PART I Warriors
2 Archery and sumō as first traces of martial arts
3 The emergence of composite martial ryū during the Two Courts and the Warring States periods
4 Excursus: the origins of martial ryū
PART II Retainers
5 The stabilisation of martial ryū during early Tokugawa
6 The transformation and diffusion of martial arts during mid and late Tokugawa
PART III Martial artists
7 The identification of martial arts with the Japanese we-identity during Meiji
8 Taishō democracy as a transition phase in the development of martial arts
9 The militarisation of the Japanese population through martial arts in early Shōwa
10 Excursus: the birth of modern martial artists
11 Reformulation, expansion, and hybridisation of Japanese martial arts
12 Epilogue

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The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts

This is the first long-term analysis of the development of Japanese martial arts, connecting ancient martial traditions with the martial arts practiced today. The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts captures the complexity of the emergence and development of martial traditions within the broader Japanese civilising process. The book traces the structured process in which warriors’ practices became systematised and expanded to the Japanese population and the world. Using the theoretical framework of Norbert Elias’s process-sociology and drawing on rich empirical data, the book also compares the development of combat practices in Japan, England, France, and Germany, making a new contribution to our understanding of the socio-cultural dynamics of state formation. Throughout this analysis light is shed on a gender blind spot, taking into account the neglected role of women in martial arts. The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts is an important reading for students of socio-cultural perspectives in sport, sociology of physical activity, historical development of sport in society, Asian studies, sociology and philosophy of sport, and sports history and culture. It is also a fascinating resource for scholars, researchers, and practitioners interested in the historical and socio-cultural aspects of combat sport and martial arts. Raúl Sánchez García is Lecturer in sociology of sport at the School of Sports Science, Universidad Europea Madrid, Spain and President of the Sociology of Sport working group within the Spanish Federation of Sociology (FES). He has practiced diverse combat sports and martial arts and holds a sho¯dan in Aikikai aikido¯.

Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society

Surfing, Sex, Genders and Sexualities Edited by lisahunter The Aesthetics, Poetics and Rhetoric of Soccer Edited by Ridvan Askin, Catherine Diederich and Aline Bieri Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts Lu Zhouxiang Corruption, Mafia Power and Italian Soccer Alberto Testa and Anna Sergi Researching Difference in Sport and Physical Activity Edited by Richard Medcalf and Chris Mackintosh Surfing and Sustainability Gregory Borne Women, Sport and Exercise in the Asia-Pacific Region Domination, Resistance, Accommodation Gyozo Molnar, Sara N. Amin and Yoko Kanemasu Gender Diversity in European Sport Governance Edited by Agnes Elling, Jorid Hovden and Annelies Knoppers Figurational Research in Sport, Leisure and Health Edited by Dominic Malcolm and Philippa Velija The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts Raúl Sánchez García For more information about this series, please visit: series/RRSCS

The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts

Raúl Sánchez García

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 Raúl Sánchez García The right of Raúl Sánchez García to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice : Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-57169-3 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-203-70257-4 (ebk) Typeset in Goudy by Apex CoVantage, LLC

To Fátima and Iria, my dearest Onna Musha.


List of figures Acknowledgements 1 Introduction

ix x 1




2 Archery and sumō as first traces of martial arts


3 The emergence of composite martial ryū during the Two Courts and the Warring States periods


4 Excursus: the origins of martial ryū





5 The stabilisation of martial ryū during early Tokugawa


6 The transformation and diffusion of martial arts during mid and late Tokugawa



Martial artists 7 The identification of martial arts with the Japanese we-identity during Meiji





8 Taishō democracy as a transition phase in the development of martial arts


9 The militarisation of the Japanese population through martial arts in early Shōwa


10 Excursus: the birth of modern martial artists


11 Reformulation, expansion, and hybridisation of Japanese martial arts


12 Epilogue





4.1 Martial ryū origins and transmission during the two cycles of violence and their aftermaths 5.1 Sociogenesis, psychogenesis, and technogenesis during early Tokugawa 9.1 Sociogenesis, psychogenesis, and technogenesis during early Shōwa 10.1 Martial arts figuration since Meiji until the Second World War 12.1 Japanese civilising process with key moments in the development of martial arts

58 76 162 182 220


This book is the culmination of a series of investigations I have conducted about the Japanese martial arts since the writing of my Ph.D. thesis. My aims were twofold: to bring together the plentiful scattered research about the topic of Japanese martial arts to provide a clarifying and synthetic view on the matter; to test Eliasian ideas about the civilising process and sportisation in a non-Western set of (physical) culture that had spread all over the world. The book could not have been possible without the help and support of many people. My early sociological inspiration started with the teachings of Javier Durán at INEF de Madrid, and my formation owed much to the department of sociological theory at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, especially to Fernando García Selgas. My Eliasian interest grew under the well-nurtured environment of the Centre for Research in Sport and Society of the Leicester University. The teachings of Eric Dunning, Patrick Murphy, Ivan Waddington, Dominic Malcolm, Ken Sheard, Martin Roderick, and Stuart Smith had an undeletable imprint in my academic career. Since then, Dominic Malcolm has been especially supportive in my different projects and helped me in the preparation of the book proposal. Cas Wouters’s analysis has become a central piece of my understanding of Elias’s work, and his influence permeates the whole book. My specific interest in combat sports and martial arts came from Ken Sheard’s inspiring work. People like Carlos Gutiérrez García, Abel Figueiredo, Wojciech Cynarski, Bruno Avelar, Thomas Green, Shishida Fumiaki, and David Brown have been instrumental for martial arts to become a worthy topic of academic research and for my own growth within the field. Jan Haut, Dieter Reicher, and Paddy Dolan provided insightful discussions while working together in the Elias archive and helped me to advance in the application of Eliasian theory to martial arts and combat sports. I would like to express my thanks for the support from my whole family, friends, and many of my colleagues at the School of Sports Sciences of the Universidad Europea in Madrid; Juan Antonio Simón, Rubén Moreno, José María López, Carlos García, and Antonio Rivero (INEF) have been very reassuring all along the process, and José Luis Felipe made possible my short stay in Japan to present preliminary findings at Waseda University. Professor Ohira Akira offered me the



chance to discuss in public my research at Waseda. While in Japan, Nakajima Tetsuya kindly acted as my local cicerone; the visits to Kashima and Katori Jingu were one of the most meaningful moments of the trip. Professor Nakajima has been also instrumental for the book in the translations and interpretations of Japanese terms from the martial arts, a field in which he is an acknowledged expert. John Clements, Jean-François Loudcher, Phillippa Velija, Dieter Reicher, Murakami Taku, and Yan Huang helped also with terminology. Ellis Amdur and Vicente Borondo were key figures for the clarification of some of the matters related to classical and modern Japanese martial arts.

Chapter 1


Nowadays, the group of activities collectively known as martial arts has become a relevant and distinguishable family of physical culture all around the world. As an example from the specific group of Japanese martial arts, the Nippon Budokan considers an amount of more than 50 million practitioners outside Japan (Matsunaga 2009: 6), and 3 million inside Japan (Usui 2009: 7). However, martial arts have become relevant not only in terms of number of participants and governing bodies but also in terms of constituting a relevant research topic within academia. Recent collective volumes on the matter (Farrer and Whalen-Bridge 2011; Sánchez García and Spencer 2013) and international conferences (e.g. those organised by the International Martial Arts and Combat Sports Scientific Society) have been channelled towards the establishment of a new discipline or a field of academic research called martial arts studies (Bowman 2015, 2017).

The social behind the terms For some of the scholars trying to establish a solid base for the discipline of martial arts studies, the most pressing question have been first and foremost to get a precise definition of martial arts.1 However, trying to produce a strict universal definition for a set of variegated activities that took form as part of different collective socio-historical processes risks the chance of oversimplification. For the moment – assuming the risk of oversimplification – it suffices to say that the activities internationally considered nowadays as martial arts represent the last phase of a long-term process of development from Asian techniques/methods of war towards ways of self-perfection, self-defence, and/or sport open to any social group due to class, gender, age, ethnicity, or nationality. This recognisable set of physical practices spread during the second half of the twentieth century, within what Maguire (1999) distinguished as the ‘global sportisation phase’. This phase can be identified on a broader sense with what Nederveen Pieterse (2009) considered as the stage of ‘Contemporary globalisation’, starting in 1950, in which Japan, the USA, and Europe emerged as the central nodes of cultural hybridisation. In the spread of martial arts’ popular imagery (especially Western), not only was the Japan–West axis crucial; the Hong Kong/Hollywood axis also had



a great impact through the movies produced during the 1970s. In these movies, the ‘Bruce Lee phenomenon’ became key for the spread of this set of recognisable Asian disciplines.2 In fact, Bruce Lee must be credited with the popularisation of the term ‘martial arts’ (Clements 2017) that was alien to the terms used in Asian countries for naming martial traditions. The book does not claim that martial arts ‘started in Japan’ as if martial arts were an exclusive Japanese set of practices that progressively spread all over the world.3 Other Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Thailand had indigenous martial traditions that could be analogous to those of the Japanese since ancient times (Draeger and Smith 1980). What the book states is that the Japanese pattern was the most relevant in shaping, systematising, and influencing the understanding of martial arts on a global scale. The key issue is that Japan was the instrumental actor for giving martial arts a recognisable form, evolving from a local to a global asset of physical culture. Still nowadays, the most iconic image attached to the notion of martial arts is the black belt, first appearing in jūdō during the early twentieth century. Japanese martial arts produced the blueprint for the organisation and systematisation of martial arts in the global governing bodies and international competitions. For instance, jūdō was the first martial arts discipline to be widely acknowledged on an international basis, being accepted as an official Olympic event in Tokyo in 1964. By contrast, Korean taekwondo only became a full medal sport in 2000 (being a demonstration sport in the Olympic Games of Seoul 1988), and Chinese wushu has not been included yet in the Olympic programme. Besides, whereas Japanese disciplines such as jūdō and karate (and probably also kendō and aikidō) are distinguishable to a reasonable degree, the situation is not the same in other Asian disciplines. E.g., apart from some well discernible activities such as tai-chi, Chinese martial arts are still known in the West with the generic term kung fu or, more recently, wushu (see Judkins 2014 for the historical controversy on the uses of both terms).4 Martial arts and the sports movement Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Korea do not use the term ‘martial arts’ in their native languages. In Japan, three cognate terms are commonly used to convey the meaning of what we understand today as ‘martial arts’ (Green 2010: xv): martial arts/methods or bugei (武芸); martial techniques or bujutsu (武術); and martial ways or budō (武道). Nonetheless, the most internationally spread term to designate these Asian disciplines is not an Asian term itself but the Western term ‘martial arts’.5 Moreover, in most countries of the world, the term ‘sport’ can be understood independently from martial arts, but martial arts cannot be separate wholly from the notion of sport. These circumstances tells us something about not just the relation between two activities, but the whole geopolitical process surrounding the expansion, integration, reinterpretation, and accommodation of (physical) culture around the world. Broadly speaking, sports as the original expression of the Western countries spread towards other parts of



the world more strongly and to a further degree than other expressions of physical culture. This is not to say that sport was uncritically accepted and unchanged in every region of the world. The variation of American baseball by the Japanese, stressing the qualities of budō, even calling this activity yakyūdō (the way of baseball) is a good example of the diverse cultural blends produced in such transnational journeys of (physical) cultures. Besides, a comparison of the equivalent terms in widely used dictionaries from Western countries and Japan reveals significant differences. Whereas a common denominator from all the definitions of ‘martial arts’ found in English, French, North American, German, and Spanish widely used dictionaries is the inclusion of ‘sport’,6 the Japanese definitions of bujutsu, bugei, and budō do not include any direct reference to sport.7 The definitions of budō, bugei, and bujutsu highlight those features considered essential to the Japanese we-identity, contrasting with modern hybrids encompassing foreign notions such as sport. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that Japanese martial arts were affected by the sports influence, especially after the Second World War. During the 1950s, the Ministry of Education replaced the term ‘budō’ with the term ‘combative sport’ (Kakugi 格技) in order to gain some distance from the militaristic connotations attached to budō and a way to get closer to more democratic formats such as Western sports (Bennett 2015: 180). In 1989, the Ministry of Education resumed officially the use of the term budō to refer to martial disciplines instead of kakugi. Nowadays, the Japanese term ‘kakutogi’ (格闘技)8 would be the rough equivalent of ‘combat sport’ and is often used to refer to disciplines such as boxing, wrestling, K-1, or MMA (mixed martial arts). Nonetheless, ‘budō’ and ‘kakutogi’ were (and still are) commonly used to refer to the same activity as, for instance, in the case of jūdō, a discipline commonly associated with budō if we take into account its educational side but that has undergone a strong process of ‘sportisation’. On the contrary, despite its long tradition as a professional competition, sumō is not considered kakutogi and is defined as ‘national sport’. The ‘reinvention’ of sumō as an essential part of the Japanese we-image since Meiji used the notion of foreign Western sport as a perfect contrast of what the Japanese were not. To sum up, even though the Western sports influence varied depending on the disciplines under analysis (see Chapter 11), the most widespread Japanese martial arts – jūdō and karate – were severely affected, becoming part of the global sports figuration in either the amateur and/or the professional version. Before ending this section, a word of caution is required on the anachronistic use of the term ‘sport’ when talking about Japanese martial arts. Despite the fact that some of the Japanese martial arts that expanded globally hybridised with sport formats, it would be an anachronism to talk about sports in pre-modern Japan. For instance, it is anachronistic to talk about archery or sumō as a kind of ‘sport’ during ancient and medieval times as Hurst (1998) or Cuyler (1979) sometimes do just because those activities implied some kind of entertainment for the players and spectators. The characterisation of these activities is improved but not completely solved either by differentiating between ‘traditional’ (indigenous



Japanese contest-like activities) and ‘modern’ sports (those developed after contact with the Western sports movement) proposed by Guttmann and Thompson (2001). The shift from ceremonial contests to ‘sports-like’ disciplines as a recognisable, distinctive activity took a long time and was embedded in broader social patterns. Thus, it is not helpful to speak about ‘sport’ in ancient Japan but more accurate to speak about ‘ceremonial contests’ (not necessarily with a religious function but mainly political) that later placed more emphasis on the competitive side once the activity spread during Tokugawa. Moreover, despite the existence of common features between sumō during the mid/late Tokugawa and Meiji periods and some of the nineteenth-century sports in England (see Chapter 12), we should talk about ‘sports-like activities’ in the Japanese case. Historically, ‘sport’ is bound to a British, Western development and was harshly contested since the forced opening of Japan in Meiji by important organisations of martial arts such as the Dai Nippon Butokukai, especially virulent in this respect previous to the Second World War. Due to the leading hand of Kanō Jigorō, the Western sports movement fused with martial arts traditions during the Meiji period, but this relationship only became enduring and spread after the Second World War. This is not deny that Kanō built the sports connection upon certain ploughed ground. Competitive sumō of mid/late Tokugawa and gekikken (swordsmanship competitions) and jūjutsu of the early Meiji period had already laid a solid competitive professional sports-like basis. We should not lose sight also that Kanō’s jūdō had a big impact after winning contests against other jūjutsu styles of the era. Thus, the ‘sports-like’ orientation attached to martial arts was not something that appeared in Meiji with Kanō, but the blend of Japanese martial arts and the Western sports movement had a key element in Kanō’s jūdō. The counter-current of sports rejection and the explicitness of bushidō as a clear mark of Japanese martial traditions contrasting to Western sport could also be traced to the Meiji period, especially (not exclusively) in the hands of the Dai Nippon Butokukai.9

An overview of Elias’s process-sociology This book proposes an analysis based on Norbert Elias’s figurational sociology, also called process-sociology, centred on long-term developments. Broadly known as a branch of historical sociology, Eliasian process-sociology shares with history its interest in past eras. However, it is not for the sake of merely identifying a succession of unique and unrepeated sequences of events. In a profound discussion on the relationship between history and sociology, Elias (1983) made clear that the main focus of process-sociology was to search for structured patterns in processes of social development and not the biographical accounts of individual figures. For instance, Elias needed to study the biographical account of Louis XIV to empirically test and construct ‘elaborate sociological models of connections’ that included the social position of the king in the figuration of the ‘court society’. In this sense, unique and unrepeated sequence of events (the details of Louis XIV’s biography) were embedded within patterned, repeatable sequences of events (the



royal position) on another level. Precisely, Elias aimed to bring forth some identifiable dynamic patterns that would help us to advance towards more ‘reality congruent knowledge’ on a higher level of synthesis. In order to do so, Elias made use of several data coming from a variegated kind of sources and levels of analyses: from what is normally considered ‘macro level’ such as laws, economic relations, or power balances between nations to the ‘micro’ data of everyday behaviour provided by chronicles, biographies, literature, or manners books. Elias’s theoretical concepts were developed and tested within this rich soil of empirical data and became further iteratively refined in posterior studies. These empirically based studies about dynamic processes helped Elias to avoid the pitfalls of classical evolutionary models based on a succession of phases, criticised for being teleological or Eurocentric or containing a lack of testability (Goudsblom 1996: 21). The following subsections briefly introduce some of the key Eliasian concepts that are going to appear throughout the book. A further discussion of each one will be conducted at the precise moments they are applied to the Japanese case. This strategy permits us to empirically tests the concepts, refining them and even providing new concepts if needed (e.g. see the concept of ‘shōgunal mechanism’ in Chapter 5). Chains of interdependence, functions, and power balances For Elias, sociology is the study of the long-term development (processes) of people forming chains of interdependence together (figurations). The notion of interdependence implies at the same time the notion of function and power relations. People depend on each other; they are bonded together by a functional relationship. For instance, I depend on the persons who plant and grow vegetables for me to be able to eat, but at the same time, they depend on me for gaining their wages; I also depend on the legal function of judges to carry on with my life under certain basic rights or depend on my friends, family, or partner for the emotional functions they provide for my life as a human being. Thus, Elias is talking about a functional interdependency, be it about economic, legal, emotional, security, or other aspects. As the functional interdependence implies asymmetrical relationships between people, these interdependencies always include power relations.10 Elias talked about power balances – a further elaboration of concepts such as power ratio or gradient – between people to avoid a reified, static notion of power as a thing that somebody owns and the others do not. Power relations are enmeshed in the functional interdependence among people. As these interdependences change over time, power relations change as well. Elias and Scotson (2008) developed the theory of ‘established-outsiders’ as a way to understand asymmetrical, shifting power relations between social groups, be it class, ‘race’/ ethnicity, or gender . . . When power balances were very unequal, Elias (1987) spoke about ‘monopolies’ over certain social needs or requirements. He differentiated among monopolies of means of production, of capital accumulation, of taxation, of means of orientation, of physical violence, and so on, over which certain



groups in society gained control and thus gained stronger leverage to influence the organisation of this society. However, the result of the complex web of people bonded to other people in functional interdependencies with different power balances remains a ‘blind social process’ to a high degree. The theory of the ‘civilising process’ A long-term, blind but structured civilising process was identified by Elias (2000) in the development of European societies from the Middle Ages to Modernity. The European case presented no unique pattern but different patterns of development. In fact, along his vast research, Elias refined the specificities of different European variants, making fruitful comparison between the different patterns of the English, French, and German cases. Moreover, as we can observe in the following quote, Elias was interested in the Japanese civilising pattern, although he did not analysed it specifically:11 A number of examples for which I am indebted to Ralph Bonwit have shown how remarkably similar the forces of social interweaving that led to feudal relations and institutions in Japan are to the structures and forces which have been established here in relation to Western Feudalism. A comparative structural analysis of this kind would prove a more useful way of explaining the particularities by which the feudal institutions of Japan and the historical changes they underwent differ from those of the West. (Elias 2000: 578) Overall, the civilising pattern followed by the European societies featured (1) a specific process of ‘state formation’ for which the acquisition of the twin monopoly of taxation and violence was of utmost importance; the state formation process involved the development of more complex figurations; so to say, longer and denser chains of interdependence between individuals on a sociogenetic level; (2) the development of a more rounded, encompassing, and even self-controlled ‘habitus’ – referred to as the economy of affects, the personality structure – at a psychogenetic level. Nonetheless, Elias added a third interrelated layer to the sociogenesis and psychogenesis: the ‘technogenesis’ (Elias 1983, 1995, 2000, 2001). The three dynamic processes constituted the ‘triad of controls’ (Elias 1970: 156): the control of people over each other (sociogenesis), the control of each person over him- or herself (psychogenesis), and the control of humans over non-human events (technogenesis). In the civilising process, a greater control over nonhuman events also took place through more reality-congruent knowledge that afforded useful application of technology. In fact, Elias’s (2007) theory of knowledge is clearly related to this basic ‘triad of controls’. In a typical ‘double-bind process’ between emotional involvement and knowledge, the more congruent knowledge of reality (being it non-human nature, our relationship with others or



with ourselves) we have, the more control we have over this reality. The feedback cycle also works the other way around: more fantasy-laden knowledge implies less control, which fosters more fear and fantasy solutions, and so on. According to Elias’s civilising process theory, the development of longer chains of interdependence was related to the process of growing social differentiation or specialisation of activities and integration of these activities at a sociogenetic level. Such phenomenon brought forward what Elias dubbed a ‘functional democratisation’ (Elias 1970: 68–69): a thrust towards a more even power balance between social groups of different kinds. The lengthening of the chains of interdependence also produced a shift of the ‘survival units’ to which individuals’ we-identities were attuned. The shift within the civilising process followed a general integration pattern, from smaller units (family, tribe, clan) towards bigger ones (nation-states and unions of states),12 although de-integration into smaller units could also happen during decivilising patterns (Mennell 2001). Nevertheless, even in the case of greater integration, Elias also acknowledged unavoidable problems (2001: 213), generating part-processes of disintegration. It is quite common during the levelling of power balances that some people suffer a certain loss of power potential and a possible reduction in the scope of their functions or even a complete loss of them (Elias 1970: 67, 1997: 373) as a social group. Moreover, it is quite common that the integration at the sociogenetic level runs faster than the psychogenetic adjustments people have to go through to emotionally tune in to the new survival unit of reference (Elias 2001: 227). Those suffering a certain reduction in their functions or undergoing integration in bigger survival units may have resisted the new situation, their personality structure (habitus) having clung to their old we-image and we-identity provided by their social group or social unit of reference. This identity reaction was identified by Elias with the concept of ‘drag effect’ (2001: 211). Civilising–decivilising and informalising–formalising balances Elias was acutely aware of opposing forces acting at the same time upon complex social processes. For Elias, any social process unfolds within a shifting balance between civilising and decivilising trends. Elias’s magnum opus, The Civilising Process (Elias 2000), identified a prevailing long-term civilising trend occurring in Europe from the Middle Ages to Modernity. Nonetheless, a less-known part of Elias’s oeuvre, The Germans (Elias 1996), dealt with the prevailing decivilising trend that gave way to the rise of the Nazi regime. Apart from this tension balance between civilising and decivilising patterns, another balance between formalising and informalising trends must be also taken into account in any figuration at any moment. Cas Wouters (1986, 2004, 2007, 2011) had already identified this formalising-informalising balance in what he dubbed as ‘informalisation’. Wouters’s theory of informalisation came from his direct observation of a more flexible application of rules and manners during the 1960s and 1970s, which entailed a wider variety of behaviours expressed in more



moderate, flexible, and controlled forms. According to Wouters, this pattern represented a complex form of civilising process. Wouters observed that what Elias had identified as the ‘whole’ civilising process was just the formalising tendency of the civilising process which was predominant between the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. At the turn of the twentieth century, the pattern changed to an informalising tendency of the civilising process, gaining predominance from then on. Such a tendency was not unilinear, as informalisation proceeded in a spiralling fashion with phases of informalisation and reformalisation. During reformalisation phases, many earlier informalised social codes were integrated into the prevailing code and became formalised. The main waves or spurts of informalisation within the European civilising process occurred at the turn of the nineteenth century, the roaring twenties, and the permissive society of the 1960s and 1970s. If the formalising–informalising balance that Wouters identified within the civilising patterns is also applied to the decivilising patterns, a classification of four possible compound trends emerges (Sánchez García 2018):13 (1) civilising-formalising, the main line of development that Elias (2000) identified in the European civilising process from late medieval times to modernity; (2) decivilising-formalising, a decivilising trend that Elias (1996) identified with the rise of the Nazis and which De Swaan (2001, 2017) dubbed ‘dyscivilisation’; (3) civilising-informalising, a pattern that Wouters (2007) called informalisation; (4) and decivilising-informalising, a classical decivilising trend that Elias (2000) identified with the fall of the Roman Empire and the feudalisation pattern in Europe.14 Process-sociology and the sportisation process Applying the previous relational axis of civilising-decivilising and formalisinginformalising trends to the development of modern sport we could differentiate an initial sportisation pattern, characterised by a predominant civilising-formalising trend, and a later sportisation pattern, characterised by a predominant civilisinginformalising trend. The initial sportisation waves According to Elias (2008a, 2008b) modern sports developed within the specific British – English, to a great extent – civilising process. Sports became distinguishable from their folk antecedents in two consecutive ‘civilising spurts’ in what could be generally named a process of ‘sportisation’.15 The first wave of sportisation occurred during the eighteenth century and was characterised by a period of peace in which simultaneous and parallel processes of parlamentarisation (resolution of political conflicts through verbal confrontations instead of armed conflicts) and sportisation (detachment from direct use of violence in leisure activities) led by the landed classes – aristocracy and gentry – took place. This first wave affected the so-called country sports such as horse racing, fox hunting,



cricket, and boxing. The second wave of sportisation occurred during the nineteenth century, in which the bourgeoisie (industrial middle classes) joined the landed classes in taking the lead through the public school sports phenomenon, developing ball games (e.g. football and rugby), hockey, tennis, or athletics. Both sportisation waves implied the use of more precise and explicit rules that were written down and more formally and strictly enforced by the incipient governing bodies surrounding the activities. Because rules invariably restricted the means by which individuals could achieve sporting success, sportisation necessarily entailed the development of stricter self-control and self-discipline within the personality structure (habitus) of the participants. Some psychogenetic features of this development included a greater sensitivity towards violent actions and verbal abuse in the sports game. It basically represented the development of a more civilised ‘sportsman habitus’, connected to the ethos of fair play (made explicit during the nineteenth-century wave) and the detachment from getting too emotionally involved in victory or loss as a sign of good upbringing. In summary, due to the sportisation process in which pastimes became codified, standardised and increasingly regulated, a decrease of the level of violence and a greater demand for participants’ self-control unfolded over time. The relatively simple figuration at the time encompassed high-class people, playing by and for themselves; the role of audiences/spectators was not really influencing in determining the format of the games. These high-class players iteratively honed a ‘socio-technical’ invention called sport that afforded them an enjoyable tension excitement within the safety limits of a rule-bound activity. Thus, these activities featured an adequate ‘tension balance’ (Elias and Dunning 2008b) between danger and safety, between emotional decontrolling and emotional restraint. However, as the sports phenomenon expanded towards other social groups, the influence of spectators within the sports figuration increased, affecting the formats and rules of sports in order to gain an adequate tension balance also for them, not only for the players. This occurred in the following informalisation turn. The informalisation turn The spread of modern sport in England during the second half of the nineteenth century, from the reserved setting of the public schools to permeate the whole society, was led by a ‘competition and interweaving mechanism’ (Wouters 2016: 13) among individuals and social groups. Teams representing clubs, neighbourhoods, and cities were progressively immersed in competitive leagues that further help to standardise a certain set of rules and governing bodies for the organisation of the matches and seasons. Sport became more ‘seriously’ played by players who were expected to produce ‘sports-performance’ not only for themselves but for those they represented. Thus, the chains of interdependence in the sports figuration became longer and more encompassing. It is precisely around the first wave of informalisation of the last quarter of the nineteenth century (Wouters 2007) when the professionalisation of the game represented a serious threat to



the amateur organisation of the game. That is why, during the 1880s and 1890s, there was an explicitness of the ‘amateur ethos’ (Dunning and Sheard 2005: 126) as a reaction from the established public school elite (the amateur players) to the intrusion of working-class players (the professional players) and organisations that became dominant in some modalities of the game; for example the integration conflicts that surged in the game of rugby ended up in the split of the game in 1895 into two variants commanded by two different organisations: Rugby Union (professionals) and Rugby League (amateurs). As different sports became played internationally during what Maguire (1999) defines as ‘the third global sportisation phase’ (1870 to early 1920s), chains of interdependence grew even longer, led by a competition and intertwining mechanism. The ‘achievement striving’ (Dunning 2008) values became more ingrained, displacing progressively the amateur values as the balance among the different individuals and social groups was becoming more even. This by no means implied a sudden change. In 1896, the rebirth of the modern Olympic Games by the Baron de Coubertin was led by a group of aristocratic, high-class amateurs that controlled the organisation and the values well into the twentieth century. The Olympic movement was able to maintain a higher control than other organisations such as the governing bodies surrounding football, the latter embracing from the very beginning a much more professionalised model. Nonetheless, as the twentieth century unfolded, the ‘achievement striving’ orientation became the main set of values in both the Olympic and the professional organisations, the difference just a matter of nuances. As Maguire remarks, during the ‘fourth global sportisation phase (1920s–1960s), it was the American version of the achievement sport ethos that had gained ascendancy’ (1999: 84–86), displacing the amateur ethos of the English gentlemen as the sports movement flowed towards different parts of the globe. Along this pattern of development, modern sports featured not only more controlled forms of violence but also contained strong social pressure to use rational/ instrumental violence in order to comply with the ‘achievement striving’ (Dunning 2008) orientation of professionalism. The increase of instrumental violence in modern sport should not be interpreted simply as a decivilising trend in sport – a de-sportising trend – but as an informalising trend. Precisely, the use of instrumental physical violence contained in ‘dirty play’ or ‘tactical fouls’ to destroy the opponent’s game or instrumental (symbolic) violence in match fixing, cheating, and doping cases do not imply an immediate gratification of an impulsive outburst of anger but the long-term calculation of effects and gain/risk ratio. Process-sociology and research on Japanese martial arts Some studies have been conducted in the specific topic of martial arts from the process-sociological approach (Kiku 2004; Sánchez García 2016, 2018; Sánchez García and Malcolm 2010; Van Bottenburg and Heilbron 2006, 2011; Yokoyama 2009). Nonetheless, the most extensive treatment of the long-term Japanese



civilising pattern in relation to martial traditions comes from the work of a nonEliasian sociologist: Ikegami Eiko (1995, 2005). Her work resonates clearly with Eliasian approaches even though she claims Charles Tilly to be her main academic influence. In her book The Taming of the Samurai. Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan (Ikegami 1995), she traced the changes occurring in the samurai culture during the transition from rampant warfare towards the pacified Tokugawa shōgunate (1600–1868). Ikegami’s argument resonated generally to what Elias described as the ‘courtisation of the warriors’ in the European case, even though Ikegami pointed out the specificities of the Japanese case. Based fully on Ikegami’s argument, Kiku (2004) tried to apply the theory of the civilising process to Japanese martial arts but in a timid, exploratory way. Another fruitful application of Elias’s approach to the development of Japanese martial arts came from Bennett (2015). Even though he was not using the civilising theory in a systematic way, Bennet successfully applied it to explain specific moments during the long-term development of Japanese swordsmanship; he even introduced the topic of decivilising patterns in the militarisation of the country before the Second World War. The present book continues to explore the question in a comprehensive and systematic way from a figurational/process-sociology approach. Instead of creating some kind of ‘theoretical monster’, adding pieces of different authors to fit the frame of the analysis, the book uses Eliasian conceptual tools to show the full potential and explanatory power of process-sociology. This move is methodologically sound: it allows controlling better the preconceptions involved in the theory. It allows also avoiding a typical temptation consisting of feeding common-sense ideas into ad hoc concepts from different theoretical traditions whenever they fit in the arguments. A potential threat to the book’s research is the fact that the author cannot read Japanese. Thus, the use of primary sources is restricted to the original texts that have been translated into English (mainly) or the pieces of original work that experts in the field have translated in their own researches. In this sense, this book depends on the work of highly respected scholars (mainly historians). Thus, limitation comes first from the choices of primary sources these scholars made to back up their arguments. This methodological issue could not be completely solved by high expertise in the Japanese language. Due to the very long time span the book tries to cover, no specialist (Japanese or anyone able to read Japanese) would be able to rely just on primary sources himself/herself. They would need to rely on other people’s analysis of the historical phases in which their expertise falls short. A long-term approach: following the terms’ path A common – although misleading – research strategy to analyse martial arts would be to try to discern the very exact definition of the current term and then look for the antecedents of the activities that fit such a definition. This search for



some kind of ‘original essence waiting to unfold through history’ denotes a mistaken teleological view. A more sound research strategy would be to look for the emergence of distinctive terms for combat activities within the social processes in which they were embedded. According to Friday (1997: 6–7), around the eighth century, terms such as ‘bugei’ and ‘hyōhō’ were used mainly to refer to martial traditions of military aristocrats.16 During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the notion of martial traditions attached to professional warriors was expressed in the terms ‘budō’ and ‘bujutsu’, used interchangeably with ‘bugei’ until Meiji restoration. Despite early attempts on the systematisation of martial traditions in Kamakura archery, it was during the Muromachi period when first examples of distinguishable martial traditions were expressed in the notion of ryū (current, flow)17 and possible ramifications of the ryū in different ha (branches). During the Tokugawa period, martial ryū became stabilised and budō became progressively attached in a more specific fashion to the code of conduct or morals of the samurai (even though bugei and bujutsu at that time often also transmitted this meaning). Budō resulted clearly distinguishable from bujutsu or bugei in the Meiji period, with the creation of modern budō (gendai budō). The relationship between budō and morals grew stronger during Meiji and became definitive during Taishō and Shōwa – containing hard militaristic undertones previous to the Second World War. Currently, budō denotes ‘the process by which the study of bujutsu becomes a means to self-development and self-realisation’ (Friday 1997: 7). ‘Bujutsu’ focuses on the fighting capacity of the martial disciplines, and ‘bugei’ is a more comprehensive term, including both budō and bujutsu. Terminological controversies Donn Draeger’s (2007a, 2007b) model explained the evolution from classical bujutsu of pre-Tokugawa times to classical budō of Tokugawa times, through a clear-cut demarcation between fighting practices and mere ways of self-perfection. Notwithstanding the huge importance of Draeger analyses for the understanding of Japanese martial traditions,18 more recent research has shown that Draeger’s evolutionary model from bujutsu to budō was flawed terminologically. Despite rare exceptions – such as the change in terminology from ‘Jikishin ryū jūjutsu’ to ‘Jikishin ryū jūdō’ in 1724 – the differentiation between ‘dō’ and ‘jutsu’ never took place during Tokugawa. Such differentiation only occurred during the Meiji restoration (Hurst 1993: 42) or even later; the complete change in terminology came only during the Taishō period, thanks to a great extent to the work of the Dai Nippon Butokukai. Terminological controversies cannot be discerned in a vacuum, as changes in terminology are always embedded within broader social processes. That is why some authors such as Friday (2005) also criticised Draeger’s whole interpretation of the transformation of martial arts. Whereas Draeger considered that koryū bujutsu aimed at the development of effective skills for battlefield combat, Friday (2005) considered it more appropriate to understand koryū bujutsu as activities



not primarily intended for training in combat but for self-perfection and cultivation. Friday’s approach denied that a radical clear-cut demarcation in the martial culture of the warriors occurred during Tokugawa from martial techniques (bujutsu) to martial ways (budō) as defended by Draeger (2007b) or from heihō (combat systems) to bugei (martial arts) as defended by Hurst (1993: 42). This change was more progressive and had started before, during the Warring States period. The development of martial arts within broader social processes Nowadays, features such as martial efficacy, etiquette, aesthetics, self-perfection, and sport are all present in current ‘martial arts’. Nonetheless, the latter are the result of a progressive sedimentation of practices and values of different social actors at different stages in a long-term fashion. The exclusive identification of martial arts with the warrior group emerged only during the unification of the country and became definitively set during the Tokugawa period. Until then, the warrior group did not hold a monopolistic use of warfare and fighting techniques, something that was shared with other social groups such as religious institutions and peasants. Along this long-term process, martial arts have evolved far from the initial martial techniques focused exclusively on combat efficacy in the battlefield. The initial content of martial arts was about fighting-related techniques, but, progressively, the main concern shifted from combat effectiveness in war towards questions of etiquette, self-perfection, or even entertainment. In this fashion, the term ‘martial arts’ is tightly bound to the civilising process theory: a progressive degree of detachment from mere violence and combat – even though some predominant decivilising phases occurred as well – gave birth to what we consider today ‘martial arts’.19 Obviously, this transformation occurred over a long period of time: for example the differentiation between mere military training and ‘something else’ included in the notion of martial arts during Kamakura was hard to tell; ‘military archery’ and ‘ceremonial archery’ were the same except for the time and occasion of the use (e.g. battlefield or court ceremony, respectively). During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, fighting proficiency, etiquette, aesthetics and self-perfection were well-balanced elements of warriors’ martial traditions and were all embedded in a religious facet. It is anachronistic to talk about art, religion, martial arts in ancient times as we do today; as clearly discernible separate social spheres. The degree of social development during pre-modern Japan did not make possible clear-cut distinctions between the religious/spiritual sphere from politics, war, and art and everyday life. Japanese people of these times lived their lives permeated by religious beliefs. That is why notions of etiquette in martial arts during the Kamakura period were always connected to ceremonial and religious rituals. In Muromachi, martial arts started to be conceived as paths of self-perfection, containing esoteric religious undertones, strongly connected with the notion of performing arts. The same goes for the relation of martial arts



and warfare. At times when warfare was part of daily life – at least up to the pax Tokugawa of the seventeenth century – martial arts were inextricably bound to the shifting dynamics of warfare. In this sense, a clear-cut demarcation of warriors as a separate group of war specialists did not exist either until the end of the sixteenth century, when the category of warrior became more strictly delimited. Besides, even though men played the main role in warfare and in the development of martial traditions, women participated and had some influence in the development of martial arts too. Warfare as well as the development of martial traditions was just part of a broader social pattern of state formation. Thus, changes in the monopoly of violence and taxation must be taken into account to understand the specific development of warfare and martial arts too. In summary, Elias’s process-sociology prevents the dissociation of martial arts from broader patterns that would end up producing a kind of ‘martial arts hagiography’ as standard, commonsensical historical approaches do, tracing milestones disconnected from broader social patterns. The structure of the book The content of the book is divided into three parts, named with the terms ‘warriors’, ‘retainers’, and ‘martial artists’. The idea conveyed by this triad refers to the development of martial arts along different stages within the specific Japanese civilising process. The triad refers to the social conditions in which the development of martial arts at different stages unfolded. The three-stage model points at the same time towards changes in broader social and techno-social processes (mainly focused on state formation and warfare) and the social make-up (the habitus) of those human beings involved in the practice and development of martial arts at different stages. The ‘warriors’ part includes Chapters 2 to 4. Chapter 2 analyses the way in which archery proto-ryū were imbued with ideals of etiquette and self-perfection and sumō became connected to the warrior arts as part of the preparation for warfare. Chapter 3 analyses the two cycles of violence (the Two Courts Period and the Warring States) in which the first examples of sōgo (composite) martial ryū emerged as ways of self-perfection in the hands of well-seasoned warriors. Chapter 4 offers a more detailed comparative analyses of the social dynamics surrounding the creation of these composite ryū in both cycles of violence. The ‘retainers’ part includes Chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 5 analyses the stabilisation and formalisation of martial ryū during a period when the whole country was controlled by a duopolistic baku-han system; Chapter 6 examines the transformation of martial arts once the warriors of yore were transformed little by little into bureaucrats working at their lord’s service. The ‘martial artists’ part includes Chapters 7 to 11. Chapter 7 analyses the changes that occurred during the Meiji period, in which martial arts became spread from the warrior estate to the whole nation thanks to organisations of the civil society and the school system. Chapter 8 deals with the brief Taishō period, in which a sports-like orientation of martial arts was counterbalanced by a militaristic conception of martial arts. Chapter 9 presents the



ascendancy of the militaristic trend during the early Shōwa period in which martial arts were used by a dictatorial state to install militarised values into Japanese citizens/soldiers. Chapter 10 recapitulates the dynamics of the complex martial arts figuration through Meiji to early Shōwa, a length of time in which martial arts became part of the Japanese we-identity. Chapter 11 analyses the second half of the twentieth century, in which Japanese martial arts definitively connected with the global sports figuration in both the amateur and professional versions. Conventions in language use The Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts (Hall 2012) served as a guide for the romanisation of Japanese terms. Following Japanese conventions, personal names were written presenting first the family name (surname) followed by the name. Besides, despite the fact that changes in the name along the biography were common – for instance because the shōgun or an important daimyō granted the privilege of using their family names or because somebody entered priesthood – the book uses the most famous name for each person. Despite the widespread use of the term ‘samurai’ to refer to the Japanese warrior, reality is that no unique term existed to convey the notion of warrior. Depending on the era, the term changed. According to Farris (1995: 6–7): ‘mononofu’ was a soldier of 500 to 800; ‘tsuwamomo’ was a fighter from 900 to 1300; ‘bushi’ was a military man, usually a mounted archer, as early as 750 but used mostly after 900; ‘samurai’ was the lightly armoured, mounted archer of the twelfth century and after. The spread in the use of the term ‘samurai’ during the Tokugawa shōgunate to designate the warrior estate as a whole is crucial to understand the transition from warriors to retainers whose main function had become to loyally serve their lord. The text uses interchangeably the generic or the more specific denomination: ‘warrior’ or ‘bushi’ for the post-Heian to pre-Tokugawa period and ‘retainer’ or ‘samurai’ for the Tokugawa period. The generic use of the term ‘martial arts’ includes the Japanese terms ‘bujutsu’, ‘bugei’, and ‘budō’. Specific use of these terms is provided on occasions when the differentiation between them is important to understand the social dynamics of particular eras. The use of the translated terms has been favoured in order to facilitate the reading (e.g. Warring States instead of Sengoku Jidai). Nonetheless, the Japanese original terms have been maintained whenever the concept expressed by the term did not have a proper equivalence in the translation (e.g. ‘ryū’ or ‘musha shugyō’).

Notes 1 See for instance the recent proposals made by Channon and Jennings (2014), Wetzler (2015), Judkins (2016), and Martínková and Parry (2016). 2 Even though Bruce Lee could be claimed to be a representative of Chinese martial arts, at that time, Lee was received within a context of counter-culture America as a generic Asian other, or as Bowman (2011: 73) states, a ‘generic ethnicity’ that



4 5



Introduction facilitated the identification of urban US Blacks and Hispanics. Besides, Lee was not especially interested in preserving or passing unaffected the Chinese traditions. He elaborated his own system (jeet kune do) from a blend of Chinese arts (e.g. wing chun) and Western influences such as boxing or fencing. See Bowman (2011) for the analysis of Bruce Lee in global popular culture; Judkins and Nielson (2015) for the importance of Bruce Lee on the global expansion of wing chun. This misleading idea exactly expresses what I call ‘the Holy Grail theory’. Cultural practices are seen as a concrete object that was passed from country to country in a chained fashion. This theory can be observed for instance in the explanation of the origins of sport, trying to identify the unbroken chain of transmission in which the Maya ball game gets historically connected unproblematically to modern football. One of these folk theories expressing the Holy Grail theory in martial arts expressed that they started in Babylon and then moved to India and from there Boddhidarma passed them towards China and from there they spread to Japan. Historical research on the influence of different cultural traditions sets a more complex situation than these easy-made sketch of practices travelling from one place to another. See Payne (1981) and Reid and Croucher (1983) for examples of these simplistic transmission models. Thanks to Paul Bowman, Ben Judkins and Mike Molasky for making useful comments on the terminological discussion of Chinese martial arts. For instance, we find a mention of ‘martial arts’ in an anonymous book called Pallas Armata from 1639 with a reference of Jo Sotheby to the ‘famous Martiall art of fencing’ (Figueiredo 2009: 23). According to John Clements, the term appeared even earlier. It came: ‘From the phrase “arts of mars” and was used in English as early as the sixteenth century for self-defence disciplines but then the term becomes associated with military science, and is not applied again to fighting methods until the early 20th century, where it becomes synonymous with Asian styles after 1945’ (Clements 2017). Only in recent times has the term ‘martial arts’ started to be used again to refer to Medieval and Renaissance European fighting arts. For instance, the work of Sydney Anglo The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe (Anglo 2000) marked a milestone in the scholarly research of this field. Self-defence and educational components are also included, but not consensually, in every definition. For instance, in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2011:877) martial arts include the self-defence notion: ‘various sports or skills, mainly of Japanese origin, which originated as forms of self-defense or attack, such as judo, karate, and kendo’. Encyclopédie Larousse (2018) does not include self-defence and includes instead a moral code related to education: ‘group of combat sports of Japanese (or more generally Asian) origin such as jūdō, karate, aikidō, kendo, taekwondo, vietvodao etc. founded upon a moral code (which included that of the samurai) and that must respect the opponents’. The relation between martial arts and sport is so close that in some languages such as German, the most-used term to refer to disciplines such as jūdō or karate is ‘Kampfsport’ (Wetzler 2015: 23), merging in the same category of disciplines that could be considered ‘combat sport’ and ‘martial art’. Definitions in a widely used Japanese dictionary (Yamaguchi, Ryoji and Kazuyoshi 2013) do not include any explicit reference to sport in any of the cognates terms equivalent to the term ‘martial arts’: Budō: 武道: 1) the norms Samurai have to observe, follow. Bushidō:Japanese chivalry, the spirit of Samurai; 2) Military arts such as Japanese art of fencing, Jūdō and Japanese art of archery (p. 1305). Bujutsu: 武術Arts/Skills of Budō. For example, Kenjutsu (the art of fencing), Kyujutsu (the art of archery) (p. 1296) Bugei:武芸 Artistic Skills in relation with Budō. Bujutsu. Bugi (p. 1293)



8 According to a standard definition of Kakutogi: ‘Combat Sports on a man-to-man basis which determines victory/defeat by struggling with each other or striking each other with hands and feet. For instance, Boxing, Wrestling, Judo and Sumo’ (Yamaguchi, Ryoji, and Kazuyoshi 2013: 251). Kakugi’s meaning is the same as Kakutogi. During the period in which the Ministry of Education used the term ‘kakugi’ instead of ‘budō; the particle ‘To (闘)’ (which means fighting) was not used in order to prevent foster fighting values in children (Nakajima 2017). 9 A similar pattern could be found in the explication of the German ‘Turnen’, articulated in a contrasting dialogue with foreign sport. In Germany, ‘sports’ was regarded as something low coming from England, contrasting with ‘Turnen which was regarded as something high in value’ (Reicher 2017). 10 This is precisely why Elias’s use of ‘function’ differs greatly from classical structuralist/ functionalist sociological approaches. For Elias, functions are not ethereal components of society. The classical notion of function or functional imperative for the society à la Talcott Parsons implied a static, process-reduction idea of function based on the foundational binomial of individual/society. For Elias, people are bound together by functional interdependence; people fulfil some function for some other people, and this functional interdependence always implies power relations (Elias 1970: 74). 11 Elias (1995, 2001; Elias and Scotson 2008) discussed the Japanese case in scattered remarks. Even though the theory of the civilising process has been fruitfully applied to the Japanese case (Ohira 2014, 2017), so far only brief, mainly exploratory, research have been conducted on the long-term development of the Japanese civilising process from an figurational perspective (Mennell 1996). 12 As a general pattern, the integration into greater survival units brings forward a changing in the weighting of the I–We balance (Elias 2001: 184) towards the I pole in what could be conceived of as a socio-historical process of individualisation. Nonetheless, the picture is more complex, and Elias compares the situation in a democratic and a dictatorial state in the building of what is normally known as ‘national character’ (Elias 2001: 181). Besides, Elias talked specifically about the Japanese case, stating, ‘So far, the shift of the we-I balance in favour of the I-identity is less pronounced there [in Japan] than in western countries’ (2001: 178; brackets added). The fact that still nowadays in Japan the surname precedes the forename when referring to a person speaks about the importance of the we-pole in relation to the I-pole. Elias also commented that despite a general tendency of greater impermanence in we-relationships of marriage or professional bonds, ‘In Japan, however, the worker-employer relationship seems so far to have kept its lifelong character’ (Elias 2001: 235, note 10). The individual’s identity always implies different weightings of the we-I poles, containing also an interweaving of layers depending on the different we-groups to what each individual is emotionally bound (Elias 2001: 183, 202). 13 They are trends, not static categories. They describe patterns, not fixed states of things. They describe historical tendencies, dynamics, and that implies at least two epochs to compare. Thus, the focus is not in the ‘is’ or ‘is not’ but on the ‘more’ or ‘less’, following the developmental approach defended by Elias. From a figurational, processual point of view, it is of no use to try to establish universal categories for civilising and decivilising trends with such and such characteristics; we always face dynamic processes that need the comparison of different periods in a sequence of social development. From a non-processual point of view, a modern dictatorial state could be seen as a figuration sharing common features with the generation of European kingdoms, with their own almighty rulers: both cases present a state monopoly of violence and taxation. However, from a processual point of view they represent a very different pattern. The pacification obtained in the change from a figuration conformed by fighting tribes to a centralised elite of rulers-warriors would lead to an increase of chains of interdependence and constitute a civilising-formalising trend. On the contrary, the change



15 16 17

18 19

Introduction from a figuration such as the Weimar Republic to the barbaric Nazi state represents a decivilising-formalising trend in which the elite class always fostered an intense polarisation between those adepts to the regime and the outsiders, considered direct enemies, escape goats, or heretics. In a discussion about informalisation, Elias loosely refers to the decivilising-informalising trend with the term ‘formlessness’: ‘I have the feeling that this type of informalisation requires a higher degree of self-restraint. The “stays” of formality, of the easy-to-be-learned formal phrases have gone and yet there is a need for shades, for “nuances”. I think one has to distinguish this kind of informalisation (which seems to have gone less far in France than in either Germany or Holland) from – shall we call it “formlessness?” – from behaviour dictated by a stronger dose of overt affects’ (in Wouters 2007: 234–235). Maguire (1999) analysed three more stages of sportisation in which the sports movement became a global phenomenon. ‘Bugei’ and ‘hyōhō’ evolved through time to get attached to different meanings already well distinguished in Tokugawa period: ‘bugei’ became the generic term for samurai fighting arts and ‘hyōhō’ a synonym for swordsmanship. Previous to ryū existed certain family martial traditions called kaden (Mol 2010: 74), based on the accumulated experience of former generations in the battlefield. Kaden could fit also the definition of martial arts, as they already presented some kind of format and systematisation. Nonetheless, as they were orally transmitted, it is hard to trace their origins and development, and it is safer to rely on the use of ryū as they are present in written texts. Many any of these kaden were introduced later as part of the ryū. Draeger’s model continues to be the default assumption of the hoplological school (see for example Skoss 2005; Hall 2012: 280–282). Explanatory models such as Armstrong (1986) and Donohue (1993) applied to the Japanese case also support Elias’s ‘civilising theory’ (see Donohue and Taylor (1994) for a critical assessment of different models). Nonetheless, these theoretical models cannot grasp fully the complexity of the Japanese case (e.g. account for the decivilising influences and recurrences) as the Eliasian model affords.

References Anglo, S. (2000). The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Armstrong, H. (1986). Weapons and Systems. Hoplos, 4(3), pp. 11–12. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bowman, P. (2011). The Fantasy Corpus of Martial Arts, or, the “Communication” of Bruce Lee. In D.S. Farrer and J. Whalen-Bridge (eds.). Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World. New York: SUNY Press, pp. 61–96. Bowman, P. (2015). Martial Arts Studies: Disrupting Disciplinary Boundaries. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Bowman, P. (2017). The Definition of Martial Arts Studies. Martial Arts Studies, 3, pp. 6–23. Channon, A. and Jennings, G. (2014). Exploring Embodiment through Martial Arts and Combat Sports: A Review of Empirical Research. Sport in Society, 17(6), pp. 773–789. Clements, J. (2017). RE: The Term Martial Arts. [E-mail, June 6]. Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 12th Edition (2011). Martial Arts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cuyler, P.L. (1979). Sumo: From Rite to Sport. New York: Weatherhill. De Swaan, A. (2001). Dyscivilization, Mass Extermination and the State. Theory, Culture and Society, 18, pp. 265–276.



De Swaan, A. (2017). Dyscivilization, Mass Extermination, and the State. In A. Ohira (ed.). Civilization, Culture and Knowledge in Process. Tokyo: DTP, pp. 93–104. Donohue, J. (1993). Social Organizations and Martial Systems: A Cross Cultural Typology. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 2(1), pp. 40–51. Donohue, J. and Taylor, K. (1994). The Classification of the Fighting Arts. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 3(4), pp. 10–37. Draeger, D.F. (2007a). Classical bujutsu. Boston: Weatherhill. Draeger, D.F. (2007b). Classical Budo. Boston: Weatherhill. Draeger, D.F. and Smith, R.W. (1980). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Dunning, E. (2008). The Dynamics of Modern Sport: Notes on Achievement-Striving and the Social Significance of Sport. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 203–221. Dunning, E. and Sheard, K. (2005). Barbarians, Gentlemen and Players: A Sociological Study of the Development of Rugby Football. London: Routledge. Elias, N. (1970). What Is Sociology? New York: Columbia University Press. Elias, N. (1983). The Court Society. New York: Pantheon Books. Elias, N. (1987). The Retreat of Sociologists into the Present. Theory, Culture & Society, 4(2–3), pp. 223–247. Elias, N. (1995). Technization and Civilization. Theory, Culture & Society, 12(3), pp. 7–42. Elias, N. (1996). The Germans. Cambridge: Polity Press. Elias, N. (1997). Towards a Theory of Social Processes: A Translation. Translated by R. van Krieken and E. Dunning. British Journal of Sociology, 48(3), pp. 355–383. Elias, N. (2000). The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners and State Formation and Civilization. Oxford: Blackwell. Elias, N. (2001). The Society of Individuals. New York: Continuum. Elias, N. (2007). Involvement and Detachment. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Elias, N. (2008a). Introduction. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 3–43. Elias, N. (2008b). An Essay in Sport and Violence. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 150–173. Elias, N. and Dunning, E. (2008b). Dynamics of Group Sports with Special Reference to Football. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 189–202. Elias, N. and Scotson, J.L. (2008). The Established and the Outsiders. Dublin: University College of Dublin Press. Encyclopédie Larousse. (2018). Arts Martiaux, viewed 27 January2018, Farrer, D.S. and Whalen-Bridge, J. (eds.). (2011). Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World. New York: SUNY Press. Farris, W.W. (1995). Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500–1300. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Figueiredo, A. (2009). The Object of Study in Martial Arts and Combat Sports Research: Contributions to a Complex Whole. In W. Cynarski, (ed.). Martial Arts and Combat Sports – Humanistic Outlook. Rzeszów: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego, pp. 20–34.



Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Friday, K.F. (2005). Off the Warpath: Military Science & Budō in the Evolution of Ryūha Bugei. In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo Perspectives (Vol. 1). Auckland: Kendo World Publications, pp. 249–268. Goudsblom, J. (1996). Human History and Long-Term Social Processes: Toward a Synthesis of Chronology and Phaseology. In J. Goudsblom, E. Jones, and S. Mennell (eds.). The Course of Human History: Economic Growth, Social Process, and Civilization. London: Routledge, pp. 15–30. Green, T.A. (2010). Introduction. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (Vol. 2). Oxford: ABC-CLIO, pp. xv–xvii. Guttmann, A. and Thompson, L.A. (2001). Japanese Sports: A History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. New York: Kodansha International. Hurst, G.C., III. (1993). From Heiho to Bugei: The Emergence of the Martial Arts in Tokugawa Japan. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 2(4), pp. 40–51. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ikegami, E. (1995). The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ikegami, E. (2005). Bonds of civility: Aesthetic networks and the political origins of Japanese culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Judkins, B. (2014). Inventing Kung Fu. JOMEC Journal, (5), pp.1–23. Judkins, B.N. (2016). What Are “Martial Arts”, and Why Does Knowing Matter? Kung Fu Tea, viewed 27 January 2018, Judkins, B.N. and Nielson, J. (2015). The Creation of Wing Chun: A Social History of the Southern Chinese Martial Arts. New York: SUNY Press. Kiku, K. (2004). The Development of Sport in Japan: Martial Arts and Baseball. In E. Dunning, D. Malcolm, and I. Waddington (eds.). Sport Histories: Figurational Studies of the Development of Modern Sports. London: Routledge, pp. 153–171. Maguire, J. (1999). Global Sport: Identities, Societies, Civilizations. Cambridge: Polity Press. Martínková, I. and Parry, J. (2016). Martial Categories: Clarification and Classification. Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 43(1), pp. 143–162. Matsunaga, H. (2009). Foreword. In N. Budokan (ed.). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation, pp. 5–6. Mennell, S. (1996). Asia and Europe: Comparing Civilizing Processes. In J. Goudsblom, E. Jones, and S. Mennell (eds.). The Course of Human History: Economic Growth, Social Process, and Civilization. London: Routledge, pp. 117–134. Mennell, S. (2001). The Other Side of the Coin: Decivilizing Processes. In T. Salumets (ed.). Norbert Elias and Human Interdependences. Quebec: McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 32–49. Mol, S. (2010). Classical Swordsmanship of Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu. Brussels: Eibusha. Nakajima, T. (2017). RE: Question on Terms. [E-mail, August 31]. Nederveen Pieterse, J. (2009). Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.



Ohira, A. (2014). On the Japanese Civilizing Process: The Antithesis between Kultur and Zivilisation. In A. Ohira (ed.). Norbert Elias as Social Theorist. Tokyo: DTP, pp. 111–142. Ohira, A. (2017). The Development of Socialism in the Japanese Civilizing Process. In A. Ohira (ed.). Civilization, Culture and Knowledge in Process. Tokyo: DTP, pp. 73–92. Payne, P. (1981). Martial Arts: The Spiritual Dimension. London: Thames and Hudson. Reicher, D. (2017). RE: Definition of Martial Arts [E-mail, September 21]. Reid, H. and Croucher, M. (1983). The Way of the Warrior: The Paradox of the Martial Arts. Agincourt: Methuen. Sánchez García, R. (2016). The Development of Kano’s Jūdō within Japanese Civilizing/ Decivilizing Processes. Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science, 5(2), pp. 108–119. Sánchez García, R. (2018). The Development of Mixed Martial Arts: Using the Quest for Excitement and Informalization to Understand Sportization. In D. Malcom and P. Velijja (eds.). Figurational Research in Sport, Leisure and Health. London: Routledge. Sánchez García, R. and Malcolm, D. (2010). Decivilizing, Civilizing or Informalizing? The International Development of Mixed Martial Arts. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 45(1), pp. 39–58. Sánchez García, R. and Spencer, D.C. (eds.). (2013). Fighting Scholars: Habitus and Ethnographies of Martial Arts and Combat Sports. London: Anthem Press. Skoss, M. (2005). Tilting at the Windmills: Observations on the Complexities in Transmission of the Koryū Bujutus in Japan and the United States. In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo Perspectives. Auckalnd: Kendo World, pp. 351–360. Usui, H. (2009). Foreword. In N. Budokan(ed.). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation, pp. 7–8. Van Bottenburg, M. and Heilbron, J. (2006). De-Sportization of Fighting Contests: The Origins and Dynamics of No Holds Barred Events and the Theory of Sportization. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 41(3–4), pp. 259–282. Van Bottenburg, M. and Heilbron, J. (2011). Informalization or De-Sportization of Fighting Contests? A Rejoinder to Raúl Sánchez García and Dominic Malcolm. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46(1), pp. 125–127. Wetzler, S. (2015). Martial Arts Studies as Kulturwissenschaft: A Possible Theoretical Framework. Martial Arts Studies, 1, pp. 20–33. Wouters, C. (1986). Formalization and Informalization: Changing Tension Balances in Civilizing Processes. Theory, Culture & Society, 3(2), pp. 1–18. Wouters, C. (2004). Sex and Manners: Female Emancipation in the West 1890–2000. London: Sage. Wouters, C. (2007). Informalization: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage. Wouters, C. (2011). How Civilizing Processes Continued: Towards an Informalization of Manners and a Third Nature Personality. The Sociological Review, 59(s1), pp. 140–159. Wouters, C. (2016). Functional democratisation and disintegration as side-effects of differentiation and integration processes. Human Figurations, 5(2), pp.1–14. Yamaguchi, A., Ryoji, W., and Kazuyoshi, I. (eds.). (2013). Ounousashi-kanji Dictionary. Tokyo: Obunsha. Yokoyama, K. (2009). Modern Gladiators: Why Is Total Fighting Becoming Popular in Japan? Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag.

Part I


Chapter 2

Archery and sumo¯ as first traces of martial arts

In the transition from the Heian (794–1185) to the Kamakura period (1185– 1333), a shift in the power balance toward the warriors occurred. Changes in the dynamics of state formation ran in parallel to changes in the way of conducting warfare and changes in the martial culture of courtiers and warriors. This chapter links these three interrelated patterns to present the first traces of Japanese martial arts.

Dynamics of state formation Even though some traces of Japanese state organisation can be found since the third century when ‘mounded tomb culture’ established the distinction between aristocratic rulers over commoners, centralised organisation emerged between the fourth and the seventh centuries (Barnes 2012). According to Arnason (1996: 62), it is in the seventh century that certain state formation can be discerned, a first intense concentration of the monopoly of violence and taxation, aping some of the features of the Chinese organisation. During the seventh century, Japan was ruled by a confederation of Great Houses, the Royal (Yamato) House taking the role of primus inter pares. But the rule of the royal court was not complete; already during this century we see the existence of a central capital and a countryside local power. The central capital power included court aristocrats, counting military aristocrats (gunji shizoku) among them. Some of these military aristocrats such as the Mononobe no Muraji were previously priests that led prayers before battle and progressively assumed a role in military affairs. Thus, no clear distinction between religious and military specialists in court existed at that time. Religious specialists (temples and shrines) and court will remain a very strong power against the warrior authority until the late thirteenth century, especially in the central and western parts of the country. The local countryside was ruled by local strongmen who paid tribute to the Court. They were known as kuni no miyatsuko (‘local servants of the court’). They were mounted archers who commanded troops on foot; it was habitual for each mounted warrior to have two armed servants on foot.

26 Warriors

In 645, emperor Tenji assassinated some direct opponents and issued the Taika reforms, setting the trend of power centralisation around the Imperial Court. Emperor Temmu’s armed seizure of power in 672 achieved certain monopoly of violence by confiscating weapons and any warfare-related material. Tenmu and Jitō (his wife) were declared divine gods. By the late seventh century, court rituals called Jingi cult were performed in the Court supporting Amaterasu shrine in Ise, especially after the Jingi cult was supported by Emperor Tenmu in 673. Religious specialist were crucial for political legitimation of aristocratic rulers, helping to connect the emperor and his wife1 with deities as Amaterasu. The court established a conscripted army through the Taihō Codes of 702, and in 710, the state of Nihon was declared, starting the Nara period (710–794). The new army aped the Chinese model of conscripting commoners, who paid for their own equipment. These codes also explicated that soldiers should train in bugei (martial arts). The training consisted in some kind of mass infantry drills and mounted archery training. The new ritsuryō military system based on the imperial army of public conscription replaced the previous patchwork forces led by the different clan houses (Friday 1996: 11). The imperial army was composed by the infantry (peasants), using for instance the Oyumi (a multi-launch giant crossbow) as the central tool of artillery and noble officers on horseback. The conscripted commoners conforming infantry were acting as temporary soldiers. They were not professionals. This system was an adapted copy of Tang’s China and was organised as a response to the potential invasion of strong Tang in China and the Emishi (barbarians) threat. That is why two garrisons were organised: one in the south east (to control potential moves from China) and one in the north east (to control the Emishi). The defence of the imperial capital Kyoto was in the hands of the Goefu (the Five Guards), composed of one-third provincial and lower-central nobility and two-thirds infantry soldiers. At this time, horseback archery constituted ‘the premiere military technology’ (Friday 1996: 172). Nobility and the top tiers of the peasantry were the only groups with the capacity to maintain a horse and the time and options to receive military training in mounted archery. That is why many warriors in the eighth century were horse breeders and hunters, the horse representing a central piece of their existence. By 690, the Court had established two layers of administration over the peasantry: the province, in which court aristocrats were assigned as provincial governors (60 in total) and district (400–500 in total), in which local strongmen were designated as district magistrates. The central court neither controlled nor extinguished the local power. Local strongmen – about 550 at that time – commanding troops on horseback and conscripting troops from their regions were still as crucial as before the Taihō codes (Farris 1995: 69). By the middle of the eighth century, the imperial army was anachronistic (Friday 1996: 44) and faced severe difficulties in enforcing the draft system; the lack of useful census made it difficult to make the conscription system work. This lack of census was also the main problem in collecting taxes and indicates the stillunderdeveloped monopoly of violence and taxation on the hands of a central

Archery and sumo¯ as first martial arts


power. Courtiers were subdued and had accepted the imperial court structure as their ground for competition, but the emperor still acted as the primus inter pares among the great houses, and the control of the central court over the provinces was far from definitive. Now that China’s threat had faded to a great extent, only both army garrisons retained some function. The inner police system to control the territory was progressively handed to small, movable squads of professionals. In 719, the army was reduced nationwide, and edicts of 780 indicate the court was relying more on private military skills than on the conscript army. During the 720s and 730s, a praetorian guard took the duty of protecting the emperor, mainly centred on the Fujiwara clan, claiming some of the functions of the Goefu. Between 774 and 812, several campaigns were launched against the ‘barbarians’ in the north part of the country. This rebel group of ‘barbarians’ were the Emishi, mounted archers who used guerrilla tactics that rendered the Taihō big army useless. Smaller units of mounted archers raised by district magistrates would prove paramount to subdue them. The war opened up a space of social mobility for military specialists, even if they were unemployed officials or vagabonds with certain status gained in the battlefield (Farris 1995: 100). In 792, the massive peasant conscription in the army was abolished, and a much more selective conscription was placed instead. Thus, at the beginning of the Heian period (794–1184), the armed forces were in the hands of the ‘strong fellows’ (kondei), sons and brothers of the district magistrates, who held the power at a local level. According to Farris (1995: 111–112), these so-called strong fellows were the direct ancestors of samurai. The same conclusion is supported by Friday (1996: 120), considering these ‘professional mercenaries’ as proto-warriors. In fact, by the early ninth century, we find already three technological developments that would characterise the samurai of later eras: leather armour (since 781) instead of iron, allowing high mobility while riding but still offering good protection against arrows; curved swords; and mounted archery (Farris 1995: 103). By 900, epidemics and famine of the eighth and ninth centuries ended up in a critical situation for the countryside, which was also affected by episodes of violence from pirates, bandits of Emishi origins, and confrontations between local strongmen (becoming tax rebels) and rich provincial elites led the court to take measures. The court created specific military and police posts attached to the provincial headquarters to control the situation, even naming famous military aristocrats to the posts to deal with local warriors. This period of social upheaval would have its peak in the revolt of Taira no Masakado during 935–940 in the Kanto region, the first serious menace of warrior power to the central court. However, even though Masakado designed himself as the ‘new emperor’ – arguing that he had made ‘a soldier’s name for himself’ – his movement was doomed; the power balance between court and warriors was still pretty much in the former side, and warriors still considered themselves as servants in a relationship dominated by vertical ties between court aristocrats and their military forces. In fact, the court promised aristocratic ranks as reward for warriors who killed Masakado. Warriors from military houses such as Fujiwara, Minamoto, or Taira helped to

28 Warriors

stop the revolt. At the same time of Masakado’s menace, other problem arose with a pirate rebellion in the West, led by the administrator of Iyo province, Fujiwara Sumitomo. In order to deal with Masakado first, the court offered court rank to Sumitomo and, after the Taira rebel was beheaded, the court made Sumitomo a prisoner, executing him as well. By this time, it was clear that the court needed another kind of military/ police forces. Military skills increasingly became a path of upward mobility for provincial elites and lower-ranked central nobility. They could become police/ military officers within the provinces or serve in court to top central nobles as bodyguards, gaining a promotion by entering a non-officially sanctioned client– patron relationship.2 From provincial strongmen to hired warriors: The rise of the Kamakura sho¯gunate The period between 950 and 1050 can be considered as the missing link between the Taihō army and the establishment of the twelfth-century professional bushi (warrior) forces. During this period, the dual system of capital forces (military men from aristocrats) and provincial warriors in the countryside ruled by governors (helped by wealthy local strongmen) still held. In the capital, Kyoto, the office of investigators (Kebii shi chō) acted as police forces and were entitled to investigate outside the capital by the middle of the tenth century; provincial police was also developed. Not only police officer positions were offered to these private warriors but also military (performing police functions) positions such as ōryōshi, tsuibushi, and tsuitōshi were in place by the middle of the tenth century, forming the cornerstones of the new military police system (Friday 1996: 165). We also find soldiers dependent on civil aristocrats, keeping their own armies that could be more numerous than police forces. One type of these soldiers, considered ‘soldiers of the noble houses’ (shoka no heishi), was powerful aristocratic warriors: hereditary military aristocrats3 who belonged to warrior houses (tsuwuamomo no ie) like the Minamoto, the Taira, or Hidesato’s line of the Fujiwara. By the tenth and eleventh centuries, newer hereditary lines of military houses had become fixed, and those engaging in martial arts (bugei) without belonging to these houses were scorned. A civil aristocrat criticised in 1028 the behaviour of one Left Gate Guard, Fujiwara Norimoto as such: ‘Noritomo enjoys the martial arts (bugei), but people do not approve . . . He is not of warrior (musha) blood’ (Friday 1996: 173). Some of these military aristocrats could hold even fourth court rank.4 This situation speaks about the progressive co-option of the warrior into the court political ground. Warriors would gain more power from within the court system, carving out the very same structures that helped to control them. Besides, the practice of martial arts (bugei), especially mounted archery, started to be conceived as a distinguishable identity mark of a certain group of military specialists. Even though the capital court held a strong military power, the provinces were not fully controlled. The rural military was still dominated by local strongmen

Archery and sumo¯ as first martial arts


who remained independent of the governor and the provincial headquarters (Farris 1995: 202). Thus, the evasion of taxes from local strongmen was still a common issue. As an example, according to the Tales of Times Now Past, Taira no Tadatsune counted an extremely great military force in the province of Shimōsa. He did as he pleased in the region, paid no taxes, and was negligent to what the governor of Hitachi ordered. In order to punish the rebel, the warrior governor Minamoto no Yorinobu commanded an army around 1016 on behalf of the court’s interest. Reforms in provincial administration and land tenure affected the rural military system on the tenth and eleventh centuries. The shōen-kokugaryō system of land tenure allowed private owners to levy taxes from private estates (shōen), exempted in part or whole from paying taxes to the central government. Shōen had appeared during the eighth century as an incentive to collect taxes through private landholders once the public system of collecting taxes prevalent during the seventh century was difficult to apply. The central government issued certificates to elite proprietors about ownership of land and exemption of taxes on manual labour. As the system generated more and more proprietors, some problems in maintaining a legal recognition of the lands arose such that, during the eleventh century, lands were trusted to powerful proprietors such as nobles or temples, who charged regular fees for protection. These changes in the land tenure represented a later phase of the shift in the tax monopoly from a central authority towards the provinces. From a centralised malfunctioning levy system on peasants during the seventh century, a new system emerged in which collected revenues came from provincial governors (lower and middle courtiers designated by the court) between the eighth and tenth centuries. Provincial governors were in charge of levying taxes, oftentimes getting abusive surpluses. A parallel pattern was occurring within the capital, where the Great Houses (such as the Fujiwara regents) and religious institutions collected their own taxes, challenging the central authority of the imperial line. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, provincial elites, powerful central nobles, and religious institutions developed this trend further by the practice of land commendation: provincial elites converted public land into private states (shōen) through the intervention of powerful court nobles who became the state owners, getting the taxes collected by the provincial elites. The creation of this land tenure system sparked conflict, and warriors inflicted violence to confiscate lands illegally. Two armed conflicts of the era are very telling about the relationship between the shifting power relations – concerning rights over the twin monopoly of violence and taxation – between the central power of the court and the provincial power of the warriors. In the Former Nine Years War (1051–1062), the court authorised governor Minamoto no Yoriyoshi to punish the tax-evading Abe family in the habitual pattern of the court employing military aristocrats to deal with problems. Nonetheless, in the Latter Three Year’s War (1083–1087), Yosiyoshi’s son (Minamoto Yoshiie), tried to employ governmental military forces to solve a private feud with the Kiyowara family. The court denied Yoshiie the right to act officially on behalf of the court,

30 Warriors

and one year after Yoshiie’s victory over the Kiyowara, the court discharged the former from his post as a governor of Mutsu. Thus, despite the fact that court controlled warrior power to some extent, warriors started to ‘work for themselves’ from their official positions within the governmental system. By 1100, governors were unwilling or unable to command provincial forces. The court designated leading military aristocrats to cope with potential troublemakers, sparking a fierce competition and constant warfare during the second half of the twelfth century between military aristocrats to become the ‘chief of all warriors’. Soon, two military houses, the Taira and the Minamoto, became the most powerful contenders. In the beginning, the Taira gained the upper hand, trusted by the court to deal with some of the several incidents and riots instigated by monks in Kyoto during the late eleventh and twelfth centuries.5 The first serious incident between the Taira and the Minamoto came in the Hōgen disturbance of 1153 in which Emperor Go-Shirakawa employed Taira Kiyomori against the Fujiwara, who were hiring the services of Minamoto no Tameyoshi. Go-Shirakawa gained control over the imperial throne, and Kiyomori was promoted to fourth court rank and appointed governor of Harima. Minamoto Yoshitomo, son of Tameyoshi, turned his back of his father’s forces, joining the victorious Kiyomori, and ended up with fifth court rank and a position in the imperial stables. A grudge between Kiyomori and Yoshitomo erupted in another incident during 1159. Yoshitomo lost and was beheaded, treated as a rebel. Taira Kiyomori was named ‘chief of all warriors’ in 1160. The Taira controlled a regional army, forming the first national system of vassalage (Farris 1995: 281), based mainly in the western and central parts of Japan but also having some support in the Kanto (Eastern) region. The Taira used the guard duty (vassals coming to Kyoto to protect the Emperor or other aristocrats’ residence, a precedent of later sankin kotai; see Chapter 5), controlling the provincial headquarters, granting economic rewards, and confirming land as strategies to build their system of vassalage. The economic power depended on commerce (even naval commerce with China), and they gained political power, as shown in the fact that some of the Taira members held third court rank or higher. It is no surprise then than by 1177–1179, the Taira attempted a coup against the emperor’s court, trying to establish a new government. Taira forces were composed of relatives but also governmental forces levied from provincial headquarters. By 1179, Taira Kiyomori declared himself a land steward who could confirm lands in return for military service of his vassals in the province of Aki. Nonetheless, members of the imperial family, civil and military aristocrats, and important religious officials joined forces and employed Minamoto no Yoritomo to defeat Taira Kiyomori, leading to the famous Genpei war of 1180–1185. The two armies represented the west side of the Taira versus the east (especially Kanto) side of the Minamoto. The victorious Minamoto no Yoritomo was rewarded with second rank in court and was appointed shōgun for the court. The increase of power potential in Yoritomo’s hands was evident. During the war, Minamoto had already started to confirm lands for his vassals, and after

Archery and sumo¯ as first martial arts


the war, he finally established a military government in Kamakura (within the Kanto region) known as the Kamakura Shōgunate (1185–1333). The cases of Taira Kiyomori and Minamoto Yoritomo show a stage in which warriors had become more mature political actors in the court and had acquired enough autonomy to be able to operate from within the system for their own benefit. Even so, warriors still had no we-identity as a separate ruling group opposed to courtiers. During the Kamakura shōgunate, the power balance between court and warriors shifted towards the latter, who gained almost complete autonomy by the late thirteenth century after the failed Mongol invasions. This is not to say that the Kamakura shōgunate simply replaced the previous Heian system of court civil aristocrats from the beginning, initiating a period of feudal government. On the contrary, the Kamakura shōgunate evolved from within the previous Heian system. For instance, the provincial headquarters remained a key institution to conscript forces for the shōgunate. The establishment of the shōgunate did not end completely in armed confrontations between rivals. In 1189, Minamoto Yoritomo fought his brother Yoshitsune, who allied with the Fujiwara of Mutsu (not the Fujiwara as civil aristocrats at Court). In 1221, the Jōkyū war began after retired emperor Go-Toba refused to collaborate in naming a new shōgun after the Minamoto line had died in 1219. Go-Toba was calling into question the right of the Kamakura shōgunate to rule and tried to convince powerful warriors, especially from the western part, to get on their side. The Kamakura forces were mainly from the Kanto region. After the shōgunate prevailed, they maintained the court, as it was still a very important source of legitimation plus a considerable economic and political power, especially in the west. During the thirteenth century, the tax on land and the revenue system favoured the court, temples, and shrines over the warriors in western Japan, even though the situation was reversed in the east, where the strong influence of the Kamakura shōgunate dominated. The power balance between shōgunate and court finally tilted in favour of the former with the failed Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281. One important symptom was that for the first time, warriors not only from the provincial headquarters (court-sanctioned system of conscription) but also from shōen (dependent on private estates) were conscripted during the Mongol campaigns. Also, by the late twelfth century, an inflation of court ranks was in order: many of the lower bureaucratic posts disappeared, and true aristocrats were to take shelter in the first and second ranks. The system of rewards bestowed by the court was losing value. Legally, warriors were still at the sixth rank and had the title of samurai (those who served). Followers of warriors had no samurai title. According to Farris (1995: 339), the number of samurai was less than 5000, a probable 2000 to 3000. Kamakura law described the duties and organisation of the military. An individual vassal of the shōgunate who had land confirmed was considered a houseman or goke’nin, who owed loyalty to the shōgun in return for military services, organised by provinces. A non-houseman (higoke’nin) was a vassal with no fief on land. The shōgunate also granted lands and the right to levy

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taxes to Minamoto followers, who had been converted in land stewards (jitō) and commended shōen depending on Kamakura shōgunate’s law (Segal 2012: 175). The other relevant Kamakura figure was the military governor (shugō), a prominent warrior who was responsible for leading all retainers on guard duty as well as other police and military operations. He coordinated the different housemen of the area in times of war or during guard duty, controlled local rebellions and crime, and acted as an adjunct of Kamakura’s judicial system (Mass 2008: 64). The rise of the warriors to power did not overcome court control over the twin monopoly of violence and taxation completely, even though it became clearer in the Kanto region. The government during the Kamakura period implied a system of shared rulership by elites known as kenmon (influential houses) that, by the twelfth century, included court nobility, comprising the court aristocracy such as the Fujiwara and the imperial family, supported on the influential figure of retired emperors; religious institutions, such as the Enryakuji, Kōfukuji, and Tōdaiji temples; and warrior aristocrats such as the Minamoto. The different sections of the kenmon had their own private headquarters, with their own leading figure independently handling their administrative and economic matters; they had loyal retainers under their jurisdiction; and they had complete rights for self-rule and exclusive control over their jurisdiction, including a large number of shōen. We should not believe that warriors had the monopoly over the use of violence. Much of the so-called monastic violence of the era was related to the factionalism of the capital politics enhanced by noble patronage from the court (Adolphson 2007: 34). Competition for land and status between the leading monasteries increased, leading to a more open conflict by the late eleventh century. In this sense, the case of Kakunin is very telling. As head administrator of Tōdaiji temple, he did not hesitate to engage in armed conflicts to protect and expand the temple’s possessions: in 1147 we find complaints by Iwashimizu and Kasuga shrines; in 1149 the governor of Iga complained about his unlawful appropriation of harvested rice; problems continued during the 1150s and 1160s, and verdicts against him from the Imperial Court tell about his ‘evil ways’. Shrines also played a part. For instance, in 1094, an armed incident, presumably over land, exploded between clergy members of the Kurama temple and members of the Kamo shrine. Thus, during the Kamakura period, clerical participation in armed conflict was common. Despite prohibitions issued both by the shōgunate (e.g. Yoritomo banned Enryakuji monks from carrying arms in 1189) and the imperial court (in 1212, an edict prohibited monks from carrying military equipment), prominent temples maintained their military power until their destruction during the sixteenth century. In summary, the kenmon co-ruled under a common understanding of judicial and financial privileges in return for services rendered in their respective areas of influence (Adolphson 2012: 133). If Kamakura shōgunate demarked a time in which warriors’ rise to power positions equalled the religious and court poles (even superior in the Kanto region), the Muromachi shōgunate would mark the beginning of dominance of warrior power over the other poles.

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Changes in warfare: from the rytsuryo¯ army to bands of mounted archers According to Farris’s (1995) ‘evolutionary model’, the Kamakura bushi of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was a continuation of provincial strongmen from about the sixth century (or at least the eighth century; Farris 1995: 269). Mounted archery had remained the principal means of warfare since the early mounted bands of warriors previous to 645. Even though the ritsuryō army, based on Chinese mass tactics, gave importance to infantry composed by commoners, the backbone of the army remained in the hands of elite mounted archers. The importance of mounted archery was fostered in the shift from the ritsuryō imperial army towards a new police-military system based on small bands of professional warriors, using mounted archery as their main tool for war. The emergence of an order of ‘professional mercenaries’ or proto-warriors by the mid-ninth century paved the way towards the professional bushi of the Kamakura era: a mounted archer. During the twelfth until the fourteenth centuries, warfare was conducted with small armies (about 2000 in the Hōgen disturbance of 1153; Farris 1995: 269) in which small groups of mounted archers (about 600 in the Hōgen disturbance of 1153; Farris 1995: 269) were still predominant, and few foot soldiers wielding swords and spears were used. Farris considered that if the number of warriors was about 5000 to 6000 and each of them could bring two or three followers into battle, the Kamakura armies could number 15.000 to 18.000 at the most (1995: 341). Some use of siege tactics appeared – even though fortresses were not solid castles but palisades or temporary strongholds. In armed conflict during 1189, we find siege tactics, completed with crossbows and ditches (Farris 1995: 320). Until the middle of the fourteenth century, a military unit only referred to horsemen, even though foot soldiers were also present. Horsemen were composed of highranking bushi carrying bow and arrow and wearing a very expensive, heavy boxlike armour called ōyoroi that protected the upper body (not the face though), the legs being protected by the sturdy saddle. The depiction of warfare in epic tales such as the Hōgen Monogatari, the Heiji Monagatari, or the Heike Monogatari, describing warriors picking up contrary high-ranking warriors and reciting names and heritage before engaging in combat, seems more like a resource to depict the heroism of warriors for later generations than a realistic account of how battle was conducted (Friday 2004: 15; Conlan 2008: 54). Exploits in the battlefield had to be witnessed and reported. Thus, warriors relied on acquaintance warriors as witnesses to their heroic actions. Women warriors appeared in the epic tales.6 Although these stories may be fictional, based on epic tales, more reliable sources account for participation of women in combat, especially during the fourteenth century (see next chapter). No developed mass formation tactics existed, so battle was conducted on the initiative of mounted warriors clashing in skirmishes. Instead of heavy cavalry, warfare was conducted by bands of horsemen acting as light cavalry of mounted

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archers. Japanese horses were small (the size of contemporary ponies) but had a smooth trot, perfect for aiming with accuracy. Foot soldiers acted in skirmishing also with bows and arrows. They wore haramaki armour, less heavy and elaborate armour than the ōyoroi of mounted warriors.

The birth of archery proto-ryu¯ and the transformation of sumo¯ According to Friday (1997: 6–7), terms such as ‘bugei’ and ‘hyōhō’ were already used during the eighth century to refer to warriors’ martial traditions. The kind of drill undergone by regular foot soldiers of the ritsuryō conscripted army was also designated by the term ‘bugei’, but this association would be abandoned once the system of conscripted army was disbanded by the end of the eighth century. As the armed forces of the period became small groups of hired mounted professionals with bows and arrows, the term ‘bugei’ became strictly associated with warriors of higher status. As no surviving texts remain, we must assume these martial traditions were not preserved and were likely to be transmitted orally (Hurst 1997: 227). The first loosely organised military traditions of which we have notes were the Heian ‘schools’ of archery such as Ki, Tomo, and Sakanoue, belonging to noble court families. As hereditary military houses progressively entered the court, families such as the Takeda and Ogasawara developed traditions of archery during the early Kamakura period (Hurst 1998; Tomoyuki 2009; Bennett 2015). From the Kamakura period, warriors aped court mores by celebrating military ceremonials including archery within the shōgunate and took part in hunting expeditions using bow and arrow while mounted. Battlefield archery exploits expressed in classical works about Kamakura era such as Hōgen Monogatari or Heike Monogatari may not be taken at face value but express the utmost importance of bow and arrow to express superior status. This period presents a transition stage in which warriors were gaining some independence from the court but were still attached to court values and practices as superior, as something worth copying in order to gain legitimation. Courtiers and ranked warriors performed directly in ceremonial archery contests to symbolically display their belonging to a good society; the etiquette, the way of behaving and doing the activity, was the true mark of their aristocratic upbringing. According to Hurst, ‘Archery was part of the training of a gentleman, with spiritual and civilising qualities, as well as practical emphasised’ (1998: 117). The term ‘yumiya no michi’ (the way of bow and arrow) or ‘kyūba no michi’ (the way of the bow and horse), even though not explicitly defined or organised in written works of the era, referred to a set of core ideas, values, and practices shared by this social elite and defined by their exclusive access to horse, bow, and arrow. A description of an exemplary warrior from the early eleventh century presents him exceling in the battlefield, hunting, and taking part in different ceremonial contests, all of which were part of the same warrior culture of the era: The husband of his second daughter is the greatest warrior in the land. He is highly skilled in the conduct of battles, night attacks, archery duels on

Archery and sumo¯ as first martial arts


horseback, and ambushes; in shining for deer and in all forms of mounted and standing archery competition, including kagasake, yabusame, yatsumato, sanzaku and tahasami. He is moreover heavenly gifted in the arts of donning armor, bearing bow and arrow, taking up his spear, and using a sword; in flying banners and setting uo shields; and in directing companies and leading troops [. . .] He has the archery skill of Yang Yu [a famous Chinese warrior] and bears his quiver like the Crow Breaker [in reference to Yi I, another legendary Chinese warrior]. (Shin Sharugakki, in Friday 1996: 71–72; brackets added). It is controversial to consider those early traditions of archery as the same kind of formalised tradition that would characterise the later ryū of the Muromachi period with certificates of transmission and a more solid organisation. Nonetheless, at least systematised archery practice with ceremonial functions previous to the Muromachi period could be dubbed proto-ryū and should be included within the category of martial arts. The emphasis on etiquette of these protoryū as something attached to the military arts would be spread and fused with later ryū of the Muromachi period and continued to solidify during the pacified Tokugawa times.7 The category of martial arts is also appropriate for the kind of sumō that developed from ceremony contests in court to the martial preparation for warriors during the Kamakura period. By 821, the annual sumō tournaments were organised in the court ceremonial codes as sumai no sechi, placed along the other important sechi (tournament-banquets) such as archery and mounted archery (Cuyler 1979: 36). Nonetheless, the status of those directly participating in the activity was lower than that of those participating in archery. Noble courtiers acted as organisers, patrons, and referees of an activity usually performed by strongmen from the provinces with no court rank at all. Instead of fighting among themselves, courtiers did it ‘by proxy’ Elias (2008); they used lower-rank competitors to fight on their behalf as an aristocratic group. The ceremonial etiquette of the whole contest reinforced the bounds of the good society. After ceremonial sumō started to wane as part of imperial court ceremonies from the end of the tenth century, the Kamakura shōgunate continued to hold sumō, horseracing, and archery contests at shrines during local festivities and at the mansions of provincial governors. The return of ex-sumo wrestlers from Kyoto to the provinces helped, ‘spreading familiarity with the refined technique and etiquette of the court sumō to the far reaches of the country’ (Cuyler 1979: 44). According to Draeger and Smith (1980), during Kamakura, warriors ‘transformed sumō to full combat effectiveness [.  .  .] because of these alterations of sumō technique, the development of kumi uchi was made possible’ (p. 132). In this fashion, sumō got connected to the martial traditions of warriors, influencing the kind of grappling in full armour (kumi-uchi) performed by warriors in the battlefield that would later give birth to the kind of bare-handed techniques known generally as jūjutsu during the Tokugawa period (see Chapters 5 and 6). The lower status of sumō in comparison to archery helps to explain why we do

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not have written text on sumō proto-ryū, even though it is likely that some kind of different wrestling styles may had developed at that point.

Notes 1 During the Nara period (710–794), women took an important role in politics and in religious functions. Nonetheless, during the Heian period (794–1185), their role in public spheres diminished. Women lost most of their public function also in court ceremonials, their power sphere of influence limited to the private space in a more informal way, supporting roles of the males (Adolphson 2012: 142). 2 Legal documents on vassalage did not appear until the 1180s (Friday 1996: 113). 3 This figure had a more ancient tradition in the capital: hereditary military houses in the capital existed since the eighth century with families such as Ōtomo Saeki or Sakanoue (Farris 1995: 173). 4 First to fifth were the most important court ranks. Usually warriors started to gain rewards as a sixth rank. Nonetheless, as time went by, some warriors gained even third and second rank. This speaks about the shifting balance of power tilting towards the warriors (the court trying to control warrior power by awarding higher ranks to them). 5 In 1081, an attack by more than 1000 monks from Mount Hiei, some of them carrying bows and arrows, was contested by investigators, gate guards, and other warriors on behalf of the court. In many of these cases, mercenary soldiers from provincial headquarters composed a great part of the monk forces. 6 Tomoe Gozen, a female warrior of the twelfth century, appeared in the Heike Monogatari as a general in the troops of Kiso Yoshinaka. She is depicted as a beautiful, strong archer and as a swordswoman really skilful in horse riding and with the use of bow and arrow. Another famous female warriors appearing in the Azuma Kagami was Hangaku Gozen, a dexterous archer from the Jo family, who took part in the defence of Tossaka Castle in 1201. 7 Ogasawara descendants kept on serving the Tokugawa shōgun, Ieyasu conceding some Ogasawara members the rank of daimyō in several domains. It is no coincidence that Ogasawara family were the ones publishing manner and etiquette manuals during the Tokugawa period (Ikegami 2005).

References Adolphson, M.S. (2007). The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Adolphson, M.S. (2012). Oligarchy, Shared Rulership, and Power Blocks. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 135–145. Arnason, J.P. (1996). State Formation in Japan and the West. Theory, Culture and Society, 13(3), pp. 53–75. Barnes, G.L. (2012). The Emergence of Political Rulership and the State in Early Japan. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 77–88. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Conlan, T. (2008). Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200–1877 AD. Phoenix, AZ: Amber Books. Cuyler, P.L. (1979). Sumo: From Rite to Sport. New York: Weatherhill. Draeger, D.F. and Smith, R.W. (1980). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Tokyo: Kodansha International.

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Elias, N. (2008). An Essay in Sport and Violence. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp.150–173. Farris, W.W. (1995). Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500–1300. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Friday, K.F. (1996). Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Friday, K.F. (2004). Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan. New York: Routledge. Hurst, G.C., III. (1997). The Warrior as Ideal for a New Age. In J.P. Mass (ed.). The Origins of Japan’s Medieval World: Courtiers, Clerics, Warriors, and Peasants in the Fourteenth Century. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 209–233. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ikegami, E. (2005). Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mass, J.P. (2008). The Kamakura bakufu. In J.W. Hall, M.B. Jansen, M. Kanai, and D. Twitchett (eds.). The Cambridge History of Japan (Vol. 3), pp. 46–88. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Segal, E. (2012). The Shōen System. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 167–177. Tomoyuki, Y. (2009). What Is Kobudō? In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo: The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation, pp. 87–101.

Chapter 3

T he emergence of composite martial ryu¯ during the Two Courts and the Warring States periods

Throughout the Muromachi (1336–1573) and Azuchi Momoyama (1574–1600) periods, the power balance shifted definitively towards the warrior pole. Two consecutive cycles of violence, consisting in wide-scale conflicts across Japan, unfolded in the Two Courts period (Nanbokuchō, 1336–1392) and the Warring States (Sengoku, 1467–1600). This chapter explores the interdependent dynamics of state formation, changes in warfare, and changes in martial culture that gave birth to the emergence of composite martial ryū in each of the two cycles of violence.

The increase in the monopoly of violence and taxation by the shugo¯ daimyo¯ during the Two Courts period At the beginning of the Kamakura shōgunate, Minamoto Yoritomo had created a distinct order of goke’nin for those provincial warriors who fought for him. The alienation of land was legally supported by Kamakura shōgunate, establishing the honryō system of hereditary rights over land, inalienable in the long term (even in the short term, land could be sold or reassigned). By the fourteenth century, the status of goke’nin became predicated on the ability to assert honryō rights (Conlan 2003: 205). When Kamakura started to enforce the system more strictly – for instance, by issuing sanctions after unheard petitions – violence erupted at the hands of local warriors defending their rights over the land. The outbreak of conflicts destabilised the honryō system, as land granting was performed at the expense of reassigning of land. Besides, the figures of jitō (land stewards) and shugō (military governors) acting more aggressive against traditional landholders – and oftentimes independently of the shōgunate rule – led to legal and armed conflicts. The discontent of power blocs such as the court and religious institutions increased considerably. For instance, in 1315, we find an incident in Mount Hiei in which a band of traders led by the ranking administrator of Enryakuji refused to pay duty to the military governor, shooting arrows and injuring representatives of the latter (Adolphson 2007: 66). In 1333, retired emperor Go-Daigo tried to destroy the whole shōgunal system by allying with disaffected warriors over land

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disputes. One of Go-Daigo’s leading warriors, Ashikaga Takauji, proclaimed a second shōgunate, the Muromachi shōgunate, in 1336. Nevertheless, the establishment of the shōgunate did not stop the cycle of violence all at once; Takauji’s project had to be won at a hard price, fighting Go-Daigo’s supporters until the end of the fourteenth century in what is known as the Two Courts (Northern and Southern) period (Nambokuchō, 1336–1392). By the 1330s, prominent warriors had lands to collect taxes and a buoyant economy through commerce – an activity in which warriors were already engaging during the thirteenth century as Japan prospered due to increase in commerce. Ashikaga shōgun increased taxation (in money) for urban moneylenders and urban guilds (Segal 2012b: 289). The market economy flourishing in provincial markets brought more money into the hands of warriors not only of the capital but also of the provinces. Thus, by this time several warriors were in good condition to maintain standing bands of warriors which enjoyed a great degree of autonomy. Still, loyalty could not be demanded but only requested through the promise of rewards (e.g. cash or lands). As war erupted in the 1330s, goke’nin status was bound not to hereditary rights but to performance on the battlefield. Those capable of waging war were designated tozama, including former goke’nin, and also myōshu (warriors with some degree of autonomy). Tozama did not represent a closed class, and it encompassed nobles, autonomous warriors, and their wives. Tozama’s vassals or kin were miuchi, divided into retainers (samurai) and those of lower status that formed miuchi corporations called ikki. Samurai and miuchi still presented some kind of autonomy, but they could not shift alliances by themselves; they depended on their tozama patron. Below them were the genin, commoners without a name and no recourse to autonomy. They aspired to get a retainer’s status through battle. There was some fluidity between genin and retainers but not between samurai and tozama (Conlan 2003: 123). Status credentials started to be sold, so status became dependent on wealth. Loyalty was bound to rewards for service to a lord (chūsetsu). As more tozama appeared, it generated instability in the system of granting lands as reward. Ashikaga shōgun and collateral lines were able to mobilise tozama lords, as Ashikaga’s were able to grant land and had a proved sense of trustworthiness based on their largesse (something that Go-Daigo lacked) to grant land. Most armies of the 1330s were plagued with shortages because of the difficulty of maintaining warrior expenses, especially if the action was out of the domain. But by 1352, the shōgun Ashikaga Takauji passed a law that permitted shugō (military governors) to ‘earmark half of a province’s revenue for military provisions (hanzei)’ (Conlan 2003: 85). Shugō daimyō, as they started to be known during Muromachi, were able to mobilise public revenue for war. Thus, shugō daimyō were able to reward warriors fighting for them, something that tozama lords were less able to do. At this turning point, military power started to depend heavily on the economic basis to wage war, progressively eroding hereditary privileges bound to land. Prominent warriors in warfare acted also as commanders of

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temples such as Enryakuji. The post of commander or ranking monk depended more on ability in battlefield exploits than on hereditary influences. Temples contained armed forces and military power and ‘the weaponry and warfare strategies used by monastic forces were identical to those of the secular warrior class’ (Adolphson 2007: 79). Those who carried arms inside the monasteries and temples, represented colloquially as armed monks (later dubbed as shōei), were of low-ranking consideration. Nonetheless, they were not the only ones bringing martial expertise to these religious institutions; fighters from outside such as estate warriors and shrine members (jinnin) were employed as armed forces. Most of them were related to temples due to their function as estate managers at various levels (Adolphson 2007: 71). The increase of shugō daimyō power forced autonomous warriors to find a strong patron because their lands could be reassigned to other warriors. Little by little, autonomous warriors came to be permanent retainers of strong patrons, something completed during the fifteenth century. The Ashikaga tried to get control over the shugō daimyō, which gained civil and military prerogatives in the provinces (they even got the right to design their own jitō). Shugō daimyō, acting as military governors, ruled over a patchwork of different properties: surviving estates of noble and religious institutions, properties owned by military men, and some tracts of public land. These military governors were able to integrate provincial landholders into an ‘orderly political community’ (Berry 1982: 14). The power of the shugō daimyō became so big that the shōgunate used diverse strategies to keep them under control. For instance, the shōgunate appointed most of them to non-contiguous provinces to avoid concentration of power in certain areas, even transferring some of the most threatening cases from place to place. Besides, the Ashikaga shōgun used a strategy later developed by the Tokugawa (see Chapter 5): they forced residence of shugō daimyō in the capital (Kyoto) under the surveillance of the shōgun, away from their provinces. Thus, the Muromachi period was characterised by the tension between the strong centre of power of the shōgunate competing with the provincial power of the shugō daimyō, who acted as political, economic, and military power in their lands, enforcing law by sheer force. During the fourteenth century, war was ‘to become the social order of things’ (Conlan 2003: 1), and the monopolised centralisation of violence achieved in Kamakura would progressively be shattered and passed into the hands of shugō daimyō. After the war ended by the end of the century, continuous small-scale conflict continued between the shugō daimyō but also between shugō daimyō and the shōgunate, even though the shōgun’s hegemony was maintained in a precarious situation until the beginning of the next cycle of violence in the 1460s. The shōgun remained as the hegemonic power at a national level, but shugō daimyō also rose as local powers (Conlan 2008: 228). As the local power of shugō daimyō kept increasing, more and more conflicts between their interests in the expansion of their zones of influence arose. The incapacity of a central power to curb the hostilities led the whole country to a more intense and pervasive cycle of violence: the Warring States period.

The emergence of composite martial ryu¯


Changes in warriors’ we-identity Through the successful establishment of the Kamakura shōgunate, Minamoto Yoritomo had influence to some extent over the attitude of the warrior as a distinctive social actor. At that time, an incipient warrior ‘class consciousness’ (Friday 2004: 10) started to be noticed. Nonetheless, Yoritomo was still considered subservient to the court. As the warriors as a social group gained predominance at a time of constant warfare during Muromachi, they started to developed an autonomous sense of we-identity, more detached from the court’s culture.1 Related to this sense as a social group is the rise in the importance of the role of the family as a key ‘survival unit’ for warriors during the late thirteenth century. The first visual depiction of a warrior family emblem or crest (mon) can be found during late thirteenth century in The Scrolls of the Mongol Invasion of Japan. The endemic war of the fourteenth century boosted independence movements within families, so many new family crests appeared at that time. Nevertheless, the overall result was an acute sense of family ties and alliance that helped to strengthen warrior families as distinct from noble families. Whereas during the fourteenth century, capital nobles and provincial warriors shared a fighting culture (Conlan 2003: 124–125), by the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, the development of a ‘warrior ethos’ was mature enough to differ clearly from courtiers. Social boundaries between both types were becoming clearer. Some fourteenth-century chronicles tended to ridicule nobles’ military prowess on the battlefield. For instance, in a chronicle called Tsurezuregusa, from 1330, we find that attitude: A great number of priests, nobles (tenjō bito) and even men of the highest rank enjoy the military arts. Nevertheless, even if such men win a hundred battles they cannot win the name of a warrior [.  .  .] Only one who prefers death to surrender after his forces have been scattered and his arrows exhausted can achieve the name of a warrior [. . .] Only those born to a warrior house, remote from humanity and close to beasts, can profit from war. (Yoshida Kenkō, in Conlan 2003: 126) A sense of a distinct set of warrior ideals started to emerge during the fourteenth century. The paramount Muromachi code called Kenmu shikimoku – an edict from 1336 strongly influenced by Confucianism – dealt with proper and just rulership by warrior leaders. The code placed special focus on the cultivation of decorum, etiquette being the appropriate social code for maintaining order. Warriors not only observed courtiers’ behaviour as a mode of proper conduct; they created their own etiquette codes known as buke kojitsu in the late fourteenth century. These works were the warrior version of yūsoku kojitsu, customs and practices of court ceremonies. In the buke kojitsu, we find diverse matters such as proper clothing or appropriate ways of entering and leaving the bath.

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Apart from these buke kojitsu documents during Muromachi, we find a greater sensitivity towards matters of etiquette and the expression of the necessity of balancing bu (military disciplines) and bun (literary disciplines) within the House Codes (buke kakun) from specific warrior families, specifically aimed at the upper echelons of the warrior group (Bennett 2015: 38). For instance, Ashikaga Takauji’s Tōjiin Goisho, written in 1357, stressed the importance of bunbu (literary and military arts) even though he made a distinction between high-ranked warriors, who needed the cultivation of the civil arts in order to gain proper ways of ruling, and lower-ranked warriors who should concentrate to a greater extent on the martial arts. He also deemed warrior and merchants groups completely different in their dedication and social functions. Also, the Chikubashō (ca.1383), written by Shiba Yoshimasa (1350–1410), and Imawaga ryōshin seishi by Imagawa Ryōshun (1325–1420) expressed ‘meticulous advice on social deportment and etiquette at social occasions such as where to sit at a banquet or how to exchange sake cups, and guidance on cleaning, travel etiquette and manner of speech’ (Bennett 2015: 38). The higher sensitivity towards the need for elaborate etiquette as expressed in the buke kojitsu and some parts of the buke kakun and the need of a balanced nature of the warrior through the bunbu ryōdō (excelling in the two ways of the civil and martial arts) show a mature stage in which higher echelons of the warrior group had integrated and re-elaborated court culture by their own means and constituted a strong, more autonomous sense of we-identity as a separate group. Even though they differed from courtiers, warriors at this stage seemed to act as ‘courtiers of military courts’. For instance, Yoshimasa urges warriors to read classical oeuvres such as the Genji Monogatari, as they provide ‘instructions for discerning people’s behaviour and judging the quality of their minds’ (in Hurst 1997: 218).

The social organisation of warfare According to Conlan, generals of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries did not command but collected armies (2008: 104–105). They had to convince their followers by granting land or giving them precious utensils. Ashikaga Takauji was much more successful in this policy than his opponent, retired emperor GoDaigo, and emerged as the winner of the competition. During the fourteenth century, armies were becoming more coherently grouped and expanded in size (Conlan 2008: 90) even though battle still was conducted on a small scale. Cavalry and infantry fought together in skirmishes and scattered melees, not in well-organised mass units (Conlan 2008: 60). Mounted and foot use of bow and arrow was predominant. Foot soldiers used difficult terrain for horses to manoeuvre and attack (foot soldiers even creating very basic fortifications), so they became easy targets for arrows or even swords. Overall, during the whole period, most wounds were due to arrows (Conlan 2003: 58–59). For instance, an analysis of wounds from the decade of 1330s, which witnessed

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the most intense fighting of the century,2 supports that statement: horse wounds (1333–1338): 61% arrows; 35% swords (related to ōdachi, a big battlefield sword); 3% pikes (wounds by pikes were the most deadly). Human wounds (1333–1338): 73% projectile (mostly arrows, few rocks); 25% swords; 2% pikes (Conlan 2008: 57). According to Suzuki’s (2000) statistical analysis of 1,302 documents, 87% of the wounds were due to arrows, 8% to swords or naginata, 3% to rocks, and 1% to spears. Even though the sword remained an auxiliary weapon, it could take a leading role in close-quarter fighting; according to Conlan (2008), swords generated 92% of wounds stemming from close-quarters combat in the fourteenth century (p. 88). According to Friday (2004: 132), the use of hand-to-to hand combat, using swords or other bladed weapons while grappling, usually occurred during the last stages of the battle, when warriors had exhausted their arrows or when one side was on retreat. During the period 1333–1338, a greater use of swords on foot was recorded. Probably this result was related to the fact that the fighting was conducted as skirmishes within the city of Kyoto and – despite the fact that some parts of the city were destroyed to allow mounted forces to manoeuvre – close-quarter clashes tended to appear more often. Sworsdmithing was at its apogee already in the thirteenth century, but whereas during the Kamakura era we identify 1,550 sword makers, some 3,550 were recorded for the Muromachi period (Hurst 1997: 232). Sword production in the fourteenth century was all over the country, but Kyoto remained the hub (Conlan 2003: 87–88). Even though a dismounted warrior could use a sword on foot, the use of the sword from horseback as a habitual practice is more controversial (Conlan 2003: 60). Grappling with weapons while mounted – either with sword or the ‘bear claw’ to dismount the opponent – is reflected in chronicles of the era, expressed in the saying ‘master of bow, horse and grappling’ and could have some veracity (Conlan 2003: 38–39). Warriors on foot were not the predominant actors in the battlefield during the fourteenth century but their presence increased. Data from the period 1333–1338 shows a 37% wound average to the legs. This data points towards an increase of foot soldiers on the battlefield; riders were protected by the saddle, so they were less prone to receive such wounds. During the last half of the century, the figure dropped to 27% due to improved protections such as thigh guards (haidate) and shin guards (sune ate), the latter much more common and widespread (Conlan 2008: 46). Moreover, the interest on ōdachi (very large swords, close to two metres) appeared in the fourteenth century, related to these skirmishers on foot, not mounted. The katana (a shorter version of the tachi, a sword carried while mounted) became widespread during the fourteenth century, signalling an increase in the use of swords by foot soldiers on battlefield. Due to the fact that low-ranking warrior (genin) were not considered of much worth3 and they constituted the bulk of the forces fighting on foot,4 it is difficult to access to the actual behaviour of warriors on foot through the reports written in petitions for rewards, something that the genin were not allowed to apply

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for. Nonetheless, the demands of warfare made armies more dependent on these ‘unworthy’ fighters, so their power potential was increasing. By the middle of the fourteenth century, foot soldiers started to be counted as military units. According to Conlan (2008: 62) documents from this time show military units consisting of 60 mounted warriors and 50 on foot. In comparison to Kamakura, during the Muromachi period, gender relations tilted more strongly towards men, especially within the warrior group. Even so, status during the fourteenth century still outweighed gender differences, and women could act as goke’nin, sometimes sending male relatives to fight in their stead (Conlan 2008: 126). Moreover, onna-musha (women warriors) fought as well as men even though the recorded battlefield documents indicate that female fighters in the battlefield were not as common as men. A force of female cavalry was registered in the diary of Chancellor Tōin Kinkata, recounting that ‘a feeble force’ fought in Western Japan during 1351 (Conlan 2003: 128), and some armours tailored for women’s bodies were found at the ōyamazumi shrine. Nonetheless, female fighters were not rewarded for fighting exploits (Tonomura 2012: 270).

The birth of archery and sword-related ryu¯ The early Muromachi period continued Kamakura’s trend, linking archery as a defining feature of higher-ranking warriors’ culture, with the three first Ashikaga shōgun establishing ground and mounted archery as part of warrior ceremonies. Archery was progressively moving from courtiers to warriors as the main actors taking part in the practice of bow and arrow for military and ceremonial purposes (Hurst 1998: 120). In the classical warrior code called Chikubashō (1368) archery is still identified as the defining warrior skill. The author refers to warriors as kyūzen o toru mono (those who draw bows), and he recommended the practice of archery skills as the core of martial training (Hurst 1997: 218). The influential warrior code called Imagawa Kabegaki, Ryōshun refers to the martial arts by saying, ‘It is natural to practice mounted archery and warfare’ (Hurst 1997: 220). Warriors coming from prominent lines such as the Ogasawara acted as archery teachers for the Ashikaga shōgunal house – something they have already performed during Kamakura: for example, Ogasawara Nagakiyo acted as Yoritomo’s archery teacher – and also the imperial family. Warrior ceremonial archery became standardised in Muromachi times. The Ogasawara family became specialists in outdoor mounted archery (tomuki) and the Ise family in indoor ground archery (uchimuki). These two warrior houses codified their archery styles in warrior ceremonies (buke kojitsu) based on the protocols of the ancient imperial court (yūsoku kojitsu). For instance, Ogasawara Sadamune wrote a treatise on kyūba and forms of etiquette in 1336. Besides, etiquette treaties on inuoumono (horseback shooting to dogs in a two-concentric-circle field) were abundantly published (Hurst 1997: 233). If the archery ryū were clearly related to higher ranks of the warriors’ group, the sword-related ryū appeared from a wider social base even though high-ranking

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connections were crucial for the patronage and transmission of the ryū. The founder of Nen ryū – the oldest recorded sogō (composite) ryū centred on swordsmanship – Nen Ami Jion (c.1350–1427), was the son of a relevant bushi of bow and arrow, supporting the Southern Court against the Ashikaga shōgunate, but became an orphan at the early age of seven. Nen Ami was trusted to a monk of the Jōdo sect in the Yugyo Monastery. After a while, Nen Ami was sent to Kyoto at a time when the city was a hub for swordsmanship, especially around the Kurama Temple,5 in which he was also trained in other weapons such as spear, naginata, or bō (long staff). His sword proficiency improved when he received instruction by a Chinese mercenary at the Anba temple in Kyoto and received further instruction in Kamakura by a Buddhist monk at the Jufuku temple (Hall 2012: 350). Then he decided to travel to Kyushu to join the loyalist forces (supporting the Southern Court) against the shōgunate. At least some records witness that Nen Ami faced battlefield action in 1372 (De Lange 2007: 87). Nen Ami performed shugyō (ascetic practice) at Anrakuji temple and received an oracle (musō) from Marishiten by the intermediation of a tengu. When peace was signed in 1392, Nen Ami returned to his birthplace and slew his father’s assassin in a duel. Without any land to inherit, Nen Ami assumed the Buddhist name of Jion and started a wandering journey of musha shugyō (warrior’s ascetic practice; see Chapter 4), even though there are not many accounts of his duelling encounters (De Lange 2007: 92). Almost 60 years old, Nen Ami Jion settled in the Chōfuku temple in the mountains, where he kept on teaching students, many of them conducting musha shugyō in search of martial enlightenment (De Lange 2007: 95). Some of his most advanced students started their own schools of swordsmanship, but there was one whose role became crucial for the systematisation and transmission of Nen Ami mastery: Chūjo Nagahide (1330s–1384). An old supporter of the shōgunate, he came from a relevant bushi family acting as aristocratic, high-ranking warriors since Kamakura. He received the martial tradition of his family, being an expert with sword, spear, and naginata. He was awarded the post of Dewa province and later the post of magistrate in charge of temples and shrines (jisha bugyō) and reached the higher echelons of the shōgunate by being appointed as a member of the Board of Councillors. Nen Ami and Chujō Nagahide met for first time at Jukufu temple and would continue a lifelong friendship and sharing of martial knowledge. Chujō Nagahide was key to organising and systematising Nen Ami’s style, enriching and modifying the tradition of the Chujō family to create a synthesis in what was known as Chujō ryū. As De Lange states, ‘It is to Chujō Nagahide’s great credit that Jion’s impressive heritage has been preserved to this very day’ (2007: 208). This is especially true if we take into account that Chujō Nagahide was appointed swordsmanship instructor of the third shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, during the Muromachi period. The influence of Nen ryū through Chujō ryū (see figure 4.1 in chapter 4) was sustained by Kanemaki Jisai, founder of the Kanemaki ryū,6 and especially by one of Kanemaki’s students, Itō Ittōsai, founder of Ittō Ryū, which would become later one of

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the two official swordsmanship traditions supported by the Tokugawa shōgunate (see Chapter 5). Nen ryū and its later development through Chujo ryū is the most famous surviving line of martial ryū from the early Muromachi period. It is feasible that some other ryū appeared at that time but could not survive. As de Lange (2008: 128) remarks, the problem of many ryū during early Muromachi was the lack of stability in the transmission, as the tradition was maintained in the same family only for a few generations. Many students that got in touch with such traditions through musha shugyō were coming from different clans, disseminating the knowledge into a myriad of lines. The casual connection of Nen Ami, a lowranking warrior/monk with a high-ranking warrior, Chujō Nagahide, helped to systematise the teachings and to secure, under Chujō’s patronage, the survival of the style for later generations. A subsequent explosion of sogō (composite) martial ryū occurred during the second cycle of violence known as the Warring States period. Their development occurred within broader changes in the dynamics of state formation and social organisation of warfare. The next sections analyse these matters in detail.

Dynamics of state formation during the Warring States period: from total war to the unification process The progressive decline of shōen (system of land commendation) from the middle of the fourteenth to the end of the sixteenth century is very telling about the changing power balance in the monopolies of violence and taxation. On one side, shugō daimyō (military governors) took an increasingly bolder policy to collect provincial income. If shugō daimyō had been a central pillar of the shōgun to keep certain stability in the whole country, constant warfare during the Warring States period would destroy many of them and bring the survivors to disobedience. The 25 or 30 shugō daimyō – simply known as daimyō during the Warring States period – who survived the previous elimination contests and made it into the Warring States period presented similar characteristics: they held single or adjacent provinces; they had not been transferred to other provinces; and they were distant from Kyoto (Berry 1982: 22). They held no loyalty to the shōgun anymore, creating their own law codes that supplanted shōgunal law in their domains. Daimyō also started to succeed at stabilising the group of warrior followers into fixed retainers. Eager to turn their warriors into direct vassals, daimyō issued house laws (kahō) and maxims to heirs (kakun) intended to dictate warriors’ behaviour (Hurst 1997: 214). These principles of warriors’ behaviour would include also behaviour while waging war. In 1541, we find a testament left by Hōjō Ujitsuna about commanders and samurai behaviour, marking a novel view. He recommended frugality, not being boisterous in victory. He also remarked that samurai should be treated according to rank (trying to establish a more fixed hierarchy). Such laws and maxims represented the explicitness of a maturing feeling

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of belonging to the warriors’ groups. They represent we-identity feelings of a more autonomous social group at a time when the ties between daimyō and vassals were becoming strengthened. Already by the 1550s, some daimyō were breaking the ties of their vassals to the land by keeping them engaged in lengthy military campaigns and forcing them to stay in the daimyō castletown (Butler 2012: 316). Daimyō also gained greater economic autonomy. They controlled the economic activity of their domain, attracting merchants and trade with different strategies on tax reduction and taking active roles in international trade, for instance sponsoring trade missions to China. Some daimyō fostered mining techniques in order to increase production of silver, copper, and other metals, and they even issued coin laws (erizeni rei) to be used in the domain (Segal 2012b: 296). Nonetheless, the authority of daimyō was not secured in their own territories. The Warring States period is commonly characterised by the term ‘gekokujō’, conveying the mastery of the high by the low. This term applies perfectly to the actions of some shugō deputies called kokujin, who oftentimes deposed inoperant shugō and emerged as daimyō: the Miyosi and the Oda were clear examples of kokujin rising as daimyō by overcoming their shugō. The continuous state of warfare among different daimyō made it impossible for proprietors to rely on a central government issuing rights over land. The different daimyō conducted cadastral surveys with little regard for the shōgunate’s mandate as they became the only legal authority on their own domains, which emerged as strong and independent units of government. This instability and the appearance of new agricultural techniques clearly benefited peasants that started to organise themselves to take control of shōen, especially those with absentee proprietors. By the fifteenth century, some peasants had formed villages, pooled common resources to purchase land and water rights, and demanded reduction of taxes by the proprietor (Segal 2012a: 176). During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, they formed organisations called ikki that allowed the peasants to successfully oppose the ruling authorities, even posing a great threat to the daimyō. The riots of 1428 and 1441 highlight the increasing power asserted by these leagues of peasants. Peasants could also ally with samurai to oppose the daimyō: in 1485, 36 kokujin (samurai) lords from the Yamashiro province joined forces of armed peasants and expelled the troops of the shugō daimyō, declaring a self-ruling area. One way for the daimyō to destroy ikki opposition and use them in his favour was to include in their band of retainers the upper stratum of the peasantry known as dogō or jizamurai, who became low-level retainers of the daimyō, enlisted as military subordinates (Nagahara 2008: 342). The period of unification (1573–1600) The period of unification represented a transition from a figuration of clashing survival units in an elimination contest towards a figuration of a balanced bakuhan dual system of the Tokugawa shōgunate. During the relatively short period

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of unification, this transition occurred in a two-step fashion that can be observed in the rulership of two great leaders: Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582) started to unbalance in a determinate way the more or less stable power balance between different daimyō during the Warring States period. The Oda family acted as small deputy administrators of the Shiba. During the sixteenth century, following the spirit of the times when the ‘low deposed the high’, the Oda started to gain prominence thanks to military actions commanded by Nobunaga. During the 1560s, Oda Nobunaga joined the forces of powerful daimyō, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Takeda Shingen, to destroy the Imagawa. Also during this decade, the Oda defeated the Saitō and gained control of the lands of Mino and Owari based on sheer military force. Nobunaga started to be considered a rising warrior leader, and Emperor Go-Nara and a weakened shōgun institution asked him for help. Nonetheless, from the 1570s, Oda Nobunaga tried to dispense with traditional centres of power and rule the land simply as a daimyō in the whole nation. He decided to eliminate the opposition of religious institutions and burned to the ground the powerful temple of Enryakuji in 1571; he sent the Ashikaga shōgun into exile in 1573; he resigned every court rank awarded by the emperor by 1578. He also defeated peasant opposition, slaying 20,000 men and women of the Ikkō Ikki in the battle of Nagashima (1574). By 1580, he imposed taxes on religious institutions and also such important cities as the capital, Kyoto. In 1581 Nobunaga launched a massive attack (40,000–60,000 men) against the mountain valleys of Iga and Koga, slaughtering the league of farmers and local warriors that had formed between 1152 and 1568 as a defence against Nobunaga’s aggressive policy and were widely known for their ninja guerrilla warfare (Ferejohn and Rosenbluth 2010). Nonetheless, all his plans came to an end when one of his vassals assassinated him in his residence of Kyoto in 1582. By that time, he had conquered one-third of the territory and threatened that every daimyō would end up conquered and subdued under his military rulership. Precisely because he was a threat not to traditional power centres (court-shōgunreligious institutions) but to the effective power centres (the daimyō domains) within the Warring States figuration, he was opposed by many daimyō alliances and was finally destroyed. If the military-imposed terror by Oda Nobunaga represented the last rattle of the decivilising-informalising trend of continuous war, it helped to shift gears towards a civilising-formalising trend in the hands of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s confederation policy. Hideyoshi (1537–1598), the son of a farmer and a part-time soldier, rose from the lowest ranks of Nobunaga’s army in 1558 to the rank of field commander and one of the most legitimate vassals of Oda Nobunaga. He gained control after the assassination of the latter, securing his position with a combination of dashing military actions and, above all, wise diplomacy, signing generous pacts and avoiding humiliation and destruction of the vanquished daimyō. By the 1590s, he had pacified the whole territory and made other daimyō support his military ventures, such as the two attempted campaigns to invade Korea in order to gain control over China. He accomplished all of this in a very different

The emergence of composite martial ryu¯


fashion than his predecessor. Hideyoshi did not base his rulership on the military conquest and destruction of other daimyō. He respected the domain as a key centre of power and rulership instead of abolishing it. He conferred lands generously on other daimyō and even more generously on those considered tozama, not his direct vassals (called fudai). He only controlled a limited extension of land and granted himself an overall value in koku (see what follows) smaller than that of other tozama daimyō such as the Tokugawa. After the political climate of terror imposed by Nobunaga, daimyō were prone to secure their domains, something that Hideyoshi’s policy helped to achieve. Hideyoshi’s (central ruler)/daimyō (domain rulers) figuration resulted as the best solution for stabilising warrior power without risking the destruction of individual players. Horizontal ties between daimyō (warrior estate) became more important than the vertical ties between warriors and important patrons (courtiers, religious institutions) that had prevailed until the Warring States period. Hideyoshi ended the possibility of armed resistance by religious institutions, something Oda Nobunaga had started previously. In 1585, Hideyoshi’s forces subdued religious institutions of the Kii peninsula and forced them to deliver weapons, an order that was quickly obeyed. This seizure of weapons was also extended to peasants in the ‘sword hunt edict’ of 1588.7 Thus, while maintaining a share of rulership of the land with the daimyō, Hideyoshi helped them to secure their twin monopoly of taxation and violence within their own domains. Hideyoshi ended up with the armed resistance of villages, finished the problem of villages as sources of recruitment for competing warrior leagues, and curtailed the villages as sources of independence for the fief holder. To further boost the separation of farmers from arms, he issued in 1591 and 1592 another set of his red-seal papers, in which Hideyoshi established a clear demarcation of farmers from warriors. So to say, these measures were also very productive for Hideyoshi as a central ruler: he gained direct taxation of land through daimyō controlling the land of the villages and gained direct access to military men through military taxes imposed on daimyō. However, in order to carry out such legal registrations, he had to devise a system of national cadastral campaigns to improve previous land surveys conducted by daimyō. In what constitutes a clear example of the tight relationship between sociogenesis and technogenesis within the civilising process, Hideyoshi’s success in control over the population was closely intertwined with the implementation of a national system of measurement. With all the limitations taking into account, Hideyoshi’s standardising of the national standards for measure – already working in 1594 – was predicated on the agreement of a ‘national policy’ by daimyō, allowing Hideyoshi to take care of these matters from a central position, collaborating with their own officials (sometimes jointly with Hideyoshi deputies) in conducting the surveys. So to say, only when Japan’s confederation as a political system was stabilised nationwide were the standards able to work. Not only this, Hideyoshi was able to create a standard to measure the productivity of the land in terms of rice equivalence (the kokudaka system). At this time, no national monetary system had

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been developed, even though some exchange rates between rice in relation to silver and gold existed, and Hideyoshi imposed a tax on the mining of these metals on some daimyō (Berry 1982: 116). Hideyoshi rewarded and acknowledged daimyō through rice production not by extension of land. He used the kokudaka system as a way to impose not only rice production taxation but also manpower levies for construction and, more importantly, a military tax (gun’yaku) on daimyō. The rate was about four to five retainers per 100 koku (equivalent to five bushels of rice, about 175 litres, enough to feed a person for one year), so the most influential daimyō were to help with more military men for Hideyoshi’s cause. This is not to say a national military army was present at that time. The domainal system held, and retainers were directly controlled by daimyō, being able to mobilise incredible forces: in both Korean campaigns of 1590s, armed forces of between 140,000 and 160,000 men were mobilised. Hideyoshi was just the powerful centre in a multi-power confederate balance sustaining the monopoly of violence and taxation. At the same time that he ordered the destruction of many scattered fortification/castles that had been used previously to spearhead offensive campaigns, he permitted daimyō to build their own sturdy castle residences as a consolidated symbol of domainal rule. The question of symbolic legitimation became uppermost once the country was gaining a peaceful stability. Hideyoshi’s pacifying policy was based on the restoration of the imperial court as a source of traditional legitimacy for his own rulership. He accepted the position of Imperial Regent (Kampaku) and Great Minister of State in 1586 and did not appointed himself shōgun. He granted lands to courtiers and temples and helped to restore Kyoto and religious residences. He exploited the court’s culture and taste as a way to dwell in the centre of production of the means of orientation that acted as the source of legitimation of the whole system. For instance, his patronage of Nō drama (even performing in some plays) and his massive tea parties (at the Kitano tea party of 1587, he personally served tea to 800 guests) projected a benevolent/powerful image even to the commoners. Through different edicts, he fostered status differentiation and competition among the daimyō, something that would become more pronounced during the Tokugawa shōgunate (see Chapter 5). After Hideyoshi’s death, his camp divided into two sides: those daimyō who maintained loyalty to the Toyomoti house, supporting Hideyoshi’s five-year-old child as the legitimate ruler and those opposing it, gathering around the command of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Being the only daimyō of high origins within Oda Nobunaga’s selected group, Ieyasu had already disputed Hidesyoshi’s leadership in 1584. Tokugawa forces won the definitive battle of Sekigahara in 1600, and Ieyasu was proclaimed shōgun in 1603 and destroyed the remaining opposition in the Osaka campaigns of 1615. Nonetheless, the resulting figuration in what came to be known as the Tokugawa shōgunate was only a late development of Hideyoshi’s times. Overall, Toyotomi Hideyoshi set the basis for later Tokugawa policy.

The emergence of composite martial ryu¯


The social organisation of warfare The lack of a central authority under constant warfare led daimyō to secure areas under their own jurisdiction. Thus, warfare for warriors was not anymore conducted as a way to gain grants and ranks but to conquer and defend land (Friday 2004: 168). During the Warring States period, the mon (crest) came to represent a daimyō seal instead of a warrior family (Conlan 2008: 20), a symptom that the survival units for warriors had become bigger, the process of integration advancing towards bigger groups. During this period, a progressive shift from skirmishing to massive defensive tactics occurred (Conlan 2008: 83). The armies were basically forces of occupation of land, and the bulk of the armies were based on pikemen. The pike or the spear became more relevant as the main weapon of the warrior (Friday 2004). High-ranking bushi were still present in the battlefield. Horsemen consisted of 10 to 20% of an army (Conlan 2008: 170), but the use of bows and arrows tended to be replaced by the use of the spear while on horseback more and more often. The sword still played a role of a secondary option and lost predominance to the pikes in close-quarter fighting: while swords generated 92% of wounds stemming from close-quarters combat in the fourteenth century, they only generated 20% from 1467 onwards; pikes went from 2% during the fourteenth century to 80% from 1467 until 1600 (Conlan 2008: 88). This shift is related to the biggest innovation in warfare occurring at that time, which was a sociological one. The true military revolution during the Warring States period came with the introduction, organisation, and coordination of mass infantry in the battlefield (Parker 2002). The armies became bigger and more organised among different components; there was specialisation of functions and use of weapons in the army. The vanguard in the battlefield was composed of a force of ashigaru (foot soldiers) in packs of gunnery and archers or using pikes as a phalanx accompanied by samurai (of higher rank than mere ashigaru) on foot wielding shorter spears and swords, wearing light armour. As Conlan reminds us, there was no clear-cut identification between status and riding a horse (2008: 137); even though riders were of high status, some of these warriors could also act on foot. These samurai on foot would later lead the transition from techniques of the battlefield to techniques of duelling during their pilgrimages known as musha shugyō (see Chapter 4). The increasing importance of foot soldiers in the battlefield afforded them a path to raise their status and rank: leading figures in the unification of the country, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, came from the low ranks of the samurai. In fact, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was an ashigaru in Oda Nobunaga’s army who later would acquire samurai status and became ruler of Japan. Many ashigaru in the Warring States period would be officially acknowledged as lower-ranking samurai during Tokugawa period (Turnbull 1998: 144). A relevant innovation during the period of unification was the adequate use of firearms in the battlefield by some of the daimyō. Even though overall the introduction of firearms to the battlefield did not lead to the supremacy of infantry, based mainly on mass formations of pikemen, the adequate use of firearms

52 Warriors

was prominent for some daimyō. The most famous example comes from the first unifier of the country: Oda Nobunaga. Even though firearms had arrived on the Japanese coast in the hands of Portuguese merchants in 1543, the reliable use of guns in the battlefield did not come until the 1570s. Overall, daimyō and temples from central Japan made more advantageous use of firearms than Eastern daimyō during the 1570s. The battle of Nagashino in 1575, in which Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa allies defeated the Takeda forces, is a clear example of the effectiveness of a combined infantry of gunners interspersed among archers and pikemen. The number of gunners was from 500 to 1000 within a force of 18.000 warriors. However, guns did not supplant bows as the preferred distance weapon until 1600. Most casualties in the Sekigahara battle (1600) were due to pikes and guns dominated projectile wounds over arrows (80% of the wounds caused by projectiles were due to bullets). In previous decades, bows and guns shared analogous rates: e.g. in the decade of 1580, bullet wounds caused 19% and arrow wounds 16% (Conlan 2008: 163). Women were also part of the cycle of violence across the country, and they took part in battles, defending fortresses or castletowns alongside men. For instance, in 1589 the Jesuit Louis Frois described how women defended Amakusa Hondo Castle so bravely that they ‘filled the moat with the bodies they slew’ (Tonomura 2012: 270). The book called The Memoir of Oan narrated a woman’s experience at the battle of Sekigahara (1600) in which women helped by casting bullets for muskets.

Increase in musha shugyo¯ and foundation of martial ryu¯ Musha shugyō, a warrior’s training consisting in an ascetic journey characterised by great austerity and aimed at the honing of the martial skills of those embarked on it, was closely related to the development of classical martial ryū (see Chapter 4 for a comparison of musha shugyō during both cycles of violence). It became a very common practice during the Warring States period. This phenomenon increased even more after Sekigahara when confrontations on the battlefield became rarer (just Osaka campaigns in 1615 and Shimabara Rebellion in 1637) and individual encounters through musha shugyō became more widespread (Uozumi 2010: 120), especially after a huge number of rōnin (masterless samurai) abounded across the country. The expansion of musha shugyō and the establishment of a more pacified situation during the unification period and the formation of the Tokugawa shōgunate permitted the needed stability for different ryū to allow transmission from master to student, something really difficult during the previous period of constant war. The subjection of the warriors, forced to live in castletowns of their daimyō, favoured a situation in which warriors – some of them rōnin – sought employment as martial arts instructors in a daimyō’s domains as a way to find a stable position in the progressively ossified figuration. Thus, musha shugyō was

The emergence of composite martial ryu¯


maintained as a strategy to find a position in the daimyō’s organisation. In fact, if not for to the support of Hideyoshi (and later patronage by Ieyasu Tokugawa), one of the most influential swordsmanship ryū of the era, the Kage ryū transmitted by the Yagyū family, would have been lost forever. Nonetheless, the search for jobs to fit into the daimyō’s hierarchy was not the only factor affecting the increase of musha shugyō during the unification period. The ‘prohibition’ of free movement between domains for samurai fostered musha shugyō as a way for daimyō to gain useful information about other domains; the separation of warriors from farmers fostered warriors’ we-identity as a separate social group, and musha shugyō became identified as a legitimate method of self-perfection for warriors; the relatively pacified territory full of seasoned warriors permitted some ‘quest for excitement’ for these travelling warriors once the action on the battlefield did not exist anymore. The practice of musha shugyō by battlefield-seasoned warriors was crucial for the development of sogō (composite) ryū during this second cycle of violence. Take for instance the titanic figure of Tsukahara Bokuden (1489–1572), an expert in sword and spear, who fought 37 battles and 19 duels with live blades during his three musha shugyō, taught as an instructor to the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru, and founded the Kashima Shintō ryū. He is an early example of upwards social mobility due to martial feats during these gekokujō (the ‘lower depose the higher’) times. A myriad of middle- and low-ranking samurai created and developed their own understanding of combat, founding several ryū (see figure 4.1 in chapter 4) strongly based on sword and/or spear techniques at their core, even though some of them also included other weapons such as the naginata (glaive). Examples of this kind of ryū were the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū, Kashima Shintō ryū, Shinkage ryū, Ittō ryū, Tendō ryū, and Hōzōin ryū. Nonetheless, in some composite ryū, other weapons took the central role; for example, Shintō Muso ryū featured the jō (short staff) as the core weapon of the composite system. Moreover, some composite ryū such as the Takenouchi ryū or the Araki ryū placed special importance in the development of grappling while in armour, using small weapons such as a short sword or a dagger. The terms used for this kind of fighting were ‘yoroi kumiuchi’ (grappling in full armour) and ‘kogusoku’ (armed grappling in light armour). These ryū were instrumental for the later development of barehanded ryū during Tokugawa (Hall 2012: 490–491). Not developed as a composite ryū but related to their same dynamics, we find archery ryū. Chronicles of the sixteenth century depicted warriors using bow and arrow while on musha shugyō. Shichikuro Maebasi, a well-known master of the Ise sword style, was killed by an arrow shot by Chikasige Imaeda, an archer from Bingo province visiting Ise on musha shugyō. Moreover, the master of the spear, Hōzōin In’ei, defeated Kikunumi Nii Munemasa, an archer who came to Nara to challenge him (Hurst 1998: 44). The most famous archery ryū of the era was the Heki ryū, created by Heki Danjō Masatsugu (1444–1502) around 1480 as an archery ryū for foot soldiers (Tomoyuki 2009: 94). As other martial ryū originators, Heki underwent shugyō, experiencing an oracle revelation (musō) about

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three principles that would revolutionise archery (Hall 2012: 144). Moreover, he fertilised his system with elements from Shintō, Buddhism, and Taoism. According to Hurst, ‘the addition of these features represents, as in swordsmanship, the emergence of archery as a true martial art, with both spiritual and physical aspects to its practice’ (1998: 122). The Heki ryū was continued by influential figures such as Yoshida Shigekata (1463–1543), splitting into various branches such as Hinsai-ha, the Sekka-ha, Dōsetsu-ha, or Sakon’emon-ha. It is very telling that since Heki’s time, the previous archery traditions such as the Takeda, Ogasawara, and Ise – focused on ceremonial shooting – were reconsidered ‘old’ ryū in contrast to the ‘new’ ryū such as Heki’s. An important shift had occurred there. The ‘old’ ryū, imperfectly organised and lacking a true systematisation (Hurst 1998: 122), were the expression of a cultural milieu of elites, of the good society of courtiers and higher-ranked warriors; no need to organise or explicitly state something that was understood by those within the circle of the court. As the Warring States period unfolded, ceremonial archery continued in the hands of ‘old’ ryū such as Ise and Ogasawara (the Takeda family waned in influence). More and more detached from their battlefield application, they paid special attention to etiquette, poise, and decorum (Hurst 1998: 121). The ‘new’ ryū, by contrast, expressed something different: the practices of middle-/ low-ranking warriors related to battlefield skills but systematised as a way of self-perfection. Not developed as a ryū per se but related to the broad category of bugei during the Muromachi period, we find sumō. On the one hand, sumō was still considered by military leaders a useful training activity for warriors; for example, Oda Nobunaga had sumō bugyō, who trained his warriors. On the other hand, sumō progressively gained the status of entertainment activity. Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi became famous sumō patrons who organised huge tournaments by the last third of the sixteenth century (Cuyler 1979: 50). Sumō served also as a fundraising activity at shrines (dubbed kanjin sumō or benefit sumō contests) during the mid-Muromachi period. So well established was that practice that the shōgunate tried to levy a special tax (the sumai sen) on these matches. The nature of benefit sumō matches shows something about the lower status of sumō compared to the aforementioned martial ryū. Sumō wrestlers were sponsored by temples or shrines, and they fought volunteers from the audience that would come one after another to depose the champion wrestler. Even though this type of sumō allowed some low-ranking warriors to make a living, a professional occupation that included a kind of entertainment for the masses received lesser consideration when compared, for instance, with the professional occupation of martial instructors of the different domains.

Notes 1 For instance, Ashikaga Takauji started to perform services for death in battle (something formerly exclusive for the emperor), competing for this symbolic dimension in

The emergence of composite martial ryu¯


3 4 5

6 7


an era in which life and death were seen through a religious lens. Ashikaga relied on Buddhism (Shingon and Zen), generating a national network of temples and pagodas. Conlan (2003) divides the cycle of fourteenth-century war into four periods, the first one being the wildest: 1333–1338: more military actions and more deaths: 60% of all the fatalities occurring in 1333–1392 occurred during 1333–1338 (Conlan 2008: 61);1339– 1349; 1350–1355: military actions increased again but not deaths; and 1356–1394. A genin’s head was not worth taking in the battlefield as proof for reward. Genin were usually tortured when captured, something inappropriate for warriors with a name (Conlan 2003: 37). There was already a differentiation among foot troops: Goke’nin followers used haramaki armour, and genin foot soldiers wore an even cheaper version called hara-ate. The Kurama Temple was dedicated to the war god Bishamonten, contained several manuscripts on Chinese strategy and sword techniques, and acted also as the receptor of the esoteric traditions such as Marishiten cult, as expressed by the fact that the Gohō Maō Son, one of the leading dai-tengu, presides at Kurama temple. Thus, the blend of esoteric tradition and swordsmanship proficiency, two of the key factors in the origins of martial ryū, were already present there. Originating from the Kurama temple, eight important swordsmanship styles known as Kyō Hachi Ryū seemed to develop during the twelfth century. The founder, Ki’ichi Hōgen, being versed in esoteric tengu-related traditions, passed his knowledge to various students, being one of the most famous Minamoto Yoshitsune (from the famous Minamoto clan) who started the Yoshitsune ryū (Mol 2010: 85). Another prominent student of Kanemaki ryū was Sasaki Kōjiro Ganryu (founder of Sasaki Gan Ryū), who starred in one of the most famous duels against Musashi, the former losing his life in the encounter. Hideyoshi found a useful precedent during Oda Nobunaga’s regime in the policy of daimyō Shibata Katsuie, who decided to confiscate the weapons of farmers in his Echizen domain.

References Adolphson, M.S. (2007). The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Berry, M.E. (1982). Hideyoshi. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Butler, L. (2012). The Sixteenth-Century Reunification. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 278–288. Conlan, T. (2003). State of war: The Violent Order of Fourteenth-Century Japan (No. 46). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Conlan, T. (2008). Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200–1877 AD. Phoenix, AZ: Amber Books. Cuyler, P.L. (1979). Sumo: From Rite to Sport. New York: Weatherhill. De Lange, W. (2007). Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Two Courts Period. Warren, CT: Floating World Editions. De Lange, W. (2008). Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Period of Unification. Warren, CT: Floating World Editions. Ferejohn, J.A. and Rosenbluth, F.M. (2010). War and State Building in Medieval Japan. In J.A. Ferejohn and F.M. Rosenbluth, F. (eds.). War and State Building in Medieval Japan. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, pp. 1–21.

56 Warriors Friday, K.F. (2004). Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan. New York: Routledge. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. New York: Kodansha International. Hurst, G.C., III. (1997). The Warrior as Ideal for a New Age. In J.P. Mass (ed.). The Origins of Japan’s Medieval World: Courtiers, Clerics, Warriors, and Peasants in the Fourteenth Century. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 209–233. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Mol, S. (2010). Classical Swordsmanship of Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu. Brussels: Eibusha. Nagahara, K. (2008). The Medieval Peasant. In K. Yamamura (ed.). The Cambridge History of Japan (Vol. 3). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 301–343. Parker, G. (2002). The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Segal, E. (2012a). The Shōen System. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 167–177. Segal, E. (2012b). The Medieval Economy. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 289–298. Suzuki, M. (2000). Katana to kubi-tori: Sengoku kassen isetsu. Tokyo: Heibonsha shinsho. Tomoyuki, Y. (2009). What Is Kobudō? In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo: The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation, pp. 87–101. Tonomura, H. (2012). Gender Relations in the Age of Violence. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 267–277. Turnbull, S. (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. London: Arms & Armour Press. Uozumi, T. (2010). Appendix 1: Timeline of Japanese History and Budo. In T. Uozumi and A. Bennett (eds.). The History and Spirit of Budō. IBU Budō Series Vol. 1. Tokyo: International Budo University, pp. 119–124.

Chapter 4

Excursus The origins of martial ryu¯

The stabilisation and systematisation of the classical martial ryū (koryū) was favoured by the more peaceful times after each of the two cycles of violence of the Two Courts period and the Warring States period. Starting almost at the end of the first cycle during the fourteenth century, we find what Farris (2006) dubbed as the ‘Muromachi optimum’, going from 1370 to 1450, when a rise of commercial activities, long-term population growth, and creation of villages took place. This period of stability was ruined again by the Warring States period that probably destroyed martial traditions, Nen ryū representing a rare case that survived the era. Another optimum period of stability for martial traditions came with the establishment by Hideyoshi of a confederational system – which would be continued in the baku-han system of the Tokugawa shōgunate – permitting many ryū to develop within specific domains in the hands of martial arts instructors, favouring its systematisation and transmission. Even though many of these classical martial ryū are considered nowadays as swordsmanship traditions, the martial ryū originated in both cycles of violence – especially the second – were sogō (composite field-systems) ryū, containing different weapons in their curricula. Archery ryū were also developed by warriors, even though they maintained certain specific characteristics of their own. Figure 4.1 presents some of the most remarkable ryū that appeared from the early Muromachi until the early Tokugawa period. The exceeding importance of swordsmanship over other weapons in many of these ryū may have been exacerbated due to the process of specialisation that martial ryū underwent during the Tokugawa period, in which the sword became more suitable for civil use instead of weapons such as the yari (spear) or the naginata (glaive). The same pattern of specialisation of empty-handed techniques occurred a bit later, in the mid and late Tokugawa period (see Chapter 6). Most of the ryū originated in both cycles of violence included some common features: the social organisation of warfare, weapons, and social actors leading martial traditions; their connections to esoteric traditions; the influence of the hafuribe, or shrine attendants; and the importance of musha shugyō conducted by the founders of martial ryū.

Two Courts (1336–1392)

Warring States (1467–1573)

Unification (1573–1600)

Heki ryū Heki Masatsugu (1444–1502)

Yoshida ryū Yoshida Shigekata (1463–1543)

Kashima Shintō ryū Tsukahara Bokuden (1489–1572) Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū Iizasa Chōisai Ienao (1387–1488)

Early Tokugawa (1600–1645)

Kashima Shin ryū Matsumoto Bizen Masanobu (1467–1524)

Tendō ryū Saitō Denkibo (c.1550–1588)

Shinkage ryū Kamiizuni Nobutsuna (1508–1578)

Kage ryū Aisu Ikō (1452–1538)

Shintō Musō ryū Musō Gonnosuke (c.1575–1645)

Hōzōin ryū Hōzōin In’ei (1521–1607)

Jigen ryū Tōgō Shigekata (1560–1643)

Edo Yagyū ryū Yagyū Munemori (1571–1667)

Yagyū Shinkage ryū Yagyū Muneyoshi (1527–1606) Kanemaki ryū Kanemaki Jisai (c.1536–c.1615)

Chujō ryū Chujō Nagahide (1330s–1384)

Ittō ryū Itō Ittōsai (1550–1653) Nen ryū Nen Ami Jion (1351–1427)

Ono-ha Ittō ryū Ono Tadaaki (1565–1628) Enmei Ryū Minamoto Musashi Yoshimoto

Niten Ichi ryū Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645)

Tori ryū Minamoto Muninosuke

Araki ryū Araki Munisai Hidetsuna (c.1584–1638) Takenouchi ryū Takenouchi Isamori (1469–1535)

Kito ryū (c.1637) Ibaraki Sensai

Seigō ryū Mizuhaya Nobumasa (C.1568–C.1630) Kyūshin ryū (c.1560–8) Inugami Nagakatsu

Sekiguchi ryū Sekiguchi Jūshin (1598–1670)

Figure 4.1 Martial ryu¯ origins and transmission during the two cycles of violence and their aftermaths. Note: dotted arrow line indicates controversial transmission.



Social organisation of warfare, weapons, and social actors leading martial traditions During the Two Courts Period, warfare was based on skirmishes and scattered melees, not on organised mass units, based mainly on mounted and on-foot bow and arrow. Nonetheless, the foot warriors’ wielding of large swords (ōdachi) or smaller swords (katana) in hand-to-hand combat increased. Even though swordsmanship and other hand-to-hand weapons were not statistically relevant in warfare when compared to bow and arrow, they allowed certain combatants to develop some skills that would be later honed through musha shugyō, as in the case of Nen Ami Jion, founder of Nen ryū. During the Warring States period, the organisation and coordination of mass infantry became a ‘true military revolution’. Among the infantry, bushi on foot wielding swords and spears would be the main actors in the development of martial ryū. Thus, the main developers of martial ryū during these two cycles of violence did not come from high-ranking mounted warriors. Most of the martial ryū founders came from middle and lower ranks, even though predominance did not imply exclusivity; Chujō Nagahide, Hōzōin In’ie, and Tsukahara Bokuden came from relatively high echelons of society. The influence of esoteric traditions As Friday remarks, the medieval bushi ‘were no more estranged from the superhuman forces around them than were other Japanese of their age’ (2004: 13). The most significant deity connected to all these esoteric traditions influencing the warriors was Marishiten (Knutsen 2011; Hall 1997). As Buddhist sects became predominant, they proposed an interesting synthesis of many of the other religious traditions. During these first stages of development, a blend of esoteric belief systems of different kinds was the main tool for the psycho-emotional component of martial ryū practitioners. Esoteric Buddhism1 assimilated the cult of Marishiten, originally introduced in Japan from the Chinese mainland around the sixth century by Taoist mystics living in the mountain regions, protected by warrior guilds as the Yama-be, from which proto-yamabushi appeared. By the Muromachi period, cross-fertilisation between shamanistic rites of shugendō, native beliefs of Shintō2, esoteric Buddhist (mikkyō), Taoist beliefs, and practices impregnating mountain areas were transmitted by the ‘shrine-temple multiplex’ to the population in general and more specifically to the bushi, strongly connected to the cult of Marishiten.3 The presence of Marishiten and tengu4 (her messengers) in many documents of koryū (ancient ryū) indicates that her influence was very strong since the Muromachi period. For instance, Nen ryū’s text Marishiten setsu shōgun kyō stated that the founder of the ryū, Nen Ami Jion (1351–c.1427), received inspiration from Marishiten through the mediation of a tengu (Hall 2012: 350). Also, Kamiizumi Nobutsuna, founder of the famous Shinkage ryū, wrote in 1566, ‘After practicing the secret rituals of Marishi-sonten

60 Warriors

day after day  for  a  long  period, training night and day, I received an inspiration from the deity and, suddenly, from my heart [the Shinkage ryū] gushed out’ (quoted in Knutsen 2011: 182; brackets added). Surviving documents, generally known as denshō, of different ryū show images of Marishiten or tengu, the drawings of the tengu nearly always placing the creature in the ‘senior’ or ‘teaching’ role (Knutsen 2011: 14). Relevant ryū as old as Nen ryū or Kashima Shintō ryū refer to tengu as spiritual messengers instructing warriors in swordsmanship (Hall 2012: 500). Several ryū documents from the early Tokugawa period also included some tengu forms – for example, those of Shinkage ryū, the Taisha ryū, the Hasegawa Shigenobu ryū, Shingan ryū, or the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shinto ryū. Most of these ryū were centred on the sword as the main weapon. Nonetheless, we find Marishiten-related images in spear ryū such as Saburi ryū (Mol 2008: 42), or even in jūjutsu ryū such as Yoshin ryū (Mol 2008: 51), and it is likely that naginata- (glaive-) centred ryū would show such imagery as well, even though they have been lost (Knutsen 2011: 161). Esoteric Buddhist rites connected to magic were considered a kind of shugyō (cultivation practice) and were present in many of the early martial ryū practices. Repetitive recitation of sutras or worship were among the esoteric rites. In fact, part of the shugyō consisted of the performance of different esoteric rites in order to gain direct access to the revelation of the highest ‘secrets’ of the art. As these secrets of the art were not originally cognitively constructed but intuited during the stress of battle or the arduous training of shugyō, they were viewed as spiritual revelations. That is why many ryū included in their names terms such as ‘muso’ (dream-vision), ‘musoken’ (clear vision sword strategy), ‘muso shinden’ (transmission of the dream-vision of the deity), ‘tenshin shoden’ (true and correct transmission from the deity), and ‘shotengu’ (direct transmission from tengu). Besides, some of the names of the strategies and techniques transmitted in these ryū reflected concepts of volition, invisibility, and divine origins, and the second set of techniques from many ryū is simply called okugi, translated as secret principles or inner mysteries (Hall 1997: 103–104). The hafuribe connection: shrines as hubs for esoteric beliefs and martial techniques Oftentimes religious institutions are conceived as being opposed to armed action. Nonetheless, the difference between secular and religious violence was much less clear in pre-modern times. As Elias remarked in his analysis of the civilising process, religious institutions should not be treated as a separate domain; they present the same degree of social development as the whole society in which they are immersed. As Adolphson points out in the Japanese case: Temples and monks were as affected by social upheaval and political changes as the rest of society and as the gradual militarisation of society in the tenth century induced important changes within the monastic communities, so



did the social challenges of the thirteenth. Far from being isolated institutions with little connection to the world outside, monasteries were part and parcel of the social developments of the Kamakura age. (2007: 66) During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, temples and more often shrines acted as sites in which different blends of esoteric traditions and martial practices took place. Surviving written documents describe how originators of most relevant martial ryū present as common features the experience of musha shugyō (warrior’s pilgrimage; see what follows) connected to a shrine in which ‘to put their divine inspiration into a proper perspective’ (Knutsen 2011: 30). For instance, Nen Ami Jion was supposed to have received an oracle (musō) from Marishiten that helped him in founding Nen ryū while conducting shugyō at the temple of Anrakuji, in the island of Kyushu. Kamiizumi Hidetsuna (1508–1578), founder of the famous Shinkage ryū, who described in the Kage ryū no Mokuroku (‘Catalogue of the Kage School’) the ascetic practice of shugyō at the Udo Shrine by his teacher, Aisu Ikō (1452–1538), writes as follows: Now when Ikō came to a province on the island of Kyushu, there was a shrine called the Great Gonden of Udo. There, he confined himself for thirty-seven days in devout prayer that he might spread his school under the heaves. By thus deeply immersing himself in prayer, he achieved divine knowledge. (in De Lange 2006: 187) There is no need to accept these narratives at face value to concede that esoteric/ martial practices for these ryū originators were connected in religious institutions such as shrines and temples. These institutions were not only transmitting a set of religious beliefs but also represented a reservoir of martial knowledge in the hands of monks or shrine attendants (hafuribe), respectively. By the mid-fourteenth century, Nen Ami Jion trained with priests in Kuramadera temple and also with a priest called Eiyū at Jufukuji temple (Hall 2012: 350). Most of the ryū founders of the Warring States era either were related to shrine attendants – for example Iizasa Chōisai Ienao, founder of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō Ryū, was heavily influenced by hafuribe from Kashima and Katori shrines – or were shrine attendants themselves – for example Tsukahara Bokuden, founder of Kashima Shinto ryū, was from the Urabe clan, shrine attendants at Kashima Grand Shrine. What was the origin of these shrine attendants? How had they developed a distinctive style of swordsmanship? Originally, shrine attendants5 called hafuribe were warriors from hereditary martial houses who carried out special ceremonial duties connected to shrines (Knutsen 2011: 208). Hereditary martial houses awarded by the imperial court during the Heian period had already developed certain proficiency in sword-related skills. Even though sword was never the main battlefield weapon, even during the Warring States period, it always played an important part in bodyguard functions; it was a perfect weapon to be used in closed premises

62 Warriors

such as houses and other civil scenarios.6 During the tenth century, warriors took part in religious provincial rites at Shintō shrines, performing sumō, dancing, and archery and becoming part of the provincial staff depending on the governor. By the thirteenth century, to serve at Shintō shrines was a privilege of martial heritage (Farris 1995: 185). During the fourteenth century, we find petitions of rewards linked to battle service from priests and shrine attendants (Conlan 2003: 176–177). Priests oftentimes were indistinguishable from warriors, and shrine attendants were basically warriors with shrine office. In fact, they also got into armed conflict in disputes over land that became common during the Muromachi period. For instance, in 1314, an armed clash between warriors and the servants of Hie shrine ended up in the destruction of the shrine main building but also in wounds of different considerations inflicted by the shrine defenders (Adolphson 2007: 78). Thus, by the medieval era, some of the higher-ranking warriors of the martial houses acted as hereditary shrine attendants, blending martial skills and esoteric traditions, performing rituals and ceremonies including swordsmanship. Iconic examples of these families with martial heritage were the Urabe, hafuribe of Kashima shrine, or the Yoshida line of the Urabe, developers of Yoshida Shintō during late Muromachi.7 Probably the most influential case on the role of hafuribe in the origins of martial ryū is to be found at the Kashima and Katori Shrines, in Ibaraki prefecture (northeast of Tokyo).8 The swordsmanship tradition of Kashima, known as Kashima-no-tachi (the sword of Kashima), is related to Kuninazu-no-Mahito, a Kashima Grand Shrine attendant (Friday 1997: 22). During the Kamakura period, Kashima Grand Shrine was already an important centre for the study of military arts as well as a major landholder in the area. The hafuribe at the Kashima shrine were the Urabe, who were connected to the Yamabe, warriorshamans from whom the yamabushi spawned.9 The swordsmanship tradition of Kashima was very influential in the creation or development of some of the most important ryū such as Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō Ryū, Kashima Shinto ryū, Kashima Shin ryū, and Shinkage ryū. The relevance of musha shugyo¯ Aping the methods of the yamabushi ascetics of shugendō – basically consisting of wandering through mountains and confronting death as a way of spiritual purification – bushi aimed at reaching ultimate insights on their martial arts by the practice of cultivation. The Buddhist practice of personal cultivation is expressed in Japanese by the term ‘shugyō’ (Yuasa 1987: 85), which, through arduous training, intends the enhancement of the personality. Musha shugyō was a way to hone martial skills by wandering through different daimyō domains and confronting well-reputed bushi. It was a kind of duel – in the sense that was a one-on-one encounter – but the main reason was to test and improve martial technique and advance in the path of self-perfection. Quite often, the confrontation was made with wooden weapons (such as a bokken or wooden sword), and the loser would



become a disciple of the winner. Nonetheless, the encounters could involve live blades and get nasty in terms of injuries, and even death was not uncommon. The sword was the most commonly used weapon, but yari (spear), naginata (glaive), kusarigama (a sickle with a chain), or even bow and arrow were options. Normally a warrior under musha shugyō would post a challenge announcement on a wooden signboard for local fighters to come and fight. Such duels could entail an isolated place but also could be witnessed by daimyō or even the shōgun (as the father of Miyamoto Musashi did before the shōgun Yoshiaki Ashikaga). The duel of one on one implied in the musha shugyō allowed for a quasi-study situation. In fact, the instruction implied in the experience was one of the most important features. This bracketed fighting situation allowed a more systematic study of techniques and a development of a true theory of combat, not just a cluster of tricks gained from insights on the mass encounters of the battlefield. The main developers of martial ryū had such insights from the battlefield but also refined those insights within the systematic approach obtained in one-on-one combat. For instance, Shinkage ryū founder Kamiizumi Nobutsuna (1508–1578) designed a weapon called the fukuro shinai, a clothed bamboo sword instead of normal bokken (sword made of hard wood), precisely because the aim of these encounters was to improve one’s skills, not to injure the opponent. In his duel against Marume Kurandō in 1558, Nobutsuna suggested using the fukuro shinai instead of the bokken, arguing that it made no sense to injure one’s opponent while training and that using ‘equipment that is not dangerous, it is possible to practice and use techniques that are sufficiently vigorous’ (Mol 2010: 290).

The development of martial ryu¯ as a civilising trend In a clear pattern of ‘double-bind process’ (Elias 2007) between the development of knowledge and the degree of danger control, the detachment from the chaos of mass confrontation towards one-on-one duelling encounters helped foster a more thoughtful analysis of martial techniques, a reflection and generation of principles sustaining the approach of the ryū, even though still expressed with esoteric and fantasy-laden knowledge. In this sense, musha shugyō and the creation of martial ryū represented a non-predominant civilising trend acting within the predominant decivilising trend of the two cycles of violence. This chapter supports Friday’s (2005) consideration of seeing martial ryū not as methods of training for war but as ways of self-development and cultivation. Nonetheless, the chapter expands Friday’s considerations not only to the martial ryū founded around the second cycle of violence (Warring States period) but also to these examples of martial ryū emerging during the first cycle of violence (Two Courts period) as well. Most of the originators of the ryū were well-seasoned battlefield veterans who later honed their skills through musha shugyō. They developed their ryū after extended battlefield experience, so training for war was not the main purpose. Besides, the sword became a central weapon for many of these composite systems,

64 Warriors

even though at that time the battlefield was still dominated by the use of bow and arrow in the Two Courts period or pikes in the Warring States period. Looking at the average of wounds during the two cycles of violence, swords represented only 35% of all wounds in 1333–1338 and 1467–1477 and, in less intense combat, dropped to 27% in the fourteenth century and 25% after the Ōnin war (Conlan 2008: 61–62). Bows were still the predominant weapon in the battlefield, arrows inflicting ‘from two-thirds to three-quarters of all wounds inflicted during Japanese civil wars’ (Conlan 2008: 62). This is not to deny that training in these martial ryū did help the participants (few in number when compared with the total number of combatants in the battlefield) in armed conflicts. Examples such as the Ikka ryū – based on the instruction of gunnery (hōjutsu) – or the Heki ryū – considered archery ryū on foot – were clearly applicable to the mores and customs of the battlefields of the time. Another symptom that speaks about the civilising pattern in which the birth of martial ryū was embedded was the fact that martial practices started to be considered among other artistic endeavours through which to obtain self-enhancement. During the medieval period, a progressive autonomy of warriors’ cultural taste from the court was developed and celebrated as part of their identity. Since Kamakura, the za (seated) arts such as tea ceremony or linked-verse composition became adopted by the bushi, and ‘michi’ was infused with Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian views about self-perfection of human existence and the attainment of universal truth through arduous training in activities of all sorts, not least martial practices. According to Ikegami, ‘Za aesthetic practices were transformed into self-cultivating experiences’ (2005: 99). Thus, bugei (martial arts) were considered a legitimised and natural path for warriors aiming at the cultivation of self-perfection through the arduous training in performative arts. According to Friday: ‘Within this cultural and philosophical milieu, the bugei took their place alongside calligraphy, flower arranging, poetry composition, Nō drama, the tea ceremony, incense judging, and numerous other medieval michi’ (1997: 17). The example of Miyamoto Musashi clearly showed the relation between swordsmanship and other art form such as brush painting as complementary paths of self-development.

Notes 1 The commonsensical scholarly assumption about the connection and influence of Zen Buddhism on the development of martial ryū (see for example the very influential work by D.T. Suzuki, 1959, on the matter) was due to the influence that Zen had on martial traditions during the Tokugawa period. 2 To use the term ‘Shintō’ for the pre-modern era is anachronistic as there was no clearcut separation between the set of ideas later considered as Shintō and esoteric Buddhism (Ambros 2012: 382). 3 At least as early as the thirteenth century, we find written records about the powers of Marishiten in relation to martial traditions in a letter written by the monk Nichiren, and by the fourteenth century, the classical text Taiheiki and battlefield strategy texts as


4 5






the Heiho Reizuisho made explicit reference to Marishiten’s power of invisibility and confusion (Hall 1997: 90). Tengu, depicted as goblinlike figures, acted as the ‘messengers’ sent by the female war deity, Marishiten, to reveal and impart these secrets to the ‘headmaster’, usually though not always the founder, of the ryū tradition (Knutsen 2011: 14). In the early Tokugawa period many shugenja (experts in shugendō) settled in villages and served as priests at the shrines (Ambros 2012: 382). It is likely that their esoteric teachings continued to have some impact in the development of martial ryū, many of them connected on their inception to shrines. For instance, as early as the eighth century, we find the post of sword bearers (tachiwaki no toneri), who acted as the bodyguard force of Empress Nakamaro. They acted as protectors of the Emperor’s heir and regained military function in late eleventh century when Taira and Minamoto members entered the ranks (Farris 1995: 260). An anecdote from the mid-990s described in a tale collection called ‘How the former governor of Mutsu, Tachibana Norimitsu, cut down some men’ shows an already-existing proficiency in swordsmanship. The governor is able to kill three robbers, and posterior inspection by public authorities praises the extraordinary proficiency shown in the cuts of the mysterious swordsman (as Norimitsu never disclosed his deed). Yoshida Shintō, founded by Yoshida Kanetomo (1435–1511), became an important channel of expansion of blended religious belief systems and exerted a strong influence after the Ōnin war (1467–77). Kanetomo’s authority facilitated the diffusion of Yoshida Shintō throughout Japan, and his successor as head of the clan, Yoshida Kanemigi (1516–1573), began to spread Yoshida Shintō among minor shrine priests in the provinces by issuing many authorisation certificates and by visiting regional shrines himself. His sons Yoshida Kanemi (1535–1610) and Bonshun (1553–1632) joined the entourages of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, a sign of the importance and degree of spread that Yoshida Shintō had among the warriors of the era. Of special interest for the development of martial ryū were Yoshida Shintō’s esoteric teachings and rituals, aimed at internal purification. They included a combination of elements taken from esoteric Buddhism, Onmyōdō, and Taoism. The Kashima shrine presented the earliest documented case of a Buddhist temple built on the grounds of shrines in 749 thanks to the sponsorship of the influential Imperial Fujiwara. The same happened also in Katori, but the date is not clear (Grapard 2008: 526). Kashima shrine is the site where Takemikazuchi-no-Mikoto (sword spirit, avatar of Buddhist deities and patron deity of warriors and the warrior arts) dwells. The Western counterpart of Kashima and Katori shrines can be located at the shrine of Mount Atago, north of Kyoto, dedicated to deities such as shōgun Jizō or Marishiten. There a blend of Buddhist and Shintō cults led by yamabushi was influential in the foundation of ryū such as Takenouchi ryū, Araki ryū, or Kanemaki ryū (Amdur 2002: 230; Hall 2012: 38). The Ura-be were ‘diviners’ who performed magical rites interpreting the cracks in burnt tortoise shells, were also in charge of performing rituals, often containing sword dances, to cast away malicious deities (kami) and obtain purification (Knutsen 2011: 28).

References Adolphson, M.S. (2007). The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Ambros, B. (2012). Religion in Early Modern Japan. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 378–390. Amdur, E. (2002). Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press.

66 Warriors Conlan, T. (2003). State of War: The Violent Order of Fourteenth-Century Japan (No. 46). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Conlan, T. (2008). Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200–1877 AD. Phoenix, AZ: Amber Books. De Lange, W. (2006). Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Warring States Period. Warren, CT: Floating World Editions. Elias, N. (2007). Involvement and Detachment. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Farris, W.W. (1995). Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500–1300. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Farris, W.W. (2006). Japan’s Medieval Population: Famine, Fertility, and Warfare in a Transformative Age. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Friday, K.F. (2004). Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan. New York: Routledge. Friday, K.F. (2005). Off the Warpath: Military Science & Budō in the Evolution of Ryūha Bugei. In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo Perspectives (Vol. 1). Auckland: Kendo World Publications, pp. 249–268. Grapard, A.G. (2008). Religious Practices. In D.H. Shively and W.H. McCullough (eds.). The Cambridge History of Japan (Vol. 2), pp. 517–575. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hall, D.A. (1997). Marishiten: Buddhist Influences on Combative Behavior. In D. Skoss (ed.). Koryu Bujutsu: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan. Warren, NJ: Koryu Books. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Ikegami, E. (2005). Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Knutsen, R. (2011). Tengu: The Shamanic and Esoteric Origins of the Japanese Martial Arts. Kent: Global Oriental Ltd. Mol, S. (2008). Invisible Armor: An Introduction to the Esoteric Dimension of Japan’s Classical Warrior Arts. Brussels: Eibusha. Mol, S. (2010). Classical Swordsmanship of Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu. Brussels: Eibusha. Suzuki, D.T. (1959). Zen and Japanese Culture. New York: Pantheon Books. Yuasa, Y. (1987). The Body: Toward an Eastern Mind-Body Theory. York: SUNY Press.

Part II


Chapter 5

The stabilisation of martial ryu¯ during early Tokugawa

After the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu officially established the military rule of the shōgunate in 1603. He divided the lords into shimpan daimyō (direct kinsmen of Ieyasu), fudai daimyō (hereditary vassals or allies in Sekigahara), and tozama daimyō (some of them allies and some of them adversaries in Sekigahara). Tokugawa Ieyasu situated fudai daimyō in strategic places in order to keep tozama under control. As a general rule, fudai were able to hold government positions within the shōgunate but not the tozama. This figuration was progressively consolidated during the early Tokugawa period (1603–1645). It comprised a web of small military courts based on the different domains (hans) connected through and to a bigger central military court (the bakufu) in Edo. The functioning of the whole baku-han figuration was predicated on a strict separation of the population in a four-estate1 system (samurai, farmer, craftsman, merchant) and the maintenance of social privilege by an amazing number of samurai, whose social function was still attached to the military, acting mainly as police forces to maintain order in a more pacified figuration.2 Tokugawa’s baku-han figuration represented a formal improvement of the central-peripheral power balance between Hideyoshi and daimyōs’ control over their domains. Hideyoshi’s policy was based on a personalistic rule and direct relation with daimyō: his red-seal papers represented more of a kind of personal command from Hideyoshi to daimyō than a legal code for the whole nation; the most similar state council in Hideyoshi’s time consisted of a group of selected daimyō acting as deputies called bugyō. On the contrary, the Tokugawa system became progressively based on a bureaucratic depersonalised system of civil servants. Hideyoshi conceived his project as a national cause, but he identified the nation with his own persona. The term ‘kōgi’, understood as ‘public affairs’, was used to refer to Hideyoshi himself, and he signed some letters with the term ‘tenka’ (the realm) in a clear identification of the country with his own rule. Tokugawa’s notion of nation was still personalist – in the sense that it was clearly identified with the hereditary position of a shōgunal family – but represented a further step in the state-formation process within the Japanese civilising process. Such a civilising-formalising pattern during Tokugawa included different intertwined processes: rapid growth of urbanisation; diversification and technological



advances in agriculture; demographic movements between villages and cities; development of specialised industry such as silk and crafts; the development of a land tax system; a nationwide education system; and development of communication and market systems (Bornmann and Bornmann 2002).

Integration conflicts and drag effects Even though during the early Tokugawa shōgunate, battlefield experience decreased almost completely, the first three shōgun encouraged the military practice of warriors seasoned in war actions. Ieyasu promoted men of martial talent to important governmental posts; Hidetada, second Tokugawa shōgun, emphasised the practice of military skills in his proclamation of the Buke Shohatto in 1615; and the third shōgun promoted the gathering of martial experts to perform before shōgunal audiences (Hurst 1998: 55). Nonetheless, with no more battles to fight, samurai underwent a progressive transformation adapted to a more pacified reality, acting oftentimes as bureaucrats disconnected from the land of their fiefs in what some authors of the era criticised as an easy and pleasant ‘inn life’ (Tsukahira 1970: 110). Samurai were encouraged to maintain their military training but just as long as they guaranteed the socio-political order as some kind of military and moral police for the population. The third shōgun established in 1631 the central government civil police forces, a structure copied in many han. The machi-bugyō (there were two in Edo), acting as chief of police-judgemajor, was of high rank. He was aided by yoriki, middle-ranking samurai, acting as police captains and deputy judges. They were assisted by doshin, low-ranking samurai acting as police officials. Non-samurai assistants, called komono, helped the doshin on duty (Cunningham 2004). The use of restraining weapons (full of hooks and stoppers) for arresting criminals without shedding blood increased considerably in police functions. Nonetheless, changes in the living conditions of the samurai did not occur without friction. Integration conflicts and ‘drag effects’ manifested in the phenomenon of the kabuki mono (deviant persons) and kyokaku (street knights) flourishing around 1600 in Edo. Fights in the streets of Edo were a means to give a sense to their life as warriors and also permitted them to indulge in some emotional display and ‘quest for excitement’ (Elias and Dunning 2008a) while fighting. Their warrior habitus were not still ‘cooled’ enough. They were not still the retainers of the later Tokugawa eras. Kabuki mono were mainly composed of young lower-ranking samurai and rōnin (masterless samurai) dressed in eccentric and unconventional fashion, causing trouble around the city in armed bands. Their frustration at the closure of social mobility and position in this progressively pacified society led them to fight these little skirmishes around the city. Kyokaku (street knights) were mainly composed by hatamoto (banner-men, higher-ranking retainers) and their followers, fighting the kabuki mono as part of the pleasure and excitement of engaging in real fights (Cunningham 2004: 27).

Stabilisation of martial ryu¯


The establishment of a dual monopoly of violence in the baku-han figuration After the battle of Sekigahara (1600), the Tokugawa shōgunate took some measures in respect to fire weapons to curb potential threats from the daimyō. Tokugawa Ieyasu collected and built many cannons that were put to good use in the sieges of the Osaka castle (1615) that cemented Tokugawa leadership. The Tokugawa monopoly over firearms started about 1607, importing also cannons from Europeans during 1620s. A few daimyō such as the Shimazu also imported Portuguese canons in 1630. By 1632, the Tokugawa established a bureau to control the dissemination of bullets and gunpowder, and during the Shimabara rebellion of 1637 Tokugawa relied on the Dutch cannons shot from ships. After this last rebellious incident, Tokugawa succeeded in securing their hegemonic position, closing the country to foreign contact and freezing the development of warfare technology. The Tokugawa forced smiths to move to easily controlled areas and prohibited other daimyō from manufacturing cannons or acquiring the best gunpowder (Conlan 2008: 198). With no more wars to fight – unlike in Europe, Japan had no real foreign threat during a long period of time – greater centralisation of monopoly of violence that would have implied a unified standing national army under the shōgun’s rule was not settled. Thus, the monopoly of violence would be better characterised as a dual monopoly of violence by the whole baku-han figuration (1 bakufu; 250 domains or han) against other social actors that had access to weapons in precedent eras; peasants and monks were armed threats against the daimyō during the whole Warring States period. Firearms had proved to be truly useful in the battlefield in the hands of mass infantry. They did not require highly trained individuals to generate deadly massive waves of projectiles. Thus, impeding the development of firearms was crucial for samurai to keep commoners under control (Perrin 1979).3 Once the wartime was over in the pacified Tokugawa era, martial techniques of the battlefield were considered suitable only for the education of the samurai estate that would help the shōgunate to enforce the monopoly of violence over the whole population. The Tokugawa period represented a stage in which the samurai display of intra-estate violence was embedded in a highly controlled and formalised system that contrasted with the unregulated interestate violence against commoners. In fact, Tokugawa legally approved a practice called kirisutegomen (killing and going away) by which a samurai had the right to kill a commoner if the commoner was exhibiting unappropriated behaviour for his class. Cases of tsuji-giri (testing a sword blade by cutting down a commoner) occurred but were rare and highly disavowed by clan and government officials (Cunningham 2004: 24). Considering samurai intra-estate violence, we should give a brief account of three inter-related phenomena to understand the pervasive establishment of the monopoly of violence within the baku-han figuration: kenka (quarrel), ada uchi (officially permitted vendetta), and seppuku (suicide).



Kenka-ryoseibai-ho, laws relating to a conflict or fight in which both parties are to blame, did not appear in Tokugawa times but had previously.4 Already in early Tokugawa, an example of these laws comes from Maeda Toshitsune, who promulgated in 1612 a code prohibiting any conflicts, as they could cause reprisals from the shōgunate: Regarding quarrels and fights, those who fight with other masters’ samurai, even with good reason to do so, will be executed. In verbal quarrels, let others talk slanderously if they must. In these matters, forbearance is the best policy in all situations. Should you lose face, it will not be accounted as your shame. (in Ikegami 1995 : 207) From this statement, it is easy to see how the question of honour and shame, the compass of warriors’ behaviour bound to combat, is adapted to a new, more pacified era in which the true value of a warriors comes from his severe self-control under stressing circumstances. Nonetheless, despite such laws, quarrelling did not disappear altogether but was just kept under control. Another way to maintain a controlled exertion of violence by the samurai was the institutionalisation of registered vendettas (Ikegami 1995: 248–251), prohibiting spontaneous actions by the avengers. In this fashion, the shōgunate was able to maintain samurais’ martial candour but under control, avoiding a spiral of vengeance that could escalate into greater armed conflicts, causing destabilisation to the whole bakuhan figuration. Seppuku or ritual suicide can also be analysed as a way to gauge the degree in which warriors as a social estate had access to the monopoly of violence. Until the Muromachi period, seppuku did not express a recognition of warriors as a distinctive social group. For instance, Minamoto no Yorimasa’s suicide during the Battle of Uji in the year 1180 represented a fierce action by a losing warrior in the battlefield but it was of a different kind from more ritualised, sanctioned ways of ending one’s life of later eras. Besides, before Muromachi, enemy warriors were executed oftentimes, not granted the right to end their own lives.5 The fact that military men came to acquire the right to end their own lives as a distinctive token of honour and pride meant some degree of recognition of the warriors as a we-group, separated from non-warriors. This process unfolded when warriors as a group started to monopolise the means of violence, something that became definitively established during the Warring States period. At this time, the ‘noble’ method of suicide for ‘people of excellence’ was firmly established (Ikegami 1995: 148). For instance, Oda Nobunaga advised his vassals that ‘while soldiers loyal to us should be retained, samurai who cannot be trusted should be banished or forced to commit suicide’ (Berry 1982: 53). Besides, the way seppuku was conducted is very telling about certain transformations of the samurai habitus. On a general view, the practice of seppuku became more ritualised and less gory or destructive. For instance, the epic tale Taiheiki narrates the last actions of Nitta Yoshisada, supporter of the bakufu during

Stabilisation of martial ryu¯


the Two Courts period, doomed in the middle of a fierce battle in 1338. After being hit by and arrow in the battlefield ‘when he realised that his moment had come he passed his drawn long sword into his left hand and committed suicide amidst the deep mud by cutting off his own head, onto which his body collapsed’ (De Lange 2007: 52). Even though the Taiheiki is an epic tale and should be read with caution (due to the embellishment of warriors’ exploits), it is plausible that the narration would contain a description of the ritualised suicide if that was the case at that time. This form of battlefield-related suicide was also present during the period of pacification, still very influenced by the wartime period of the Warring States. During Tokugawa, seppuku became more ritualised and controlled. It consisted of the self-disembowelment with a tantō (short sword/dagger) while in a kneeing position. It represented a sign of courage and honour and the most extreme manifestation of a warrior habitus when violence could not be freely exerted against others but at least against oneself. The official seppuku of the Tokugawa era was a reminiscence of the warrior’s extreme habitus once the warrior had abandoned the battlefield. It demanded strict self-control while enduring excruciating pain.6 Samurai women were also expected to commit suicide to avoid being dishonoured by outrageous acts such as rape. The term used was ‘jigai’, and it consisted of a quick cut of the jugular with the kaiken (a dagger), as it was not a matter of displaying a warrior’s courage but of avoiding her and her family’s shame. As time passed, seppuku became subjected to official public supervision; the emphasis shifted from a display of autonomy and warrior ethos towards the display of an official execution on behalf of the central ruler: either the daimyō of the domain or, more often, the shōgun as central ruler in the military government (bakufu).7 At the same time, seppuku showed deference towards samurai as a distinctive group (commoners were simply either killed by beheading (uchikubi) or banished in remote territory) but also acted as a reminder of the hierarchical social order in which the samurai were embedded. In 1663, the Tokugawa government prohibited the practice of junshi, consisting of committing suicide to follow one’s lord in death. The custom of junshi is very revealing about the strengthening of vassalage relations between retainers and lords and the greater dependence of the former on the latter. Junshi originally appeared at a time when the destiny of the samurai was inextricably bound to that of one’s lord, something that started to be clearly marked during Hideyoshi’s policy.8 This trend was further developed in Tokugawa when samurai lived on the stipends paid by the daimyō and their samurai status was tied to the daimyō. So to say, the death of one’s lord could mean also the ‘social death’ of his retainers (especially if he was condemned to death due to some offence). Thus, some retainers decided to end up their lives while claiming their special status as warriors in this last courageous and loyal act. As an example, 26 samurai committed junshi after their lord, Nabeshima Katsushige, died in 1657. Obviously, such acts caused trouble for the Tokugawa legitimation of the monopoly of violence and law – junshi expressed autonomy to decide life and death apart from the central government – and thus



had to be discouraged. When in 1668 a vassal committed suicide to follow his lord Okudaira Tadamasa in death, the shōgunate punished the heirs of the lord and the vassal, even executing two of the latter’s sons (Ikegami 1995: 219–220). In 1683, prohibitions against junshi were included in the Buke Shohatto. In summary, samurai were encouraged to maintain their military value but only as long as it did not threaten the established social order. This clever Tokugawa policy helped to keep the samurai function as warriors alive – guarantying the social order in secluded groups – but also under strict control. In fact, the formation and organisation of martial ryū-ha (branches of the same tradition) during Tokugawa were discouraged by daimyō and shōgun passing laws against them (Friday 1997: 18). The potential threat of a network of organised ryū-ha of martial traditions could interfere in the loyalty priorities of retainers towards their lords and become potential subversive actions across the domains.

The establishment of a ‘sho¯gunal mechanism’ through sankin kotai The baku-han figuration should be viewed as a multipolar power figuration in which the shōgunate maintained certain predominance. Even though the shōgunate issued edicts that could be considered laws of national scope, the real application of them was limited. For instance, the shōgun had legal capacity to transfer daimyō and confiscate fiefs, but in reality these measures were not commonly applied and, if so, they were only applied to smaller domains. The control of the shōgunate over han was less powerful in reality than in theory.9 Daimyō remained, to a great extent, the local powers administering their domains (Brown 2012: 331). For instance, the domain of Satsuma, located in the distant island of Kyushu, land of the powerful Shimazu daimyō, maintained a system of rural fortresses even though shogunal law only permitted one castle per daimyō in 1615. The Shimazu simply ignored the order, and the Tokugawa regime did not take any action against them (Ravina 2004: 18). On economic terms, the hans maintained certain autonomy, even though the shōgunate relied on some central economic policy (Jones 1996: 97). This is not to say that the shōgun was just an ordinary actor playing in the multiple balances exerting the twin monopoly of violence and taxation within the baku-han figuration. Within such a figuration, the central position was kept by the bakufu through the ‘shōgunal mechanism’ of sankin kotai (alternate attendance). Sankin kotai implied a biennial travel of most daimyō from their domains to Edo to spend alternate years in personal attendance at the shōgunal court (Tsukahira 1970: 1). Even though the system was officially established for the tozama daimyō within the edict of 1635 about the Buke Shohatto (the Laws for the Military Houses) and in 1642 for the rest of the daimyō, sankin kotai was the improvement of a custom already established at least since the Kamakura period in which inferiors attended to the superior’s house as part of a rudimentary vassal–lord relationship. Also during Hideyoshi’s rule, tozama daimyō were

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demanded to send their kin to Kyoto as hostages and to maintain residences near Kyoto. Nonetheless, residence of daimyō close to Hideyoshi’s castles was not scheduled nor demanded of every daimyō (Berry 1982: 142). Some daimyō performed attendance before and after the Sekigahara campaign of 1600 as a sign of goodwill, and some suggested measures such as keeping the daimyō relatives as hostages in Edo permanently (something that was later a hallmark of the sankin kotai). Tokugawa rulers just perfected the system, adding the alternation (kotai) as a way to avoid congestion in Edo and the main roads but also to set in motion a permanent dynamic that would keep potential threatening daimyō out of synchrony for possible plots. Sankin kotai was not only a way to exert continuous control over the movements of daimyō; as monopoly of taxation was not achieved by the central ruler (the shōgun just collected 25% of the taxes), sankin kotai acted as a means of ‘indirect taxation’, helping to drain the daimyōs’ economies and keep them financially weak. Other lesser mechanisms to achieve such ‘indirect taxation’ were to extract manpower and money to build and repair roads, castles, canals, waterways, or other public-work projects demanded by the bakufu or support both domestic and visiting Korean emissaries (Tsukahira 1970: 20–22). Besides, the shōgunate controlled the international commerce through Nagasaki’s port after issuing the Sekoku edicts (1633–1639) – which also banned travelling abroad and Christianity (a serious threat to the monopoly over the means of orientation) – avoiding daimyō enrichment through foreign trade to a great extent. Even so, domains such as Satsuma, controlling the Ryūkyū islands since 1609, maintained commercial contacts with China throughout the Tokugawa period. The expenses of the travelling of sankin kotai with a considerable entourage and especially the hosting in their own residences in Edo were enormous: 50–75% of a domain’s cash income (Vaporis 2008: 2). Daimyō were forced to spend vast amounts of money, embarked as they were in a symbolic competition of status (kaku) based on what Elias (1983) dubbed ‘status consumption’ when talking about the case of the French court society.10 In the Japanese case, the status of daimyō was measured by the taka system, based mainly on the official estimation of the annual taxable rice (measured in koku) that a specific daimyō could levy on their domains. The range could go from around a 1.000.000 koku of rice a year for the great lords to just 10.000 koku, the minimum quantity to be considered a daimyō. Nevertheless, status was also related to the favours granted by the Tokugawa family, exemplified by special gifts such as gold seals, lances, tea boxes, and that like that daimyō proudly showed during the travelling of the sankin kotai. Everything in the private and public life of the daimyō and daimyō’s retainers (an extension of the daimyō’s persona) was related to ranking: the dress they wore, the food they ate, the size and numbers of residence, the chambers they would dwell in when attending the Tokugawa castle, the exchange of gifts, and the welcoming and farewell ceremonies to and from Edo. So fierce became the symbolic dispute for public recognition that although the number of the entourage accompanying the daimyō during the travel was fixed depending on



ranking, many daimyō enlarged their retinues as a public display of status (Vaporis 2008: 100). Daimyō and daimyō’s retainers lived in a constant public display of the social order they took part of, especially while during the sankin kotai. Sankin kotai acted as a physical reminder of the social order of the whole baku-han system: as a general effect, sankin kotai made the samurai estate appear as the highest group of the society. Besides, it made daimyō appeared as central rulers of their domains. Nonetheless, it also represented a clear pecking order of the different ranking statuses, emanating from the shōgun. Sankin kotai was also paramount to spreading culture – also martial traditions as part of it – all around the country, connecting different domains through and to Edo, reinforcing a sense of we-identity among the samurai estate across the nation.

The ‘triad of controls’ within the Tokugawa civilising pattern Overall, the civilising pattern of the Tokugawa regime implied a simultaneous advance in the ‘triad of controls’ (see Figure 5.1): control of people over each other (sociogenesis); control of each person over him- or herself (psychogenesis); control of humans over extra-natural events (technogenesis). The features presented in Figure 5.1 were visible already by the end of the early Tokugawa period and would be continued during the mid and late Tokugawa periods, even though at the end of the shōgunate, some decivilising trends would play a very influencing part. The baku-han figuration exerted greater control over the population through the monopolies of violence, taxation, and means of orientation. The shōgun




Social segregation in four estates.

Restricted self-identification

Samurai as engineers.

between estates.

Structural engineering:

Closed ranking of status among samurai. No inter-state but intra-state status anxiety.

Levelling of Mount

Dual monopoly of violence

Sharp contrast between intra-state violence


among samurai (highly formalized)

Building of Edo Castle.

and inter-estate violence (less formalized).

Hydraulic engineering:

Status consumption and competition

Moats, aqueducts, dikes,

among the samurai.

irrigation projects.

Autocratic form of rule.

Strict self-control by the samurai.

Military engineering:

Samurai living in castletowns

Retainer habitus.

Fire cannons.

Martial arts as ways of

Elaborated system for the


transmission of martial

Shōgunal mechanism.

as bureaucrats.

arts through kata.

Figure 5.1 Sociogenesis, psychogenesis, and technogenesis during early Tokugawa

Stabilisation of martial ryu¯


maintained certain predominance thanks to the shōgunal mechanism of sankin kotai. The social order was predicated in the strict separation into four estates. The samurai estate, privileged at the top of the hierarchy, became more dependent on the daimyō, living in castletowns. This sociogenetic process matched the changes occurring in the psychogenesis of the samurai, in the transition from a warrior to a retainer habitus. Samurai experienced greater demands for self-control intraestate relationships, expressed in highly ritualised behaviour connected to the notion of status. The development of martial arts became exclusively attached to samurai to a greater extent than in previous eras, when religious institutions and also commoners took an active role in martial traditions. The understanding of martial arts as ways of self-perfection became a spread assumption among the samurai. These demands for self-regulation would break loose in inter-estate relationships; samurai were not compelled to show deference to social inferiors (they were legally entitled to exert violence upon them) and could also mix with them in more informal ways.11 These sociogenetic and psychogenetic dynamics were accompanied by the development of greater control over extra-human nature through military and civil engineering works. Samurai acted not only as bureaucrats but also as engineers. Huge engineering works started for instance with the construction of the new shōgunal castle in Edo that demanded the transportation by boat of huge boulders; Mount Kanda was levelled, its rocks and dirt used as landfill in Edo Bay; two rings of moats surrounded Edo Castle, and a network of channels connecting the castle to the river for commercial purposes was also developed; new aqueducts from the Tama river and Inokashira Pond were built to bring drinking water to elite districts of the city; river maintenance and the construction of dikes, diversionary channels, and dams to fight continuous floods across the country were performed in several domains (Howell 2012: 358).12 Besides, agricultural productivity also underwent a great spurt. Irrigation projects were conducted by many domains, with samurai officials supervising planning and construction and farmers providing manpower.13 The technogenesis also implied the construction of cannons, even though the shōgunal policy on armed weapons discouraged such development to prevent potential threats of powerful daimyō. As Japan was not threatened by foreign invaders, the question of the development of fire weapons was simply hindered to prevent internal conflicts. The same reasons account also for the underdeveloped system of transportation. Even though big road works were conducted, the prohibition on wheeled vehicles slowed the development of transportation. The shōgunate preferred to sacrifice transportation as a way to impede fast movement of troops in case daimyō would join forces in a plot against the bakufu. The paradoxical situation of the samurai estate, encouraged on the one hand to maintain certain warrior candour but at the same time under strict self-control, was resolved by the new function that samurai were due to deliver. They were meant to become examples of morality for the population. Within this context, the development of kata as a sophisticated system for



the transmission of martial knowledge came as an adequate socio-technical device, related to the understanding of martial arts as ways of self-perfection at a psychogenetic level.

A shift from warrior habitus to retainer habitus The circumstances favouring the appearance of martial ryū during the Warring States and Unification periods were maintained during the early Tokugawa period in which seasoned warriors still were encouraged to develop their ways of selfperfection and had the chance to experience upwards social mobility. The stock of martial knowledge gained in real combat and musha shugyō gained stability as a ryū under the patronage of certain daimyō or even the shōgun. Due to the strong stratification of Tokugawa society and the closed path for upward mobility bound to battlefield exploits, musha shugyō kept open for a while the possibility of being hired as a martial arts instructor of a specific domain or to open martial arts schools, both options functioning as arenas of social mobility (Hurst 1998: 183), especially for lower-ranking samurai and rōnin. Nonetheless, the transition towards the stabilisation of martial ryū implied also a progressive shift from a warrior habitus to a retainer habitus. In order to understand the transformation of martial traditions in the time between a period of total war to a pacified society under Tokugawa rule, this section presents and compares the biographies of three sword geniuses of the era: Ono Jiroemon Tadaaki (1565–1628), Yagyu Munemori (1571–1647), and Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645). The three of them went through the turmoil of war during the unification period and helped to organise and systematise previous fighting stock during the early Tokugawa era.14 This section claims that Munemori was the first example of the retainer habitus. The two others represented different blends of warrior/retainer habitus, precisely what prevent them to climb up the social ladder of the new era in the same fashion as Yagyu. The origins of these men were more or less similar: the three of them came from low-ranking samurai status, belonging to modest clans of the Warring States period. The three of them took part in the battles of Sekigahara in 1600: Ono in the siege of Ueda Castle, Musashi in the main battle, supporting the losing side and taking part also in the Osaka campaign of 1615. Munemori played an important role as part of the Tokugawa espionage net, and he was well rewarded after the battle, becoming a hatamoto (direct retainer) of the Tokugawa clan. Nonetheless, the fighting experience they received through musha shugyō shows some crucial differences: both Ono and Musashi went into musha shugyō for an extended period of time. Musashi recorded about 60 duels along his career;15 Ono took this road in different occasions. Specifically, Ono met and fought Itō Ittōsai (founder of Ittō ryū) during a musha shugyō trip in 1583 and became his pupil. Munemori never took part in musha shugyō; his was training mainly based upon fighting other Yagyu clansmen, especially his father Yagyū Muneyoshi (1527–1606), who had developed the Yagyū Shinkage ryū and who did conducted

Stabilisation of martial ryu¯


musha shugyō. In fact, he developed this style after being defeated by Nobutsuna in musha shugyō and becoming his student. Even though the fencing capacity of these three was well recognised at the time, their social success was quite different. Ono and Munemori followed the path of officialdom, serving as retainers and later as direct instructors of the Tokugawa shōgun with different degrees of achievement. As a contrast, Musashi showed slight interest in becoming a retainer and/or establishing a fix location for instruction; he did temporarily open a dōjō in Kyoto, Osaka, Edo and also served as a guest retainer (at 300 koku of stipend) for lesser lords as the Hosokawa during the 1640s. Nevertheless, he spent most of his life as a wandering warrior, honing his skills through musha shugyō. In his famous text Gorin no Sho (‘The Book of the Five Rings’) Musashi criticised the professionalisation of martial arts instructors that only taught a collection of sword techniques but were not true followers of the way. Musashi made a serious commitment to self-perfection based on his own understanding of bunbu ryodō, the dual path of literary and martial ways.16 By contrast, he was at odds with the costumes of the samurai in this new era. Musashi was suffering some kind of ‘drag effect’ by which he could not fit in the new figuration of the Tokugawa society. There are many accounts of his untidy and strange appearance, his hair long and unkept, not groomed in the proper samurai topknot. He lacked the training to acquire the social skills needed in the new pacified society in which castletowns converted into some kind of ‘military courts’ demanded former warriors to be acutely sensitive to symbolic features, expressing servitude and deference to the lord. There is a telling incident on this matter: Musashi, after accepting being a guest retainer for the Hosokawa, went to pay his first call on the lord. He tried to present himself in a proper official dressing, but he failed blatantly, as he did not know the code (Sugawara 1985: 72). Musashi’s strong attachment to the warrior path outside of the recognition from the official lines of the new government is one of the main reasons why his style of swordsmanship, the Nitten ryū (based on the use of two swords at the same time), did not generate the same amount of students and variations of ryū-ha in later generations as did the other two styles inherited and polished by Ono (Ono-ha Ittō ryū) and Munemori (Yagyū Shinkage ryū). It is true that Musashi’s adopted sons were hired as instructor of the Honda and Ogasawara, and this fact secured certain stable transmission. However, when compared to the other two styles, under the direct patronage of the shōgun, it is understandable why his style could not get the same predominance and influence for later generations. Despite the fact that both Ono and Munemori were sponsored by important benefactors such as the shōgun, the political and social success of the two were far from the same. Both were appointed direct instructors of Tokugawa shōgun, but whereas the highest stipend of Ono was 600 to 700 koku and he had occupied for a brief time an official position as karita-bugyō (head of the military police) during the Sekigahara campaign, Munemori’s stipend at its peak was 10.000 to 12.000 koku (a consideration of daimyō) and was appointed as sometsuke, an official post handling general affairs under the council of elders. The reason behind such



tremendous difference in stipend and governmental position was not a matter of fencing skill. The main reason dealt with their difference in their habituses at the time, Munemori’s more prone to fit in the new political arena of the shōgunate. Munemori had been trained as a clan’s retainer since his early childhood, under the tutelage of his father, lord of the Yagyu clan. He had performed a fencing demonstration with his father before Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1594 and became his fencing instructor straight away after that. He understood well that being the shōgun’s instructor did not imply the same kind of relationship as between the master of a fencing style and a common student. He also understood the political world of the shōgunate, as proved by the fact that he was appointed sometsuke, an administrative position typical of a retainer (courtier of a military court), not a warrior. By contrast, there are many accounts telling how harsh and hateful Ono was as the instructor of Hidetada, the son of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Ono was simply acting the same way as he had been treated and trained by his master Itō Ittōsai: a hard, merciless way. As a token of such ruthless understanding of training, we should remember that Ono had been appointed successor of the Ittō ryū after passing the trial of killing his own training partner (Zenki) in a deathly duel organised by their master, Ittōsai. Thus, for Ono, Hidetada was just another student who should not be treated nicely if he really wanted to improve. He did not pay attention to the important relationship between social position of the student (the son of the shōgun in this case) and the kind of instruction to be delivered. Besides, he was never considered a valued counsellor or able to perform other tasks than the mere use of arms. This half-failure of Ono in the official career as a shōgun instructor is an expression of his specific blend of warrior/retainer habitus. Other features of such blended habitus that generated continuous frictions with the law and manners of the times become obvious when we analyse the several official penalties that Ono suffered due to his unruly behaviour: for example even at the mature age of 60 years old, he was arrested by government officials after walking into a fencing dōjō in Edo and ridiculing a fencing instructor, defeating him with a tessen (iron fan). Tokugawa representatives thought of it as very inappropriate behaviour for an official instructor of the shōgun, while for Ono it was just a matter of discerning true from fake‚ ‘flowery styles’ that were blooming around the pacified city of Edo. This cry of discontent against shallow fencing schools was also denounced repeatedly in Musashi’s magnum opus, The Book of the Five Rings (1644), another symptom of rejection of the retainer habitus that was advancing with the flow of the times. A difference between Musashi’s and Ono’s blend of warrior/retainer habitus came from the way both considered swordsmanship. Whereas Ono had a very pragmatic, down-to-earth approach (inherited from Ittōsai’s view) and never wrote a manuscript reflecting on the principles of his style, Musashi considered swordsmanship as a way to pursue self-perfection and a way to understand heihō (a broad term implying military tactics and strategy), reflecting on both issues in different written works.17 Munemori’s understanding, not only of heihō and swordsmanship but also of politics within this new military court of the bakufu, is manifested in the wise

Stabilisation of martial ryu¯


move of banning his own students from fighting other styles of swordsmanship without his permission. He also avoided direct confrontation with Ono, letting his students fight him instead. After Ono defeated Munemori’s students, Munemori himself lauded Ono’s swordsmanship in front of the principal retainers of the shōgun, avoiding losing face by making a big issue about the incident. Such behaviour exemplified the kind of greater degree of self-control demanded of a shōgun’s retainer in contrast to the hot-headed response of a warrior. Munemori did not need to put himself to the test in actual combat; he simply maintained his composure, the praise acting as a symbolic reminder of their respective positions: the social superior bestowing the praise as a symbolic deference to the social inferior.

Martial arts in early Tokugawa The overarching monopoly of violence exerted by the baku-han figuration during the early Tokugawa helped the stabilisation and institutionalisation of martial arts bound to domains. During this period, the transition from the informal settings of practice, outdoors and oftentimes improvised during the previous Warring States period, towards the smooth-surface, indoor facilities of the dōjō mirrored the shift in the main aim of the practice: from combat efficiency to selfperfection training (Mol 2010: 80). According to Friday (1997: 54), the seclusion of martial practice into indoor halls was also influenced by the commercialisation of the teaching, instructors becoming professionals who kept their lessons private to avoid possible plagiarism. The understanding of martial arts as paths for self-perfection spread towards the whole samurai estate. This approach was reinforced by the spread of ideas included in the notion of geidō,18 seeing the art forms also as paths for self-perfection, fusing aesthetics and spirituality. Martial arts would become a distinctive feature of the samurai we-identity. The practice of martial arts was one among other art forms for the samurai.19 Nonetheless, an important difference between martial arts ryū-ha (branches of the ryū) and the ryū-ha of other art forms occurred during Tokugawa: the shōgun and also daimyō discourage association in armed traditions of samurai from different domains to prevent political upheaval (Friday 1997: 18). Thus, martial ryū-ha, unlike other art forms, tended to favour total transmission, so when a licensed instructor had students they depended directly on him, not on the head of the ryū (as in other art forms). The licensed instructor could also make variations (even changing the style name) as he saw fit. In other art forms, the ryū-ha’s headmaster (iemoto) maintained authority over the branch instructors (natori) and their students, focusing the whole network into one central point of connection and control. Instruction transmitted through constant repetition of kata was common to all art paths. Kata (pre-arranged forms practiced in pairs) training gained predominance in the transmission of martial contents due to different factors: the shōgunate restricted samurai movement across domains; teaching of martial traditions became a profession for some instructors that opened up training halls



and charged fees; and competition between different ryū (taryu jiai) was discouraged. All these factors progressively prevented ryū-ha curricula to be polished in real combat of the battlefield and/or duels, as happened in previous eras (Friday 1999: 163). In such conditions, many ryū-ha became detached from the reality of combat, and kata practice became an end in itself, some of the martial traditions growing into a kind of shallow practice denounced and mocked as kaho kenpo (‘flowery swordplay’). The change of martial skills from self-protection to selfperfection was withering away the reality of combat. Nevertheless, some ryū-ha were able to maintain their kata deep rooted in combat effectiveness such as the Ittō ryū. As expressed in the biographies of the martial geniuses of the previous section, the importance of the sword increased in the urban context of castletowns and big cities. An incipient specialisation around swordsmanship could be slighty detected, even though true specialisation occurred in mid and late Tokugawa. During early Tokugawa, martial traditions were still considered as composite systems: for example, Musashi was keen in the use of shuriken (throwing blades) and probably in the use of the jutte (metal truncheon with hooks). The development of bow-and-arrow ryū with some battlefield application would be hindered during Tokugawa. Archery practice remained limited to target shooting as a pastime or as a way of self-development but lacking a great part of the efficiency of the battlefield. During early Tokugawa, we identify the foundation of some ryū that would be very influential in the development of empty-hand styles through mid and late Tokugawa. Nonetheless, at this early stage, the ‘big four schools of grappling’ – Takenouchi ryū, Kito ryū, Sekiguchi ryū, and Seigō ryū – were still considered composite systems, maintaining the combined use of grappling with small weapons; for example, the Kito ryū was founded circa 1637 by Ibaraki Sensai.20 Ibaraki worked for the Yagyū family in the 1620s and might have studied Edo Shinkage ryū with Munemori. Sensai was an expert not only in unarmoured grappling (yawara) and armoured grappling (yoroi kumiuchi) but also in quick-draw sword (iaijutsu), sickle (jinkamajutsu), and long staff techniques (bōjutsu) (Hall 2012: 265; Mol 2001: 127–129). Sumō maintained a certain influence in martial traditions as the wrestling techniques of the samurai’s arsenal. Nonetheless, in the new pacified conditions of urban Tokugawa, sumō would distinctively develop connected to competition and contest as a professional activity, something truly evident by the mid and late Tokugawa. During early Tokugawa, sumō still offered one of the few ‘ill-defined occupational niches left’ (Cuyler 1979: 57) for those unemployed samurai. The daimyō continued recruiting some of these fighters, providing them the status of vassal. The status competition among the daimyō could be symbolically fought by proxy in the ring. For instance, collateral Tokugawa lines such as the lords of Kishu, the Maeda of Saga, the Ikeda of Totori, and the Hosokawa of Kunamoto retained a large sum of wrestlers among their warriors (Cuyler 1979: 57–58). Apart from this officially sanctioned sumō, unemployed samurai  performed

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tsuji  sumō,  street-corner wrestling matches for improvised audiences as a way to gain some money. Among those unemployed, some semi-professional sumō troupes who organised benefit matches at shrines and temples of provinces and urban centres. The earliest account of benefit sumō in Edo appeared in the Azuma Monogatari (‘Tales of the Eastern Provinces’), dated 1643. Sumō played a part among the entertainment offer, alongside other spectacles such as theatre. During the early Tokugawa period, the streets of Edo were still not clear of conflict and even armed confrontations. Thus, sumō oftentimes led to bloody quarrels, especially in the informal street-corner sumō, in which masterless samurai and commoners clashed to obtain the money tossed by the audiences. Public disturbance led to bans such as the one decreed in 1648 by the town magistrate: Point: Street-corner sumo shall not be performed. Point: Benefit sumo shall no longer be organised. Point: Wrestler who are invited to perform at the residences of their superiors shall not wear loincloths made of silk, but only those of plain cotton cloth. (Cuyler 1979: 60) Nonetheless, the ban was not rigidly applied, as only months after the legal measure, a benefit sumō in Sanjusangendō temple took place under Tokugawa’s consent. The celebration of low-key sumō contests continued but maintained its high intensity. In 1661, another ban on sumō contests was issued due to incidents of bloodshed surrounding the matches. Further regulation and changes in the format would be introduced in the mid and late Tokugawa period.

Notes 1 It is traditionally said that Tokugawa society had four classes: the samurai, farmers, craftsmen, and merchants. Nonetheless, the Japanese term ‘mibun’ or ‘mibunsei’ is better translated as ‘estate’, implying that status-differences between persons were legally defined (Sonoda 1990: 74) 2 According to Sumiya and Taira (1979: 57), samurai were 10–12% of the population, peasant farmers 80–82%, and merchants, artisans/craftsmen 5–6%. According to Gainty (2013), the samurai represented the 6% of population; Schentker estimates the figure as 350.000–400.000 samurai (2006: 119) thorough most of the Tokugawa period. The number of samurai was high when compared to the noble cadres of European countries, where, apart from Poland, Hungary, or Spain, it rarely surpassed 1–2% (Schentker 2006: 116). Moreover, taking into account that samurai lived in castletowns and big cities such as Edo, Osaka, or Kyoto, the increased ratio of samurai living in those areas was significant in comparison with the country taken as a whole. 3 Although the control over commoners’ violence was successfully controlled by the baku-han figuration, bands of armed commoners known as machi-yakko (Draeger 2007: 104) oftentimes defied openly official prohibitions concerning the carrying of weapons. 4 Kono (2000) shows that in 1550 the Mori clan carried out a policy which prohibited any of their vassals from giving assistance to those involved in a quarrel. In 1572, they issued a further specification on how to proceed based on the background and



conditions of the fighting. Kenka-ryoseibai-ho was based on their belief that Hatio (order) must come before the claims of vassals. 5 Those warriors – irrespective to their relevance – considered rebels were simply beheaded: Fujiwara Irotsugu was beheaded in 740; rebel Taira Masakado was beheaded in 940; Minamoto Yoshitomo was considered a rebel and beheaded in 1159; in 1184 Minamoto Yoshinaka beheaded, treated as a rebel. 6 Elias discussed this kind of warrior’s extreme habitus in other context: the self-control demanded in some Amerindian societies of their young men during initiation rites where they were tortured but expected not to show by any movement or sound that they suffer pain. That was a preparation for their warrior existence. They should not shame their tribe if they were taken prisoner by another tribe and tortured by losing their pride and showing that they suffered . .   the social demand for self-restraint is confined to a highly specific situation and perfectly compatible with an equally extreme readiness to act in accordance with one’s libidinal and affective impulses in other situations. (Elias letter to Cas Wouters, 13 October 1976, quoted in Wouters 2007: 232; see also Elias 2007: 126–131) 7 Some examples from the early seventeenth century included: in 1608 the Daimyō Mōri Terumoto ordered seppuku of vassal Katsura Toki for killing a civilian; in 1613 the Shōgun ordered the seppuku of the sons of Ōkubo Nagayasu after discovering some crimes of their late father; in 1623 the bakufu ordered seppuku of guardsman Matsudaira Jinzaburō for insulting a superior; in 1634 the bakufu ordered the seppuku of Takenaka Shigeyoshi, lord of Funai, and his son after an offence of corruption. His brother was banished to the northern territory; in 1936, the bakufu ordered the seppuku of Shima Gozaemon and the decapitation of officer Minobe Gonbei and three guardsmen for fighting; in 1936 the bakufu ordered the seppuku of Imada Gentarō and the decapitation of his family (three persons) for sheltering Christians (Rankin 2012: 116). 8 A case from 1582 is revealing about the practice of junshi at the Period of Unification. Shibata Katsuie, after unsuccessfully confronting Hideyoshi’s army, decided to commit seppuku. Katsuie climbed to the ninth floor of his keep, addressed some words to those assembled, and declared his intention to kill himself to serve (as an example) to later generations. His men, deeply moved, shed tears which soaked the sleeves of their armour. When all was quiet to the east and the west, Katsuie stabbed his wife, children, and other members of his family, and then cut his stomach, together with over 80 retainers (Berry 1982: 78). Junshi should be interpreted within the specific figuration of daimyō, family, and vassals, the latter two completely dependent on the former. The lord committing seppuku was taking the life not only of the individual but of kin and vassals. 9 The shōgunate developed a system of espionage to try to always stay one step ahead of the plans and plots of potential threats coming from daimyō. The inspector-generals called ōmetsuke were in charge of keeping an eye on the daimyō, and the metsuke, from lower ranks, were in charge of keeping an eye on Tokugawa shōgunate officials and the shōgun’s direct retainers. 10 The commonalities of the Japanese and French cases in the status competition are remarked by Tsukahira (1970: 27). 11 Ikegami’s (2005) analysis of the informal aesthetic networks in which people of different social origins could blend without fear of ‘social contamination’ indicates the existence of these more loosely regulated inter-estate relationships. 12 By the eighteenth century, the shogunate ordered domains to contribute to large hydraulic projects. Some of these projects were works that crossed among several domains (Brown 2012: 327).

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13 For instance, agronomy specialists such as Miyazaki Yasusada (1623–1697), second son of a Hiroshima domain retainer, became a farming expert, publishing a 10-volume work called Compendium on Agriculture in which the author ‘advocated the collection and application of soil amendments ranging from grasses to commercial fertiliser to night soil’ (Walthall 2012: 393). 14 At that time, the ryū developed by these men could be considered to some extent as sōgo (composite) ryū even though the predominance of sword techniques was becoming more and more marked. Other remarkable example of sword-centred sōgo (composite) ryū of the era is the Jigen Ryū, created by Tōgō Shigekata (1560–1643). He represents a blended pattern of the three other ryū initiators presented here. Tōgō studied under the Buddhist priest Zenkitsu at Tennoji temple in Kyoto during 1588 the Tenshinshō Jigen Ryū, and back in Satsuma domain, he synthesised this style with Taisha ryū (influenced by Shinkage ryū), generating Jigen Ryū, after performing severe shugyō. He became the official instructor of the official domain. His example includes not only warrior values (he was also accomplished in archery, horsemanship, glaive arts, and others) and officialdom but also the development of an artistic path, as he was an expert in Kadō (Tanka poetry) and chadō (tea ceremony) (Hall 2012: 196). 15 Musashi’s musha shugyō is related to the inception of a famous example of sōgo (composite) ryū, the Shintō Musō Ryū, created by Musō Gonnosuke (c.1575-c.1645) around 1610. Musō Gonnosuke was an accomplished expert influenced by Kashima Shin ryū and Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū that travelled the country on musha shugyō, defeating different experts until he confronted Musashi with a long staff (bō) and lost. After this defeat he retired to Mount Hōman, entering into strenuous shugyō, finally receiving an oracle (musō) that lead Gonnosuke to devise a new staff, shorter and of a smaller diameter: the jō. A controversy surrounds a second duel in which Gonnosuke defeated Musashi (Hall 2012: 432–434). 16 Especially in his later life, he became an accomplished performer of suibokuga (ink wash painting), shodō (calligraphy), studied Chinese poetry, practiced Zen, and produced some fine pieces of metallurgy, fashioning sword guards or even horse saddles (Wilson 2004). 17 It is documented how Musashi established friendship with Takuan (1573–1645), a heterodox Zen priest who would also write a very influential work (The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom) connecting Zen Buddhism and swordsmanship. Takuan’s ideas also influenced the wok of Munemori (commonly known as The Life-giving Sword). 18 The theory of geidō had been already developed in the treatise Kyoraika (1443) by the famous Noh theatre master Zeami (1363–1443). 19 In a late Tokugawa text by Banshotei Oga called ‘twenty-one martial arts’, disciplines such as tea ceremony, ikebana, poetry composition, and even dance were included side by side with swordsmanship and mounted archery (Hurst 1993: 44). 20 Some controversy about another possible founder of the ryū (Fukuno Masakatsu) still exists (Hall 2012: 265).

References Berry, M.E. (1982). Hideyoshi. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bornmann, G.M. and Bornmann, C.M. (2002). Tokugawa Law: How It Contributed to the Economic Success of Japan. Journal of Kibi International University: School of International and Industrial Studies, 12, pp. 187–202. Brown, P. (2012). The Political Order. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 321–332. Conlan, T. (2008). Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200–1877 AD. Phoenix, AZ: Amber Books.



Cunningham, D. (2004). Taiho-jutsu: Law and Order in the Age of the Samurai. Vermont: Tuttle Publishing. Cuyler, P.L. (1979). Sumo: From Rite to Sport. New York: Weatherhill. De Lange, W. (2007). Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Two Courts Period. Warren, CT: Floating World Editions. Draeger, D.F. (2007). Classical Budo. Boston: Weatherhill. Elias, N. (1983). The Court Society. New York: Pantheon Books. Elias, N. (2007). Involvement and Detachment. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Elias, N. and Dunning, E. (2008a). The Quest for Excitement in Leisure. In Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 44–72. Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Friday, K.F. (1999). Kabala in Motion: Kata and Pattern Practice in the Traditional Bugei. In D. Skoss (ed.). Sword & Spirit: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan (Vol. 2). Warren, NJ: Koryu Books, pp. 151–170. Gainty, D. (2013). Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London: Routledge. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Howell, D.L. (2012). Urbanization, Trade, and Merchants. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 356–365. Hurst, G.C., III. (1993). From Heiho to Bugei: The Emergence of the Martial Arts in Tokugawa Japan. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 2(4), pp. 40–51. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ikegami, E. (1995). The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ikegami, E. (2005). Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jones, E. (1996). Recurrent Transitions to Intensive. Growth. In J. Goudsblom, E. Jones, and S. Mennell (eds.). The Course of Human History: Economic Growth, Social Process, and Civilization. London: Routledge, pp. 83–100. Kono, K. (2000). A Study of the Mori’s Method of Dealing with Fighting between Vassals. Legal History Review, 50, pp. 87–116. Mol, S. (2001). Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: A Complete Guide to Koryū Jūjutsu. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Mol, S. (2010). Classical Swordsmanship of Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu. Brussels: Eibusha. Perrin, N. (1979). Giving Up the Gun: Japan’s Reversion to the Sword, 1543–1879. Boston, MA: David R. Godine Publisher. Rankin, A. (2012). Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Ravina, M. (2004). The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Schentker, W. (2006). Los Samuráis. Madrid: Alianza. Sonoda, H. (1990). The Decline of the Japanese Warrior Class, 1840–1880. Nichibunken Japan Review, pp. 73–111. Sugawara, M. (1985). Lives of Master Swordsmen. Tokyo: East Publications. Sumiya, M. and Taira, K. (1979). An Outline of Japanese Economic History, 1603–1940. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.

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Tsukahira, T.G. (1970). Feudal Control in Tokugawa Japan: The Sankin Kōtai System (Vol. 20). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Vaporis, C.N. (2008). Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Walthall, A. (2012). Peace Dividend: Agrarian Developments in Tokugawa Japan. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 391–401. Wilson, W.S. (2004). The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Wouters, C. (2007). Informalization: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage.

Chapter 6

The transformation and diffusion of martial arts during mid and late Tokugawa

The pattern of state formation initiated in early Tokugawa continued during the mid (1645–1789) and late Tokugawa (1789–1868) periods. The concentration of large sums of people in urban areas increased, and the growth of Japanese towns was remarkable in comparison to other parts of the world. By the mideighteenth century, about 10% of thirty million people lived in cities of 25,000 people or more, and there were about 30 of these cities. Edo had one million people and Osaka and Kyoto about 400,000 (Howell 2012: 356). The concentration of population in urban areas invigorated communications and markets, generating sustained economic growth. It also meant a boom of urban cultural offerings, especially for men – at times 80% of the population of Edo were male (Chance 2012: 366) – and more specifically for samurai vassals of daimyō.1 Samurai enjoyed the entertainment of restaurants, teahouses, theatres, brothels, and art schools, among which there were also martial arts schools. Cultural activities took place year round. Samurais’ situation became increasingly precarious and ambivalent with respect to the autonomous exertion of violence. The figuration sustained by the baku-han monopolies of violence, taxation, and means of orientation constrained samurai autonomy towards greater dependency on their lords to make a living and to justify a dominant social status. The transformation in the revision of the laws for the military houses (Buke shohatto) tended to diminish the importance of military matters: for example, the first article of the first edition (1615) read: ‘Devote yourselves to both literary and military accomplishments and strive especially for accomplishment in archery and equestrian arts’. In 1683, this article was revised by dividing it into two articles: ‘be diligent in both literary and military accomplishments, and filial piety and maintain proper manner as a ruler’ (article one). And then: ‘Constantly be prepared with soldiers and horses required for military affairs and save own money for the public purpose’ (article three). Article one of the 1683 version was strongly influence by the Confucian principles of civil government, and the military element in the sentence was weakened. In article three, ‘training in military arts’ was replaced by the fulfilment of the bureaucratised obligation of the military (Sonoda 1990: 81).

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In the more pacified Tokugawa era, status for samurai was not directly related to battlefield exploits or fighting skills anymore. The transformation in the practice of seppuku (ritual suicide) exemplify the changes occurring in the habitus of the samurai in relation to violence. By mid Tokugawa, the figure of the kaishaku (a second man standing at the back of the kneeling person, in charge of decapitating the performer if needed) took much more relevance during the ceremony of seppuku. The act of decapitation by the kaishaku took more relevance over the self-disembowelment of the seppukunin (the one executing the seppuku), avoiding excessive suffering. In some cases, the samurai could even use a wooden weapon or even a fan (in the latter case, the ceremony was called ōgibara) as a symbolic replacement for the actual blade, leaving the execution completely in the hands of the kaishaku (Ikegami 1995: 255). In progressively longer and more encompassing chains of interdependence from the lord and the shōgunate, stronger demands on self-control were needed and reinforced by a new system of meritocracy within governmental bureaucracy. During Tokugawa, government positions were granted according to rank. Rank implied a certain status and demanded specific expectations about clothing, expenditures, and lifestyle in general. By 1705, 25% of the samurai population was unemployed (fostered by the primogeniture system) and living on a meagre stipend. For some samurai, rank expectations led them into financial problems. As the kind of ‘status consumption’ that Elias (1983) identified in French courtiers, Japanese samurai were obliged to live up to the expectations of their rank and status, and they wanted to continue receiving grants and positions from the government. Thus, many samurai went into debt with the merchant estate, becoming more dependent on them.2 The power balance between samurai and merchants was becoming more even, and by the end of the Tokugawa era, this tendency continued and threatened to invert the former relationship between rich merchants and mid- and low-ranking samurai. Sankin kotai (alternate attendance) was one of the main things that led the samurai estate to bankruptcy in favour of the merchant class as the Tokugawa era unfolded. Daimyōs’ income in rice was sold as a way to get cash for the different expenses during the travelling and the residence in Edo. However, as the income in rice was fixed, daimyō had no real capacity to adjust to changes in market prices. Thus, they were forced to ask for loans and got into permanent cycles of debt that hollowed the power of the samurai estate from within. The merchant estate was clearly favoured by the sankin kotai, which helped greatly to develop communication and trade and commerce between and within big cities.

Development of samurai we-identity, differences within the samurai estate, and ‘drag effects’ Samurais’ function within the baku-han figuration was bound to a moralised sense of honour. A neo-Confucian approach became the official doctrine of the shōgunate. The writings of Yamaga Sokō (1622–1685) clearly exposed such ideas,



viewing samurai as the guardian of proper morality. Sokō’s message was extended by one of his disciples, Daidoji Yuzan (1639–1730), basing the way of the samurai in loyalty to one’s lord and filial duty.3 The blend of Confucianism and warrior values had brought about a new breed of samurai for whom self-control to display proper moral example was the key sign of samurai status as a group. Precisely when the power potential of the samurai was decreasing in relation to the merchant estate, a reinforcement of the samurai we-identity through explicit written texts on the samurai ethos started to gain momentum. This is not to say that at this time a common samurai culture was shared among all its members. A progressive breach between the social conditions between high- and low-ranking samurai had started to grow by the mid Tokugawa period. Sometimes the differences among samurai became greater than those between samurai and wealthy commoners, even though samurai were still considered superior to commoners by law.4 The emergence of different texts discussing the values of the samurai was indeed a symptom of the status anxiety among the whole samurai estate, even though this feeling became especially acute for those of samurai stock in the fringes of the lower ranks. They were the ones most threatened by social inferiors such as merchants with an increasing power due to the access and control of economic resources. The explicitness of the samurai ethos was based on neo-Confucian, native Japanese beliefs and also other darker sources as Hagakure. According to Benesch (2016: 19), most of the pre-Tokugawa events related to the warrior’s code (bushidō)5 were written or heavily edited after the 1650s, idealising and romanticising exploits of warriors’ past as a means of coming to terms with their own we-identity and to justify their existence before others. Literate commoners also helped to create a romanticised view of samurai, portraying them as heroes in different plays that were consumed by commoners and samurai alike. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, commoners aped samurai appearances and cultural practices, such as martial arts. The idealisation of samurais’ past also implied a certain ‘drag effect’, especially of those samurai of peripheral domains, detached from the dynamics of big cities such as Edo, Kyoto, or Osaka. An exemplary case is presented in the 1716 text from the Saga domain called Hagakure (Yamamoto 1979). The text reduced samurais’ whole existence to the maintenance of loyalty to the lord and a ‘cult’ of death, a longing cry of rejection towards the samurai situation in the Tokugawa era. The message of the book also conveyed the tension between the centre (Shōgunate in Edo) and peripheral domains of tozama daimyō such as Saga in the distant island of Kyushu. The questioning of central authority is present throughout the whole book. On the section ‘On obedience’, a samurai from Saga is questioned by a shōgun official for entering into a fight to help his partners, disobeying shōgunal law. The samurai replied he was ‘from the provinces’ and was obeying natural laws for the samurai to protect the lives of others. He also offered himself for execution due to his mistake, but the official was so amazed that he could only congratulate the samurai’s lord, praising his courage. The identification of central quarters in Edo with the degeneration of the samurai lifestyle is

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also clear in the section about ‘The modern samurai’. Here Tsunetomo laments the changes samurai had experienced in the last 30 years, gathering to talk about money or criteria to judge garments and forgetting about the fighting spirit of the true warrior, bound to a clear understanding of death. He recommended that they become ‘fanatics’ and develop a passion for death, placing it in higher regard when compared to loyalty and filial piety. This obsession with death must be understood as part of the ‘drag effect’ within a figuration in which samurai from small provinces experienced on a greater scale the progressive decrease of power in relation to the centre in Edo and also in relation to other social groups. The discipline over oneself and the fixation on death (especially self-death) represented a desperate cry of samurai losing the social ground for their existence.

A cycle of violence at the end of the Tokugawa period The pressure exerted by Western countries towards opening commercial markets in the Asian countries was made palpable when Commodore Perry entered Edo Bay with fully equipped warships, first in 1853 and then in 1854, intimidating the shōgunate, which was unable to counter such military menace. This forced opening of the country caused a lot of resentment in many samurai circles. The domains with an anti-foreign but also anti-shōgun, pro-Imperial line such as the Satsuma, Chōsū, and Tosa were to become principal actors in the overthrow of the Tokugawa rule. The initial motto of Sonnō Jōi (Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarians) became Kinnō Tōbaku (Imperial Loyalism and Down with the Shōgunate) for those loyalist supporters (Hillsborough 2005: 6). Many of them were rōnin, masterless samurai coming from the lower ranks of the samurai who had decided to quit the security of service of their daimyō to try their luck by becoming rōnin. Imperial loyalist supporters considered themselves shishi, men of high purpose, with the mission to restore Imperial rule. Some of these shishi were accomplished swordsmen such as Kido Kōin (1833–1877) and Takasugi Shinsaku (1839–1867) of the Shintō Munen ryū. Some of them had honed their skills by conducting musha shugyō, a practice that became invigorated again. For instance, Takechi Zuizan (1829–1865) from Kyōshin Meichi ryū and his followers Kakaoka Shintarō (1838–1867) and Sakamoto Ryōma (1836–1867), students of Nakanishi-ha Ittō ryū, travelled through the country, stopping at several dōjō to participate in fencing bouts (using shinai) and expand the network of antishōgunate swordsmen (Bennett 2015: 90). Such a network was embedded also in famous Edo dōjō such as the one successfully run by Saitō Yakurō, a commoner by origin but a talented swordsman nonetheless. The shōgunate tried to maintain those anti-shōgun threats at bay, declaring the Ansei purge in 1858 and organising in the 1860s a group of loyalist rōnin, known as the Rōshi corps, under the auspices of Yamaoka Tesshū,6 and later the shinsengumi (Newly Selected Corps), who terrorised the streets of Kyoto in their skirmishes against anti-bakufu followers. During 1864, radical imperial loyalists waged civil war in the domains of Mito and Chōsū, and in 1868, a combined force of Satsuma, Chōsū, and Tosa samurai



fought shōgunate forces in different battles collectively known as the Boshin War that ended in the abolition of the shōgunate and the restoration of the Imperial rule, with Emperor Meiji leading the new era. A little-known but remarkable fact was that among the pro-shōgunate forces, composed mainly by Aizu forces, there was a group constituting the ‘Women’s Army’ or Jōshigun. This voluntary unit was solely organised by and consisted of 20 to 30 women from middle-ranked warrior families who took part in battle, wielding naginata as well as short and long swords (Wright 2001: 405). One last agitation of the supporters of the old ways previous to Meiji system was organised by some die-hard bakufu supporters that controlled the far-north remote island of Hokkaido, declaring the independent Ezo Republic to ‘live the traditions they still cherished’ (Hillsborough 2005: 170). The central government decided to launch a decisive attack to the rebels in 1869, amassing a force of Imperial troops counting 16.500 men. Hijikata Toshizō, the last Commander of the Shinsengumi, was killed while leading his troops in an already-lost cause. Among these rebels was Saigō Tanomo (1830–1903), very influential in the career of a famous Meiji martial artist, Takeda Sōkaku (see Chapter 7).

Progressive shift in the power balance between samurai and merchant groups and increasing tension within the samurai estate As the nineteenth century unfolded, samurai as a group saw their economic power descending even more. As Yamakawa (2001) analyses in the case of the Mito domain, several factors were affecting samurais’ economy: inflation of prices was lowering the exchange monetary price of fixed stipends in koku; the domain reduced retainers’ stipends along generations, as for instance, when the father had committed some fault, retired early, or died prematurely; the stipend holder who was too young or in too bad health to function appropriately in office was relegated to the reserve force and had to pay 20% of the stipend back. All these matters were especially dramatic for lower-ranking samurai. In such hard times, austerity measures were enforced in the domains. The differences in the social conditions experienced by high and lower samurai ranks were remarkable. According to Fukuzawa (1880), the upper samurai group and the lower samurai group were quite different from each other with respect to life chances, range of intermarriage, wealth, education, ways of conducting one’s private economy, and customs of everyday life. Yamakawa (2001: 149–151) remarks that in the 1840s, a big gap in wealth existed within the samurai group. Samurai were forced to maintain a ‘status consumption’ related to rank. For instance, ‘it was mandatory for those receiving stipends of over 200 koku to keep at least one horse’ (Yamakawa 2001: 156). Those samurai in the middle ranks were in an especially delicate situation, as they had to look after the needs of the rank and file under their command, which could imply 20 men but doubled to 40 at times. Thus, Yamakawa remarked, ‘Those who most suffered from debts were people of this

Martial arts during Tokugawa


sort who had to keep up a grand appearance despite their limited income’ (2001: 156). The situation became complicated for those serving at Edo.7 Due to the constraints of ‘status consumption’, samurai of middle positions, living on the fringes of expected upper social ranks were prone to be caught within a spiral of debt that could end up ruining the house. Those samurai receiving less than 100 koku were exempted from ‘borrowing back’ from the domain or military contributions and were allowed to engage in side jobs consisting of manual labour such as making hats of bamboo, lacquerware, fitting out swords, and the like. Foot soldiers (ashigaru) also had to do side jobs, and many of them, coming from peasant families, continued to be involved in agriculture on the side as a means to make a living. Low-ranking samurai without the capacity to hire servants also had to work the land themselves. Samurai of lower ranks sometimes plunged into poverty or at least were forced into a harshly frugal way of life. Thus, intra-state tensions among the samurai during late Tokugawa remained. The tension between high and lower samurai ranks can be observed in Yamakawa’s (2001) vivid recounting of memoirs from her mother, who lived in a samurai family of the Mito domain from the end of the 1850s to the 1870s. According to this oral memory, Mito domain tensions due to factional struggle started in Mito in the 1820s but crystallised heavily during the 1850s. The division was between the so-called student faction’, filled by high-ranking samurai who defended a conservative policy of the status quo, and the tengu faction, which was divided between an extremist and a more moderate section, composed in general by lower-ranking samurai who held an anti-bakufu position. The tension between the two factions escalated and led to a total of 2000 deaths among samurai and commoners of the Mito domain. This intra-estate tension was also observed in many other domains. The living conditions of daimyō and their upper retainers in Edo were very different from the ones experienced by retainers in the home domain. Besides, their political understanding of the situation in the country was very different as well. Those living in Edo shared a common understanding of a wide view for politics affecting the whole country. By contrast, the focus of lowerranking samurai living in home domains was the local community of the domain. The unleashing of the destabilising forces that would depose the Tokugawa shōgunate emerged from the social fault of lower-ranked samurai and wealthy commoners, boiling with inter-estate status anxiety. By the late Tokugawa period, some private kenjutsu academies such as Chiba, Momonoi, and Saitō dōjō became centres of reactionary individuals (the so-called shishi, or ‘men of high purpose’) against the shōgunate.8 Most of the men that helped to overthrow the Tokugawa shōgunate came from the dōjō promoting free practice with safety equipment in which low-ranking samurai and commoners joined together. In fact, the leaders of the Shinsengumi were all from common stock: Kondō Isami, son of a wealthy peasant family, and Serizawa Kamo, son of a wealthy low-ranking samurai family from Mito domain, were commanders, and Hijikata Toshizō, the son of a wealthy peasant family, was vice commander.



Seppuku, monopoly of violence, and changes in samurai habitus During the Tokugawa period, the emphasis shifted progressively towards a public representation of a subject that was ordered to kill himself on behalf of the central government. By the middle and late Tokugawa period, the organisation of the whole ceremony clearly reflected the public display of governmental power. In a denshō (written manual) of 18219 (Moridan 2016) concerning seppuku, it is stated that after the Kenshi (governmental inspector) points, ‘So and so has been told to commit Seppuku’, the seppukunin (the condemned who performs seppuku) must reply: ‘Thank you, it is a favourable conclusion’, and the Azukarinin (the official in charge of a person condemned to seppuku) replies to the Kenshi, ‘He understands and accepts’ (Moridan 2016: 10). Thus, seppuku as public execution was mainly a public display of a (voluntarily) agreed social order in which samurai sacrifice themselves for a greater good and also deserved being honoured. In fact, after the Azukarinin presents the head to the Kenshi, the latter must express, ‘That was a spectacular last moment’ (Moridan 2016: 14). To what extent this process implied a consensual, voluntary act is another thing. Even though samurai existence (and that of their family) was tied to a static social order, completely dependent on their lord, and their we-image attached to the values of warrior, it is likely that they experienced this situation as a difficult path to follow voluntarily. This possible reluctance to commit seppuku was exacerbated by changes in the samurai habitus that were composed of conditions of existence detached from the battlefield during a long period of peaceful society. In fact, there is a chapter in the denshō called ‘How to make a Ranshinsha, or person Out of Control, Commit Seppuku’ (Moridan 2016: 51), which advises one to use, instead of the knife, a Japanese folding fan, presumably to ‘just’ perform the cut to the belly symbolically and wait for the Kaishakunin (the second, in charge of beheading the seppukunin once he had performed the initial stab at the belly) to perform the beheading. The days of wielding real weapons on the battlefield were so distant that even the Kaishakunin were not dexterous anymore. According to Moridan, ‘Long ago it was fashionable for the cut to the neck to be such that Hitokawa or small piece of skin was left attached. However these days there are no samurai with such cutting proficiency’ (2016: 18). Nonetheless, the degree of ‘pacification’ did not affect the whole samurai estate in the same fashion. The difference in the conditions of existence of those employed samurai, living as government bureaucrats, contrasted with the unemployed samurai, who often became troublemakers, maintaining the less civilised version of the warrior habitus. A good example comes from the autobiography of Katsu Kokichi (1802–1850) written in 1843 called Musui Dokugen (‘Musui’s Story’) (Katsu 1991). Katsu was a bakufu retainer of middle-lower rank (either hatamoto or goke’nin) living in Edo during the last phase of Tokugawa shōgunate.10 As a third son in a system that favoured primogeniture, Kokichi would probably have had to remain dependent on his own family all his life; therefore he was adopted

Martial arts during Tokugawa


at the age of seven into the Katsu family. Katsu was the clearest example of urban samurai without career prospects, through the governmental posts: in constant financial need and debt and prone to engage in troublemaking activities; his frustration at the closure of social mobility and position in this progressively pacified society made him restless. As he remarked in his adult years, ‘Ever since my father died I’ve had no one to turn to, and as for any hope of obtaining office, I gave that up a long time ago. I decided I might as well do what I want and die’ (1991: 107) In his autobiographical account, he gives multiple examples of picking fights, searching for duels (he travelled several times in musha shugyō) with other swordsmen. He even became swordsmanship master in the Honjo district of Edo, teaching lessons to many followers. Nonetheless, he did not earn his living mainly as a kenjutsu instructor. As an unemployed retainer, Katsu had different jobs to make ends meet: by selling his goods (e.g. his own sword when his was 21); renting his property when needed; appraising and dealing in swords; organising a protection racket in the brothel district; performing divinatory incantations for ‘shadow lotteries’; and acting as a fixer and broker on behalf of his landlords. Even after retirement, he continued to perform barely legal activities such as gambling, forgery, and lending money with very high interest. He became almost ruined and in debt oftentimes but always managed to get back on his feet. Musui’s habitus dwelt in the extreme. As he recalled, ‘I wore kimonos of imported silk and fine fabrics that were beyond the reach of most people. I ate fill of good food, and all my life I bought as many prostitutes as I liked. I lived life fully’ (Katsu 1991: 156). His biography is full of armed confrontations. A telling example is presented during an incident at the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter at the age of 36, one year before his retirement: I got into a big fight with Kuma, the son of an employee at the copper mint in Hashiba. We were on the second floor, so I picked up Kuma and threw him down the stairs. He had to be carried home by some men who came running from the mint. In a while, about thirty men appeared with hooked spears. They began surrounding the house. I flung off my outer garments, hitched up the hem of my kimono and rushed outside swinging my sword. I forced the men to retreat two or three hundred yards, but just then a band of men arrived from the local patrol office to break up the fight [. . .] I was also in a great many other fights, but I’ve forgotten most of them. (Katsu 1991: 153–154) A difference in the civilising standards in the habitus of urban samurai and those in countryside areas remained. Domains such as Satsuma, in Kyushu island, maintained several samurai living in the countryside known as gōshi, who were much closer to the warrior ethos of early ages. In fact, the whole domain of Satsuma maintained violence standards not as pacified as other domains. For instance, samurai in Satsuma maintained a tradition called hiemontori by which the winner of the contest had the right to be the first to cut and slice the body



of an executed criminal. The contests in itself was brutal: the boys attended the domain prison at Seto, waiting for the executioner to sever the head of the criminal and rushing to seize the dead body. The first to bite off an ear or a finger and show to the others owned the right to practice with a real sword on the corpse (Ravina 2004: 32). In fact, samurai coming from these far regions were more prone to suffer ‘drag effects’, generating integration conflicts in the 1860s, energetically protesting against a shōgunate that had been unable to expel the foreign barbarians. The attachment to an old warrior habitus in these far regions of Satsuma, Tōsa and Chōsū and their traditional political allegiance to the imperial cause (not the shōgun) was channelled towards deposing the Tokugawa bakufu at the Boshin war (1868). When the Meiji government proved also impotent against Western powers, those same samurai provoked rebellions against Meiji, as the new integrated unit of the modern state threatened their traditional ways and their autonomous capacity of self-rule. The contrast between urban and rural samurai during the late Tokugawa period can be observed in the Shokoku Kairei Nichiroku (‘Diary of Wandering Several Provinces’) of Muta Bunnosuke (Muta c.1855), a samurai from the Saga domain. In the diary, Muta registered his experiences during musha shugyō in Edo and the Kanto region between 1853 and 1855. Of the 72 entries in Muta’s diary about the different kenjutsu dōjō he visited for challenge matches, 23 contained statements such as: ‘All students inexperienced’, ‘No particularly skilled students’, ‘Only children’, ‘Nothing special’; seven entries expressed failed expectations, so to say a mismatch between the dōjō’s fame and what Muta found in the practice; seven entries expressed the refusal of the head instructor (normally related to poor-health excuses). In one entry, Muta directly accuses the head instructor of being a coward; only six entries expressed interesting practices with high-level swordsmen. Probably, the assessment of Muta was affected by the disparity in the civilising standards of far regions such as Saga (Muta’s origins)11 and the urban dōjō he visited in Edo and the Kanto region. This is not to deny that also in big cities such as Edo, differences among samurai living conditions between high and low rank were also translated in differences in the civilising standards of their habitus (see Musui’s example). The social fault of lower-ranked samurai and wealthy commoners, boiling with inter-group status anxiety, represented also a ‘wilder’ version of the urban samurai bureaucrat. The rebellious movement against the shōgunate in the late Tokugawa period came precisely from this mixed group, training together in some private kenjutsu academies such as Chiba, Momonoi, and Saitō dōjō. The same inter-estate mixed group was responsible for the ‘wild’ actions of pro-shōgunal forces. For instance, the aforementioned shinsengumi were formed by low rank samurai and wealthy commoners around the successful Edo dōjō of the Tennen Rishin ryū under the headmaster Kondō Isamu. They maintained a highly realistic approach to combat, training themselves to face death, and honed their ability to cut human flesh by acting as executors of condemned criminals or acting as seconds when their fellow

Martial arts during Tokugawa


partners were forced to perform seppuku. As Hillsborough underlines, ‘Killing had become a daily occupation for the corpsmen, whose very livelihood now depended on terror and bloodshed’ (2005: 65). Candidates for the shinshengumi underwent dreadful initiation rites such as taking part in a bout with real blades, performing an execution, or acting as a second in a seppuku process. Even if the candidate passed the trial successfully, he could be granted just temporary status, proving his worth in real street combat before gaining full-fledged membership. They punished with seppuku – or simply beheading if the offender was not worth it – several violations of the code, but the most radical was the one stating that ‘in case of a fight, if you do not kill your opponent you will be ordered to commit seppuku’ (Hillsborough 2005: 40). The spark of battling action that swept Japan during the 1860s made samurai habitus – despite differences across the whole estate –veer momentarily towards the decivilising trend of a more warrior-like type. Ritual suicide became again more directly connected to battlefield. That was true in the case of men but also of women. In the events surrounding the Aizu defeat at the Boshin war of 1868, mass suicides of entire households were committed by wives of Aizu military officers killing themselves and their dependants to spare them from disgrace and abusive behaviour on the part of the victorious (Wright 2001: 4).

The transformation of martial arts during mid and late Tokugawa Even though the monopoly of violence by the baku-han figuration was firmly established, the very existence of the samurai estate was still supported under a warrior ethos, and sometimes fights and clashes between samurai implying bloodshed occurred (Vaporis 2008: 176). Violence did not occurred only between samurai but spilled over the whole social realm in everyday life: private security guards (yojimbo) from lower-ranked samurai or rōnin were hired by merchants (Cunningham 2004: 92). Besides, some of the so-called commoners’ jūjutsu (see what follows) contained a myriad of self-defence weapons (goshinki), consisting in everyday objects such as a fan (tessen) or a pipe, concealed in the civil clothing as a way to parry surprising attacks (Mol 2003). The shōgunate’s response towards violent incidents was at the same civilising level of development: for example, in one month in Edo during the late eighteenth century, the shōgunate executed as many as 2000 people (Cunningham 2004: 33). The proliferation of arresting weapons witnessed a further improvement in the police (not military) functions of the samurai. Restraining weapons (full of hooks and stoppers) and ropes for arresting criminals without shedding blood increased considerably in relation to police functions. The restraining arts (hojō jutsu) using arresting cords or arresting ropes were further developed by the police forces as a way to transport, confine, and interrogate suspects. Because the question of status was of utmost importance, several different restraining patterns were developed for nobles, samurai, farmers, artisans, monks, priests, and beggars.



There were even special ways of restraining children and three different patterns for women (Cunningham 2004: 84). Apart from restraining ropes, polearm arresting tools to immobilise and capture without killing the subject became crucial for the function of police forces. Commonly referred as torimono sandōgu (three tools of arresting), they included the sodegarami (sleeve entangler), the sasumata (spear fork), and the tsukubō (push pole). They represented the sign of authority, publicly displayed in front of machi bugyō offices and at the barrier checkpoint stations of the main highways. The spread of restraining weapons outside police forces also led to the delicate equilibrium of exerting violence within the acceptable standards of the baku-han figuration. The idea of restraining but not killing was not only restricted to police officers. As the murder of samurai could have severe consequences, disarming techniques (such as muto dori), arresting and restraining techniques and tools (especially jutte, an iron shaft with a hook) were taught in many ryū; for example, more than 30 ryūs of the era had jutte jutsu in their curriculum (Cunningham 2004: 65). The development of martial arts at that time remained in the hands of the samurai, even though by the mid and late Tokugawa era, a functional democratisation of martial traditions had spread those practices towards commoners. Gender power relations within the samurai estate continued to favour men, who maintained also the leading role in the transmission of martial arts. This is not to say that women did not have any access to martial instruction, as the case of Rengetsu (‘Lotus Moon’) shows. Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791–1875), a Buddhist monk and acclaimed poet, was also keen in martial arts. She received a samurai education from an early age, training in martial arts on a regular basis. Rengetsu was keen in jūjutsu, naginatajutsu, kenjutsu, and also in the use of kusarigama (sickle and chain) and maybe ninjutsu. By the age of 17, she had received a menkyo kaiden (teaching license) in martial arts (Stevens 2014: 15). Although as a female instructor, she only taught jūjutsu to local ladies and she could not get support from any samurai domain to open a dōjō, her life showed that women of high status maintained a certain degree of power in relation to men. Rengetsu decided to separate from her first husband and marry a second time without any trouble. When her second husband died, she (age 33) decided to take vows as a Pure Land Buddhist nun and later made a living producing pottery that contained some of her verses. During mid and late Tokugawa, several changes occurred in the martial arts. Such changes included the specialisation of the composite ryū, with a greater predominance of swordsmanship in a civil context; the development of protective equipment related to changes in the training methodology; and the professionalisation of the instruction and organisation of contests that fostered a ‘functional democratisation’ of martial arts towards commoners. The emergence of commoners’ jūjutsu was a clear symptom of the martial arts expansion beyond the samurai social group. It also pointed towards increasing social mixing between samurai and commoners, something also observable within the professionalisation pattern sumō underwent during this period.

Martial arts during Tokugawa


The increasing importance of the sword: from battlefield to civil kenjutsu The end of composite styles due to specialisation in martial ryū started to unfold by the 1670s, during the times of the third shōgun, Iemitsu (Hurst 1998: 78). The sword definitively came to represent a central position, as it was a much more suitable weapon for a civil context than bow and arrow, spear, or naginata.12 After the famous figures that ended their lives in the early Tokugawa era, no novel relevant style of swordsmanship was created. Martial traditions were just transmitted with some personal variations to future generations, suffering severe changes in a rather pacified civil context. The changes from battlefield (kaisha) kenjutsu performed by warriors clad in armour to civil (suhada) kenjutsu performed in everyday clothes without protection can be observed in the kind of novel techniques appearing at this time. New techniques included attacks directed towards the outer (unprotected) sides of wrists, which make no sense against the armoured sleeve of a warrior in the battlefield; cutting actions to the torso – which only made sense for attacking someone in civilian clothes, not clad in armour; and a vertical downward strike, which would not be so effective against a warrior wearing a helmet. Besides, the positioning of the sword blade in the scabbard facing upwards was due to the development of iaijutsu (techniques of drawing the sword and cutting in one single motion) ryū.

Changes from kata to shiai training and the development of protective equipment During the first half of mid Tokugawa, the transmission of the ryū continued through kata practice, aggravating the detachment of martial traditions from the reality of combat. This is not to say that musha shugyō nor taryu jiai disappeared completely. For example, edicts from the late seventeenth century, such as those issued by the government of Tsuyama domain or the Asayama Ichiden ryū, explained those circumstances under which such duels were permitted. Controversy about the most suitable method for training appeared during the early 1700s, when some sword schools introduced protective gear13 so students could spar while applying full power in order to overcome the limitations imposed by kata training. The further development of a sword made of split bamboo called shinai14 created a more flexible and pliant weapon, becoming a safer option than the wooden bokutō. The modern shinai was designed concomitantly with the development of the equipment for body protection. The Jikishinkage ryū played an important role in the development of such equipment: Yamada Hizaemon Mitsunori (1639–1716) had started the development of protective equipment while training; his third son, Nagamuna Shirōzaemon Kunisato (1688–1767), developed further a set of protective equipment called nagamuna, consisting of kote (wrist) and men (head) protection, around 1711–1716. The Jikishinkage ryū was one of the first examples of



using both the shinai and protective body armour together (Mol 2010: 298). Naganuma Kunisato opened a dōjō in Edo counting about 10.000 students, something that was helpful to spread these methods. The Ittō ryū also played an important role in this development: around 1751–1764, Nakanishi Chūzō, second head of Nakanishi Ittō ryū, developed a protection for the torso called muneate and also experienced some spread in his private dōjō. Chiba Shūsaku Narimasa (1793–1855), founder of the Hokushin Ittō ryū, helped to improve the design of the protective pieces. The expansion of full-contact methods instead of kata training made seven ryū-ha the most prominent in the early 1800s: the Shingyōtō ryū, the Nakanishi-ha Ittō ryū, the Hokushin Ittō ryū, the Kōgen Ittō ryū, the Shintō Munen ryū, the Jikishin Kage ryū, and the Kyōshin Meichi ryū (Bennett 2015: 77). Nonetheless, the development of protective equipment was not only related to sword-centred ryū. Naginata and spear ryū were likely to have predated its use in kenjutsu ryū. For instance, schools of sōjutsu (spear) used full-contact methods before kenjutsu (Bennett 2015: 73). The practice with the tampoyari (a long stick with a padded spearhead) was combined with the protection of the left side of the torso, and some ryū also included a long protective gauntlet for the left hand and arm. By the mid Tokugawa, ‘friendly’ matches (shiai) between ryū became more common. Not only swordsmen were pitted against other swordsmen but also against naginata or spear; spear versus spear, naginata versus naginata, or naginata versus spear were also possible combinations. In the different shiai, a combination of protective equipment was used, including sometimes also suneate (shin guards), mainly due to naginata strikes. Thus, the development of protective equipment resulted not only from the cross-fertilisation of swordcentred ryū but also from the cross-fertilisation with ryū featuring other weapons such as naginata or spear (Mol 2010: 300). Competition channelled a uniformity in the protective equipment, but it did not end up with the idiosyncrasies of traditional ryū: current examples of Ono-ha Ittō ryū’s onikote (a very heavy gauntlet) or Maniwa’s Nen ryū headgear (used since the early seventeenth century) and gauntlet represent unique solutions fitted to the requirements of specific ryū that maintained their tradition apart from the modern competitive discipline of kendō (even though some of the famous practitioners of these ryū were instrumental in the development of modern kendō). The introduction of protective equipment was not without controversy within the kata versus free-sparring (shiai) debate. Defenders of kata training with bokken despised the use of shinai as a ‘fake’ weapon. Ono Tayoshi, from the Ono-ha Ittō ryū, considered that shinai’s strikes were weak and tended to teach swordsmen a distaste for mortal combat, making them mentally weak (Bennett 2015: 71). Despite some opposition, by the end of the eighteenth century, most ryū had merged both methods to different extents. Those schools which privileged free sparring attracted more students and would play a crucial role in the events surrounding the fall of the Tokugawa shōgunate by the second half of the nineteenth century.

Martial arts during Tokugawa


Full-contact practice with protective equipment favoured contests between different schools, something that helped the process of systematisation of unified techniques. For instance, by 1884, we find a detailed catalogue of 86 techniques in Kōsaka Masataka’s work about Master Chiba Shūsaku kenjutsu. These techniques would become very influential by the mid-nineteenth century to provide a format for the way gekken (swordsmanship contests) were conducted, influencing also in what later developed as modern kendō. When the Shōgunate established the Academy of Martial Training (Kōbusho) in 1856, instructors from these academies based on competitive style became the majority, favouring the spread of their approach in detriment of kata-based ryū. The introduction of protective equipment and the specialisation of techniques were part of the process towards professionalisation of the instruction and development of swordsmanship as a ‘sports-like’ discipline. Protective equipment made the practice not only safer but also more entertaining for ‘a warrior class who yearned for the thrill of action’ (Bennett 2015: 73). In relation to this matter (and also to professionalisation; see what follows), an increased interest in musha shugyō developed again at this time. Touring the country in these ‘friendly matches’ against practitioners of other ryū would definitively be an exciting experience for warriors of the era. Nonetheless, full-contact training with protective equipment was not only used as a ‘sports-like’ recreation; as the 1860s unfolded and reactionary elements tried to subvert the shōgunate, most of the rebel forces came from dōjō using protective equipment in free sparring, applying such training to real combat. The professionalisation of instruction and the ‘functional democratisation’ towards commoners Some professionalisation of martial arts had occurred already during early Tokugawa when skilled martial experts started to act as professional instructors for the different domains, even the shōgun. During the seventeenth century, instruction became more professionalised and more commercialised, the learning stages became longer, and more elaborate systems of certificates and diplomas appeared (Friday 1997: 51).15 However, professionalisation gained momentum during the eighteenth century. By the end of the seventeenth century, private bugei academies (shijuku) were available. Contrary to domain-sponsored schools (hankō) in which retainers and their children were instructed, the private academies opened the doors to any samurai or even commoners. The competition between private academies sparked the discussion on kata versus full-contact sparring. Many young, successful stars of the full-contact contests became popular teachers, attracting more students than traditional kata-oriented ryū. Even though the professionalisation of the activity did not get to the levels of sumō (see the following), victories in tournaments helped winners to get more students for their dōjō. The practices of dōjō yaburi (challenging the head of the school and keeping their students if



victorious) and musha shugyō increased at this time as part of these new conditions of a competitive market for a bourgeoning profession. The late Tokugawa period offered young not-first-born sons a good opportunity to search for domains to hire their services or be back to the domain after a period of training to become a bujutsu instructor. In late Tokugawa, impoverished domains had a hard time soothing promising youths that could become a source of trouble if their life chances were frustrated. The increase of musha shugyō and training in wellknown urban dōjō provided a possible professional path for them. An example of professionalisation of instruction can be observed by analysing the case of one of Edo’s most prominent dōjō by the 1830s:16 Chiba Shūkaku’s (1794–1855) Genbukan. It has been suggested that the great attraction of students to Chiba’s dōjō was due to the shortened time to receive certifications: it was reduced from the nine-year average in other dōjō to four and a half or five years. The cut in expenses for a student coming from the provinces outside Edo was remarkable and increased the chances of Chiba’s dōjō to be ‘picked up’ as a good investment. Yearly training there was expensive: monthly tuition was 200 hiki, about the money needed to feed a family of four during 400 days (Mol 2010: 82). Besides, lodging and food were expenses on top of the tuition. However, a licensed student from a famous dōjō could increase his stipend back home or become the official instructor of the domain’s lord. Thus, many students thought of this option as worthwhile. Students did not only come from samurai stock. The proliferation of private dōjō favoured a process of ‘functional democratisation’ of the martial arts towards big groups of commoners. This pattern was embedded in the social dynamics of shifting power balances between samurai and wealthy merchant groups; impoverished samurai and the wealthy merchants were getting to equal status, oftentimes merchants gaining the upper hand on economic power even though legally samurai retained the upper hand – with merchants buying samurai titles as a way to gain superior legal status. Professional instruction became a solution to cope with the need of making ends meet for many of these jobless retainers in a market already saturated for customers of samurai stock. That is why despite the shōgunate issued an edict in 1805 banning kenjutsu for commoners, the order was almost ignored, something that would happen in several occasions afterwards (Mol 2010: 308). The ‘sports-like’ orientation of the full-contact kenjutsu and the more open policy of private dōjō brought to the practice halls new groups of participants, basically commoners with an itch for samurai martial prowess and the ‘quest for excitement’ in a more or less ‘secure’ practice. Nonetheless, the entry of commoners into the martial arts figuration brought further changes in the professionalisation of an activity that had to be ‘sold’ for new customers and was not secured within the dōjō of a domain tradition. Precisely, the question of commercial values attached to the practice diminished the consideration of official legitimation. Many samurai, especially of mid and higher status, considered commoners social inferiors indulging in the playful activity of gekken, but they could never represent proper and true samurai values. When the shōgunate’s

Martial arts during Tokugawa


military academy (the Kōbusho) was established in 1856, no kenjutsu master of commoner origin was elected to be part of it. In any case, the spread of martial arts towards other social groups than samurai was a reality. Some famous instructors such as Saitō Yakurō – whose Renpeikan was one of the most prominent dōjō in Edo in the nineteenth century – came from commoner stock, a trend that was aggravated during the Meiji period (see Chapter 7). Many of the famous competitors from early the nineteenth century were also commoners. Match records of the 1840s from what is now Saitama Prefecture revealed that 81% of acclaimed fencers came from farmers, deputy administrators, merchants, and the like, and only 19% came from samurai origin (Bennett 2015: 81). Even though this case may contain specific characteristics not shared by all other domains in terms of the stratification characteristics of participants, it points to the fact that commoners were well versed in the practice of martial arts by the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, some martial traditions such as the Maniwa Nen ryū were practiced and maintained by farmers and villagers of the Maniwa region. Martial arts were also taught in the numerous commoner schools that spread all over the country in late Tokugawa and early Meiji, previous to the promulgation of the Fundamental Code of Education in 1872 (Gainty 2013: 25). In summary, samurai in need of job opportunities and well-to-do commoners, eager to take part in the samurai culture, represented the perfect match for the development of kenjutsu as the modern ‘sports-like’ kendo, first in the type of competitive swordsmanship bouts known as gekken or gekiken. The specialisation towards bare-handed techniques and the emergence of commoners’ ju¯jutsu One element of the functional democratisation of martial arts towards commoners that deserves a special sub-section is the emergence of so-called shomin yawara17 or ippan yawara during the mid and late Tokugawa periods. The development of bare-handed techniques by commoners was a further step in the process of specialisation towards a more central role of bare-handed techniques within the curriculum of some composite ryū. For instance Terada Kanemon Masashige (1616–1674), grand master of one of the branches of Kitō ryū (see Chapter 5), the Kitō Midare ryū, had founded the Jikishin ryū around the 1640s. By 1724, the Jikishin ryū jūjutsu would become Jikishin ryū jūdō (predating Kanō Jigorō’s use of the term by more than 150 years), and bare-handed techniques occupied a significant part of the curriculum. However, the greater predominance of bare-handed techniques did not mean a complete specialisation. As written documents of the era showed, the ryū contained also subsections on the use of grappling armed with short weapons as well as sword techniques (Mol 2001: 130). We should not forget that samurai were still armed on a regular basis, and the kind of grappling techniques performed in civilian clothing (suhada kumiuchi) always implied the use of weapons. Of course, this use of weapons had to be adapted to the common



situations of civil life. Jūjutsu techniques starting from the position of seiza (sitting on one’s knees) were clearly intended to be performed without wearing a heavy battlefield armour, and they spread among different ryū. As occurred in the case of sword-related ryū, specialisation towards barehanded techniques was related to broader patterns of shifting power balances between samurai and commoners; the need for paying students in order to make ends meet for the samurai opened up the access to commoners in need of selfdefence resources in still ‘not enough pacified’ urban areas (Mol 2010: 308). Commoners’ jūjutsu specialised in the use of bare-handed techniques, aided oftentimes by small concealed weapons (shikomibuki) for self-defence. In fact, the kind of techniques implemented in these styles were also referred to as goshinjutsu, techniques of self-defence (Mol 2001: 41). The professionalisation of sumo¯ Another activity that allowed further social mixing between samurai and commoners during mid and late Tokugawa was sumō, which definitively took off as a professional ‘sports-like’ activity. Whereas samurai oftentimes played the exclusive role of patrons, organisers, and referees, commoners (but also samurai) acted as paid professional wrestlers and paying spectators. In response to the bans on sumō due to rowdy behaviour during early Tokugawa, promoters introduced changes in the format of the activity to meet such ‘civilising demands’. Sumō wrestler Ikazuchi Gondaiyu made several petitions to the authorities for permission to organise benefit sumō. He finally succeeded in 1684, obtaining the organisational title of elder (toshiyori) after including a series of innovations to tackle previous violence-related problems. One of these innovations – that was in place since the late 1660s – was to locate bales of earth around the wrestling area to define a ring. Previously, wrestlers and onlookers formed a circle (hito kataya), but since the introduction of the ring (dohyō), it was easier to physically keep wrestlers and spectators apart. This change in the organisation of the fighting area also helped to change other rules: victory was awarded to those who either pushed the opponent out of the ring or forced him to touch the ground with any part of the body but the sole of the feet. In a typical ‘sportising’ pattern, these changes in rules and format were accompanied by the development of technical skills, and new techniques such as lifting (tsuri), driving (yori), and pushing (oshi) became common (Manzenreiter 2014: 462). Nonetheless, the introduction of such techniques also shaped the bodies of the wrestlers, size and bulk becoming important features for pushing the opponent out of the ring (Frost 2010: 25). Edicts prohibiting street-corner sumō continued to be issued during the second half of the seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century (1648, 1687, 1694, 1703, 1707, 1719, and 1720), but legitimate benefit sumō was excluded from the bans. This was a policy intended to prevent commoners to engage in activities not considered suitable for their social group. In the ban decree of 1711, it is explicitly said that: ‘commoners

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are employing wrestlers and holding displays in various quarters of the city . . . This is inappropriate to commoners . . . and it must henceforth come to an end’ (Bolitho 2003: 186). Organisers of benefit sumō were responsible for acquiring the required permission and for keeping the tournaments free of fighting. Nonetheless, it was not in Edo but in Osaka and Kyoto that the popularisation of benefit sumō thrived. By the end of the Genroku era (1688–1704), the hierarchy of ranks was developed: ozeki, sekiwake, and komusubi. Also, in 1699 we find the first programme (banzuke) published at the benefit sumō performance of the Okazaki Tenno Shrine in Kyoto. By the early eighteenth century, programmes containing the list of rankings of the wrestlers were displayed at the tournaments and at crossroads to attract spectators. Sumō was attaining a considerable degree of professionalisation: by the end of seventeenth century, professional referees (gyoji) founded their own stables (heya) of wrestlers; in 1719, a directive in Edo (similar to those developed in Osaka and Kyoto) specified that only professional wrestlers and organisers could take part in benefit sumō tournaments. Provincial lords resorted to hire wrestlers as part of their vassals, gaining samurai status. These so-called rikishi (strong samurai) were permitted to carry two swords, whereas sumō wrestlers who were not patronised by a daimyō could only wear one sword. Later in this century, 27 daimyō around the country began to give stipends to outstanding urban professional wrestlers instead of maintaining their own troupes (Bolitho 2003: 186). Other ingredients were progressively included in the organisation of the activity: a ring-entering ceremony (dohyo iri) involving hard stomping on the ground and clapping of the hands evolved to give the spectators some idea of each wrestler’s characteristics and fighting potential. Elaborated clothing (frontal aprons with decoration referring to their hiring lords) made easier to identify publicly the origin of the fighter. In fact, daimyō competed with each other by proxy through their wrestlers, not only through the victory over the opponent but also through a conspicuous display of wealth in the wrestlers’ attire, mainly the decorative aprons (kesho mawashi). By the middle of the eighteenth century, the sumō world in Edo also became professionally organised, most tournaments taking place in the large temples of the Eastern part of the city. During the second part of the century, the Edo sumō organisation (sumo kaisho) overcame Osaka and Kyoto groups, and sumō reached new peaks of popularity in the 1780s, becoming increasingly more systematised. Tournaments took place twice a year in the capital and once in each of the western cities. The influential Yoshida family acquired the monopoly on acting as referees in the matches along the eighteenth century, adding layers of legitimation to the activity. Yoshida Tsukasake became the proprietor of the sumō kojitsu, an exclusive system of sumō techniques, etiquettes, and customs, and only those elders (toshiyori) and apprentices of Yoshida’s system were officially recognised as legitimate wrestlers (Nippon Budokan 2009: 174). The number of elders increased from 38 by the 1790s to 45 some years later and became closed to the arrival of newcomers. The organisation of the ‘sport’ became more stable, with regular schedules, training facilities, and an accepted set of rules banning



strikes with clenched fists, gouging, kicking, breaking fingers, or attacking the genitals (Bolitho 2003: 187). For the big mass of spectators, sumō was a delightful and enjoyable spectacle.21 For instance, Edo, Osaka, and Kyoto were able to sponsor a 10-day tournament and provide up to 3000 paying spectators for each day, supplying the livelihood of a total of 286 professional wrestlers in 1843 (Bolitho 2003: 185). Like many popular celebrities of the period, sumō wrestlers also featured prominently in woodblock prints and textual sources and were highly publicised also in the banzuke (rank lists) for the coming championships (Frost 2010: 28). Despite the fact that sumō would become during Meiji the quintessence of Japaneseness, called ‘national sport’, sumō during Tokugawa did not take root in the centre of nobility culture and was not regarded as being the highest representative of tradition of the nation. During Tokugawa, sumō found a home beside other icons of popular culture such as kabuki actors and geisha entertainers (Manzenreiter 2014: 462–463). The samurai estate still found certain fondness in sumō’s patronage. Sumō was still connected to martial traditions, a defining feature of samurai we-identity during the Tokugawa period. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, different Tokugawa shōgun witnessed the bouts, granting a degree of respectability, something they would never do in cases such as kabuki or bunraku theatre (Bolitho 2003: 188).

Notes 1 For instance, during the nineteenth century in Kagoshima, the largest city of the Satsuma domain, almost 70% of the population was composed of samurai and their families (Ravina 2004: 19). 2 This situation was at odds with the previous Kamakura era, in which the shōgun often cancelled debts that his retainers had with merchants and moneylenders. The shōgun permitted his retainers to reclaim their lands in case they had lost them due to debt (Segal 2012: 292). 3 According to Benesch (2016: 28), by mid Tokugawa, the discussion of bunbu (literary and military) became linked to a kind of protro-nationalism in which bun was associated with China and bu with the identity of Japan, as expressed for instance in the works of Yūzan. 4 They were even authorised to kill commoners due to improper behaviour (codified as rudeness killing or burei-uchi) even though in reality it did not happen often. 5 Strictly speaking, the use of bushidō before the Meiji period is an anachronism. The set of ideas and values commonly known as bushidō developed during the Meiji period (see Chapter 7). Yūzan’s work was published by the mid-nineteenth century and Hagakure, and the Akō (47 rōnin) incident or Yamaga Sokō’s writings were not especially influential before the twentieth century (Benesch 2016: 21). 6 A low-ranking Tokugawa samurai who had studied at the Chiba dōjō and worked as assistant kenjutsu instructor at the Bakufu’s Military Academy would later become an influential figure for the development of kenjutsu in Meiji (see Chapter 7). 7 For instance, Isamu, a samurai serving at the Mito domain residence in Edo, was admonished by his father on the perils of an expensive lifestyle based on credit: ‘How are you managing with the end of the year? Expenses here have been much greater than I anticipated. In Edo, I’ve heard, as it is customary to buy things on credit, every

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11 12







year at year end those with small incomes have a hard time coming up with the funds to pay the accumulated debts [. . .] You should take great care to avoid buying things on credit. If you don’t buy on credit, you have to pay out cash at the time, but things will be much easier at the end of the year. It’s because the Nomuras have the habit of buying things on credit that they’ve become so impoverished’ (12/28/1857, in Yamakawa 2001: 166). For instance, Chōsū reactionary retainers such as Takasagi Shinsaku, Kido Kōin, and Shinagawa Yajirō and Katsura Kogorō trained at the successful Saitō dōjō; Sakamoto Ryōma, a rōnin from Tosa, served as head of a branch of the Chiba dōjō; Takechi Hanpeita, another Tosa loyalist leader who played a key role in terrifying Kyoto streets during the 1860s, served as the head of Momonoi dōjō. The original text – or at least a former version – was written in the eighteenth century by Moridan Uemon Takayasu. Although the nineteenth century version presented here may have undergone some variations, it is likely that they were not substantial, as the overall figuration in relation to the monopoly of violence did not change much from mid to late Tokugawa. Kokichi’s son Katsu Kaishu (Rintaro) would become an influential figure in Japanese history: he got the position of commander of the Shōgun’s Army and played a crucial role in the negotiations of the shōgunate surrender. Later he occupied the positions of Vice Minister and Minister of the Japanese Imperial Army in the 1870s. He also got well acquainted with Kanō Jigorō, founder of Kōdōkan jūdō (Stevens 2013: 82–85) Muta himself would participate later in the Saga Rebellion of 1874. According to the Nippon Kobudō Sōran, in the Edo period, there existed 718 swordsmanship ryū in comparison to 179 for jūjutsu, 148 for sōjutsu, and 52 for kyūjutsu (Mol 2001: 219). Nonetheless, the specialisation of ryū was progressive, not an abrupt change. It could be argued that the use of safety measures while training is as old as the use of wooden swords (bokutō or bokken) instead of real blades. Nonetheless, the impact of the wooden sword could be also lethal, and economic factors (to avoid damage to the real blade) may have had a greater influence than mere protection (Mol 2010: 278). The oldest design of the shinai included a split bamboo with heavy linen or leather cover and was dubbed fukuro (bag) shinai. It was used by different ryū as Shinkage ryū, Yagyū Shinkage ryū, Kashima Shintō ryū, and Maniwa nen ryū. Shinkage ryū founder Kamiizumi Nobutsuna is credited with the invention of fukuro shinai. It was commonly used in duels by Yagyū Muneyoshi by the end of the sixteenth century. The grade system – even though some variation among ryū occurred – included shoden (initial transmission); chuden (intermediate transmission), okuden (advanced transmission), and menkyo kaiden (complete transmission). Along the different stages, the student received some mokuroku (catalogues or lists referring to the ryū curriculum). By the 1850s, there were about 300 dōjō around Edo (Mol 2010: 81), but three outclassed all the others: Chiba Shūkaku’s (1794–1855) Genbukan, Chiba being the founder of Hokushin Ittō ryū; Saitō Yakurō Yoshimichi’s (1798–1871) Renpeikan, Saitō being a follower of Shindō Munen ryū; and Momoi Shunzō Naomasa’s (1826–1885) Shigakukan, Naomasa being the fourth headmaster of Kyōshin Meichi ryū, focused on hard shiaigeikō (sparring training). Two more dōjō also excelled: Iba Hidetoshi’s (1813–1886) Iba dōjō and Otani Shimōsa Nobutomo’s (1798–1864) Otani dōjō. Yawara and yawarajutsu were cognate terms for jūjutsu, variations due to the pronunciation of the ideograms. Nonetheless, other related terms were also in use; for example, ‘yawara’ was used in the Sekiguchi ryū, ‘wajutsu’ in the Oguri ryū, ‘taijutsu’ in the Nagao ryū (Draeger 2007: 114–115), ‘torite’ and ‘hade’ in Takenouchi ryū (Mol 2001: 47, 51), and ‘hakuda’ in Fudō Chisin ryū (Mol 2001: 53).



References Benesch, O. (2016). Inventing the Way of the Samurai. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bolitho, H. (2003). Sumō in Popular Culture: The Tokugawa Period. In E. Dunning and D. Malcolm (eds.). Sport: Critical Concepts in Sociology, Vol 2: The Development of Sport. London: Routledge, pp. 180–194. Chance, F. (2012). Ukiyo Asobi. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 366–377. Cunningham, D. (2004). Taiho-Jutsu: Law and Order in the Age of the Samurai. Vermont: Tuttle Publishing. Draeger, D.F. (2007). Classical Budo. Boston: Weatherhill. Elias, N. (1983). The Court Society. New York: Pantheon Books. Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Frost, D.J. (2010). Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Fukuzawa, Y. (1880). Kyu Han-Jyo (The Samurai Society Under Old Han). In Meiji Bungaku Zenshu (Collected Works of Meiji Literature) (Vol. 8). Tokyo: Chikuma-Syobo. Gainty, D. (2013). Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London: Routledge. Hillsborough, R. (2005). Shinsengumi: The Shogun’s Last Samurai Corps. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing. Howell, D.L. (2012). Urbanization, Trade, and Merchants. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 356–365. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ikegami, E. (1995). The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Katsu, K. (1991). Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Manzenreiter, W. (2014). Cracks in the Moral Economy of Sumo: Beasts of Burden, Sport Heroes, National Icons and Living Gods in Disgrace. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 31(4), pp. 459–473. Mol, S. (2001). Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: A Complete Guide to Koryū Jūjutsu. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Mol, S. (2003). Classical Weaponry of Japan: Special Weapons and Tactics of the Martial Arts. London: Kodansha International. Mol, S. (2010). Classical Swordsmanship of Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu. Brussels: Eibusha. Moridan, U. (2016). Seppuku: Etiquette for the Seppukunin, Kenshi and Kaishakunin. Middletown, DE: CreateSpace. Muta, B. (c.1855). Diary of Wandering Several Provinces, viewed 22 March, 2018, Nippon Budokan (2009). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation. Ravina, M. (2004). The Last Samurai. In The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Segal, E. (2012). The Medieval Economy. In K. Friday (ed.). Emerging Japan: Premodern History to 1850. Boulder: Westview, pp. 289–298.

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Sonoda, H. (1990). The Decline of the Japanese Warrior Class, 1840–1880. Nichibunken Japan Review, pp. 73–111. Stevens, J. (2013). The Way of Jūdō: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and His Students. Boulder: Shambhala Publications. Stevens, J. (2014). Rengetsu: Life and Poetry of Lotus Moon. Vermont: Echo Point Books & Media. Vaporis, C.N. (2008). Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Wright, D.E. (2001). Female Combatants and Japan’s Meiji Restoration: The Case of Aizu. War In History, 8(4), 396–417. Yamakawa, K. (2001). Women of the Mito Domain: Recollections of Samurai Family Life. Palto Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Yamamoto, J. (1979). Hagakure (transl. W.S. Wilson). Tokyo: Kodansha International.

Part III

Martial artists

Chapter 7

The identification of martial arts with the Japanese we-identity during Meiji

The Meiji oligarchic regime emerged from a top-down revolution: the samurai estate reformed the system, modernising it but still holding control over it. The Meiji regime came finally to achieve the transition from the ‘private’ ownership of the monopolies over the use of violence, taxation and means of orientation to the bureaucratic public functions of state institutions. This is not to say that the control of these monopolies was complete from the beginning (Siniawer 2008: 40). During the first two decades, the Meiji state was continuously challenged by ultra-nationalistic groups connected to disenfranchised former samurai and grassroots movements such as the People’s Rights Movement. This expresses the fact that, since the establishment of the Meiji government in 1868, different trends counterbalanced each other in the building of the new Japanese we-identity and national habitus. After a brief civilising-informalising phase during the decade of the 1870s, a reformalising phase got the upper hand since the 1880s until the end of the Meiji period. During the whole period, a decivilising trend developed ‘behind the scenes’, as a network of semi-secret societies supporting the tairiku rōnin (continental adventurers) and a strong Japanese leadership in PanAsianism. The latter trend emerged strongly at some points – between the SinoJapanese war (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese war (1904–1905) – although it did not become predominant during Meiji.

Informalising phase (1870s), introduction of sports and the development of modern martial arts The coming of the Meiji restoration implied a more open social organisation: the four-estate system was abolished, and merit progressively gained certain importance, to the detriment of social origin. Gender power balances started to change as well, allowing a greater (but still very restricted) scope for women in society at large. The changes introduced during the last period of the Tokugawa era were crucial to understand Meiji’s policy on meritocracy instead of hereditary privileges within the privileged group of the samurai. The movement had started already from within the samurai group, as a way to regain their military function. The military reform had a levelling effect within the samurai estate (Sonoda 1990).


Martial artists

The strong military reform not only erased much of the difference between samurai; it opened up the chance for men of non-samurai status to become part of the new army and gain samurai status. A specific process of ‘functional democratisation’ would occur within the samurai estate and between samurai and commoners in the Meiji political, military and education ambits.1 In 1872 conscription in the army and the modern educational system were introduced. Informalisation of manners Meiji was known as an era of ‘civilisation and enlightenment’, which meant basically a more open attitude towards foreign (Western) law, science, behaviour and the like. At that time, especially within big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, we find the first wave of informalisation, related to high classes, especially men, who started to blend Japanese and Western style and manners. A common term was that of ‘the double life’, being both foreign and domestic at the same time, wearing Western shoes or dresses but sleeping on the floor. New ways of cutting the hair such as zangiri (‘random cropping’) appeared, leaving behind the old style of shaved forefront and topknot. Also, the expression ‘high-collar’ became fashionable by the turn of the century, meaning something affectedly foreign. Highcollar aspects of food included meat and bread as part of the diet, something almost unknown in preceding eras. In terms of leisure, European-style buildings such as the Rokumeikan hosted by the end of the nineteenth century numerous balls, garden parties and evening receptions as a clear example of modernity. Foreigners were also invited, and ladies and gentlemen were expected to bring Western dresses, much less constraining than the Japanese, for dancing. Kabuki theatre, before then considered as low taste, gained respectability and higher and lower classes did not mind mixing together at these venues. Besides, men and women acted together on stage performing Kabuki, something exclusively male in preceding eras. Women were also accepted as spectators at sumō during the 1870s, another symptom of further integration in gender matters. Integration conflicts This is not to say Meiji was free from integration conflicts, as exemplified by the samurai rebellions of the 1870s. The broad reformation process initiated by the new government made some of the traditionalist samurai grow restless. Now that the Imperial rule had been restored, many felt betrayed by a government too eager to adopt Western influences and decided to erase the autonomy and power potential of old samurai domains. The domains were officially dismantled in 1871 when prefectural governors were appointed to replace the former daimyō. This same year, the Hair Cut Edict (Danpatsu-rei), by which former samurai had to abandon the traditional samurai haircut with the shaved head and the topknot, was issued; in 1873, the imperial government officially established the modern conscript army, blurring the central role of former samurai in warfare; in 1876,

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the Sword Abolishment Edict (Haitō-rei) banning former samurai from carrying swords was also issued. Many former samurai experienced some kind of ‘drag effect’ (Elias 2001: 211) at that time, unwilling and/or unable to assume these sudden great changes in the ways and conditions of life. After the political and military reforms, the former samurai that could not get official posts in the government, the army, the navy or the education system were forced to work in what were traditionally considered commoners’ occupations. Some of these former samurai dwelling on the losing side showed discontent and resentment after Meiji reforms that not only prevented them from making a living as samurai but further snatched symbolically the only pride left to them through the position of social superiority once many of them were almost ruined. Samurai rebellions of the 1870s (six from 1874 to 1877) originated in Satsuma, Chōsū or Tōsa, peripheral domains. The most famous and important one was the so-called Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, led by a Satsuma retainer, Saigō Takamori. The opposition of the powerful Satsuma domain was the strongest reaction against the functional democratisation and social integration initiated in this first wave of informalisation that had been felt already in the anti-foreigner conflicts of the 1860s. Satsuma had helped to destroy the shōgunate but were at odds with permitting a Westernised opening of the country. The introduction of Western sports and the development of martial arts During this informalisation phase, Western sports spread across the modernising elite, attending higher education at college, living in urban hubs with foreign residents. Sports also reached those young people of smaller communities that organised clubs and built facilities to practice sports (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 80). American and English educators were the leading figures of the sports movement, seeing the school system as a good recipient for the new trend. Western physical education was introduced in the schools, including gymnastics, callisthenics and outdoor sports. At that time, Japanese martial arts were not that much affected by Western influences. The contact with foreign combat sports was largely due to the activities of Westerners in merchant navies, the Japanese becoming increasingly exposed to Western sport forms such as boxing. For instance, upon the arrival of Commodore Perry to Japan, a demonstration of boxing by the Americans was answered with an exhibition contest of sumō. American merchant sailors coming to Japan took part in contests called ‘Merikan’ (a derivative of ‘American’), where boxers were pitted against local fighters under event-specific rules (Svinth 2003). Nonetheless, these early encounters did not produce the development of mixed disciplines at this time. The development of martial arts at this stage was bound to the shifting power balance between former samurai and commoners. The informalisation phase of the 1870s implied the acceleration of a trend towards more even power balance between samurai and commoners that was already on the move during the late


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Tokugawa period. Commoners acting as clients, either of instruction in dōjō or as audiences in gekken (also known as gekiken), jūjutsu or sumō shows, gained a greater power ratio in the development of martial arts. Based on the organisation of Sumō, Sakakibara Kenkichi (1830–1894), fourteenth master of Jiki Shinkage ryū and a former instructor in the Academy of Martial Training (Kōbusho), started in 1873 to organise demonstration matches (gekiken kōgyō), charging money to the attending public. Many talented swordsmen took part on these shows as a way to gain fame and money. Contestants had to follow Kōbusho rules, using a shinai no longer than 115 cm and winning by the best of three points, judged by external referees, not the contenders. Judging by the plausible number of spectators – up to 4000 according to Bennett (2015: 98) – we must admit these shows enjoyed certain notoriety, something also remarked by the enthusiastic reports of the newspapers of the era. The competitors were organised in three classes: the first was composed of elite Jiki Shinkage ryū fencers: second was Sakakibara students; third was other fencers and also women wielding naginata and even an exponent of kusarigama (sickle and chain) and two foreign competitors. For instance, Murakami Hideo (1863–1949), an accomplished martial artist of the era that honed her skills in warriors’ pilgrimage (musha shugyō) and became the seventeenth-generation headmistress of Toda-ha Buko ryū, took part in these events, wielding naginata or kusarigama without losing a match (Amdur 1996: 24). The best competitors could earn the equivalent to US $160–250 (Bennett 2015: 99) per day, and we must take into account that competitions would normally last more than a week. Some of these contenders split from the organisation to start one of their own and run their own galas. The fast spread of many of these shows brought a decline in the quality of the performances. Some of them soon became a kind of light entertainment shows mixing humour, alcohol (sometimes sake was served), sensuality (women wearing short hakama that exposed their thighs) and pre-arranged dramatic scenes (Abel 1984: 13). The consequent critique from the public authorities made clear that such degrading spectacles had no room in Meiji’s society. The mayor of Kyoto wrote in News Magazine of 1873 that such shows promote nothing more than violence: [The shows] seemed to be little more than a means of selling the names of those participating. To worsen things, they deceive people and expose them to violence. Remember the saying, ‘Amateur tactics cause grave wounds’. Moreover, they are very dangerous considering the way the head, throat and face are aimed for. These people would do better to utilise their energy and efforts for solid work, and strive to have a healthy and sound life. (Abel 1984: 16; brackets added) The government banned the gatherings in Tokyo in 1873, and other regions adopted the measure. The reasons for the closing of the shows were officially economic (they impeded the productivity of the people) but had also some political undertones, as the shōgunate was afraid of the expansion of anti-shōgunate

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activity among some fencing advocates. The ban was lifted in 1877, and exhibitions resumed in Tokyo. The shows continued until mid-Meiji, but their popularity decreased considerably (Hurst 1998: 156). From the beginning, gekken shows had been under the critical view of those purists of former samurai status that consider them a way of selling ones art and therefore to change the true nature of it. During the reformalisation phase of the 1880s, commoners as paying public would lose their grip on the development of kenjutsu. The latter would evolve through other channels of transmission as the police academy, Dai Nippon Butokukai, and the school system. Nonetheless, the influence of a paying audience would remain, as in the case of kenbu representing a case of ‘romantic kitsch’ (see what follows). In the case of jūjutsu, some of the masters of martial ryū taught commoners interested in self-defence, and some of these masters took part in the same kind of bouts with the paying public that Sakakibara had put on for gekken and that served as a way to make ends meet for poor/unemployed martial experts. The case of sumō during the 1870s mirrors also the more even balance between social classes. Sumō had a long tradition of samurai patrons and commoner fighters, but during the 1870s, we find a split in the organisation of sumō between those advocating for the continuation of a traditional hierarchical control of the wrestlers and those considered ‘rebels’, advocating for the wrestlers’ human rights. In 1873, the Tokyo band of wrestlers defending the latter option withdrew to Nagoya and were back in the city soon after, even though the police intervened in 1878, as two rival organisations could produce disruptive effects to the sport. The rebels succeeded for some time but were victims of a strike in 1895 that returned control to the traditionalist faction of sumō that would help to consummate the ‘retraditionalisation’ of the sport linked to the notion of bushidō.

A longer phase of reformalisation (1880s–1912) During the 1880s, the positive view on things of Western origins started to be more controversial. In 1890, the Imperial Rescript on Education placed the message of the ‘Imperial way’ as a core assumption; the establishment of the hansei ikkei thought (the unbroken eternal line) denoted a sign of building an autonomous sense of Japaneseness. Previous Western influences were assimilated and blended with Japanese mores, generating a sense of autonomy and self-pride in the we-identity of the Japanese. The Meiji state was gaining a stronger monopoly on violence, taxation and means of orientation, even though it was not fully developed. The existence of some organised groups of violent activists called sōshi (‘manly warrior’) became paramount for the organisation of political life by the late 1880s. Sōshi came both from the People’s Right Movement (jiyū minken undo) and from Ultra-nationalistic groups such as the Dark Ocean Society (Gen’yōsha), founded in 1881 by former samurai from Fukuoka (a region of far distant Kyushu): Hiraoka Kōtarō (1951–1906), Hakoda Rokusuke (1850–1888), and Tōyama Mitsuru (1855–1944). Initially, they defended the ideals of the


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Freedom and People’s Rights movement. After brief support for this cause, the Dark Ocean Society soon gained a more statist position, striving to defend the role of a strong Japan leading the imperialist force of Pan-Asianism. The relationship between the establishment of the Meiji state and the Dark Ocean Society was complex. It definitively could not be defined as plain confrontation. The convergence of the Dark Ocean Society and the Meiji government on an aggressive foreign policy in the 1890s implied that Dark Ocean Society members now would work as shōshi, standing behind the oligarchy of the old establishment. They were now squaring off against former political allies: those sōshi coming from the People’s Right Movement that continued to support the Liberal party. Members of the Dark Ocean Society (as well as some yakuza bosses) acted as sōshi supporters of the government during the serious incidents previous to the Second General Election of 1892, in which members of the old establishment decided to launch a campaign of violence to prevent people’s party candidates from winning the elections. The violent incidents surrounding the campaign left a toll of 24 deaths and 388 injured citizens. Overall, the capacity of the government to get rid of sōshi was not great. During the 1880s and 1890s, Tokyo Metropolitan Police had limited success, and the Sōshi Regulatory Law (Sōshi Torishimari Hō) of 1892 did not prove effective. The figure of the sōshi was so entrenched in the political system that it was not confronted full on. As a typical double-bind pattern, political parties were subjected within this spiral of political violence. In avoiding using these, pressure groups would be conceding far too much advantage to the political rivals that would use their sōshi for sure. The result was that members of the diet suffered constant attacks. As parliamentarian Ozaki Yukio recalled, it was usual to see Diet members all ‘bandaged up’. Ozaki describes several cases, some of them as serious as the one suffered by Takada Sanae, who almost died from a cut from behind with a sword (Siniawer 2008: 63). The influence of the Dark Ocean Society was crucial to pushing Japan into a war against China (1894–1895), Russia (1904–1905), and later into the Second World War. The Dark Ocean Society sent agents to China, Korea, Manchuria, and Mongolia as spies, trained as a sophisticated intelligence network. Those who ventured into mainland Asia were called tairiku rōnin (continental adventurers) and were trained in foreign languages, spying techniques, and martial arts. In fact, some of these tairiku rōnin were very influential figures in the development of modern martial arts (see what follows). Members of the Dark Ocean Society also had a huge impact in Japanese internal politics: they stabbed liberal politician Itagaki Taisuke in 1882 and attempted to kill Foreign Minister Okuma Shigenobu in 1889 by hurling a bomb into his carriage. In 1892, they decided to support conservatives inside the Meiji government during the Second General Election, unleashing a terror campaign that led to serious incidents including deaths in the Fukuoka region. During the Sino-Japanese war (1894–1895), members from the Dark Ocean Society assassinated the Korean queen to destabilise the region. In 1904, when the war with Russia had erupted, the army accepted members of

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the Dark Ocean Society as a special unit called Manshū Gigun (Manchurian Righteous Army), recruiting civilian soldiers and Manchurian bandits to wage guerrilla warfare and gather information. The Dark Ocean Society provided the template for many more ultra-nationalistic societies, supported by influential figures but also financing their work from racketeering business. The axis of these ultra-nationalistic societies was sustained by the two farther regions of Japan: Hokkaido in the north east and Kyushu in the south west. Since Meiji until the Second World War, the action of these ultranationalistic societies represented a clear symptom of ‘drag effect’, surging in the transition from an ‘old’ to a ‘new’ social order in which part of the old establishment clung to their past privileges and wanted to regain predominance in a new imperialistic expansion. The manifestation of such entitled opposition that could not always be expressed publicly through parliamentary politics was expressed behind the scenes as violent plots. Ultra-nationalistic societies worked for the conservative factions of Japan, revering the emperor as a figure of indigenous purity, considering foreign influences such as democracy, liberalism, and communism as threats to Japan’s essence. Their actions were part of the decivilising trend that would become predominant during the early Shōwa period prior to the Second World War. The discourse against liberalism during the 1920s and 1930s that oftentimes was expressed against the corruption of political parties contained the same seeds that had been growing in some sections of the Japanese society since the forced openness of the country. The monopoly over the means of orientation: the discourse on bushido¯ The break of the Meiji government with the past regime was not as clear-cut or as fast as one may tend to think. In 1869, Ono Seigoro, a member of the Japanese Parliament, proposed the abolition of seppuku, advocating for the normal legal course of court instead. Two hundred members out of 209 voted against the proposition, arguing that seppuku was connected to the Japanese national spirit and the embodiment in practice of devotion to principle. The explicitness of the relation between ‘samurai ethics’ and the Japanese nation took an elaborated shape in the discourse on bushidō during the last part of the nineteenth century and was connected to the reformalisation phase in which the formation of a national we-identity was operating. This nativist ‘reinvention’ of a moral code supposedly belonging to the samurai of former eras was a way to get some distance and autonomy not only from the Western powers but also from China in order to emerge as the Asian hegemon. What is more important to the matters discussed in this book, the discourse of bushidō bound the military culture (martial arts) of the samurai to the whole Japanese nation. That is why the analysis of the discourse on bushidō is key to understanding the means of orientation related to martial arts and national identity. During Meiji, no monolithic discourse on bushidō was still in place; different strands of more open and reactionary positions towards


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the West could be distinguished. During the 1890s, the term spread, linking budō and shidō, its meaning becoming something like ‘samurai ethics’ (Benesch 2016: 73). Within this decade, a de-stigmatisation and an romanticisation of the figure of the samurai was in process. For instance, the idealisation of the actions of 47 rōnin during the Akō incident was common. Authors such as Ozaki Yukio – from former samurai origins – reasoned that bushidō was the Japanese equivalent to the notion of ‘gentlemanship’ to the English nation and sought the base for the bushidō discourse in Medieval times. The discourse on Bushidō changed after the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) towards more nationalistic and chauvinistic ideas. The militaristic, imperialistic writings of Suzuki Chikasa after the war against China expressed the resentful cry of the youth of former samurai origins (Chikasa coming from the pro-shōgun Aizu domain that fought against the Imperial restoration) who were left out in the new Meiji establishment. During this period, no monopoly of the means of orientation by the state had been reached completely. For instance, civil organisations such as the Dai Nippon Butokukai (see what follows) presented their own views on the role of martial arts and ‘popular nationalism’ that differed from the ‘state nationalism’ version. This is not to say both versions did not share some common assumptions (something that became more evident from the 1930s). The creation of the Dai Nippon Butokukai in 1895 helped to install the militaristic, nationalistic notion of bushidō of the era through martial arts. Martial arts went from being an exclusive part of the samurai we-identity towards becoming the we-identity of the whole nation.2 The spread of this notion in the Japanese society was remarkable. For instance, in the journal called Bushidō, created in 1898, authors from different social backgrounds (former samurai origins but also commoners, such as for instance the founder of jūdō, Kanō Jigorō) and different political views and religious affiliations expressed opinions linking bushidō, the Japanese nation, and the military system. Nonetheless, as Benesch (2016: 110) remarks, the spread of this message was not complete, especially in those rural areas where education lagged behind. Between the Sino-Japanese war (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese war (1904–1905), the influence of the military over the whole society increased. Bushidō became a nuclear means of orientation towards the national militarisation of the population. The view of the West as inferior nations (and other Asian countries as ‘backward’ nations) started to gain a grip, using social Darwinism to justify Japanese higher position in the evolutionary hierarchy due to the positive medieval influence the nation had received from the past. A mild version was presented in the view on Christian Bushidō defended by Inazō Nitobe, educated overseas and writing in English.3 After the victory against China and Russia, cultural explanations linking bushidō to the Yamato (Japanese) spirit and bushidō abounded. Inoue Tetsujirō published in 1905 a big volume on the matter, expressing an ultra-nationalistic approach to explain why bushidō was the source of Japanese military strength. Tetsujirō defended the obligation of Japanese soldiers to commit suicide to prevent being captured, something that would become wholly assumed in the military in the period before the Second World War (see

Martial arts and Japanese we-identity


the discussion on ‘suicidal habitus’ in Chapter 9). Nonetheless, in Tetsujirō’s era, this position was not uncritically defended (see e.g. the harsh critiques on these ideas by Waseda professor Ukita Kazutami), and becoming a prisoner of war was not widely condemned (Benesch 2016: 106). After the Russo-Japanese war until the end of the Meiji period, the state tied more strongly notions of bushidō to the national morality (kokumin dōtoku) in the military (army and navy) and the school system as a counterbalance to the different leftist ideologies feeding the rise of workers’ movements. Japanese society was presented as a kind of ‘national family’; the emperor played the role of the father figure. The national morality fused filial piety, loyalty, and patriotism. Loyalty to the emperor (father of the nation) became synonymous with imperial bushidō (Benesch 2016: 116). In 1908, the army penal code made surrender punishable by death; fantasy-laden approaches to warfare started to gain prominence: bushidō, implying some kind of ‘martial spirit training’, was placed before technology, an idea that would became entrenched in the military until the Japanese defeat in the Second World War. The expansion of this message towards the civil society was not only possible through the school system. It was also possible due to the Military Reserve Association, which was very active in the 1910s in spreading the message across the nation; by the diffusion through popular culture (e.g. historical novels) of a glorified past such as the Akō incident as a quintessential bushidō theme; and by the bushidō message impinged in sports (‘baseball bushidō’) and martial arts. The case of sumō is outstanding in this respect. As part of the ‘retraditionalisation’ of the activity that would emerge as the ‘national sport’, its link with bushidō became crucial. It helped sumō to access a higher status, joining other already established disciplines such as jūdō or kendō. Appropriation of Western sports and beginning of the expansion of martial arts abroad As the Meiji period unfolded, the sports movement continued growing, but a process of ‘appropriation’ of foreign disciplines by the Japanese started to gain hold. The case of baseball is paradigmatic. Introduced during the 1870s and organised in clubs by Japanese students during the 1880s, the game evolved from sporadic matches between clubs such as Waseda and Keiō universities towards national leagues, and the first national tournament dates from 1915. Competition against US players was initiated by the end of the nineteenth century, when a Japanese team from the Ichikō school defeated the Americans and boosted a sense of national pride around the sport that would lead to a blend with traditional physical culture. For instance, in 1911, Oshikawa Shunrō was writing about making baseball a budō, and Abe Isō, responsible for the Waseda baseball club that travelled to the United States in 1905, published in 1909 some papers equating the Western notion of fair play to the Japanese notion of bushidō. At the same time that Western sports started to be appropriated by the Japanese, Westerners residing in Japan at that time became increasingly exposed to


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Japanese disciplines such as jūdō and kendō (Hlinak 2009; Svinth 2003).4 Martial arts were travelling abroad, coming into contact with local combat sports wherever the Japanese experts travel. Even though the degree and intensity of this globalisation process would become stronger during Taishō and early Shōwa, we find traces of such a pattern already at the turn of the century. Early pioneers such as Matsuda Sorakichi (1859–1891), performed in professional bouts in the United States as early as 1884 (Green and Svinth 2003: 63). Sorakichi was a sumō wrestler, but other Japanese proponents of bare-handed techniques soon followed. Some of Kōdōkan’s top competitors travelled overseas to spread the art. For instance, Tomita Tsunejiro (1865–1937) travelled to the United States in 1905, accompanied by Mitsuyo Maeda and Shinsiro Satake. Considered a technician more than a fighter, Tomita was supposed to perform demonstrations and let the others meet the challenges. Nonetheless, Tomita accepted some of the challenges, performing poorly at some of them. An article from the New York Times from February 21, 1905, titled ‘Cadets Down the Jap’ described what happened in a demo at the military base West Point: The professor [Tomita] wrestled with his assistant throwing him around like a rubber ball. He then called for cadet volunteers. Cadet Tipton, the husky All-American football centre went on the mat and with football methods soon had jiu-jutsu beaten. The big fellow pinned the wiry Jap flat on his back three times without being thrown in the bout. Cadet Daly also threw the professor. (in Stevens 2013: 115; brackets added) Tomita would also perform in front of Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, but by that time, Maeda and Satake had started their own way, touring in professional challenges around Central and South America and Europe. In Europe, jūjutsu spread, linked to demonstrations and challenge matches that Japanese experts performed within the circuit of music halls. For instance, Fusen ryū jūjutsu experts Miyake Tano (1881–1935) and Tani Yukio (1881–1950) were participating in professional bouts in music halls at the turn of the nineteenth century in England. Yukio would become the first professional teacher of London’s Butokwkai in 1918. Tano continued to tour around Europe with Maeda and Sada Kazu Uyenishi. Uyenishi, also known as Raku, had arrived to England in 1900, joining Yukio Tani in professional bouts and teaching, attracting the attention of some of the gentlemen sportsmen of the era (Gutiérrez García 2004: 101, 136) while he toured Spain, Portugal, and other European countries in the early 1900s.

Martial arts and Japanese we-identity Martial arts within the school curriculum Martial arts became progressively connected to the establishment of a Japanese we-identity and habitus during the Meiji era. Nonetheless, this connection was

Martial arts and Japanese we-identity


not boosted in the beginning by the Meiji state through the school system but mainly by organisations of the civil society (e.g. Kanō’s Kōdōkan, Dai Nippon Butokukai, koryū) and only by some parts of the state organisation (the police and military forces). The Meiji government saw martial arts as not very useful from an educational point of view and inferior to military gymnastics (heishiki taishō). The inclusion of these activities in the curriculum was continuously rejected during the 1880s and 1890s, even though martial arts enjoyed some support among the established intelligentsia. Especially critical of martial arts was the First Minister of Education, Mori Anori (1847–1889), who was very keen on the introduction of Western methods for the new Japan. The influence of the Gymnastics Research Institute (Taisō Denshūsho), created in 1878 under the direction of American educator George Leland (1850–1924), was determinant. In 1883 and 1884, the Research Institute had carried out a study containing negative results on the inclusion of martial arts in the school system. In 1890, the Ministry of Education rejected gekken and jūjutsu instruction at public schools. Its evaluation of martial arts curriculum found them to be deficient physically because they failed to develop all muscle groups equally and because they were dangerous, were deficient spiritually, and emphasised winning at all cost. They were also deficient pedagogically because they required individual instruction and could not be taught as group activities (Bodiford 2001: 767). Besides, martial arts did not play a great role as extracurricular activities. For instance, in the 32 sports festivals (undōkai) between 1884 and 1892, whereas almost 70% of activities were sports and non-competitive games, martial arts accounted for a mere 1.3% (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 92). It was only after this early phase when, due to the sustained efforts of martial arts supporters from civil society, martial arts would finally get into the curriculum. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, many martial artists sought to reform their training methods to meet the new educational standards and policies. For instance, the development of ‘bujutsu callisthenics’ (bujutsu taisō), a sort of gymnastic exercises based on kenjutsu, by Ozawa Unosuke (1865– 1927)  – who also included naginata taisō – or Nakajima Kenzō (1868–1925) helped educators to think of new methods for the transition from individual to group instruction. Kanō petitioned several times for the inclusion of bujutsu in the school curriculum during the 1890s. Kenjutsu supporters related to the Dai Nippon Butokukai also petitioned: in 1900, educator, martial artist, and prominent Dai Nippon Butokukai member Shibata Kokki submitted a petition to the Diet to include bujutsu as a regular school subject, but it was rejected; in 1901, Dai Nippon Butokukai member Ozawa Ichirō and Takanō Sasaburo (instructor of the police forces) initiated an annual petition to the Ministry of Education to include kenjutsu to schools. In 1905, a committee designed by the Ministry of Education to review the PE curriculum for primary schools concluded that martial arts could be practiced as extracurricular activities, but there was no necessity to include them as part of the normal curriculum. In 1907, normal-school principals agreed to include


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gekken and jūjutsu for boys at school but with some amendments. Finally, the national meeting for normal school principals decided to include gekiken and jūjutsu as regular curriculum subjects for boys and to promote naginatajutsu5 and kyūjutsu6 for girls’ extracurricular activities in 1910. This idea would be elaborated through curriculum regulations in 1911 and in 1913, when the Ministry of Education mandated that gekiken and jūjutsu to be taught to boys at middle and normal schools as regular subjects and naginatajutsu and kyūjutsu were maintained as girls’ extracurricular activities. The inclusion of martial arts in the national school curriculum helped to spread the identification of these arts beyond the boundaries of samurai groups towards the whole nation. Substituting not only the technical curricula of each of the myriad existing ryū for ‘novel blended forms’; changing their unique etiquette and rituals for a single, common standard sequence of movements – infused with Shintō symbolism – generated an understanding of martial arts as an essential part of the Japanese we-identity. International, indigenous, and Okinawan Japaneseness The identification of martial arts and a sense of Japaneseness did not only develop through the school system. It became embedded within a very complex figuration, arranged along two poles of a continuum: ‘international Japaneseness’ and ‘indigenous Japaneseness’.7 Apart from these two established lines, the birth of a certain ‘Okinawan Japaneseness’ (Okinawa became officially Japanese in 1895) started to take form through karate (see what follows) but on an outsider line of development that would join the two established lines in Taishō and more strongly during early Shōwa. The ‘international Japaneseness’, developed by middle-class reformers, was epitomised in the figure of Kanō Jigorō, the son of a successful merchant family, whose organisations aimed to build a strong international Japanese presence, especially in relation to Western powers. The ‘indigenous Japaneseness’, developed by more conservative factions of the middle classes and lower urban and rural classes (Gainty 2013: 47, 52), agglutinated by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. Some of those belonging to the ‘indigenous pole’ had also ties with former samurai and/or strong connections to police and military forces.8 This element was much more evident in the case of classical martial traditions (koryū) that maintained a certain degree of autonomy in their development and were kept as part of more exclusive social groups. The ‘indigenous pole’ remained more concerned with national affairs and the role of Japan within pan-Asianism. Both poles maintained a close relation to each other (see Figure 10.1 in Chapter 10), as both maintained a common goal: to create a national Japanese identity featuring martial arts values and ethos –that is, to instil a martial arts habitus in the Japanese citizens. The indigenous pole remained restricted to more exclusive – although influential – social circles in which the predominance of former samurai over commoners was higher. Many of the koryū were kept as small family traditions and/or were sponsored by the

Martial arts and Japanese we-identity


police/military and by Ultra-nationalistic societies such as Dark Ocean Society and Black Dragon Society. International Japaneseness Kanō Jigorō (1860–1938) helped to develop an endogenous Japanese physical culture tradition, jūdō, as a means for educational purposes in the same vein as sports in Western countries. Kanō was very critical of a possible commercial/ entertainment development of jūdō. He harshly disapproved the frivolous spectacle of martial art shows of gekken and jūjutsu (one of Kanō’s masters, Fukuda Hachinosuke, took part in these jūjutsu shows) that developed during the 1870s as a way to make ends meet for poor/unemployed martial experts. In fact, the change in terminology from ‘jūjutsu’ to ‘jūdō’9 was precisely to prevent the vulgar reputation attached to the former discipline during those times (Nakajima and Thompson 2012: 9). In 1882, Kanō used the term ‘jūdō’ to define his school and was successful in defeating other jūjutsu styles at a competition organised by the Tokyo Police Department during this same year. Kanō was the clearest example of the shifting power balance between commoners and former samurai in martial arts. Kanō, from a wealthy commoner origin, was able to depose old koryū jūjutsu masters who were unable to cope with the social dynamics of Meiji times. Kanō’s jūdō consisted mainly of the systematisation and re-elaboration of the curriculum of two old martial ryū: Kito ryū and Tenjin Shinyo ryū. He discarded the most dangerous techniques and provided a methodology to develop break-falling (ukemi) techniques for beginners to avoid injury (Ebell 2012: 29). Kanō also provided an innovative method of character building through physical education. Jūdō was based on kata (pre-arranged techniques performed by pairs) and randori (a kind of sparring), rationally organised through the principles of seiryoku zenyo (maximum efficiency in the use of mind and body) and jita kyoei (mutual welfare and benefit) as basic principles. In summary, he was applying a utilitarian and rational system for an endogenous Japanese activity. He was clearly aligned with the ethos of those Meiji reformers,10 trying to enhance education through the introduction of modern, rational means. The fact that women were – in theory – allowed to train in the Kōdōkan11 points towards the different mindset and habitus of the jūdō world. Nonetheless, this issue is more complex that it would seem at first glance and could be labelled as very conservative by current standards.12 Kanō’s approach to women’s physical activities was similar to that of other Meiji reformers of the era and more advanced than the average Japanese public opinion of the day. Overall, we can conclude that ‘international Japaneseness’ (predominant in the Kōdōkan and the school system) provided a wider range of participation for girls. It is very telling, for instance, that we find an entry from a diary of a student of the Meiji Girls’ School in the 1890s that explicitly included kenjutsu as part of her practice (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 94). One of the most relevant female students of Kanō in the early days of the Kōdōkan, Shimoda Utako (1854–1936), a very active educator, defended internationalism and was a


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political activist for women’s causes. She became professor and then principal of the Girls’ Peer School in 1884 and established the Practical Women’s School in 1899 for Japanese students and Chinese exchange students. In many ways, Utako was Kanō’s equal, even though the social acknowledgement of both was not even comparable; Utako suffered severe public critiques, such as the one published by a newspaper as a series under the theme ‘The Vamp Shimoda Utako’ (Stevens 2013: 177). In the same vein as the Olympic movement, Kanō considered jūdō a tool for establishing good international relations. Nonetheless, as in the case of first Olympic promoters such as Baron de Coubertin, Kanō’s internationalist message was plagued by nationalistic undertones. He remained faithful to the spirit of Meiji reformers: to adapt and re-elaborate foreign influences, ‘Japanising’ them, making them truly Japanese: In the future, the citizens of the nations of the world will naturally be drawn together and cultures will naturally blend. At that time, if we have learned a great deal from other countries but have nothing to teach them, not only must we feel ashamed but it will also be difficult to avoid being looked down upon. So, what shall we teach them? We have judo. (Kano 2005: 149) We must not forget that, in this sense, Kanō maintained a nationalistic approach that resonated with conservative factions represented in the ‘indigenous pole’, with which he maintained close connections.13 His official position within the Dai Nippon Butokukai gives testimony of that. Kanō held an official position in the jūjutsu section, acting as a chairman of the jūjutsu committee in the Dai Nippon Butokukai, devising a 15 new nage waza (throwing techniques) and 15 katame waza (holds) by combining techniques of 14 different traditions (Uozumi 2013: 15). He also assisted the then chair of the committee of kenjutsu schools, Oura Kanetake (chairman of the Dai Nippon Butokukai by then), in the systematisation of Dai Nippon Butokukai kenjutsu kata in 1912 (Hurst 1998: 160). Nonetheless, this relationship was not always smooth and collaborative, as we will explore in the upcoming section on the tensions between ‘international’ and ‘indigenous’ Japaneseness. Kanō’s role in the expansion of an influencing role of Japan in Asian foreign affairs was also felt in his connection with Chinese revolutionary societies. In 1896, Kanō had opened an academy for Chinese exchange students, the Kobun Gakuen. The institution acted as a sort of ‘incubation tank’ for the Chinese Xinhai Revolution of 1911 (Stevens 2013: 43) that deposed the Qing Dynasty. Some of Kanō’s students became prominent leaders of revolutionary societies that composed a movement analogous to some extent to the Japanese radical groups forging the Freedom and People’s Right Movement of the 1880s. The Huaxinghui (China Revival Society) was founded in 1904. Among the founders were Huang Xing (1874–1916), who had studied in the

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Kobun Gakuen in 1902, and Chen Tianhua (1875–1905), who also studied at the institution by the early 1900s. The Guangfuhui (Restoration Society) was also founded in 1904. It had among its members a female student of the Kobun Gakuen: Qiu Jin (1875–1907), who was very active in revolutionary plots against the Qing Dynasty and a radical advocate of women’s rights. Both revolutionary groups would blend in the unified Tongmenghui (United League) in August 1905 in Tokyo, acquiring a crucial role in the revolution.14 Some of the Chinese students of the Kobun Gakuen had studied also at the military preparatory school called Tokyo Shinbu Gakkō, established in 1896 (closed in 1914) by the Imperial Japanese Army. This institution provided military training to Chinese students as a way to build a strong Pan-Asian army against Russia and Western powers in which Japan would hold a leading role. It is not surprising, then, that Uchida Ryōhei, founder of the Amur River Society, and other members of this organisation such as Suenaga Setsu supported the actions of some of these young Chinese revolutionaries such as Sun Yat-sen (Schiffrin 2010: 358). However, even though Kanō believed jūdō could serve to instil strong patriotic feelings among his fellow citizens, he rejected a mere pragmatic view of budō as a combat method. For Kanō, combat training was a means to an end: a moral education of willpower (Kano 2005: 68–69) for the Japanese citizens of the Meiji state. Jūdō was meant to be an educational discipline to hone character, not an empty shell of entertainment. That was one of the reasons why Kanō did not considered jūdō, or budō in general, fully as a sport. His view was aligned with the educational ideal of amateur sport he witnessed when visiting British institutions during the last third of the nineteenth century, expressed also through the Coubertin Olympics (Carr 1993: 182). To a certain extent Kanō was matching the figure of the samurai to that of the gentleman, looking for a kind of bushidō equivalent of fair play or sportsmanship. Indigenous Japaneseness Within the pole of ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ we find civil organisations such as Dai Nippon Butokukai and state organisations such as the police system that would help to shape and standardise previous martial traditions, with special importance upon kenjutsu. Some classical ryū (koryū) joined the Dai Nippon Butokukai and helped to systematise not only jūjutsu and kenjutsu but also kyūjutsu (archery), sōjutsu (spear), and naginatajutsu (halberd). Nonetheless, other koryū maintained a more autonomous existence, transmitted as small family traditions and/or related to the police/military and Ultra-nationalistic societies and the phenomenon of tairiku rōnin (continental adventurers). The development of a reformalised sense of ‘indigenous’ we-image for the Japanese was also transmitted through the retraditionalisation of sumō or manifestations of popular culture which fused commoners and samurai through spectacles such as kenbu, acting as ‘romantic kitsch’.


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Kenjutsu systematisation in the police During Meiji, apart from the effect of the shows of gekiken in fostering kenjutsu popularity, an incident during the Boshin war (1868–1869) became crucial. A police unit from the government called Battōtai (the Bare Blade Brigade), formed by Aizu ex-samurai, starred some of the most glorified fighting exploits using only swords. As a consequence, the first modern police force in Tokyo, the rasotsu, was created in 1871 (including former samurai from the Satsuma domain) and allowed some patrolmen to carry swords from 1874. They maintained such a privilege despite the ban on carrying swords issued in 1876, something that boosted a symbolic association between police forces and samurai legacy (Gainty 2013: 30). In 1879, Kawaji Toshiyoshi (1829–1879), head of the entire Japanese police system, wrote ‘On the Revitalisation of Kendō’ (Kendō Saikorōn), defending the importance of swordsmanship for police training. This same year, the Patrolman’s Training Institute included kenjutsu and hōjojutsu (rope-binding arresting techniques). Overall, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (Keishichō) was a staunch advocate of kenjutsu for the training of policemen and kept on supporting and organising gekiken tournaments. The best competitors were often recruited as police department instructors, a factor that would contribute to the decline of these gekiken shows. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police started their own tournaments (in which jūjutsu contests were also included) in 1882. In 1885, police kenjutsu guidelines were established, limiting the length of the shinai (approx. 121 cm) and a system of ranking promotion. Representatives from various ryū-ha contributed to the unified kenjutsu kata in 1886. It contained kumitachi (paired sword) kata and iaijutsu (quick sword drawing) kata.15 It also included 16 techniques for jūjutsu and seven methods for hojōjutsu. Kenjutsu was also introduced in the forces of the Imperial Guards in 1881. One of these famous Imperial Guards experts in kenjutsu was Yamaoka Tesshū (1836–1888), who had been instrumental in the organisation of the Rōshi corps in defence of the shōgun in 1863 (see Chapter 6) and had performed notably during the Boshin war of 1868. He was an accomplished swordsman whose understanding of kenjutsu became highly influenced by Zen. He founded the Ittō Shōden Mutō ryū and trained several swordsmen that would hold important positions in the government or in the Dai Nippon Butokukai. For instance, Kitakagi Kunimichi (1836–1916) was a member of the House of Peers, an official of the Butokukai, and a member of the committee that formed the ‘Greater Japan Imperial Kenjutsu kata’ in 1912. Besides, some students of Yamaoka such as Nishikubo Hiromichi (1863–1930) and Takanō Sasaburo (1862–1950) were key in the nationalisation of kenjutsu. Sasaburō also took part in the process of generating the kenjutsu kata in 1912.

Dai Nippon Butokukai and the organisation of martial traditions If Kanō was the clearest example of the international strand of Japanese we-image in relation to martial arts, the Dai Nippon Butokukai (‘Greater Martial Virtue

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Association’) was the main actor of the indigenous strand. This is not to say that there were not previous prime movers: kyūjutsu, sōjutsu, and naginatajutsu (halberd) were developed firstly within the classical ryū. For instance, kyūjutsu in the modality of ground archery16 was revamped by a former Tokugawa house vassal, Honda Toshizane (1836–1917). He created a new form of archery, dubbed Honda ryū, paying attention to sport and physical educational aspects of the discipline. He blended the practical shooting techniques of his own Chikurin ryū with the ritualistic elements of Ogasawara ryū (Hurst 1998: 171). Moreover, police forces preceded the efforts of Dai Nippon Butokukai in recovering the importance of samurai martial heritage as a valuable public asset and were first to develop a set of kenjutsu kata in 1886. Nonetheless, the Dai Nippon Butokukai soon congregated within a single organisation many of the classical martial traditions and further systematised their organisation, methods, and rankings. The inclusion of disciplines such as kyūjutsu (archery), naginatajutsu (halberd), bōjutsu (staff), and sōjutsu (spear) within the Dai Nippon Butokukai as official disciplines among others such as kenjutsu or jūjutsu happened in 1896. Police forces and other parts of the Meiji establishment such as the military maintained strong bonds with Dai Nippon Butokukai from the very beginning. The connection of Dai Nippon Butokukai and imperial institutions was key as a legitimation of martial arts in the ‘indigenous’ building of the Japanese habitus. The date of its inception, 1895, was linked to the 1100th anniversary of the relocation of the capital to Kyoto by emperor Kanmu, who gave utmost importance to martial virtue; the third item in the first published set of rules of Dai Nippon Butokukai in 1895 indicated that the superintendent of the organisation had to be a member of the Imperial Family; the Butokuden (Hall of Martial Virtue) was erected in 1899 in the precinct of the Heian shrine in Kyoto, and a kamidana (miniature altar) was placed behind the emperor’s seat. The Dai Nippon Butokukai had strong ties with the state establishment, especially with the Ministry of Home Affairs, which provided a useful network for Dai Nippon Butokukai’s recruitment and organisational efforts. Dai Nippon Butokukai’s governing structure identified with bureaucracy and the military, favoured also by the new national police structure. Nonetheless, the expansion of the Dai Nippon Butokukai was very successful not only among an established elite but across the whole social spectrum. For instance, membership drew heavily from poor and rural areas (Gainty 2013: 52). The role of the Dai Nippon Butokukai in expanding martial arts culture and infusing it into the Japanese we-image played a crucial role, adding a summative effect to the actions of other civil institutions (e.g. Kanō’s Kōdōkan) and the school system. Despite a lack of initial official support, Dai Nippon Butokukai was able to recruit relevant figures such as Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito and several ministers and even prime ministers by1898, focusing its recruitment efforts among military veterans and police. The Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1905–1906) sparked public support for an organisation that claimed a strong position of the Japanese people in international affairs. By the


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time of the Russo-Japanese War, its membership had grown to 820.000 (Uozumi 2013: 15), and by 1906, its branches had been established in 42 prefectures and had about 1.300.000 members and would continue to grow. The 1930s and 1940s were its heyday, boasting more than 3million affiliates (Gainty 2013: 3). Most of Dai Nippon Butokukai’s members were kenjutsu proponents (about 60%), and the rest were practitioners of jūjutsu, kyūjutsu, sōjutsu, naginatajutsu, and iaijutsu. Instructors from the police forces and high-ranking civil servants (e.g. Imperial Guards) were recruited by the organisation. Dai Nippon Butokukai wanted to unify the various ryū-ha, helping some of these traditions to survive but also decreasing their autonomy of transmission, sometimes blending and altering the curriculum of these different ryū. To this end, the Dai Nippon Butokukai created new standardised rules and kata. For instance, in 1899, the Dai Nippon Butokukai jūjutsu match and refereeing regulations were implemented, and in 1906, Dai Nippon Butokukai jūjutsu kata was established.17 This same year, a first step for the establishment of kenjutsu kata was set but would finally be concluded in 1912.18 Dai Nippon Butokukai’s written publications such as the Butokushi and the Butokukaishi helped to spread and shape the discourse surrounding martial arts. The ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ discourse held by Dai Nippon Butokukai contained features of modernity and internationalism (e.g. the journals published English texts and things foreign) but also of tradition and nationalism. In the latter case, the theme of bushidō, connected to a myriad of other themes (e.g. bushidō and girls; bushidō and merchants; bushidō and the warrior psyche) represented a way to connect martial arts to a strong we-image of the Japanese people in the world. The Butokushi and the Butokukaishi also included historical fictions – featuring famous samurai warriors such as Musashi and the biography of the rōnin of the Akō incident – that helped to spread the connection of samurai martial heritage to the nation through popular culture. Besides, as part of this popular culture, the organisation of public demonstrations and tournaments at the central headquarters of Dai Nippon Butokukai in Kyoto or at the myriad of local branches, helped to strengthen the ‘essential’ relationship of Japanese we-image, emperor system, and martial arts. Dai Nippon Butokukai fostered this connection not only as a theoretical, discursive rhetoric. The embodied practice of martial arts connected the kokutai (the national body) to the Japanese individuals’ flesh and blood. As the work of Gainty (2013) masterfully shows, we should avoid restricting the complexity of a huge organisation such as Dai Nippon Butokukai to one single voice. Overall, Dai Nippon Butokukai would be constituted by different strands of what this chapter called ‘indigenous Japaneseness’, containing traditional but also modern features; for example, the inclusion of sport competition of horse and bicycle races in Dai Nippon Butokukai contests was not uncommon by the beginning of 1900. Nonetheless, in terms of martial culture, the Dai Nippon Butokukai was very traditional in its opposition to the inclusion of sport elements: in 1906, hanshi (grand masters) and kyōshi (advanced teachers) were invited to spar in a competition without judges, meaning no winner or loser.

Martial arts and Japanese we-identity


Despite the protest of some factions, this format remained in the future, separating martial arts and competition from the beginning. Within the different threads woven within Dai Nippon Butokukai, we find some seeds of a militaristic approach in the values and discourses promoted by relevant members of the organisation from very early on, especially after the Russo-Japanese War (1905–1906). For instance, one of Dai Nippon Butokukai’s originators, Sasa Kumatarō, stated in 1906: In order to encourage young men to become the soldiers of tomorrow, we must stress widespread training in bujutsu; through this this spirit is trained and perseverance, self-denial, and an unshakeable will are established; through this fidelity is stressed and honor encouraged; through this a sense of loyalty and patriotism is fostered. This makes our sacred land a nation of martial virtue; this makes our citizens a people of martial virtue. By this we maintain the glory of our victories forever and exalt our national prestige abroad. (Butokushi, 1906, vol (3): 40, in Gainty 2013: 39) The use of budō as a link between martial arts and a militaristic national identity made by some members of the Dai Nippon Butokukai favoured an easy transition towards the militarism and ultra-nationalistic views of later decades. Drag effect in koryu¯ Apart from the unifying actions of the Dai Nippon Butokukai in bringing together different strands of classical ryū (koryū), some of these ryū maintained a greater degree of autonomy, transmitting a composite curriculum including different armed and unarmed arts. They were maintained as part of family traditions, displaced from their former principal position towards a more underground existence. Nonetheless, they held a considerable sway in defining the essential core of martial traditions within ‘indigenous Japaneseness’. Some of these koryū, especially those from the Kyushu region – more specifically Fukuoka – in the east part of the country maintained strong connections with ultra-nationalistic societies (see earlier). For instance, among the Fukuoka former samurai who founded the Gen’yosha (Dark Ocean Society), we find Tōyama Mitsuru, a veteran from the Saga Rebellion who practiced Jigen ryū, the traditional kenjutsu style of the Satsuma domain. Besides, Ryōgorō Uchida (1837–1921), a Shintō Musō ryū practitioner and founder in 1885 of Uchida ryū tantojutsu, had been strongly connected to the Dark Ocean Society since his youth, and his son, Uchida Ryōhei (1879–1937), founded the kokuryūkai (Amur River Society, also known as Black Dragon Society) in 1901. Another original from Fukuoka that acted as a tairiku rōnin and who was also affiliated with the Amur River Society was Suenaga Setsu (1869–1965). Suenaga would sponsor, along with Tōyama Mitsuru, Shimizu Takaji in the expansion of Shintō Muso ryū in Tokyo during the 1920s.


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Connected to this reactionary approach, but on the other side of the country, we find also the birth of one of the last examples of koryū, maintaining an old attitude within novel social circumstances: the case of Takeda Sōkaku’s (1860– 1943) Daito ryū jūjutsu. Daito ryū founder Takeda Sōkaku belonged to a former rural samurai family connected to the Aizu clan who took the shōgun’s side on the Boshin war (1868). Sōkaku was too young to participate in the battle but witnessed firsthand the atrocities of the clashes. The seppuku committed by a group of teenage samurai called Byakkotai (White Tiger Forces) after losing a battle left an imprint on the samurai ethos of younger generations such as Sōkaku’s. Some years later, he would try to emulate his clansmen by intending to join Saigō Takamori’s samurai forces during the Satsuma Rebellion (1877), something that he finally could not achieve. Sōkaku’s approach to martial arts was very traditional, and over the years he perfected his synthesis of martial traditions through continuous honing of his skills in musha shugyō across the country. Sōkaku had received martial instruction from his father, a professional sumō wrestler, learning not only this discipline but also spear in Hozoin ryū and also learning Daito ryū of the Aizu clan through the Saigō family (Pranin 1996: 13). He also received instruction in kenjutsu in Onno-ha Ittō ryū (the official style of the Aizu clan) but also Jiki Shinkage ryū (from Sakakibara Kenkichi) and Kyoshin Meichi ryū. He embarked on a warrior’s pilgrimage (musha shugyo) by the mid-1870s, going as far as Okinawa, to improve his style – in the same vein as bushi from yore – and create his own understanding of Daito ryū jūjutsu. Such understanding would be also helped by his practice of esoteric Buddhism dating from his early encounter with an old priest of Uto Shrine in 1879.19 He never settled at a permanent dōjō for instruction and kept constantly moving around the country, charging fees to students per technique. This precarious system of teaching did not prevent Sōkaku from instructing a large sum of students, mainly from the police forces and the military. Sōkaku was neither willing nor able completely to adjust to the new situation unfolding during Meiji. He was a clear example of former samurai suffering ‘drag effects’, clinging to a heroic past and a vanishing reality that he resisted to let go. As Elias (2001: 211) pointed out, such ‘drag effects’ are connected to the difficulty that some people experience when the survival unit to which they belong (for Takeda, the Aizu clan and, on a large scale, the samurai estate) merges with a larger unit (the Japanese nation). In Takeda’s case, that was expressed as a feeling that the fading of his clan or the samurai estate would render meaningless everything which past generations had achieved and suffered in the framework and in the name of this survival unit (Elias 2001: 223). Remember that Takeda witnessed firsthand as a child how many of his Aizu clansmen had died in the Boshin war trying to maintain the shōgunate’s regime; for the Aizu clan, that was the surest way to maintain their position and autonomy, their very existence as a survival unit. Takeda’s loss was also reinforced by the loss of function and power potential of the samurai group to which he and his clansmen belonged. Thus, he had not only

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to sever a big part of the emotional bonds of his old reference social unit; he also had to come to terms with a new reality in which samurai were told to be useless heirlooms of a glorious past. Several anecdotes witness his long-lasting attachment to samurai attitudes and mores in his samurai-like habitus (see Chapter 10). Nonetheless, despite Sōkaku’s resistance to adapting to the new times, his means of making a living were similar to the new reality of many martial instructors coming from former samurai status. As the Meiji government had ended the privileges of the samurai estate and former samurai could not live on stipends anymore, Sōkaku was forced to earn money as an instructor of martial arts. Sōkaku’s detailed diary entries show that he charged money per technique. The middle solution between keeping a samurai habitus and the need to ‘sell’ his art as a means for living was to instruct only the elite circle of the military/police establishment, even though judges and politicians were also included. Takeda’s encounter with Saigō Tsugumichi, a famous veteran statesman and former minister of both army and navy, helped Takeda to establish the connection with this selected circle (Shishida and Nariyama 2001: 231). Taking into account Takeda’s thorough registration, he is credited with having instructed about 30.000 people (Pranin 1996). Besides, the influence of Sōkaku would end up being crucial for the development of Ueshiba Morihei’s aikidō (see Chapter 8). Despite the influence of Takeda’s instruction, his lifelong attachment to an old samurai habitus – his wandering training/instruction across the country – made it more difficult for Daito ryū to gain solid ground and the same social patronage as Ueshiba’s aikidō in the long run. Sumo¯ ‘retraditionalisation’ Despite the fact that by Meiji sumō was considered more a competitive activity than an educational tool, the reinvention of sumō as quintessentially Japanese allowed this ‘sports-like’ activity to become a central piece connecting martial arts to indigenous Japanese we-identity. Sumō became the ‘national sport’, bypassing possible critiques from well-established disciplines such as jūdō or kendō towards the professional model that sumō epitomised. The integration conflict exemplified in the sumō split of the 1870s was resolved finally in the strike of 1895 that returned the control to the traditionalist faction of sumō (Seidensticker 2010: 169). Sumō underwent a process of ‘retraditionalisation’ (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 143): a reinvention of the tradition, despite the fact that sumō was undergoing changes that resembled a modern pattern of sports professionalisation. Unlike in Tokugawa, when the focus was still on individual matches, during Meiji, the wrestlers’ performance throughout a whole tournament started to become very relevant, and trophies and other prizes were awarded to the champions. In 1900, Osaka’s newspaper Mainichi Shimbun proposed criteria for awarding trophies that could provide a single champion for the tournament. At the same time that such innovations in the organisation were taking place, sumō was connected to Japan’s mythical past and essence,


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imbued with the officialdom of Shintō etiquette and ideas borrowed from imperial bushidō. In 1909, the sumō association decided to label sumō the national sport (Kokugi). During this year, referees began to wear colourful robes and headwear; wrestlers wore formal clothing such as haori (jacket) and hakama (pleated semi-skirt) at the contests; the first national sumō stadium was completed; and the rank of yokozuna was officially recognised by the sumō association. In 1911, Hitagawa Hakusai published Sumo and Bushidō, defining sumō as the oldest bushidō of Japan, bringing the sport official recognition and historical legitimacy, connecting the activity to the national we-image of the Japanese. This process was also helped through the amateur channel of the education system. Amateur sumō was permitted as an extracurricular activity in school as early as 1901, and during the 1900s, college student competition had considerable importance. For instance, in 1909, a large-scale tournament took place in Osaka and the following year in Tokyo (Nippon Budokan 2009: 175). Martial arts as entertainment in popular culture: kenbu as ‘romantic kitsch’ After the boom of gekken and jūjutsu bouts during the 1870s, critiques from influential, established figures (e.g. Kanō, kenjutsu purists) caused these shows to decline as entertainment in popular culture after that decade. Another relevant factor was the recruitment by police forces of the best competitors, something that dragged talent out of the ranks of gekken shows and made them less interesting for a paying public. Nonetheless, other blended manifestations of popular culture such as kōdan (public storytelling, often portraying exploits of famous warriors) or kenbu thrived during this period. Kenbu was a kind of stage performance containing elements of dance, poetry, and sword drawing that became popular during the Meiji period. Kenbu represented a continuation of what the gekken shows of the 1870s offered (popular culture entertainment) but with the difference that kenbu introduced some kind of nostalgia from the former samurai group, expressed in a typical ‘irritated romantic way’ (Wouters 2007: 211). By the end of the nineteenth century, kenbu had become some kind of ‘romantic kitsch’. The work of Sugawara (also known as Hisamatsu) Sadamoto is revealing about the phenomenon of kenbu at that time. This author, from a samurai origin, published an oeuvre on the martial arts of Japan in 1898, separated into three parts: gekken, jūjutsu, and kenbu (Sugawara 2014a, 2014b, 2014c). The three volumes illuminate the transitional moment in which commoners ‘consumed’ martial arts and older samurai ‘sold’ them for profit. The audience of his work was not samurai familiar with such traditions but mainly commoners interested in these matters. On the one hand, kenbu provided commoners with a suitable imitation of samurai life, a kind of ‘kitsch’ (Elias 2006), offering a substitute for the real emotional arousal of strenuous and dangerous martial practice. On the other hand, kenbu served as a romantic re-enactment of samurai warfare exploits, fulfilling the longings for past glories of those with former samurai origins once

Martial arts and Japanese we-identity


those days were gone. In the kenbu volume, the author presents several kata, choreographic movements (including the drawing of the sword) connected to the epic poems of famous battles or fighting exploits of ancient or more recent times. For instance, the first kenbu kata depicts the famous attack of Uesugi Kenshin on Takeda Shingen during the fourth battle of Kawanajima (1561). The eighth kenbu kata is connected to a much more recent incident, involving the actions of Itagaki Tasuke in the Boshin War (1868–1869). Nonetheless, throughout the whole book, we can identify the inherent tension in the odd blend of ‘romantic kitsch’. It represents the tension between the expansion of martial arts towards some kind of entertainment for the masses (kitsch) and the longing for the maintenance of the solemnity of martial practice (romanticism) connected to the enactment of ‘indigenous Japaneseness’. This tension glides over the whole introduction of the volume on kenbu, where the author warns that even if ‘it may have some aspects of entertainment in it’, we should avoid the misinterpretation of kenbu as mere ‘Bugei sideshow, a martial arts circus’ (Sugawara 2014c: 13). Kenbu is not light entertainment; on the contrary, ‘the person on stage should be envisioning the enemy’ (Sugawara 2014c: 9). That is why performers must be used to the sword-drawing action in the proper way to prevent the scorn of those familiar with bugei traditions. In fact, the arduous practice of sword drawing is also the basic exercise he strongly encourages to students of kenbu. He reminds commoners about the insecurity of their position in budō when he admonishes that improper techniques ‘will no doubt cause those following the true teachings to laugh’ (Sugawara 2014b: 14). The contradictory situation of the writer, forced to sell the activity to a wider public but at the same time expressing a great contempt for the distortion of the practice in the hands of those social inferiors unable to appreciate the art, denotes the main feature of the ‘romantic kitsch’. A craving for the good old days of martial arts controlled exclusively by the samurai appeared at a time when there was no single, definitive high (samurai) taste to define such matters as proper martial arts anymore. The mingling with the tastes of commoners in an anonymous market of popular culture (the key feature of kitsch) created ambivalent feelings and anxiety in former samurai unable to solve the paradoxical situation of spreading/ spoiling the martial arts by selling them to commoners. Karate and the origins of ‘Okinawan Japaneseness’ During Meiji, another relevant development was taking place in martial arts, more specifically in karate, not in Japan’s mainland but in the island of Okinawa. With the forced opening of the country and the instauration of Meiji, the Okinawan kingdom became a Japanese prefecture in 1871,20 forced to break off contact with China. After some years of lukewarm response from Okinawans, the Meiji government launched a military operation in the island in 1879, dissolving the kingdom. The new government in the island introduced the Japanese education system and took control of the bureaucracy, expelling native Okinawans


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from power positions. Laws were enacted to change Okinawan patterns of dress, to encourage people to wear shoes, and to deal with ‘backward’ habits such as drunkenness, strange music and dances, and superstitious religious ceremonies. Okinawan language was also persecuted: for instance, in some schools students caught speaking a local dialect other than ‘proper’ Japanese were forced to wear wooden signs, so-called hogenfuda (dialect tags), as markers of their errors (Christy 1997). The treatment of Okinawans as subordinate in their own land met with some resistance. Opposition movements from native Okinawans during the 1870s included important karate masters, especially from representatives of Tomari te21 such as Oyadomari Kokan (1827–1905), Matsumora Kosaku (1829–1898), and Yamazato Gikei (1835–1905). They organised a successful protest against abusive confiscation by Japanese officials in Tomari, presenting an intimidating force of young Okinawans armed with bō and sai (a weapon consisting of a metal baton with two prongs) outside of government offices (Clarke 2012: 122). China finally acknowledged Okinawa as a Japanese island in 1895, after the Chinese defeat in the Sino-Japanese war. The construction of a new Japanese identity in Okinawa was cemented by state-controlled institutions such as the school system and the military. During this period, karate was introduced in the regular curriculum of the Okinawan school system in 1902, mainly thanks to the role played by Itosu Yasutsune (1831–1915). Itosu had successfully systematised five kata – associated with the karate style normally dubbed as Shuri te – excluding those movements that showed more dangerous, combat-oriented techniques. He was the main actor in the shift from a combative to an educative approach in karate, paralleling the role of Kanō in the transition from old jūjutsu to modern jūdō. Some of the most prominent Okinawan karate masters of the era such as Yabu Kentsu (1866–1937) and Hanashiro Chōmo (1869–1945) – both disciples of Itosu – enlisted in the Japanese Army, obtaining the rank of lieutenant (something exceptional for Okinawans) fighting in the Sino-Japanese War and later in the Russo-Japanese War. Yabu was considered a war hero and would later help in the introduction of karate (with a militaristic pedagogical approach) in the Okinawan school system. Hanashiro was the first to change the characters of karate to mean ‘empty hands’ instead of ‘Chinese hands’ in the title of his book Karate Shoshu Hen, published in 1905, predating the general adoption of such terminology by karate masters in some decades.22 Both Yabu and Hanshiro showed a certain detachment from Chinese identity, but it did not mean a total identification with Japan either. Other karate masters, especially those associated with Naha te – the regional style which suffered the greatest Chinese influence in the development of the art – such as Higaonna Kanryo (1853–1915) maintained a closer relationship with Chinese traditions. Thus, different strands, varying in the degree of proximity to China and Japan, represent the building of a certain sense of Okinawan we-identity through martial arts during this early phase in which the development of karate was

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mainly ascribed to Okinawa. During Taishō and early Shōwa periods in which the Okinawans became progressively integrated into Japanese identity – but still as second-class citizens – karate would become a vehicle to develop a sense of ‘Okinawan Japaneseness’ for some of the ethnic Okinawans. That phenomenon would become evident in early Shōwa as reaction to the ‘Japanisation’ of karate, resulting in the split between Okinawan and Japanese karate (see Chapter 9).

Notes 1 This is not to say that legal possibilities translated directly as facts. Taking into account figures from 1881, Sonoda (1990: 103) estimates that samurai families made up 5.3% of the population but held about 40.7% of official posts, and the posts belonged not to municipality level but central government, the result being about 70%. 2 Befu (1981) speaks of a ‘samuraisation’ of the Japanese people. 3 Nitobe’s work was not very influential in Japan at that time, even though it would represent the main source for the West to understand the ‘Japanese spirit’ linked to the martial culture of the samurai. 4 German physician Erwin Baelz (1849–1913), appointed physician of important personalities and professor at the University of Tokyo, commented in his book Awakening Japan: The Diary of a German Doctor, his practice of kenjutsu, jūjutsu, and kyūjutsu, training kenjutsu under Sakakibara Kenkichi. Another good example is constituted by Francis James Norman, an Englishman who studied kenjutsu and jūjutsu in Japan and published a book called The Fighting Man of Japan in 1905, spreading martial arts practice back in England. In 1904, the book The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu was published by Irving Hancock and Katsumi Higashi. The influence of Kanō’s jūdō into Russian sambo can be traced to V.S. Oschepkov (1899–1937), who entered Kōdōkan in 1911 and earned his second dan by 1917. 5 During the 1890s, girls’ education in martial arts was based on naginata, expressed in scattered examples around the nation but not included in the official curriculum. Mitamura Kengyo, head of Tendō ryū, introduced Tendō ryū naginata into Doshisha Girls’ School in Kyoto in 1899; his wife, Mitamura Chiyo, acted as a prominent teacher in this institution, and the naginata became lighter. In 1901, Yazawa Isako introduced Buko ryū naginata into the physical education department of Nihon Women’s University. In 1908, Sonobe Hideo commenced instruction in Jikishin kage ryū naginatajutsu at Himeji Normal College. Arai Tsuda started teaching naginata techniques from Kyoshin ryū at Nara Women’s Normal College in 1911. 6 The inclusion of women in the practice of archery was an innovation of modern times. For instance, in 1907, Uchiyama Tsutomu published the Archery Instructional Manual, in which he advocated archery for women, as it embodied refined and elegant qualities. 7 I would rather use the terms ‘international’ and ‘indigenous’ instead of ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’. The notion of ‘international Japaneseness’ implied not just Western (modern) but also Japanese traditional elements, generating a unique specific blend. In the same fashion, the ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ of Dai Nippon Butokukai contained traditional elements such as classical martial traditions (koryū) but also included modern elements such as the very notion of the Japanese nation, the kokutai (national body, policy), and the novel organisation and systematisation of martial arts by blending different elements of previous traditions. 8 Dai Nippon Butokukai’s originator was Torimi Kōki (1849–1914), the eldest son of a samurai family, who participated in the Boshin War of 1868 and later became part of the state establishment as a tax collector in Kyoto. His solemn vision of martial


9 10

11 12




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traditions (contrasting with the modern ‘shallow’ culture of urbanites) was shared by, among others, Kyoto District Police Chief Sasa Kumatarō, the police system being under the command of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Originally, the term ‘jūdō’ was used by the Jikishin ryū, dating from 1724 (Mol 2001: 129). In fact, Kanō became an established figure within the Meiji establishment. With a university education (Tokyo Imperial University), he was a professor and the principal of Gakushuin University, where he included jūdō in its curriculum in 1883. He was director of Tokyo Higher Normal School for 26 years, Chief of Education Bureau for the Japanese Ministry of Education, and founder of the Kotoshi Han College. Talking about international relations, he was a member of the Imperial Household Department in 1889, where he made a study of European education institutions; he was elected in 1909 as the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee, founding in 1911 the first Japan Amateur Athletic Association. In politics, he was elected a member of the House of Lords in 1922. The first female jūdō student was Ashiya Sueko in 1893 (Miarka, Marques and Franchini 2011); according to Stevens, Sueko started training at the Kōdōkan in 1883 (2013: 171). As Miarka, Marques and Franchini (2011) state, ‘the inclusion and participation of Japanese women in jūdō practice was slow, late and restricted because it was undermined by cultural preconceptions of women as fragile, gentle and submissive, and whose ultimate goal should be motherhood’ (p.1017). Thus, it is not coincidental that Kanō was a member of the Friday Club (Kinyo-kai), founded by right-wing figures Kiiro Iranuma and Somei Uzawa; that he wrote in journals such as Bushidō in the 1890s in which the so-called samurai code was linked to the modern military system (Benesch 2016: 87, 90); or that Kōdōkan’s lawyer was Somei Uzawa, an elected member of the Lower House who defended many of the criminal cases against right-wing political plots in the 1930s (Stevens 2013: 58). During his whole life, Kanō kept good relations with former students who had maintained strong connections with right-wing Ultra-nationalistic societies: Kōdōkan’s students Saigō Shirō and Iizuka Kunisaburo had acted as tairiku rōnin on behalf of Ultra-nationalistic societies. Despite that, Kanō awarded sixth dan to Shirō when he died in 1922 and ninth dan to Kunisaburo in 1937. Another influential Kanō’s student that connected Kōdōkan and the Ultra-nationalistic was Koki Hirota (1878–1948), who would rise to be Prime Minister during 1936–1937. He was executed after the war for his connections with the Dark Ocean Society. From this revolutionary base that generated the Xinhai Revolution, a split of two lines of development unfolded. Kanō’s students were on both sides: Li Shucheng (1882– 1965) and Hu Hanmin (1879–1936) became leading members of the Kuomintang. On the other side, Chen Duxiu (1879–1942) founded the Communist Party in 1921. Both Li Shucheng and Chen Duxiu had something else in common: besides studying at the Kobun Gakuen, they had also studied at the military academy Tokyo Shinbu Gakkō. Some of Kanō’s Chinese students continued to have leading roles when relationships between China and Japan deteriorated as the century advanced. Some of these Chinese exchange students would act in favour of Japanese Imperialism. The most significant example was Sun Qichang (1885–1954). He had graduated from Kanō’s Tokyo Teacher Training College. After the Manchurian incident in 1931, Sun allied himself with Xi Qia (1883–1950) to form a new government independent of the Republic of China: the new state of Manchukuo, under Japanese control. The list of the ryū that took part in the kumitachi kata included: Jiki Shinkage ryū, Kurama ryū, Tsutsumi Hōzan ryū, Tatsumi ryū, Hokusin Ittō ryū, Asayama Ichiden ryū, Jigen ryū, Shindō munen ryū, Yagyū ryū, and Kyōshin Meichi ryū. For the iaijutsu kata: Asayama Ichiden ryū, Tamiya ryū, Kyōshin Meichi ryū, Tatsumi ryū (Hall 2012: 255).

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16 In relation to mounted archery, during the 1880s, several performances were held in Tokyo at palaces and houses of former daimyō. This modality survived as a romantic heirloom of past eras and helped to imbue tradition into Japanese identity but only to a limited degree. 17 The styles that took part in the committee for the creation of jūjutsu kata were: Kōdōkan, Takenouchi ryū, Yōshin ryū, Miura ryū, Shiten ryū, Sekiguchi ryū, Sōsuishitsu ryū, Fusen ryū. Six out of 20 members were from the Kōdōkan (four from Takenouchi ryū and three from Yōshin ryū), which shows the clear predominance of Kanō in jūjutsu matters (Hall 2012: 353). 18 The ryū that took part in the committee for the creation of kenjutsu kata were: Hokushin Ittō ryū (two members), Ittō ryū Shintō Munen ryū, and Shungyoto ryū (Hall 2012: 83). 19 Takeda’s family administered the Ise Shrine (Hargrave 1995: 3). The possibility of Takeda’s family being connected to hafuribe (shrine attendants) is another common feature between Takeda and warriors who originated classical martial traditions. 20 Okinawa’s commercial relationship with Japan had existed for centuries, especially with the Satsuma domain in Kyushu, ruled by Shimazu daimyō. Okinawa was conquered in 1609 by the Shimazu and acted as a puppet-state for the latter, officially depending on China, with which it maintained a strong social, economic, and cultural connection (in fact, Chinese influence in Okinawan martial arts bloomed in the seventeenth century). Commercial and cultural exchange with foreigners was prohibited by Tokugawa, so that was a perfect solution for Satsuma to maintain an open lane of commercial interchange with China and the Western powers without contravening shōgunate legislation. Okinawans were to pay a yearly tribute to Satsuma and also pay homage to the shōgun by performing something alike sankin kotai (see Chapter 5), travelling to Edo. The influence of Japanese budō, especially through the Shimazu clan, in the first stages of development of some styles of Okinawan karate, should not be underestimated. For instance, Matsumura Sokon (c.1809-c.1899), one of the early exponents of Shuri te, was influenced by Satsuma samurai when he was sent there by the Okinawan government and learned the jōjutsu and kenjutsu of Jigen ryū. 21 Tomari te is the name of what later would be known as one of the main regional styles of karate, the other two being Naha te and Shuri te. Nonetheless, contrary to the Japanese organisation of well-defined ryū, Okinawan karate did not possess such clear boundaries. Separation between different regional traditions was not strong, and cross-fertilisation between different masters was common and encouraged. The differentiation of regions and styles would become a late phenomenon of early Shōwa (see Chapter 9). 22 This is not to say that Chinese cultural influence did not continue for some time in Okinawa. In fact, the period of heaviest Chinese influence in karate was from 1870 to 1920 (Hall 2012: 239).

References Abel, L. (1984). Gekiken Kogyo. Japan Martial Arts Society Newsletter, 2(1), June, pp. 13–16. Amdur, E. (1996). The Role of Arms Bearing Women in Japanese History. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 5(2), pp. 10–35. Befu, H. (1981). Japan: An Anthropological Introduction. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing. Benesch, O. (2016). Inventing the Way of the Samurai. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bodiford, W. (2001). Written Text: Japan. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia (Vol. 1). Oxford: ABC-CLIO, pp. 758–768.


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Carr, K.G. (1993). Making Way: War, Philosophy and Sport in Japanese “Jûdô”. Journal of Sport History, 20(2), pp. 167–188. Christy, A. (1997). The Making of Imperial Subjects in Okinawa. In T.E. Barlow (ed.). Formations of Colonial Modernity in East Asia. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 141–169. Clarke, C.M. (2012). Okinawan Karate: A History of Styles and Masters (Vol. 1). Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. Ebell, S.B. (2012). Competition versus Tradition in Kodokan Jūdō. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 3(2), pp. 28–37. Elias, N. (2001). The Society of Individuals. New York: Continuum. Elias, N. (2006). The Kitsch Style and the Age of Kitsch. In N. Elias (ed.). Early Writings. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 85–96. Gainty, D. (2013). Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London: Routledge. Green, T.A. and Svinth, J.R. (2003). The Circle and the Octagon: Maeda’s Jūdō and Gracie’s Jiu-jitsu. In T.A. Green and J.R. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts in the Modern World. London: Praeger, pp. 61–70. Gutiérrez García, C. (2004). Introducción y desarrollo del Jūdō en España (de principios del siglo XX a 1965): el proceso de implantación de un método educativo y de combate importado de Japón. León: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de León. Guttmann, A. and Thompson, L.A. (2001). Japanese Sports: A History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. New York: Kodansha International. Hargrave, T. (1995). Grappling in Transition: Takeda Sokaku and Kano Jigoro. Hoplos, 7(4), pp. 1–21. Hlinak, M. (2009). Jūdō Comes to California: Jūdō vs Wrestling in the American West, 1900–1920. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 18(2), pp. 8–19. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Kano, J. (2005). Mind over Muscle. New York: Kodansha International. Miarka, B., Marques, J.B. and Franchini, E. (2011). Reinterpreting the History of Women’s Jūdō in Japan. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 28(7), pp. 1016–1029. Mol, S. (2001). Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: A Complete Guide to Koryū Jūjutsu. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Nakajima, T. and Thompson, L. (2012). Jūdō and the Process of Nation-Building in Japan: Kanō Jigorō and the Formation of Kōdōkan Jūdō. Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science, 1(2–3), pp. 97–110. Nippon Budokan. (2009). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1996). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Tokyo: Aiki News. Schiffrin, H. (2010). Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press. Seidensticker, E. (2010). Tokyo from Edo to Showa 1867–1989: The Emergence of the World’s Greatest City. North Clarendon: Tuttle Publishing. Shishida, F. and Nariyama, T. (2001). Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge. Berkeley: Shodokan Pub. Siniawer, E.M. (2008). Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860–1960. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Sonoda, H. (1990). The Decline of the Japanese Warrior Class, 1840–1880. Nichibunken Japan Review, pp. 73–111.

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Stevens, J. (2013). The Way of Jūdō: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and His Students. Boulder: Shambhala Publications. Sugawara, S. (2014a). The Complete Martial Arts of Japan (Vol. 1). Gekken. Middletown, DE: CreateSpace. Sugawara, S. (2014b). The Complete Martial Arts of Japan (Vol. 2). Jujutsu. Middletown, DE: CreateSpace. Sugawara, S. (2014c). The Complete Martial Arts of Japan (Vol. 3). Kenbu. Middletown, DE: CreateSpace. Svinth, J.R. (2003). The Spirit of Manliness: Boxing in Imperial Japan, 1868–1945. In T.A. Green and J.R. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts in the Modern World. London: Praeger, pp. 37–46. Uozumi, T. (2013). A Cross-Cultural Study of Japanese Budo in the Global Era. In T. Uozumi, A. Bennett, and K.B. Daigaku (eds.). Budō in the Global Era: A Cross Cultural Analysis of Issues Pertaining to Globalisation. IBU Budō Series Vol. 2. Tokyo: International Budo University, pp. 5–29. Wouters, C. (2007). Informalization: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage.

Chapter 8

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase in the development of martial arts

Between 1912 and 1926, the period known as Taishō democracy witnessed the rise of political parties to dispute the political oligarchy of the previous Meiji era. During this period, social and cultural changes accelerated. Japan had avoided taking part in the First World War and had come to see Western powers – severely damaged – on more equal terms. This fact brought a decrease in the anxieties attached to the we-identity of the Japanese people who imported Western influences and mores more openly, from a position of cultural strength and autonomy (Benesch 2016: 160). Overall, the Taishō era in urban areas represented an informalisation of manners (Wouters 2007). At this time, we find the so-called Taishō look. A Kabuki actor of the era named Sadanji was the embodiment of this look that resembled that of Rudolph Valentino. He dressed in Western style and drove Western-type cars. His Free Theatre was performing, in the Western style, plays translated by Japanese writers. Mass entertainment, theatres, and music halls thrived all over Tokyo, especially in Asakusa, and dancing became ‘wild and uncontrolled by police standards’ (Seidensticker 2010: 113). Opera allowed more flesh of women’s bodies to be exposed. Variety shows such as the Review held at the Casino Folies of the Asakusa district in the late 1920s brought a blend of traditional themes and modern formats. For instance, the scene set by two Heian courtiers could be transformed into a Charleston dance show all in the same play (Seidensticker 2010: 366). Restaurant manners were also changing. Good manners traditionally required one to remove one’s outer garments when indoors. In Taishō, people ate with their shoes or coats on, some of them even with their hats on their heads. In contrast to the Meiji period, in which women had remained more attached to traditional Japanese dress and hairstyles, in Taishō women also began to use Western influences in their Japanese dresses, started to wear Western underpants and, more profusely, Western hair-dos. Long hair became the sign of the ‘modern boy’ and short hair for the modern girl, especially among young university students. Female workers were increasing, and it was common to see shop girls, gas pump maidens, and women bus drivers. The use of Western terms such as ‘papa’ and ‘mama’ during this era by bourgeois and intellectuals was also a clear symptom of informalisation in a society in which the paternal–filial relationship

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


had been quite formal. The Japanese term that defined the Taishō period was ‘kyōyo’, meaning something like education but carried connotations of enrichment, self-fulfilment, and gracious living (Seidensticker 2010: 272), stressing the importance of individual cultivation of citizens. Within the ambit of physical culture, a further spread of the sports movement expanded to the middle classes and to a lesser extent to the working classes and women. In the martial arts, the international strand was affected to some extent by this informalisation current. The indigenous strand was affected also by this informalisation phase but would advance towards more reactionary approaches, a development of the following phase of early Shōwa. The tension between the international (more open to sports) and indigenous (more resistant to sports) lines in martial arts was visible in the ideological debates between supporters of competition along an amateur ethos and those contrary to competition (accentuated by the consideration of sport as a foreign fad), considering exclusively the educational character formation of budō activities.

Disputed monopoly of violence: institutionalisation of political violence At the same time that this second wave of informalisation was taking place, some integration conflicts sparked between the old establishment, formed by hanbatsu (favouritism on the structure based on former samurai clans), bureaucracy, and the military and the new establishment based on political parties. Part of this politicalrelated violence was connected to people’s demands for a more democratic system and also was manifested through the rise of fascist, Ultra-nationalistic groups that had been operating since Meiji, acting as a response to the perceived openness of liberalism represented by the political parties’ structure. The use of institutional violence by political parties The use of sōshi organised in ingaidan, pressure groups that exerted violence as a means for action, were already common during Meiji and became a core part of the Taishō politics. Between 1918 and 1932, with several exceptions, control of the cabinet would be in the hands of one of the two major political parties of the time: the Seiyūkai and the Kenseikai. Since 1910, Seiyūkai ingaidan, considered as part of the political structure, was already making a distinction between the intellectual group (interidan) and the violent group (bōryokudan). Whereas the former was confined to discussion of political theory, the latter was composed by violent groups of sōshi acting much like a ‘street gang’ (machi no gyangu), hanging about both outside and inside the Diet when it was in session (Siniawer 2008: 81). Sōshi were paid depending on the relevance of the political figure they attacked and the part of the body attacked: the payment was different if the blow was in the face, limbs, or torso. Paradoxical as it may seem, ingaidan were not necessarily ‘anti-democratic’ organisations in themselves. Precisely, they were


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a necessary support for political parties to counter the big influence of the old establishment composed by the hanbatsu (favouritism in the structure based on former samurai clans), bureaucracy, and the military that also had their own supporters in the ultra-nationalistic societies. When political parties became part of the establishment by the end of Taishō, ingaidan violence became less necessary and more controlled by the political system itself. Oftentimes, ingaidan joined popular protests in their anti–old-establishment position (Siniawer 2008: 83). For instance, during the First Movement to Protect Constitutional Government in 1912–1913, the Seiyūkai ingaidan joined the popular movement protesting for the designation of Katsura Tarō, an elder statesman from the Chōsū domain, as the next prime minister. During the Second Movement to Protect Constitutional Government, a coalition of both parties and the Kakushi Club (the reform Club) won a majority in the House of Representatives in 1924. The coalition passed laws in 1925 such as Universal Manhood Suffrage Law (which extended the vote to male of 25 years old and over) and the Peace Preservation Law, which restricted the freedom of speech and assembly in order to gain control over communist and anarchist movements. The preoccupation with the rise of leftist political parties, as masses of workers would be able to vote, was also expressed in the limitation of personnel that political parties could hire as enforcers as well as imprisonment of those carrying weapons, disturbing political activities, or employing violent means against electors, campaigners, candidates, or elected politicians. Political violence as a way to control elections lost predominance in favour of bribery by the late 1920s (Siniawer 2008: 91). Because of the alignment of these political parties such as Seiyūkai and the Kenseikai and popular movements, ingaidan were able to build ties with groups of college students from Meiji University, recruiting them as part of ingaidan’s youth division, known as the Tesshinkai (Iron Spirit Association). As part of the Tesshinkai, yakuza (bakutō or gamblers and tekiya or itinerant merchants) members were also recruited. This strategy was also aped by Seiyūkai’s main opposition party (the Kenseikai). This phenomenon speaks of how violence created a ‘fluidity between the political and, legally speaking, criminal realms’ (Siniawer 2008: 86). Thus, even though ingaidan were not like yakuza in the sense that they were politically oriented instead of business oriented,1 both groups were labelled bōryokudan for the violent means they used habitually. By the latter half of the 1920s, a blend between the Seiyūkai ingaidan and nationalist organisations such as the Kokusuikai (including a vast number of yakuza but also members of the military and tairiku rōnin) would become commonplace, and by the 1930s, the Seiyūkai ingaidan was absorbed and replaced by violent nationalist groups like the Kokusuikai. The progressive connection of political parties with violent groups of an ultra-nationalistic bent would hold a strong influence in the sociopolitical environment of the early Shōwa period, crucial to the rise of fascist ideology backing up the militarisation of the whole country. It is interesting to examine Taishō political violence through the ‘quest for excitement’ (Elias and Dunning 2008) theory to compare the relatively softer

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


kind of violence during Taishō when compared to the early Shōwa period. During  Taishō, ingaidan’s violence did not pose a serious threat to the state’s monopoly of violence as it would do in the early Shōwa period. Social trouble was confined to rioting and street fighting. For instance, in 1920, in the local race between candidates of the two main parties (Seiyūkai and Kenseikai), both brought not only their youth sections carrying sticks, clubs, and other concealed weapons but also hired longshoremen and mobilised bakuto, provoking a clash of 200 men that made police forces intervene and imprison 68 persons. During Taishō, sōshi life was experienced by some of the young members as a kind of ‘wild leisure’. One of these students, Ōno Banboku, described his ingaidan days as really fun and enjoyable (Siniawer 2008: 86). Nonetheless, this type of violence could become lethal. Politician Ozaki Yukio (1858–1954) was attacked while giving a public speech in 1917 by a thug bearing a seven-inch knife; Shinagawa Nobuyasu, an influent supporter of the Seiyūkai, was stabbed to death in 1919. In this political climate, quarrels and impromptu fights erupted in the middle of political sessions among the representatives. It is not surprising then that some of the Diet members in the Taishō period such as Nakano Torakichi (‘the violent Bantora’) were well known for their martial training and physical exploits. Some of them such as Home Minister Tokonami Takejirō (1866–1935) and Education Minister Nakahashi Tokugōro (1861–1934) supported and had connections with Kanō’s Kōdōkan (Siniawer 2008: 74).

The discourse on bushido¯ and the monopoly over the means of orientation In 1912, the year the Taishō era started, a famous seppuku was performed by General Nogi Maresuke (1849–1912) and his wife Shizuko. The only way to get access to the details of the ritualised suicide was the vivid account that the Kokunin newspaper made from a police report the day after the seppuku. What is interesting about the account is not the accuracy of the report – it was clearly embellished – but the ideal image of a military man and his wife connected to the utmost values of the Japanese nation. The police report said, ‘I have borne witness to many suicides however I have never before encountered such as Bushido-like taking of one’s life. All I can say is that it was exemplary in every way’ (Moridan 2016: 81). The report continues praising the difficult and brave actions that General Nogi conducted (‘It was magnificent in its accordance with the precepts laid down for seppuku’), everything precisely quantified. His wife was also praised for her ‘suicidal exploit’, acknowledging that ‘The position she was found in showed that her knees had never moved’ (Moridan 2016: 82), a clear symptom of good decorum and etiquette while performing these final moments. The case of general Nogi influenced greatly the discourse on bushidō and the place of martial arts within the Japanese we-identity. He was the son of a high-ranking samurai of imperial supporters from the Chōsū han. He had participated in different armed conflicts during the 1860s and 1870s (e.g. the Satsuma


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Rebellion of 1877), suffering great shame for having lost the banner in combat. So deep was the wound of this incident that he referred to it in the farewell letter left in the seppuku on 1912. He had participated also in the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars and had been praised as a war hero for his policy of suicidal ‘human bullets’ (nikudan) front attacks. The figure of Nogi was displayed through state propaganda and was key to portraying a heroic view of bushidō, as General Nogi was known to be an avid student of the bushidō works of Yamaga Sokō. Authors such as Inoue Tetsujirō linked Nogi’s case to the idea of imperial bushidō, as his example was not only speaking to the social group of the samurai but to the whole population of citizens connected to the emperor as the centre of the nation. Okada Ryōhei connected Nogi’s case to the Akō incident, and Nitobe Inazo praised Nogi’s action for embodying true bushidō. Overall, Nogi’s seppuku sparked social interest in novels of maniwabushi, narrative ballads of past bushi heroes (Benesch 2016: 154). Nonetheless, Nogi’s seppuku was not simply accepted as a good example by the whole society. The younger generations were more critical of the incident. Progressive groups during the Taishō democracy also criticised Nogi’s behaviour for its irrationality and lack of modernity. The Taishō era meant a distancing from Meiji and imperial bushidō. The Taishō emperor, of weak health, discouraged a direct relationship between bushidō and a strong imperial figure. In the military, the more abstract notion of kokutai (national polity) replaced the central idea of the emperor, even though the ideals of ‘attack spirit’, loyalty, and sacrifice for the emperor were kept alive. Overall, the climate of the Taishō era was anti-military. Incidents started by the army such as the harsh repression of the ‘rice riots’ after the First World War did not help to foster a positive climate surrounding the military; the introduction of political parties, sceptical of military influences, helped to diminish the influence of the military. The bushidō theme lost ground in popular literary works. In 1923, Naruse Janji stated bushidō had been replaced by chonindō, the way of the commoner (Benesch 2016: 163), a symptom of the increasing social levelling of the Taishō period. Nevertheless, the discourse of bushidō was kept alive, mainly through the curriculum of the school system and sports (such as baseball) and martial arts.

International Japaneseness: sports and martial arts Sports Overall, during the Taishō period, the diffusion of sport participation spread towards urban middle classes that controlled the organisation of clubs. Nonetheless, sports also spread towards the working classes, with the 1920s being the decade of formation of Japan’s industrial leagues that helped to maintain ‘social peace’ and companies sponsoring baseball teams among workers. Sports competitions were vastly favoured by the possibility of radio broadcasting during the 1920s. Baseball maintained the big popularity acquired in Meiji, and during the 1920s, several large baseball stadiums were constructed across the country.

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


The Taishō period also witnessed the expansion of the amateur Olympic model. In 1910, the International Olympic Committee had formally invited Japan to take part in the 1912 Olympiad at Stockholm and had asked Kanō to organise a National Olympic Committee. The lack of support by the Ministry of Education and the Japan Physical Education Society (Nippon Taiiku Kai) led Kanō to found the Greater Japan Physical Education Association (Dai Nippon Taiiku Kyōkai) in 1911 to promote sport and physical education among the youth and finance Japanese athletes for the incoming Olympiad. In 1913, Kanō was invited by American missionary Elwood Brown to send a Japanese team to compete in Manila against Chinese and Filipino teams in the first ‘Asian Olympic Games’. Kanō rejected the idea, as he wanted to spread a global, not local, understanding of Japan within the Olympics. He agreed to take part in the organisation when the name was changed to Far Eastern Championship Games. During Taishō and early Shōwa, we see the foundation of as many as 25 governing bodies of different disciplines (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 129–130): for example, the Football Association of Japan was founded in 1921, the Japan Lawn Tennis Association in 1922, and the Japan Amateur Swimming Federation in 1924. The ‘liberal education’ of the Taishō era produced many haikara (high-collar; middle-class) women and increased their participation in organised competitive sports (Ikeda 2010). The Japanese participation in the Far Eastern Games boosted women’s sports such as swimming, tennis, and volleyball, which were included in 1923; the first Japanese Women’s Olympics was held in Osaka in 1924, and the Japan Federation for Women’s sport would be finally founded in 1926. Martial arts: Kano¯’s ju¯do¯ During the Taishō period and the first years of Shōwa, the competitive aspects of martial arts and the excitement and thrill of the bouts became crucial for the young participants to engage in these activities (Bennett 2015: 123). National tournaments in jūdō and kendō were held: in 1929, commemorating the enthronement of emperor Shōwa, the Tenran budō tournament comprised the best jūdō and kendō players from Japan and the colonies of Korea and Taiwan. Kōdokan jūdō held its first national Championship with the support of newspaper companies in 1930. Kanō Jigorō’s jūdō expanded greatly during the 1920s and 1930s. By 1926, approximately 2000 new students were enrolling each year, and the total enrolment in that year reached almost 37.000 (Shun 1998: 171). Kendō, in the hands of a famous expert of the era, Takanō Sasaburo (1862–1950), connected also to Kanō’s organisations. Sasaburo became an instructor in Kanō’s Tokyo Teacher’s Training School in 1908 and head of the kendō section in 1915. He was crucial in the development of kendō university clubs and wrote key works on teaching methodology. He also built in 1918 the first Shudogakuin, a kendō institute in which many influential kendoists would be instructed. Jūjutsu organisation was also in the hands of the Dai Nippon Butokukai and in the smaller league of what became known as Kosen jūdō. Kosen was the


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short name for Koto Senmon Gakko, the Higher Specialty School. These schools in south-western Japan started inter-collegiate competitions in 1914 with rules that differed from those of Kōdōkan and Dai Nippon Butokukai. Kosen jūdō permitted dangerous techniques such as leg locks and neck cranks and allowed competitors to engage in ground fighting at any moment, not only as a consequence of a throw. The development of these competitions would influence the rule changes undergone by Kōdōkan jūdō as a way to gain some distinctive character: in 1914 leg locks and neck cranks were eliminated from Kōdōkan; in 1925, the only permitted lock was the elbow lock; in 1929 rules for engaging groundwork were made stricter (Clarke 2015: 49). During the 1910s and 1920s, Kanō’s jūdō evolved from the jūjutsu principle of jū-no-ri (soft subduing hard) to the principles of seiroku-zenyō (maximum efficiency) and jita-kyōei (mutual welfare and benefit). Jūdō also spread towards women’s participation. By 1916, jūdō became one of the main subjects for girls’ PE in the school system. In 1923, the Kōdōkan women’s section was created, and a female dōjō (Kaiunzaka Dōjō) was provided at the central jūdō school. Finally, in 1926, the feminine jūdō section (Joshi Bu) was created, its director being Shiba Aiko, supervised by a male instructor, Ariya Honda. Nonetheless, differences with men’s jūdō still officially ensued. Training promotions were different; for example, the dan level was distinguished by the use of a black belt with a white stripe in the middle. Overall, jūdō during Taishō era maintained a conservative attitude towards gender issues (Miarka, Marques and Franchini 2011: 1023). The expansion of jūdō abroad was especially successful in Europe at that time.2 The activity spread overseas, indistinctively known as both jūdō and jūjutsu. Kanō’s jūdō as an amateur sport and a method for self-defence gained popularity. Some Kōdōkan experts were sent abroad to teach. Koizumi Gunji (1885–1965) helped spread jūdō in Britain, the Budōkwai jūdō club formed in 1918, and the first national championship was organised in 1929. In France (as well as England and Germany), Aida Hikoichi helped spread Kanō’s jūdō during the 1920s. Jūjutsu/jūdō also spread abroad through the professional model, linked to shows and bouts. During the 1910s and 1920s, some of Kanō’s students continued touring abroad and accepting challenge matches from Western boxers and wrestlers. The defeats suffered by some practitioners of Japanese jūjutsu (e.g. Matsuda Tano had been defeated by boxer Sam McVea in Paris in 1908) originated in Europe a wave of criticism that precipitated the departure of many Japanese professionals during the end of the first decade and the beginning of the second (Gutiérrez García 2006: 122). Some of these experts kept on touring the Americas. For instance, the so-called Four Kings of Cuba, featuring Maeda Mitsuyo, Tokugoro Ito, Shinsiro Satake, and Akitaro Ono, travelled Central and South America during 1913 and 1914, spending 1915 wrestling in Brazil and then separating in 1916 (Svinth 2006: para 30). If Kanō had blinked an eye at the professional incursions of his students overseas, one significant incident, the so-called Santel affair, ignited Kōdōkan’s

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


critiques against professionalism. Ad Santel, an American catch wrestler, had defeated some jūdō players in the United States; he even won by TKO over jūdō fifth dan Tokugoro Ito in a bout organised in San Francisco in 1916. Ito had engaged in numerous challenge fights previously, and it seemed not to bother Kanō as long as he kept winning. Nonetheless, Santel represented a bigger threat. In 1917, he defeated two other high-ranked jūdō players and, with the help of Okabe Heita (1981–1966), they decided to travel to Japan to challenge Kōdōkan directly. Okabe, a jūdō expert from the Kōdōkan, worked at the University of Chicago and became very influenced by the sport system in the United States. In 1921, Santel and a fellow wrestler Henry Weber finally travelled to Japan, and Okabe organised a ‘Japan–USA Friendship Competition’ (Stevens 2013: 105). Kanō refused to have Kōdōkan sanctioning the matches, and they finally took place in the sumō ring of Yasukuni shrine, a symbolic centre for the imperial creed. More matches followed that year in Nagoya and Osaka. The overall result of the matches was more or less even, some of them won by the American wrestlers and some by the Japanese jūdōka.3 Nonetheless, Kanō was not pleased at all and expelled Okabe and those taking part in the contests from the Kōdōkan. For Kanō, this phenomenon ‘debased’ the activity, a feeling shared by the amateur gentlemen of Europe with whom Kanō felt close in their vision of physical activity as an educational means for self-development and contribution to society.4 From the viewpoint of Okabe, that was not fair, as jūdō players such as Ito had been accepting professional matches without any repercussions. Okabe understood that Kanō’s reason had more to do with looking bad in front of the Japanese. The importance of this wave of professional jūdōka abroad should not be underestimated: their influence would return almost 80 years later to Japan in the guise of mixed martial arts, directly connected to the expansion of Gracie jiujitsu. Gracie jiu-jitsu had begun in Brazil in the mid-1910s, when Mitsuyo Maeda (1878–1941) introduced Carlos Gracie (1902–1994) to jūdō (which was known in Brazil as jiu-jitsu).

Indigenous Japaneseness: martial arts and national sport Dai Nippon Butokukai, the police and the military The Dai Nippon Butokukai strengthened its established position within the indigenous pattern, even though Daito ryū and aikidō gained ascendancy in the military and the police and some koryū bujutsu maintained also an autonomous transmission; for example, Tenshin Shōden Katori Shinto ryū was revitalised in the hands of Hayashi Yazaemon (1862–1968) and Kashima Shin ryū in the hands of Kunii Zen’ya (1894–1966). The Dai Nippon Butokukai clearly opposed the idea of competition connected with the sports movement. For instance, the kind of jūjutsu sponsored by the Dai


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Nippon Butokukai involved a harder style than Kōdōkan, primarily focused on ne waza (ground fighting). One outstanding representative of this jūjutsu was Ushijima Tatsukuma (1904–1984). The kind of matches Ushijima was used to take part in were kind of extreme; the only way to stop was giving up or dying. Some matches were even fought with a wooden dagger in the belt so you could mimic cutting off the opponent’s head if you pinned him properly (Stevens 2013: 170). Ushijima later joined the Kōdōkan in 1926 and trained one of the best (and more controversial) jūdō players of all time: Kimura Masahiko (1917–1993). In 1919, the Dai Nippon Butokukai instigated changes in the official denomination from bujutsu to budō, predating the Ministry of Education that officially adopted the terms ‘jūdō’ and ‘kendō’ instead of ‘jūjutsu’ and ‘gekken’ in 1926. Thus, in the Dai Nippon Butokukai denomination, kenjutsu was now kendō, jūjutsu became jūdō, kyūjutsu became kyūdō, and so on, emphasising the character-building aspects connected to patriotism and discouraging participation in competition and the mere quest for technical proficiency as the main goals of martial arts. The Dai Nippon Butokukai, for instance, had since 1924 opposed the celebration of the Meiji Shrine Tournament known as National Athletic Sports Meet (Kokutai) because sport was an amusement, a hobby, that placed utmost importance on competition (Uozumi 2013: 16). The Dai Nippon Butokukai only supported the games in 1926 when the entry fee was abolished and a change in terminology was included; the games were then called Meiji Shrine Physical Education Meet (taiikutai). The Dai Nippon Butokukai also opposed the celebration of the Tenran Budō tournament in 1929, because, as Naitō Takaharu (the main kendō instructor) stated, it would imply the ‘demise of kendō’ (Uozumi 2013: 17). The Dai Nippon Butokukai never organised national competitions, and this antisport approach would hold sway beginning in the decade of 1930s, as militarism started to gain ascendancy after the Manchurian incident of 1931. Apart from the Dai Nippon Butokukai, the police and the military also played important roles in the further organisation of martial arts. In 1924, the Tokyo Police Bureau organised a committee formed by kenjutsu/kendō and jūjutsu/jūdō experts to develop a system of hand-to-hand combat to meet the needs of police duties. Within the military, a specific approach to kenjutsu was developed under the name of battōjutsu in the Toyama Gakko (the military training academy). After the establishment of the Toyama Gakko in 1873, Toyama ryū were progressively perfected. In 1925, the name of Toyama ryū was officially adopted, and part of the curriculum was the method for using the guntō or military sword. The role of Hakudō Nakayama (1872–1958), a famous kendoist, founder of the iaidō style of Musō Shinden-ryū, was crucial for the development of the Toyama style, based on Hakudō’s iaidō techniques. Ultra-nationalistic societies During the 1920s and 1930s, ultra-nationalistic organisations were actively engaged in attacking liberalism in society and politics. Uchida Ryōhei (founder of the

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


Amur River Society and practitioner of Shintō Muso ryū) was arrested (although finally he was found innocent) in 1925 for the plotting of the assassination of prime minister and the emperor of Japan. The connection of ultra-nationalistic societies and martial arts during this period can be traced, for instance, to the close relationship between Onisaburo Deguchi and Ueshiba Morihei in the genesis of aikidō. One revealing picture of 1923 shows Onisaburo Deguchi with Tōyama Mitsuru (one of the founders of the Dark Ocean Society) and Uchida Ryōhei (founder of the Amur River Society) (Hall 2012: 517). Onisaburo and Ueshiba would act as part of the intelligence network of the ultra-nationalistic societies in 1924 when they travelled to Mongolia to meet naval captain Yano Yutaro and associates of the Amur River Society. Nonetheless, they were arrested by the Chinese government and deported to Japan. Aikidō would maintain a close relationship with the military and Ultra-nationalistic during early Shōwa (see Chapter 10). Budo¯ and mystic experience: Ueshiba’s aikido¯ and Awa’s shado¯ During Taishō, budō was designed as a way of self-perfection but imbued with the mystical experience that characterised the life-centrism of the period (Sadami 2005). This phenomenon was best exemplified in the arts developed by Ueshiba Morihei (aikidō) and Awa Kenzō (shadō). As in the case of Kanō Jigorō, the origins of both men were from wealthy merchant families, and both were exposed to martial traditions of former samurai instructors beginning in their early youth. Unlike Kanō, both martial artists rejected any possible connection of foreign influence and remained focused exclusively on the nativist components of Asian martial traditions. Ueshiba Morihei’s (1883–1969) instruction in the martial arts was connected to koryū jūjutsu schools in an old-fashioned approach and became connected to military circles.5 In 1910, Ueshiba travelled as a settler to the far Northern region of Hokkaido, at that time a hotbed of right-wing activism and home to the Black Dragon Society (also known as Amur River Society). In 1915, he met Takeda Sōkaku, originator of Daito ryū, training under his guidance for the next 20 years. During the 1920s, Ueshiba’s aikidō would be very influenced also by the teachings of Deguchi Onisaburo (1871–1948), founder of the Shintōbased religion called Ōmoto, which promoted a return to traditional Japanese values – endorsing strongly the view of ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ – exemplified for instance in farming and the practice of martial arts, precisely what Ueshiba was doing in Ayabe. Ōmoto’s teachings endorsed the union of God and humanity. In 1920, Ueshiba moved to Ayabe to live close to the Ōmoto kyo and imparted lessons under the label Daito ryū aikijūjutsu.6 Takeda and Deguchi did not get along well, and Ueshiba distanced himself from his old jūjutsu master and got closer to Deguchi. While accompanying Deguchi to Manchuria and Mongolia as part of ‘intelligentsia missions’, Ueshiba went through a revelation in 1924: he was able to see a projection of white light flying from the guns of attacking


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soldiers and was able to dodge the bullets. After returning to Japan, Ueshiba had more mystic experiences, such as when he saw himself surrounded by a golden life energy (ki), his physical form transformed into a golden body, expanding to fulfil the whole universe. These experiences affected his understanding of budō, seeing his aikidō as the way in which the Shintō concept of musubi – the procreative spirit that represents the unity of self and other – could be achieved. These ideas kept on influencing Ueshiba’s art even after his official departure from the Ōmoto kyo in the aftermath of the second Ōmoto incident (1935) in which many of the leaders of the religious group were arrested, accused of plotting against the emperor. The connection of budō as a path for self-perfection and mystical experience was also expressed by one of the most influential kyūdō exponents of the era, Awa Kenzō (1880–1939). Awa had enjoyed instruction in diverse martial arts since his youth. His first kyūjutsu instructor, Kimura Tatsugoro, was an expert from Heki ryū Sekka ha, and later Awa became a discipline of kyūjutsu moderniser Honda Toshizane. Awa had gained some prominence in the kyūjutsu scene in the early 1910s via his performances at the Dai Nippon Butokukai demos, winning also in 1911 first place in the national tournament held in Tokyo. By 1917, he was considered the best shooter in the country (Stevens 2007: 11). Awa linked the practice of kyūdō to zen7 (e.g. applying Zen breathing techniques to the shooting) and the Confucianism of Wang Yangming. His experience with archery was not of a certain enlightenment (satori) as in zen but of community and unity with the universe, using terms such as ‘shinjin gōitan’ (‘divine entity’ and ‘humanity as one’). He was not alone among the kyūdō community in this approach. For instance, expressions such as ‘harmony between one’s mind and the macrocosmic universe’ appeared in the kyūdō committee’s magazine in 1920 (Sadami 2005). Awa started to refer to kyūjutsu as shadō (‘shooting way’), founding in 1925 a religious society called Daishadō kyō (‘Great Shooting Way Teaching’). As in the case of the Ōmoto sect to which Ueshiba was devoted, Awa’s religious proposal found some resistance and opposition. His former students from the Secondary Higher School kyūdō club (now attending university) opposed Awa’s religious tone on archery. The mystical understanding of martial arts, totally opposed to the understanding of budō as sport, had strong support among the bastions of indigenous Japaneseness of the period. This approach to martial arts can be best summarised in the following comparative list composed by Awa about The Bow: Art Sport Instrument False Technique Off the mark

Way Discipline Sacred Implement True Enlightenment On Target (Stevens 2007: 69)

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


By the mid-1920s, both Ueshiba and Awa enjoyed a heightened level of popularity among the military (Sadami 2005: 36). By the 1930s, Awa’s students would swell to 14.000 (Stevens 2007: 27), and both Awa’s and Ueshiba’s instruction would spread through many of the most prestigious army and naval academies (see Chapter 10). The kind of nativist mystic message proposed by their arts connected with the kind of spiritual training that the military was promoting in early Shōwa (see Chapter 9) instead of other types of training connected to modern technological warfare. The ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ message within the school system The discourse on bushidō connected to military virtues was maintained within the school system. In 1913, the Ministry of Education issued the Syllabus of School Gymnastics (Gakkō taisō kyōju yōmoku), inspired by the Swedish gymnastics of Ling and supplemented by military drills and games. Kenjutsu and jūjutsu became regular subjects in middle and normal schools for boys; girls were allowed to study naginata and kyūjutsu. In 1917, the Diet promulgated a proposition on the Promotion of Military Gymnastics to boost patriotic feelings through the school system. In 1918, martial arts were introduced in primary school as an optional subject. During the 1920s, governmental interest in fostering patriotic national character saw the introduction of military drills in the PE curriculum. In 1925, the imperial Diet proposed to elevate gekken and jūjutsu to compulsory status (Motomura 2009: 61). Despite the predominance of a PE centred on the development of this ‘indigenous Japaneseness’, some proposals during the early 1920s were aligned with the idea of a more open, international Japan, progressive educators developing child-centred PE (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 154). Sumo¯ as the ‘national sport’ Perhaps sumō represented at this time the discipline from the indigenous pole that exerted the greatest influence of modern and more open Taishō democracy. Nonetheless, it did not mean simple identification and acquisition of Western fads. Sumō offered a competitive leisure activity without renouncing an ‘authentic’ Japanese we-identity. Sumō consolidated the image of ‘national sport’. During the 1920s, sumō experienced a sustained claim for the rights of the wrestlers. For instance, in 1923, there was a sumō strike, and in 1926 professional wrestlers organised a Sumō Association. Amateur sumō was also organised: two federations of college wrestlers were formed in 1920 – one in Tokyo, the other in Osaka – and they formed the All Japan Collegiate sumō federation in 1932. During Taishō, sumō was developed further into a competitive achievementstriving sports model. In 1926, the Sumō Association finally decided to acknowledge individual champions and introduced certain changes to avoid ambiguity in the decision of the matches. The influence of the media in the shaping of


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the sport continued during Taishō. If during Meiji newspapers had been crucial for the implementation of a new system of championship, during Taishō, radio broadcasting of sumō, starting in 1928, affected severely one of the traditional defining elements of sumō: the ritual preparation of shikiri. During shikiri, both wrestlers crouch at the centre, glare at each other, stand up and return to their corners to perform the throwing of a handful of salt to the ground. Then they perform another cycle of crouching-standing-throwing salt until both men are ready to charge and fight. This ritual preparation had no specific time limit, but radio broadcasting could not afford such uncertain timing. They told the organisation to limit shikiri to 10 minutes (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 115).8 However, the influence of the media was also noticed in the coronation of sumō wrestlers as ‘true modern sport stars’ (Frost 2010: 2). The case of Hitachiyama Taniemon (1874– 1922), nicknamed the ‘saint of sumō’, the grand champion (yokozuna) who had saved sumō from oblivion, was paradigmatic in this sense. A well-known wrestler since the early 1900s, by the date of his death in 1922, he had become a national phenomenon; he had even performed before such foreign dignitaries as US President Theodore Roosevelt and was proposed as a candidature for the Diet. When he died, thousands gathered in the streets of Tokyo to give his body a last farewell, and Japan’s military and political elite assisted in a memorial service on his behalf.

Okinawan Japaneseness: the introduction of Okinawan karate to mainland Japan The degree of organisation among karate masters in Okinawa started to increase considerably. Around 1918, two karate research groups were organised in the island, counting among their members influential figures such as Funakoshi Gichin, Kenwa Mabuni, and Miyagi Chōjun.9 The three of them would become leading influences in the introduction and development of karate in mainland Japan. In 1917, Funakoshi Gichin (1868–1957) had showed karate (Shuri te style) for the first time at the Butokuden (a martial arts performance hall) in Tokyo for members of the Dai Nippon Butokukai. In 1921, the Crown Prince of Japan had visited Okinawa and witnessed a karate demonstration led by Funakoshi and Miyagi Chōjun. Nonetheless, it was in 1922 that karate went public in mainland Japan. This year, Funakoshi was selected to perform in the exhibition organised by the Ministry of Education. After this successful display of skills, he remained in Tokyo and started teaching lessons. He published the first technical manual on karate called Ryu Kyu Kempo Karate. The first karate club was founded in 1925 at the University of Keio. Other karate experts such as Mabuni Kenwa (1889–1952), Motobu Chōki (1870–1944), and Miyagi Chōjun (1888–1953) started showing and teaching their art in mainland Japan as well, but Funakoshi remained the most influential figure in karate officialdom within mainland Japan. This was due in great part to his connections to Kanō’s organisations. Besides, Funakoshi also maintained good relationships with other well-known martial artists such as famous kendō and iaidō expert Nakayama Hakudō, who

Taisho¯ democracy as a transition phase


allowed Funakoshi to teach at his dōjō in 1924. Funakoshi extended karate, starting karate clubs in Keiō University in 1924 and Tokyo’s Imperial University in 1926. Even though Funakoshi is nowadays considered in the Western world the ‘father’ of karate, the development of karate was not the ‘creation’ of a lone genius but was embedded in broader social patterns. In this respect, it is interesting to analyse the different fates of two coetaneous karate masters that enjoyed a dissimilar degree of spread and acceptance. The difficult relationship, sometimes showing clear enmity, between Funakoshi Gichin (1868–1957) and Motobu Chōki (1870–1944), represented not only a different understanding of the art but also a different way of social expansion and ethnic relationship with the Japanese. Funakoshi had an understanding of karate based on traditional kata and always with an eye on the physical fitness and educational aspects of the art. He was a commoner by birth but a well-cultivated man, and his spread of karate was mainly through educational institutions: he had started to teach karate in Okinawa at a teachers’ training college in 1919. When he moved to Tokyo in the 1920s, karate clubs spread across different universities such as Keio. Funakoshi did not collide with the Japanese establishment, complying to ‘Japanise’ the Okinawan art: he adopted the dan system (originally from Kanō) in the 1920s and would later accept the change of terminology in the word ‘karate’ (from ‘Chinese hand’ to ‘empty-hand’) that his students proposed in the 1930s to break any connection with China. The only element in which Funakoshi rebelled against the Japanese establishment was his refusal to name and register his style as a ryū in the Dai Nippon Butokukai, a common custom of Okinawan and Japanese karate masters in early Shōwa (see Chapter 9). It was only after Funakoshi’s death that his students started calling his style as Shōtōkan. On the other hand, Motobu’s was considered a practical, combat-oriented style. From very early on, he was interested in testing what he learned through kata practice in challenges with other practitioners (kakkedameshi). Other karate masters looked at Motobu’s style with contempt, labelling it kenka karate (fighting karate), an argument that Funakoshi would use repeatedly to debase Motobu’s legitimacy. Funakoshi criticised Motobu’s rough manners and lack of education. Motobu came from an Okinawan family of royal lineage and had received an education (he was not the illiterate brute some critics presented). Nonetheless, he did not speak standard Japanese but an Okinawan dialect, so he was looked upon as an uneducated person when he travelled to mainland Japan. Motobu considered Funakoshi an ‘imitator’ of real karate, transmitting a soft and superficial version. Motobu had travelled to Osaka in 1921 to work as a guard in a cotton factory. In 1922, he attended an exhibition match in Osaka between boxing and jūdō, but he got so anxious about it that decided to challenge the star boxer and knocked him out with a single blow. Thanks to this incident, Motobu gained certain notoriety and even got some offers to instruct at the Mikage Police and the teachers’ training college. He published a book in 1926 called Karate jutsu: kumite, clearly oriented towards the application of karate in combat. Despite his lack of educated manners and his strong Okinawan accent that exposed him as an


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‘outsider’ from the Japanese establishment, he would finally get some connection with higher education institutions – such as Tokyo and Waseda universities – but to a much lesser extent than Funakoshi. He also influenced important figures in the development of karate such as Konishi Yasuhiro (1893–1983), founder of the Shindō Jinen ryū, and Ōtsuka Hironori (1892–1982), founder of the Wado ryū. It is understandable then why Funakoshi’s karate was the one promoted by Kanō. In some sense, they spoke the same language. They both wanted to use martial arts as educational and fitness tools that needed to get some distance from traditional arts that were only meant for fighting. Motobu’s style could not connect with the educational approach of Kanō. The difference in their connection to the established Japanese martial arts by both karate masters explains the disparity in their social acknowledgement afterwards. Whereas Funakoshi became known worldwide as the founder of karate, the influence Motobu had on karate – affecting it in more indirect ways (through Konishi) through the importance of sparring – did not have the same degree of acknowledgement.

Notes 1 Some yakuza bosses held also political aspirations: e.g. Yoshida Ishokichi and Hora Sennosuke came to be members of the House of Representatives. 2 Whilst jūjutsu and jūdō experienced rapid acceptance in Europe, kendō was not that successful in Europe. Kendō experienced some expansion in the Americas due to Japanese immigration and the establishment of Dai Nippon Butokukai branches in these areas during the 1930s (Bennett 2015: 205). 3 Some jūdō players such as Shoji Hiroo, who had taken part in the Santel affair, trained with Santel while on tour in the United States and back in Japan organised with Hatta Ichiro the Japanese amateur wrestling. Later on, Hatta would organise the Waseda wrestling club in 1931 and the Japanese wrestling team for the 1932 Olympiads and become the coach of the Japanese wrestling team for the Olympic Games of 1936. 4 Kanō considered that ‘Participation in professional matches will turn Kōdōkan Jūdō men into fighters and entertainers first, not individuals seeking development of character and moral sense through training’ (Stevens 2013: 107). 5 In the early 1900s, he took instruction in jūjutsu from Tenjin Shinto ryū (according to Pranin 1993: 3) or Kito ryū (according to Ueshiba 1990: 146), Goto-ha Yagyu ryū jūjutsu, and probably Kashima Shinto-ryu (Skoss 1993). In 1903, he had enlisted in the 37th Infantry regiment of the Imperial Army, where he stood out for his skills with the bayonet (jukenjutsu) and the long staff (bōjutsu) and was sent to the Manchurian front on the Russo-Japanese war. 6 According to the son of Morihei, Ueshiba Kisshomaru, the introduction of the term aiki was due to Deguchi’s influence. However, according to Sōkaku’s son, Takeda Tokimune, the term was already existent in the Daito ryū tradition (Pranin 1996: 27). In fact, the term ‘aiki’ had a longer history. The term ‘aiki’ was already used in kenjutsu texts of 1800s, having a negative connotation. During Meiji, a more positive significance to ‘aiki’ was developed by jūjutsu ryū. Bukotsu published in 1882 a book on aiki no jutsu. During Taishō, aiki appeared in different bujūtsu texts, used along with kiai. These texts refer to aiki as the technique in which you can take advantage in a battle by reading an opponent’s mind (Shishida and Nariyama 2001: 17). 7 Shōji (2001) critically assesses the overstated influence of Zen in Awa’s conception of archery. According to Shōji this interpretation became prominent due to the work of German author Eugen Herrigel (1884–1955), who studied archery with Awa in the

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mid-1920s and popularised kyūdō outside Japan in his book Zen in the Art of Archery. The importance of Herrigel’s book led Awa to be considered the main exponent of Japanese archery, although other experts such as Ōhira Zenzō (1874–1952), also a student of Honda Toshizane, were widely known in Japan at that time. See Stevens (2007) for a critical assessment of Shōji’s thesis. 8 The time limit was further reduced with the introduction of TV broadcasting in the 1950s. The time limit for the upper division has been reduced to 4 minutes. 9 One group included Funakoshi, Oshiro Chojo, Yabu Kentsu, Hanashiro Chomo, Takuda Ambun, and Kenwa Mabuni. The other group counted of Gusukuma Shimpan, Kiyan Chotoku, Miyagi Chōjun, Kiyoda Jyuhatsu, and Go Kenki (Wu Xiangui) (Clarke 2012: 182).

References Benesch, O. (2016). Inventing the Way of the Samurai. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Clarke, C.M. (2012). Okinawan Karate: A History of Styles and Masters (Vol. 1). Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. Clarke, C.M. (2015). Kimura: The Triumphs and Tragedy of One of the Japan’s Greatest and Most Controversial Jūdō Champions. Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. Elias, N. and Dunning, E. (2008). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Frost, D.J. (2010). Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Gutiérrez García, C. (2006). Soldados, samurais y sportmen: el japonismo deportivo llega a Europa. In J. Aquesolo (ed.). Sport and Violence. Sevilla: UPO, pp. 115–123. Guttmann, A. and Thompson, L.A. (2001). Japanese Sports: A History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. New York: Kodansha International. Ikeda, K. (2010). Ryōsai-Kembo, Liberal Education and Maternal Feminism Under Fascism: Women and Sport in Modern Japan. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 27(3), pp. 537–552. Miarka, B., Marques, J.B. and Franchini, E. (2011). Reinterpreting the History of Women’s Jūdō in Japan. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 28(7), pp. 1016–1029. Moridan, U. (2016). Seppuku. Etiquette for the Seppukunin, Kenshi and Kaishakunin. Middletown, DE: CreateSpace. Motomura, K. (2009). The History of Budō in Schools. In Nippon Budokan (ed.). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation, pp. 61–65. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1993). Aikido Masters (Vol. 1). Tokyo: Aiki News. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1996). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Tokyo: Aiki News. Sadami, S. (2005). Twentieth Century Budō and Mystic Experience. In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo Perspectives (Vol. 1). Auckland: Kendo World Publications, pp. 15–44. Seidensticker, E. (2010). Tokyo from Edo to Showa 1867–1989: The Emergence of the World’s Greatest City. North Clarendon: Tuttle Publishing. Shishida, F. and Nariyama, T. (2001). Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge. Berkeley: Shodokan Pub. Shōji, Y. (2001). The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 28(1/2), pp. 1–30.


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Shun, I. (1998). The Invention of the Martial Arts: Kano Jigoro and Kodokan Jūdō. In S. Vlastos (ed.). Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 163–173. Siniawer, E.M. (2008). Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860–1960. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Skoss, M. (1993). Kashima Shinto-ryu, viewed 30 January 2018, Stevens, J. (2007). Zen Bow, Zen Arrow: The Life and Teachings of Awa Kenzo, the Archery Master from Zen in the Art of Archery. Boulder: Shambhala Publications. Stevens, J. (2013). The Way of Jūdō: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and His Students. Boulder: Shambhala Publications. Svinth, J.R. (2006). Tokugoro Ito. In Yo: Journal of Alternative Perspectives, viewed 16 January 2018, Ueshiba, K. (1990). Aikido. La Práctica. Madrid: Eyras. Uozumi, T. (2013). A Cross-Cultural Study of Japanese Budo in the Global Era. In T. Uozumi, A. Bennett, and K.B. Daigaku (eds.). Budō in the Global Era: A Cross Cultural Analysis of Issues Pertaining to Globalisation. IBU Budō Series Vol. 2. Tokyo: International Budo University, pp. 5–29. Wouters, C. (2007). Informalization: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage.

Chapter 9

The militarisation of the Japanese population through martial arts in early Sho¯wa

The predominant liberal attitude of the Taishō era gave way to a conservative backlash that would lead to a progressive militarisation of society during the early Shōwa period (1926–1945). The social and political climate within these decades was in a state of turmoil. During the Taishō period, leftist activism highly increased, featuring a strong labour movement – labour unions quadrupled between 1918 and 1923 – that threatened the old establishment, the latter gathered around the nationalistimperialist approach. The ultra-nationalistic violent organisations (bōryokudan) such as Kokusuikai (Greater Japan National Essence Association) and the Dai Nihon Seigidan (Greater Japan Justice Organisation) had a significant role in the reaction from this conservative establishment. These organisations bound together party politicians, military men, leaders of big business, and yakuza in a movement that could be labelled ‘Japanese fascism’ (Siniawer 2008: 109). Bōryokudan actions were centred in dismantled workers’ movements and protests during the 1920s and 1930s, for example, the Yahata Ironworks (1920), Singer Sewing Machine Company (1925), and Noda Shōyu (1927–1928) strikes, as well as the Tsurumi Incident (1925); the Ōsaka Shiden (1924), Noda Shōyu (1927–1928), and Tōyō Muslin (1930) strikes. Many strikes were stopped by violent means. For instance, during the Noda Shōyu strike of 1927–1928, the company had hired several hundred bōryokudan from Tokyo, who clashed with workers in violent incidents.1 The government was timid in controlling these groups as they allied against the bigger threat of leftist movement. Although in 1926 a law targeting violent acts (Bōryoku Kōi Nado Shobatsu ni Kansuru Hōritsu) was passed, the fines were light. The difference between these bōryokudan groups and previous sōshi of ingaidan (political pressure groups) of Meiji and Taishō was that the latter wanted to promote a certain political option against others, but the former wanted to completely erase certain political participation bound to leftist ideology. In fact, bōryokudan violence was part of a totalitarian right-wing movement that included members of influential spheres such as politics, military, and Ultra-nationalistic societies.2 The strong ties between political parties and Ultranationalistic organisations contributed to the decline of the political system in


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the 1930s. Violence within the Diet among parliamentarians became common ground. In 1930, an attack on Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi was perpetrated by a member of a Ultra-nationalistic society connected to the Seiyūkai; in 1931, there were planned rightist and military coups in March and October; in 1932, the League of Blood Incidents resulted in two murders and an attempted coup and assassinations were carried out by young naval officers; in 1936, an attempted coup was led by junior army officers who murdered the Finance Minister, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, and the Inspector-General of Military Education. The coup d’état finally failed, and the leaders of the movement were executed. By 1938, the National General Mobilisation Law gave the government almost total control of economic and social life in support of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). In 1940, political parties were dissolved and replaced by the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. Violent groups such as seiyūkai and kokusuikai were no longer required for the establishment, and their activity decreased sharply. Many of the members of these groups would be drafted as part of the armed forces of Japan. As Benesch comments, the totalitarian concentration of power at the state was accompanied by ‘massive education campaigns and propaganda activities to promote the New Order’ (2016: 198). The monopoly over the means of orientation towards the militarisation of society was firmly established by the Japanese state. One crucial vehicle to convey such message was bushidō, used by the state to boost nationalistic-imperialist values, blending samurai ethics-Japanese nationemperor to create a new soldier-citizen. The figure of the emperor was literally made flesh in his subjects. Theories such as the one proposed by medical doctor Kurakichi Hirata (1901–1945) linked the notion of tanden, conceived as the ‘righteous centre’, to the emperor and the conscious training of the tanden to voluntary loyalty to the emperor (Ikeda 2006). In summary, the Japanese state was distorting – by naturalising it – the connection of present imperial Japanese militarised society to pre-modern military traditions of the samurai (Friday 1994). This symbolic construction served as a way to justify war efforts, becoming a powerful means of orientation full of emotional content: an idealised we-image imbued with the better and more powerful (military) version of the Japanese people. Despite the necessity for modernisation of Japanese warfare to cope with Western nations, a vast amount of money was invested in the spiritual training of the army. There was a trend set in motion to identify samurai-soldiers-citizens connected to the figure of the emperor. For instance, in 1934, Nose Hiroaki’s Patriotic Readings for Youth: On War intended to explain to children the importance of the military, bringing together historical, religious, and tactical ideology. In addition to state education, bestselling novels such as Yoshikawa Eiji’s Miyamoto Musashi and Tomita Tsuneo’s Sugata Sanshiro played an important part in spreading the ideologies of bushidō. Miyamoto Musashi appeared serially in the Asahi newspaper from 1935 to 1939 and was published in eight volumes in 1939– 1940. Sugata Sanshiro, published in 1942, was brought to the screen by Kurosawa

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Akira one year later. In 1944, Tomita brought out a widely read sequel, which was also made into a movie by Kurosawa (Shun 1998: 172). Bushidō was also promoted by ultra-nationalistic violent organisations (bōryokudan) to combat ‘the corruption of national morals and beautiful customs’ and to ‘promote harmony between labour and capital’ (Siniawer 2008: 17). Violence was not merely justified but glorified as a manly and patriotic way to purify the nation of foreign contagion.

The triad of controls: relationship between technogenesis, sociogenesis and psychogenesis during early Sh o¯wa The example provided by the convulse era of early Shōwa Japan allows us to explore further the complex relationship between the ‘triad of controls’ within the civilising process. In the analysis of the Tokugawa shōgunate (see Chapter 5) we saw how the technogenesis (control over non-human nature), sociogenesis (control of people over other people), and psychogenesis (control over oneself) advanced congruently in a civilising-formalising pattern. The early Shōwa example shows the way these different genetic levels interrelate under a decivilising pattern of a ‘barbaric state’. The rise of a militaristic state in Japan at that time resembled to the pattern that Elias (1996) analysed on the rise of the Nazi state in Germany as a clear example of decivilising process. The term ‘dyscivilisation’ (De Swaan 2001, 2017) helps to explain both the German and Japanese cases. Dyscivilisation occurs when the state is able to maintain the monopoly of violence but at the same time uses extreme violence against specific groups. Contrary to the expanding mutual identification, dyscivilisation is characterised by a disidentification and compartmentalisation of certain groups (De Swaan 2017: 96–97) used in established-outsiders relations (Elias and Scotson 2008), as scapegoats, as the enemy within. In this sense, the well-planned annihilation of the Jews by the Nazis came the epitome of a paradoxical situation from the civilising point of view and the triad of controls. The basic assumption was that sociogenesis, psychogenesis, and technogenesis advance or recede in synchrony. Paradoxically, the Nazi example seemed to prove that it was possible to use a highly self-controlled use (advancing psychogenesis) of high-technological means (advancing technogenesis) to execute barbaric acts against human groups (receding sociogenesis). Nonetheless, Elias’s discussion on ‘formality-informality span of a society’ (1996: 28–29) provides a more complex analysis to understand the Nazi case. This span shows the differences in manners and treatment between the pre-arranged and ritualised (formal) public social encounters – dependent on the mores of the cultivated upper classes – and the natural or relaxed behaviour (informal) of private life – more identified with the lower classes. The more steep the span, the less civilised the society: more strict hierarchy, less identification between groups; the less steep the span, the more civilised: less strict hierarchy, more integration of groups and manners. In the case of the Nazi state, it is clear that the span had


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become steeper, with the habitus swinging from extreme formality in everyday life among German fellow citizens and extreme brutality at the compartmentalised, behind-the-scenes areas of mass murder. This great emotional swing from one social situation to the other is what represented ‘dyscivilised behaviour’ for De Swaan (2017: 98). Moreover, referring to technogenesis, the Nazi regime also swung wildly from high-technological industrial development applied to warfare to incredible fantasy-laden myths about the ultimate victory in war bestowed by destiny upon the ‘Aryan race’. In a typical dynamic of a double-bind relationship between emotional involvement and knowledge (Elias 2007), the more congruent knowledge of reality someone has (about non-human nature, our relationship with other, or with ourselves), the more control this person acquires over the situation. The feedback cycle also works the other way around: more fantasy-laden knowledge implies less control, more fear and fantasy solutions, and the like. Thus, it seems that during decivilising-formalising patterns, the three basic genetic levels (sociogenesis, psychogenesis and technogenesis) and knowledge feature extreme swings between a high degree of control and reality-congruent knowledge and a complete abandonment of control and the reliance on fantasyladen knowledge. In the Japanese case in early Shōwa (see Figure 9.1), a clear decivilising-formalising (dyscivilising) pattern was also at work in the three genetic levels and the knowledge associated to them. Technogenesis during early Shōwa unfolded featuring ambivalent elements. On the one hand, Japan had acquired the knowledge to apply industrial production to warfare technology; but on the other hand, the military trusted Japan’s utmost victory to a superior willpower and the warrior spirit of the citizen-soldier. Many of the training programmes during the war aimed to instil a true bushidō spirit in the soldiers instead of aiming at more advanced warfare tactics. Taking into account the sociogenesis, the Japanese state maintained a pacified society but at the same time applied a compartmentalised brutality towards seditious subjects such as left-leaning supporters and working-class movements within Japan or towards the populations of the colonies. The Musha incident, which occurred in Taiwan 1930, is very telling in this respect: an aboriginal




Dictatorial state as central power.

Soldier/citizen habitus.

Development of modern

Compartmentalisation of violence.

Extreme swing between

military contrasting with

strict self-control and

spiritual training programs

demands on open violence

(bushidō) and ‘suicidal’

upon the enemies.


weaponry in the

Militarisation of society.

‘Suicidal habitus’.

Figure 9.1 Sociogenesis, psychogenesis, and technogenesis during early Sho¯wa

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group, the Seediq, attacked the village of Japanese settlers, killing over 130 Japanese. The Japanese forces killed over 600 in retaliation, bombing and dropping mustard gas (against the Geneva Protocol) on the rebels. A macabre picture of a pile of Seediq heads at the foot of a Japanese official speaks of an old tradition of head-hunting behaviour on the battlefield performed by the classical Japanese warrior. Such a dyscivilising pattern could explain also some of the atrocious acts of the Japanese soldiers during the war, such as the infamous attack on the Chinese civil population in the Nanking Massacre of 1938. This is not to say that the Japanese state could apply these terrorising acts in complete open space, without any critique from the public opinion. Quite the contrary; for example, the Musha incident received fierce critiques from inside Japan. Nonetheless, despite such critiques, the presentation of Japanese policy inside and outside the country was wisely managed by state propaganda to produce a high fantasy-laden knowledge of other social and ethnic groups. As one of the Tokkōtai pilots (commonly known as kamikaze), Takushima Norimitsu, denounced in his diary: Today the Japanese people are not allowed freedom of speech and we cannot publicly express our criticism [.  .  .] The Japanese people do not have enough information to know the facts, since we have been forced to accept the suppression of public opinion with patience and resignation. This is just one example of the routines and demagoguery that have become the moving forces of our society. (June 30, 1944, 56–61, in Ohnuki-Tierney 2007: 125) The question of psychogenesis is explored in next sub-section, which deals with the highly controversial topic of suicidal behaviour during the war. A ‘suicidal habitus’ within a ‘suicidal figuration’. Emotional involvement and double-bind processes The violent and unstable social order of the 1930s created a sense of distrust toward the democratic political system and the need for a strong leadership, paving the road to militarism. These sociogenetic dynamics were paralleled by psychogenetic dynamics of the soldier-citizen habitus, featuring high emotional involvement coloured by fear, anxiety, and mistrust and a fantasy-laden approach to reality and military technological demands (e.g. bushidō). One of the most feared and commented-on features of Japanese soldiers and citizens during the war was their reluctance to surrender, finding suicide the only acceptable option. Mass suicides of civilians and soldiers happened in Okinawa in 1945; the notion of nikudan (human bullets) was fully expressed in the suicidal attacks that were perpetrated by pilots (the famous Tokkōtai), and those taking part in the gyokusai charges (desperate charges against superior military forces) that were registered on different occasions. Ōnishi Takijirō (1891–1945), admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy, considered the creator of the kamikaze unit, committed suicide by


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slashing his stomach and cutting his throat, bleeding to death after 15 hours (Rankin 2012: 23). Would it make sense then to talk of a ‘suicidal habitus’ of the Japanese citizen/soldiers at this time? Ōtake Risuke, holder of the ranks of gokyu kaiden (deepest transmission) and shihan (master teacher) of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū, recalls in an autobiographical account how, as little kids, they were told that Japanese men ‘were to form one hundred million fire balls in combat. Even when dying from gunshots on the battlefield, they should rejoice and call out “The Empire of Japan forever” before dying’ (Ōtake 2016: 43). Nonetheless, Risuke also recalls asking veteran soldiers from the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) if their brothers-inarms died calling out this utterance, and they answered that ‘When they died, they gradually run out of breath while calling for their mothers and family’ (Ōtake 2016: 44). This anecdote is very revealing about the mismatch between the officially spread message of the behaviour of Japanese combatants and the real behaviour of Japanese combatants in action. Despite these contradictions, official propaganda at that time held a great influence on the thinking and morale of the Japanese. Precisely, Ōtake tells that such revelations from the veterans of war made him search for a kind of austere training that would help him to be able to ‘happily lay down my life for my country’ (Ōtake 2016: 44). This search led him to join the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū. In the midst of warfare during the campaign of the Battle of Okinawa in June 1945, Ōtake finally volunteered as part of the Special Attack Force, carrying his guntō (military sword) into the foxholes of the sea line in which they installed detonating devices to stop the invading forces. Ōtake did not represent an exception in the connections between budō experts and warfare. Many other budō experts of the era enlisted to the army. For instance, Shōtōkai karate expert Taiji Kase (1929–2004) enlisted as part of the navy’s suicidal pilot squats (Tokkōtai). He survived the war, though, and became a key figure in the introduction of karate in France and Europe. Other martial artists were not that lucky and died in war action: kendō expert Ishii Saburō died when his Zero fighter airplane crashed into the sea while on a mission attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 (Hallstead 2000: para.8). The understanding of the complex suicidal behaviour of the Japanese people at that time can be improved by a further discussion of the pattern of the whole figuration surrounding the Japanese during the war. These suicidal actions should be better understood by taking into account the concept of a ‘suicidal figuration’ in which a ‘suicidal habitus’ developed. Such ‘suicidal figuration’ was initiated in early Shōwa during the preparation for total war and gained momentum as war unfolded. It is true that Japanese soldiers and populations were heavily indoctrinated in bushidō and, especially in Hagakure Bushidō since 1940, focused on death, loyalty, and self-sacrifice for the nation and the emperor.3 Nonetheless, as Benesch (2016: 207–213) wisely remarks, the explanation for Japanese suicidal behaviour was more complex than the mere idea of the Japanese automaton brainwashed by state propaganda. Ohnuki-Tierney’s (2004, 2007) analysis of the diaries of Japanese student soldiers of the Tokkōtai4 (Cherry Blossoms)

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unit – commonly known as kamikaze pilots – shows a much more complex picture. On the one hand was their sense of duty, the aestheticised romanticisation (Ohnuki-Tierney 2004) of the ideal of self-sacrifice for the birth of a ‘new Japan’. These feelings were embedded in a militarised sense of patriotic manhood boosted by the state in a social climate of complete admiration for the Tokkōtai pilots as ‘heroes among heroes’ (Ohnuki-Tierney 2007: 61). On the other hand, the Tokkōtai also showed an insightful and pessimistic view of warfare, which grew more gloomy and desperate as their fatal designation came closer. In the end, they accepted their fate,5 rationalising their loss as a means for a higher ideal. Moreover, during wartime, other factors and agents were crucial to the suicidal behaviour of Japanese soldiers apart from the state propaganda, such as fear of execution of those failing military actions and social ostracism of them and their families,6 the distrust of foreign powers,7 and desperate conditions such as extreme famine. Actually, Ōtake Risuke gives an autobiographical account of the desperate situation of soldiers when he joined the army in 1945: Each of the 60 men in our platoon were given rifles, but not so much as a single bullet, cartridge belt or sword. We ate from makeshift bowls expeditiously made out of local bamboo, and were given a blend of sorghum with a small amount of rice as rations. The serving we received each time were minuscule. (Ōtake 2016: 50) All of these factors helped to create a highly emotionally involved approach to the conflict. This highly fantasy-laden approach to reality was also experienced by foreign troops, projecting a dehumanised, demonised view of the Japanese as potential suicidal fighters that would not surrender. Such views led to the killing of many Japanese before even offering the chance of surrender, generating a self-fulfilling prophecy of suicidal behaviour (Benesch 2016: 209). In summary, Japanese soldiers/citizens and foreign troops entered a double-bind process of violence and emotionally involved knowledge, escalating towards mutual destruction that promoted suicidal behaviour on the part of the Japanese and ended up in the dropping of the two nuclear bombs by the United States in 1945 that finished the war.

Sports and martial arts Sports As early Shōwa advanced during the 1930s, the sports movement was maintained as part of a civilising trend. Baseball stadiums were still being constructed during this decade. Some sports governing bodies were founded, like the Japan Amateur Federation in 1934 and the Japan Handball Association in 1937. Women’s sport


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between 1924 and 1935 witnessed the development of comprehensive nationwide games, primarily fuelled by the Japanese Women’s Olympic Games and the constitution of the Japanese Women’s Sports Federation in 1926. The example of Kinue Hitomi, a female athlete who performed extraordinarily in the second International Ladies’ Games (Olympics) held in Goteborg, was the clearest example of how far women’s sport movement had come. Nonetheless, as the decade advanced, the opposition against the sports movement was heavily felt: athletes training for the Far Eastern Games of 1934 were violently attacked, and Shōriki Matsutarō, creator of the professional baseball league, was stabbed by an Ultra-nationalistic who rejected the idea of modern sport as some negative Western influence. In 1938, the Kantō Games saw participants wearing military uniforms and performing military drills, participating in bayonet combat. During the period 1936 to 1945, physiological debates about selecting sporting events suited to the female body were generated by their male counterparts, channelling in a narrower sense the sphere of ‘feminine sport’ (Raita 1999: 131). Martial arts Overall, the transformation of martial traditions witnessed a progressive encroachment of the militaristic approach that affected both the international and the indigenous Japaneseness. Okinawan Japaneseness was also affected by this trend, resulting in the split between Okinawan and Japanese karate. During early Shōwa, martial arts were used as a means to infuse the blended martial virtuenation-emperor into the national Japanese we-identity and habitus (expressed in the notion of kokutai). In this respect, the connection between budō and Shintō, acting as a kind of ‘state religion’, was also boosted. The Ministry of Education made it compulsory for budō training halls to install a kamidama (Shintō altar) and perform ritualistic etiquette such as bowing to the altar at the start and end of the lesson, reinforcing the connection of budō-emperor-state through repetitive, habitual embodied actions. In fact, during the 1930s, training halls became widely known as dōjō, a term that had previously denoted religious chapels (Bodiford 2003: 482). As one contributor of the wartime periodical Nippon Budō commented, The objectives of the practice of kendo are not only [to master] the techniques, but to become aware of the national essence (kokutai) and conscious of the national spirit, showing total loyalty to the emperor, and developing a preparedness to die for one’s country. (in Bennett 2015: 124; brackets original) This transformation of martial arts was carried out through different media: governmental formal schooling’s physical education; non-governmental, civic organisations such as Dai Nippon Butokukai, koryū, and Kanō’s organisations,

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some of them connected to ultra-nationalistic societies and military establishment; and the ‘Japanisation’ of Okinawan karate. The militarisation of budo¯ within the physical education curriculum If the 1920s had been a decade in which some undercurrent trend towards patriotic militarism was maintained in schools’ PE, the 1930s witnessed a much more open and dominant militaristic approach. Since 1925, military officers were attached to school to oversee PE (Horne 2000: 79), and paramilitary drills gained preference over sports and gymnastics. In 1928, the Minister of Education urged citizens to ‘Japanise’ all imported ideas and educators to firmly support the kokutai (national body or polity). German-style gymnastics replaced the influence of American gymnastics. In 1931, budō became compulsory with the revisions of Middle School Order and Normal School Order. Male students were required to train in jūdō or kendō and females in kyūdō or naginata. Budō symbolised the ideal of bushidō and served to develop the patriotic spirit, connected to the emperor as a central figure. In 1936, the Council reported to the Ministry of Education that liberalism of sports should be excluded, and bushidō should be stressed, budō (jūdō and kendō especially) being a paramount means to achieve this end. As Bennett remarks, instead of the ‘sportisation of budō’, this phase was characterised by a ‘budozation of sport’ (2015: 138). In 1937, the Ministry of Education issued a circular urging educators to instil values such as frugality, austerity, and ‘spiritual mobilisation’ of the youth. The resurrection of traditional budō included women’s training as a way to foster ‘maternal feminism’ (Ikeda 2010). As one teachers’ manual during the war period explained: ‘the study of naginata, home economy and sewing would develop the perfect woman’ (Amdur 1996: 26–27). In 1936, naginata was made a compulsory school subject for girls, becoming the equivalent to boys’ instruction in kendō. With the beginning of the second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), the militaristic approach accelerated. In 1938, under the National Mobilisation Law, budō was reoriented towards a more combative application. The aim was not individual character building and self-perfection but individual self-sacrifice for the sake of the emperor and the nation. The transformation from the Japanese citizen to the Japanese soldier was fostered, and the fantasy-laden approach, linking sword-spirit-victory in battle, was enhanced. For instance, the Kendō Deliberation Council petition of 1938 stated that even though modern warfare was fought with science and technology, final victory was attained only by soldiers ‘facing the enemy front on, and stabbing and cutting them’ (Bennett 2015: 141). In 1939, the Ministry of Education elevated budō to the status of a regular subject and also introduced budō guidelines for primary school. In 1939, Meiji Jingu National Training Games held events that were completely militaristic in orientation: mass gymnastics, anti–air raid drill, budō, and army combat drills were the major components. All sports were eliminated from the games. In 1941, the National People’s School Order intensified the connection between nationalistic


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and militaristic values in primary, middle, and higher schools. The term ‘taisōka’ (physical education) was substituted for ‘tairenka’ (physical discipline). Schools established the hōkoku dan (the organisation for maintaining the spirit of solidarity and bonding the country) and the hōkoku tai (the platoon for the hōkoku dan) both for boys and girls; e.g., in the Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School, the section for training in hōkoku tai included the divisions of kyūdō, naginata, swimming, skiing, athletics, tennis, table tennis, basketball, volleyball, touring, and tairen, comprising militaristic physical training and gymnastics (Ikeda 2010: 547). Nitta Suzuyo, nineteenth headmaster of Toda ha Bukko ryū, recalled how her main aim while training girls in naginata was to boost their morale and strengthen their spirit in case of an enemy’s landing (Amdur 1996: 26). As the war advanced, the militaristic approach thrived; e.g. a guideline for budō lessons in middle schools from 1943 stated, ‘We must inculcate a spirit of self-sacrifice and train in a fighting mentality’ (Bennett 2015: 144). Kendō was compulsory for boys in year five and above, and girls could train naginata. The Budō Promotion Council tried to create a composite functional budō for modern warfare, placing special emphasis in the spiritual education of the fighting spirit and even ‘martyrdom out of duty to the emperor’ (Bennett 2015: 148). During the Second World War, naginata instructor Sakakida Yaeko acted as a key person for the Ministry of Education to create an adequate set of kata for mass training: the Mombusho Seitei Kata. Yakeko discarded the sword parts of kata and promoted solo naginata practice and new kata focused upon naginata against naginata (Amdur 1996: 25–26). This case exemplifies the difficult and painful transformation some classical koryū underwent in order to fit into the government-demanded training regime for big numbers of citizens within the school system. Ju¯do¯’s reaction against sports and interest in koryu¯ The ‘conservative mood’ of the era was also felt within Kanō’s organisations. Whereas Kanō kept on supporting the spread of jūdō overseas, especially favouring the amateur model,8 his reaction was especially virulent against jūdō as a professional sport inside Japan. Kanō continued the same policy he had held since the ‘Santel incident’ (see Chapter 8): those jūdōka taking part in professional bouts in Japan were expelled from the Kōdōkan. Nonetheless, Kanō was less severe with those experts taking the professional road overseas, especially if they were successful in their challenges, helping to promote Kanō’s art. For instance, Kanō promoted Mikonoshuke Kawaishi (1899–1969) to third dan in 1931, even though he had been active in professional bouts in England at that time. Kawaishi was a key figure in the European expansion of jūdō, and Kanō awarded him a fourth dan in 1936 before he started to teach in France. Moreover, Maeda Mitsuyo (1898–1941), the greatest proponent of professionalism, spreading the art through Europe and North, Central and South America, was promoted to fifth dan on 1912 and sixth dan in 1929, at a time when Kanō was still alive.

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As part of the conservative response of the Kōdōkan, Kanō created in 1928 the Classical Martial Arts Research Association (Kobudō Kenkyukai) for the study of old martial traditions, allowing expert instructors from koryū such as Shintō Muso ryū or Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū to teach there, and ordered some of his best students to continue studying them. Top students such as Mochizuki Minoru (1907–2003), Sugino Yoshio (1904–1998), and Murashige Aritoshi (1895–1964) undertook a programme whose curriculum included karate (from Funakoshi or top students), jōjutsu (from Shimizu Takaji, expert of Shintō Muso ryū), and Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū (from Shiina Ichizō). Kanō also showed strong interest in jūjutsu styles that had maintained a more traditional approach to budō, as for example aikidō.9 All the aforementioned top students plus some others such as Kenji Tomiki began to study aikidō under Ueshiba during the 1920s and became high-ranking experts (e.g. Tomiki was awarded eighth dan in 1940 by the founder). Regarding the inclusion of women in jūdō, in 1931, Kōdōkan established a register for female students whose numbers would swell up to 761 (Matsumoto 1996: 87). The practice centred on kata and randori and was not oriented towards competition. During this era we find Kosaki Katsuko (1907–96), the first Japanese woman black belt, who also founded her own dōjō in Osaka in 1935, the Seigenkan; Norikomi Masako (1913–1982), who received second dan in 1934, reaching fifth dan in 1940, ‘frozen’ in this grade for a long time due to Kōdōkan’s gender bias (Stevens 2013: 174); and Fukuda Keiko, who entered Kōdōkan by the mid-1930s and would become a leading figure in the expansion of jūdō overseas after the war. As early Shōwa advanced towards the militarisation of Japan, jūdō also felt the influence. When Kanō died in 1938, his nephew, Nango Jiro (1876–1951), succeeded him as the second head of the Kōdōkan. Jiro, second dan in jūdō and a naval officer graduated from the navy school of Etajima, was a clear example of the close connection of Kōdōkan’s jūdō and the navy (the army was more prone to kendō training). During a meeting with a visiting foreign group in 1939, Jiro aligned jūdō with imperial bushidō by declaring that budō (of which jūdō was a foremost representative) described ‘the moral training needed to learn to sacrifice oneself in time of need, to the cause of the Emperor’ (Lance 2010: 575). Dai Nippon Butokukai and koryu¯ In 1927, the Dai Nippon Butokukai established its own set of rules to govern contests that would not harm the ‘true’ values of budō. Despite some rifts between the state and Dai Nippon Butokukai in the organisation of martial arts, they both encouraged the same kind of values during this phase, especially since 1937; they both tried to spread patriotic militarism through budō. Dai Nippon Butokukai included bayonet and marksmanship in the official lists of budō and in the official publications of the institution such as Butoku.


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Some koryū bujutsu maintained an autonomous development from the Dai Nippon Butokukai but collaborated with the promotion of classical martial traditions bound to the figure of the emperor and supreme foundation of the nation. For instance, Hayashi Yazaemon (1862–1968), a highly ranked practitioner and father of the renaissance of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū, performed in 1930 during a martial arts demonstration of sword arts in the presence of the imperial family (Ōtake 2016: 37). Some koryū also became actively endorsed within the military and police forces. For instance, after a demonstration of jōjutsu (fighting stick) before the police technical commission in 1927 by Shintō Muso ryū experts, Shimizu Takaji (1896–1978) and Takayama Ken’ichi, police forces decided to hire Shimizu in 1931 as jōjutsu instructor to adapt and develop the use of the jō for police purposes in what was called keijōjutsu (police-stick techniques). During that time, Shimizu also taught the police hojōjutsu, techniques for restraining law breakers by using a tying cord. Apart from being accepted as instructor for the police, Shimizu had close relationship with Kanō (teaching at the Kōdōkan) and Nakayama Hakudo (1873–1958), a very influential figure in the world of kendō. Overall, koryū were instrumental for nourishing a sense of Japanese we-identity connected to martial traditions. Representatives of different koryū founded in 1935 the Greater Japan Association for the Promotion of Old Martial Arts (Dai Nippon Kobudō Shinkōkai) (Friday 1997: 47). This institution aped to a great extent the Dai Nippon Butokukai’s approach, reinforcing the idea of a glorious warrior past connected to the Japanese people. The term ‘kobudō’ (classical or ancient budō) was coined at that time in order to get some distance and criticise gendai budō (modern budō), which was seen as lacking the samurai pedigree of the classical disciplines. Some classical ryū also introduced terminology changes: e.g., in 1940, Shimizu Takaji changed the term ‘jōjutsu’ to ‘jōdō’. The year of the foundation of the Dai Nippon Kobudō Shinkōkai, several koryū embu (exhibitions) were held, presenting exponents of different ryū. It is interesting to take into account that not only remarkable men as Kunii Zen’ya (1894–1966), Sōke of Kashima Shin ryū, but also women were among the founding members of the association or performing at embu. For instance, Kobayashi Seio, headmistress of Toda ha Buko ryū, was among the founding members of the Shinkōkai, and some women such as Ito Kikue were among those experts presenting Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū at the embu (Reinhardt 2013: para 10). The presence of women in martial arts was more common than we might tend to think. For instance, kyūdō master Awa Kenzō taught female students (e.g. Chiyoko Nishimura) and his own wife, Fusa, would instruct when Awa was absent from the dōjō (Stevens 2007: 29). In the case of aikidō, a few female students such as Takako Kunigoshi (1911–2000) were also present at Ueshiba’s Kubokan during the 1930s. Besides, the Dai Nippon Butokukai had created a teachers’ training course for naginata in 1934. This school taught Tendō ryū, the main instructors being Mitamura Chiyo, Nishigaki Kin, and Mitamura Kunihiko. In 1936, Sonobe Hideo established Shutokukan, a separate training college for Jiki Shinkage ryū teachers. Dai Nippon Butokukai and Shutokukan were responsible for training most of the

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naginata teachers who taught at Japanese schools from 1936 to 1945 (Bennett 2010). In terms of plain numbers, the Dai Nippon Butokukai was the organisation with more budō affiliates. It counted three million members during the 1940s (Gainty 2013: 3). So important was the organisation for the spread of the imperial credo that the state restructured it as an extragovernmental organisation in 1942, and it became the central body of the Budo Promotion Council, which had been founded in 1938. The Dai Nippon Butokukai was managed under the direct and joint supervision of the Ministries of Education, Health, Navy, Army, and Interior. The headquarters of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, located in Heian Shrine, were moved to the Ministry of Health. As a result of this governmental authority, the Dai Nippon Butokukai controlled the All Student Soldier Physical Education Promotion Association, Kōdōkan, Nippon Kobudō Association, and the All Japan Kendō Federation and structured sections of jukendō (bayonet),10 shagekidō (riflemanship), kendō, naginata, jūdō, aikidō, and other kobudō disciplines as part of the military training. The Dai Nippon Butokukai incorporated the traditional bushidō into a modernised military spirit. As an example of the militaristic values, the plan for normal school budō teachers in 1943 included the following statements: 1 2


We must induce [our students] to master our nation’s unique martial arts, and train healthy, vigorous minds and bodies. As well as nourishing a disposition to hone a martial spirit, esteem propriety and value modesty, we must encourage an aggressive spirit and a confidence in certain victory. We must inculcate a spirit of self-sacrifice and train an actual fighting mentality (in Hurst 1998: 165; brackets original)

Budō focused on the principle of the fighting spirit over the importance of technology. An example of the transformation suffered by budō as a preparation for war efforts is clearly expressed in kendō. In 1938, a committee of kendō experts11 stated that final victory did not depend on science and technology but on the determination of soldiers facing the enemy on close quarters with their live blades (Bennett 2015: 141). The technical repertoire was adapted towards militaristic aims. Kendō’s shinai was shortened to that of a real sword; terminology changed from ‘strike’ to ‘cut’ (kiru) and ‘jab’ (tsuku), and the matches were decided upon ippon-shōbu (first valid cut); emphasis was placed upon ‘charging in’ (totsunyū) to storm the enemy with an indiscriminate flurry of cuts and slashes, far from the habitual kendō tactic of searching for the decisive single blow; the combat area consisted of a rectangle 20 metres in length instead of the customary circle, so opponents would be forced to charge each other; the areas of scoring included former forbidden zones such as the neck and the legs; many of the techniques were performed single-handed instead of two-handed as had been


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customary. Clothing also changed, with training deployed outdoors in trousers and shoes as a better way to mimic warfare conditions (Bennett 2015: 153). The use of mass-produced military swords (guntō) mirrored this lack of concern about elaborate training programmes for conscripted soldiers. Swords were to be used as shock weapons for applying simple techniques in hand-to-hand combat if the chance come. The connection of martial arts, Ultra-nationalistic societies, and militarism: aikido¯ as a case study The sponsoring of martial artist by Ultra-nationalistic societies, such as Mitsuru’s Dark Ocean Society or the Amur River Society, was common during early Shōwa. For instance, Shimizu Takaji established the Greater Japan Jodo Federation (Dai Nihon Jodo Kai) in 1940, and patrons of the organisation included the powerful and influential ultra-nationalist Tōyama Mitsuru (1855–1944). Many other relevant figures in the martial arts featured such connections (see Chapter 10). This sub-section analyses aikidō as a case study for this connections between martial arts, Ultra-nationalistic societies, and the application of budō to militaristic war efforts. Ueshiba Morihei had received important support from relevant figures since the late 1920s when he settled himself in Tokyo. He finally opened the Kobukan dōjō – nicknamed ‘Hell dōjō’ (Jigoku dōjō) – in 1931 thanks to the support of dignitaries and supporters, among them admiral Takeshita Isamu (1869–1949), who played a crucial role in the patronage of Ueshiba’s art as independent from Takeda’s Daito ryū (Shishida 2008). Among his students, there were many members of Japan’s political and military establishment (Goldsbury 2010b: 638). Some of these connections were directly related to ultra-nationalistic societies, a domain that Ueshiba had frequented since his early stages in Hokkaido, boosted by his relationship with Onisaburo Deguchi, leader of the Ōmoto sect. Deguchi’s claims veered progressively towards the idea of world harmony under the absolute rule of the Japanese Emperor. Ueshiba’s aikidō was destined to transmit such messages not only by spreading these ideas but by taking more direct actions. In 1930, young army officers Hashimoto Kingoro and Chō Isamu founded the Sakurai (Cherry Blossom Society). They pretended a reform of Japanese politics by instituting a military rule through a coup d’état if needed. In 1931, they would carry out a failed coup d’état. The key point was that previous to the action, Hashimoto Kingoro had met with Onisaburo Deguchi, and the latter had offered Ueshiba as Kingoro’s personal bodyguard and Ōmoto followers as supporters of the military action (Amdur 2015: 148–149). In 1932, Ueshiba helped to organise the Ōmoto paramilitary organisation called Greater Japan Martial Enhancement Society (Dai Nippon Budo Senyokai). Moreover, ultra-nationalistic members, connected through Ueshiba’s dōjō, would plot the assassination of political figures to boost war efforts. According to one of Ueshiba’s students, Iwata Ikkusai, during early 1930s, Ōkawa Shūmei (a member of the Amur River Society),

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Tachibana Kozaburo (leader of underground organisations sponsored by Prince Higashikuni), and Inoue Nisshō (Jikishin Kage ryū expert and Zen master, head of the radical Katsumeidan or Blood Brotherhood)12 met in Ueshiba’s dōjō (Pranin 1993: 85–86). Ueshiba’s senior students also arranged for him to teach at many military schools during the 1930s until 1942, first at naval schools such as the Naval Engineering School at Yokosuka, the Naval Finance School (Kaigun Kokai Gakko) at Tokyo, and the Naval Academy at Etajima. Later, General Miura arranged for Ueshiba to teach army and Kempeitai (military police) officers, too. Ueshiba taught at the Toyama Military Academy (Rikugun Toyama Gakko), the Army War College, the Military Police Academy (Kempei Gakko), and the Nakano School for intelligentsia operations. One of Ueshiba’s students was General Araki Sadao, Deputy Inspector-General Minister of War. A strong nationalist advocate, he was a reference for many of the Ultra-nationalistic societies formed by graduated young officers from the military academies in which Ueshiba taught (Goldsbury 2010b: 639). As official support from the Japanese establishment grew stronger towards Ueshiba during the 1930s, he experienced more solid ground to start getting some distance from Takeda Sōkaku.13 Ueshiba’s distance increased also from Deguchi, at least officially,14 after the second Ōmoto incident in 1935. Due to repeated implications of the Ōmoto sect in political plotting, the leaders were arrested. Ueshiba was spared nonetheless; his connections with high military and political figures helped him to stay out of jail. The distance Ueshiba took both from Takeda and Deguchi had been depicted oftentimes as a clear sign of Ueshiba departing from ultra-nationalistic ideologies to embrace his own pacifist movement through aikidō before the war. By 1942, he retired to the countryside in the Iwama region to continue training but detached from warfare efforts to further develop his pacifist approach, expressed in the concept of takemusu aiki. The truth is that Ueshiba remained in close proximity to ultra-nationalist circles until the war (if not beyond).15 Most of Ueshiba’s senior students were called up for military service between 1935 and 1940 (Goldsbury 2010a: 135). Some of Ueshiba’s students were also instructing in Manchuria at that time, helping the military cause: e.g. Kenji Tomiki (originally a Kanō’s student) moved to Manchuria in 1937 at the request of Japanese Imperial Army General Hideki Tojo (1884–1948), teaching aikidō at the Kenkoku University16 and at the Military Police (Kenpeitai) Academy. In 1938, one of Tomiki’s students, Hideo Ohba (1910–1986), taught the military police, and Tomiki centred the instruction at Kenkoku University. Another Ueshiba student, sumō fighter Tenryū Saburō (1903–1989), who had been associated with the Osaka sumō movement in 1932, was present in Manchukuo as part of the Kwantung garrison of the Japanese Imperial Army. The Japanese intelligentsia used his victory against a Mongolian competitor in a sumō match during the local Ovoo Festival as part of the propaganda campaign. Ueshiba visited Kenkoku university as an advisor several times, in 1939, 1940, 1941, and 1942, performing


Martial artists

demonstrations showing his aikidō. While in Manchuria, Ueshiba was always in the company of his nephew Noriaki Inoue (1902–1994), a fervent adept of the Ōmoto sect and a key figure in the spread of aikidō during the early Shōwa period. The ‘Japanisation’ of karate and the split between Okinawan and Japanese karate During the early Shōwa period, karate continued spreading in mainland Japan. The pattern of expansion featured a tension between those Okinawan masters who decided to integrate – with consequent modifications – karate into Japanese budō and those masters who decided to maintain the art in the Okinawan format. This tension ended up in the evident split between the group supporting Okinawan karate and Japanese karate, even though some Okinawan masters – especially Miyagi Chōjun – maintained open lines of communication between both groups. Around 1926, the Ryukyu Tode Kenkyukai (Ryukyu Karate Research Group) was established in Okinawa under the direction of Miyagi Chōjun and Motobu Choyu.17 This group decided to expand karate to mainland Japan. Kanō Jigorō lent an unexpected helping hand in this process. He not only promoted Funakoshi’s karate in Tokyo but also, when he visited Okinawa in 1927 and had the chance to witness Miyagi’s and Mabuni’s karate, helped them to promote their art in mainland Japan. Mabuni Kenwa landed in Tokyo in 1928 but moved to Osaka to avoid competition with Funakoshi, who would establish a central dōjō called Shōtōkan in 1936. Mabuni opened the Osaka dōjō in 1934 and this same year he published a text called Karate Kempo. Karate spread further within the network of university clubs. Mabuni and Miyagi founded the Kyoto, Kanzai, and Rytsumeda Clubs. Their styles dominated the Osaka area, whereas Funakoshi dominated Tokyo. During this period, the establishment of separate, recognisable styles, aping the Japanese format of ryū, occurred in karate. This phenomenon was completely alien to Okinawan karate, in which the frontiers between different regional traditions were not strong and cross-fertilisation between different masters was common and highly encouraged. In fact, until 1927, any Okinawan representative called his arts te, tōde, or karate. It was not until 1927 that Higaonna Kanryō dubbed his style Naha te (from the region of Naha) to distinguish it from Shuri te (Clarke 2012: 22). In 1930, Miyagi Chōjun registered his karate style; he called it Goju ryū. During this decade, Chibana Chosin registered Shorin ryū and Mabuni Kenwa registered Shitō ryū at the Dai Nippon Butokukai. Another significant Okinawan master, Tōyama Kanken, helped to move Okinawan karate into the Japanese establishment by founding in Tokyo the Shūdōkan dōjō in 1930, even though he did not register his style at the Dai Nippon Butokukai.18 The same as Tōyama, Funakoshi also refused to name his style (later on his students would call it Shōtōkan), but his behaviour could hardly be seen as a revolt against the Japanese budō establishment. The connection of Funakoshi to the Japanese budō establishment was clear, for instance, in

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the name he gave in 1930 to a karate research group organised in Tokyo: the Dai Nippon karate-dō Kenkyukai. ‘Dai Nippon’ (Great Japanese) clearly remarked the Japanese identification, and the suffix ‘dō’ was aligned with the conventional Japanese change of terminology from ‘jutsu’ to ‘dō’ occurring at that time. The name of the organisation patently contrasted with the one organised in 1926 by Miyagi Chōjun: Ryukyu Tode Kenkyukai. In fact, both research groups represented the poles of Japanese and Okinawan karate that would undergo a split as the early Shōwa period unfolded. During the 1920s and 1930s, Okinawan karate became integrated by the Japanese budō establishment. A process of ‘Japanisation’ of karate ensued; karate practitioners started to wear training uniforms and coloured belts in the Japanese fashion; teaching methodology changed; ranking titles were introduced, and so on. The development of Japanese karate was influenced by some relevant ethnic Japanese martial artists who studied with Okinawan masters in mainland Japan. In this respect, the figures of Konishi Yasuhiro (1893–1983), Ōtsuka Hironori (1892–1982), and Ueshima Sannosuke (1893–1983) became paramount. Konishi was an expert in Muso ryū jūjutsu and Takenouchi ryū as well as kendō. While studying at Keio university, he got in touch with karate through the teachings of Aragaki Seisho (1840–1918) and soon of Funakoshi directly, when the latter instructed there in 1924. Ōtsuka Hironori was accompanying Funakoshi to Keio as a student too. Ōtsuka had started his martial training in Shindō Yōshin ryū jūjutsu, receiving a menkyo kaiden (teaching license) in 1920, later becoming headmaster of the art. While studying at Waseda University, he met Funakoshi in 1922 and trained under his tutelage and Kenwa Mabuni’s. Combining these teachings and Japanese classical ryū, including kenjutsu from Yagyū Shinkage ryū, he founded Wado ryū in 1939, a style recognised by the Dai Nippon Butokukai in 1940. Funakoshi only taught through kata, the base for traditional Okinawan methods. Konishi and Ōtsuka worked with Gichin’s son, Funakoshi Gigō (1906–1945), during the period between 1930 and 1935 to blend the traditional methods with more interactive exchanges and competition, giving birth to the format of jiyu kumite (free sparring). Konishi trained also with other karate masters such as Motobu Chōki, Mabuni Kenwa, and Miyagi Chōjun. Due to his influence within the Dai Nippon Butokukai as a kendō instructor and his connections with wellacknowledged budō experts such as kendō/iaidō luminary Nakayama Hakudō (who saw karate as the bare-handed equivalent of kendō), Konishi became crucial for the inclusion of karate within the Dai Nippon Butokukai. In 1933, karate remained pending for evaluation, provided that it generated a standard uniform, curriculum, and ranking system (based on Kanō’s jūdō), developed some form of competition, and gave each style a name. Besides, the ideograms for the written name of karate should change from ‘Chinese hands’ to ‘empty hands’. This change in the writing of ‘karate’ in 1933, deleting any connection with its Chinese provenance, conspicuously displayed the ‘Japanisation’ of karate at that time. Funakoshi, who originally had employed the term ‘tōdē’ (a possible


Martial artists

pronunciation of the characters for ‘Chinese hand’), named his book Karatedō kyōhan in 1935, rejecting the suffix ‘jutsu’ and presenting karate dō with the same standards as any other Japanese budō, which, during this decade, had already advanced towards military preparation for the greatness of the nation. In 1935, the Dai Nippon Butokukai finally recognised karate officially, granting the rank titles of kyoshi (master instructor) to Konishi (who founded Shindō Jinen ryū), Ueshima Sannosuke (founder of Kushin ryū), and Miyagi Chōjun. This represented a clear manoeuvre in the hands of the Japanese budō establishment to hold control over the Okinawan art. Of the three masters, only Miyagi was ethnic Okinawan, despite the fact that many ethnic Okinawans were already teaching karate in mainland Japan at that time. In fact, Konishi and Ueshima (ethnic Japanese) were students of Okinawan karate masters (Konishi had studied with Aragaki, Funakoshi, Motobu, Mabuni, and Miyagi; Ueshima had developed his style in joint effort with Okinawan master Kinjo Kensei [1900–1971]). Thus, we understand better the apparent paradox of Konishi acting in 1938 as head of the grading committee in Dai Nippon Butokukai’s karate and granting renshi ranks in 1939 to 23 karate masters, among them his former masters Funakoshi and Mabuni and Ueshima’s master, Kinjo Kensei.19 A blatant majority of those promoted to renshi were ethnic Japanese (e.g. Ōtsuka Hironori, who founded Wadō ryū), and many influential ethnic Okinawan masters were not included. This fact was the last example of something that had been maturing over the 1920s and 1930s: the split between Japanese and Okinawan karate. The discomfort of some Okinawa masters (e.g. Motobu Chōki) was evident in their reaction to the modifications of teaching methods such as the inclusion of jiyu kumite (free sparring), the rigid segmentation in karate styles, and the adoption of Japanese titles. A famous meeting held in 1936 in Okinawa, sponsored by the newspaper Ryukyu Simpo represented the group of prominent masters defending this position. The group was composed of Kiyan Chotoku, Yabu Kentsu, Hanashiro Chomo, Miyagi Chōjun, Shiroma Shimpan, Maeda Gisei, Chibana Chosin, Nakasone Genwa, and Motobu Chōki. Nonetheless, Chibana Chosin and Miyagi Chōjun had their karate styles registered at the Dai Nippon Butokukai and maintained certain cohesion among the karate world between the Japanese and the Okinawan factions. In fact, the decision to change the written characters of karate from ‘Chinese hands’ to ‘empty hands’ was discussed and accepted at the meeting. That is why the Okinawan karate faction at that time should not be seen as a plain Okinawan identity reaction against the Japanese. In fact, the meeting was part of the complex development of Okinawan Japaneseness that had been taking shape since Meiji. Even though the split between the two karate groups (Japanese and Okinawan) was not that severe before the Second World War, it definitively set the stage for the different degree of worldwide expansion of karate20 and acknowledgement of legitimate masters after the war. Those masters from ethnic Okinawan origin (e.g. Funakoshi Gichin and Gigō or Mabuni Kenwa) or ethnic Japanese origin (e.g. Ōtsuka Hironori) who were connected to Japanese karate were more successful in the transmission of their art than those masters connected

Militarisation through martial arts


to Okinawan karate (e.g. Motobu Chōki). In the case of Chibana Chōsin and especially in the case of Miyagi Chōjun, with a foot in each side of the split, they also got some benefits from the Japanese martial arts establishment. Miyagi’s Gojū ryū style became widely transmitted, channelled through Japanese students such as Yamaguchi Gōgen (1909–1989).

Notes 1 As Siniawer claims, the role of these violent groups as strike breakers ‘looked and functioned like the paramilitary groups in Italy and Germany’ (2008: 116). 2 For instance, in 1929, Suzuki Kisaburō, a former minister of justice and home minister, would become president of the Seiyūkai; during the mid-1930s, Kokusuikai’s general headquarters’ vice president was a vice admiral in the navy, the chief director a lieutenant general in the army. The directors consisted of four army lieutenant generals, one navy vice admiral, and three navy major generals; the advisers included three navy vice admirals and one army lieutenant general. Also among the Kokusuikai’s advisers was Tōyama Mitsuru, founder of the ultra-nationalistic Dark Ocean Society. Members of Seiyūkai and Kokusuikai became part of intelligentsia operations and guerrilla warfare in Korea and Manchuria during early Shōwa and the Second World War. 3 According to Elias, ‘The traditional warrior code of the Japanese made being captured alive appear an unforgivable humiliation. It thus bred an extreme form of self-control, a fanaticism that did not allow any adjustment to changing circumstances. It resulted in a boundless contempt for the Allied Forces who had let themselves be captured when resistance was hopeless. The counterpart to the extremely high degree of selfcontrol shown by the Japanese in certain respects was, for instance, the extreme capacity for acting out sadistic pleasures on their prisoners’ (1995: 29–30). 4 In the Tokkōtai, about 4000 were ‘teenage pilots’ and 1000 ‘student pilots’ graduated from the university. The latter represented the 85% of casualties in this special unit (Ohnuki-Tierney 2004: 15). 5 As one of the pilots, Hayashi Ichizō, wrote, ‘To be honest, I cannot say that the wish to die for the emperor is genuine, coming from my heart. However, it is decided for me that I die for the emperor’ (in Ohnuki-Tierney 2007: 163). 6 A US military report on Japanese prisoners of war in 1944 revealed that 76% thought they would be executed or severely punished if they returned to Japan (Benesch 2016: 208). 7 A US military report on Japanese prisoners of war shortly after the war revealed that 84% thought they would be executed or tortured by their Allied captors (Benesch 2016: 208). 8 Kanō would visit Berlin in 1928 and Paris in 1933 and 1936 to promote jūdō as an amateur sport. During the 1930s, Kanō was a key actor in the Japanese bid to obtain the 1940 Olympics in which jūdō, kendō, and kyūdō were all to be included as exhibition sports. The European Jūdō Federation formed in 1932 and held the first official European Championship in 1934. 9 Apart from aikidō, Sugino started also to study Yoshin ryū jūjutsu by 1928, outside of the Kobudō Kenkyukai programme. 10 Jukenjutsu had been renamed jukendō in 1940 within the Japanese Army. The Jukendō Promotion Association was founded in 1941 by retired Imperial Army leaders. 11 The group was composed by the most influential kendō experts of the time: Ishii Saburō, Takanō Sasaburō, Nakayama Hakudō, Ogawa Kinnosuke, Ōshima Jikita, Saimura Gōro, and Mochida Moriji.


Martial artists

12 In 1932, 11 young naval officers from the Blood Brotherhood assassinated the prime minister. 13 Ueshiba granted Daitō ryū certifications until 1932. Nonetheless, from 1932 to 1937, he granted titles featuring Aioy ryū Aikijūjutsu (Pranin 1996: 29). Ueshiba called his style Asahi ryū when he started teaching at the Asahi News headquarters in Osaka and in 1936 he used the term aikibudō. The distance between Ueshiba and Takeda increased during this year, when Takeda ‘took control’ over Ueshiba’s dōjō in Osaka and the latter left. Two published technical manuals, Budo Renshu (1933) and Budo (1938), show how Ueshiba’s technique was already taking its own path. 14 The relationship between Ueshiba and Ōmoto would remain. During the 1950s, Ueshiba appeared as president of the Azenkai, an important Ōmoto subsidiary organisation (Amdur 2015: 154). 15 For instance, Ueshiba maintained in Iwama – perhaps concealed from authorities – Mikami Taku, one of the young naval officers who assassinated the prime minister in 1932 (Amdur 2015: 159). 16 Kenkoku (‘nation building’) University was founded in 1938 by Ishiwara Kanji (1889–1949), general of the Imperial Army, who masterminded the plot to unleash the Manchurian incident of 1931 that would lead to the establishment of the Japanese puppet-state of Manchukuo. The university was supposed to spread the message of Pan-Asianism (Hotta 2007). 17 The research group included also Motobu Chōki, Mabuni Kenwa, Kiyan Chotoku, and Oshiro Chojo. 18 Kanken’s (and to a lesser extent Funakoshi’s and Mabuni’s) influence over some ethnic Korean students would be key for the later development of taekwondo (Clarke 2012: 294; Jung, Liu and Shishida 2015: 50). Korea was a Japanese colony during 1910–1945, a period in which Japanese budō spread there, influencing Korean martial traditions. 19 The list included Shimizu Toshiyuki, Mabuni Kenwa, Kasuya Masahiro, Ōtsuka Hironori, Eto Takehiko, Funakoshi Gichin, Niizato Toshiyasu, Nozawa Kazuya, Sodeyama Toyosaku, Shimoda Takeshi, Kushihashi Masaji, Yamamoto Nuinosuke, Inagaki Torakichi, Miura Kazuo, Namiki Kotaro, Ueno Jitsuro, Kihara Shujiro, Funakoshi Gigō, Kinjo Kensei, Kawarabuki Ryusuke, Nagamine Shosin, Higa Seko, and Yamaguchi Gogen (Clarke 2015: 87–88). 20 During early Shōwa, some Okinawan masters also expanded their art overseas: some of them travelled to Hawaii. Yabu Kentsu went in 1927 (in a visit to his son in the United States, he also went to California), Motobu Chōki in 1932, and Miyagi Chōjun in 1934. Also, some of them established schools in South America, e.g. Soken Hohan (1889–1982) by the late 1920s in Argentina.

References Amdur, E. (1996). The Role of Arms Bearing Women in Japanese History. Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 5(2), pp. 10–35. Amdur, E. (2015). Dueling with O-Sensei. Wheaton: Freelance Academy Press. Benesch, O. (2016). Inventing the Way of the Samurai. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bennett, A.C. (2010). Naginata. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (Vol. 2). Oxford: ABC-CLIO, pp. 158–162. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bodiford, W. (2003). Religion and Spiritual Development: Japan. In T.A. Green and J.R. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts in the Modern World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 472–501.

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Clarke, C.M. (2012). Okinawan Karate: A History of Styles and Masters (Vol. 1). Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. Clarke, C.M. (2015). Budo Meijin: Three Great Little-Known 20th Century Japanese Martial Masters. Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. De Swaan, A. (2001). Dyscivilization, Mass Extermination and the State. Theory, Culture and Society, 18, pp. 265–276. De Swaan, A. (2017). Dyscivilization, Mass Extermination, and the State. In A. Ohira (ed.). Civilization, Culture and Knowledge in Process. Tokyo: DTP, pp. 93–104. Elias, N. (1995). Technization and Civilization. Theory, Culture & Society, 12(3), pp. 7–42. Elias, N. (1996). The Germans. Cambridge: Polity Press. Elias, N. (2007). Involvement and Detachment. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Elias, N. and Scotson, J.L. (2008). The Established and the Outsiders. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Gainty, D. (2013). Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London: Routledge. Goldsbury, P. (2010a). Aikido. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (Vol. 2). Oxford: ABC-CLIO, pp. 132–139. Goldsbury, P. (2010b). Political Conflict and Aikido, 1931–1942. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (Vol. 2). Oxford: ABC-CLIO, pp. 638–643. Hallstead, W. (2000). The Niihau Incident. HistoryNet, viewed 21 February 2018, Horne, J. (2000). Understanding Sport and Body Culture in Japan. Body & Society, 6(2), pp. 73–86. Hotta, E. (2007). Manchukuo and the Dream of Pan-Asia. In Pan-Asianism and Japan’s War 1931–1945: The Palgrave Macmillan Series in Transnational History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 107–139. Hurst, G.C., III. (1998). Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ikeda, K. (2006). The Body and Grass-Roots Fascism during World War II:‘The Topos’ of the Emperor in a Personal-Body-Mechanism in Japan’. International Journal of Eastern Sports & Physical Education, 4(1), pp. 91–103. Ikeda, K. (2010). Ryōsai-Kembo, Liberal Education and Maternal Feminism Under Fascism: Women and Sport in Modern Japan. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 27(3), pp. 537–552. Jung, K., Liu, C., and Shishida, F. (2015). The Influence of Karateka Gichin Funakoshi on Jigoro Kano and Taekwondo Leaders. Ido Movement for Culture: Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology, 3(15), pp. 49–53. Lance, G. (2010). Jūdō in Japan, 1931–1950. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (Vol. 2). Oxford: ABCCLIO, pp. 573–577. Matsumoto, D. (1996). An Introduction to Kodokan Judo: History and Philosophy. Tokyo: Hon-No Tomosha. Ohnuki-Tierney, E. (2004). Betrayal by Idealism and Aesthetics: Special Attack Force (Kamikaze) Pilots and Their Intellectual Trajectories (Part 1). Anthropology Today, 20(2), pp. 15–21.


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Ohnuki-Tierney, E. (2007). Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ōtake, R. (2016). Strategy and the Art of Peace: Tenshin Shō-Den Katori Shintō-Ryū. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1993). Aikido Masters (Vol. 1). Tokyo: Aiki News. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1996). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Tokyo: Aiki News. Raita, K. (1999). The Movement for the Promotion of Competitive Women’s Sport in Japan, 1924–35. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 16(3), pp. 120–134. Rankin, A. (2012). Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide. New York: Kodansha International. Reinhardt, M. (2013). Exkurs: Die moderne Geschichte der Katori Shintô ryû, viewed 2 March 2018, Shishida, F. (2008). The Process of Forming Aikido and Japanese Imperial Navy Admiral Isamu Takeshita: Through the Analysis of Takeshita’s Diary from 1925 to 1931. International Journal of Eastern & Physical Education, 6(1), pp. 1738–0855. Shun, I. (1998). The Invention of the Martial Arts: Kano Jigoro and Kodokan Jūdō. In S. Vlastos (ed.). Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 163–173. Siniawer, E.M. (2008). Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860–1960. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Stevens, J. (2007). Zen Bow, Zen Arrow: The Life and Teachings of Awa Kenzo, the Archery Master from Zen in the Art of Archery. Boulder: Shambhala Publications. Stevens, J. (2013). The Way of Jūdō: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and His Students. Boulder: Shambhala Publications.

Chapter 10

Excursus The birth of modern martial artists

A complex figuration The figure of modern martial artist as we know today was developed between Meiji and the Second World War, even though it suffered further transformations in the second half of the twentieth century. It is true that martial instructors for samurai families had existed on a more temporary basis during the Warring States period and attained more stable status during the Tokugawa shōgunate. Moreover, during the late Tokugawa period, low-ranking samurai gained a means for living by offering instruction to paying commoners, and even some commoners gained reputations for their martial skills. Famous kenjutsu dōjō of the era as Chiba Shūsaku’s Genbukan, Saitō Yakurō’s Renpeikan, and Momonoi Shunzō’s Shigakkan, were very successful from the business point of view, and they constituted a clear case of professional careers for instructors. Nonetheless, the consolidation of martial artist as a profession finally occurred during the Meiji, Taishō, and early Shōwa periods. Former samurai and commoners were the main actors within a complex figuration. Even though the chains of interdependency had already been forming since Meiji, they became longer and more complex during Taishō and especially early Shōwa. The chains of interdependency of those related to martial arts (see Figure 10.1) became denser and more complex during early Shōwa. That phenomenon happened not only in the ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ pole, as the case of aikidō showed, but also between the ‘indigenous’ and the ‘international’ poles. The connection and mutual influence of Kanō’s organisation, the Dai Nippon Butokukai, police, military and school systems, koryū, and ultra-nationalistic societies unfolded within the predominant militaristic trend previous to the war. In order to examine this complex figuration, let us take as a starting point Kanō Jigorō (1860–1938), founder of the Kōdōkan, member of the Diet, and head of the Tokyo Teacher’s Training School for more than 20 years. He represented the clearest example of the ‘international Japaneseness’ faction whose main aim was to foster a relevant role of Japan at the international scale through the expansion of jūdō. Some of Kanō’s students, such as Yamashita Yoshitsugu (1865–1935) and Maeda Mitsuyo (1878–1941), were pioneers in spreading jūjutsu/jūdō abroad.

Tang Daiji Wu Xiangwaui

Chinese Southern Boxing Styles




Ōtsuka Hironori

Konishi Yasuhiro

Nakasone Genwa

Maeda Gisei

Budō Senmon Gakko

Mochizuki Minoru

Murashige Aritosi

Sugino Yoshio

Ōyama Masutatsu

Shiina Ichizo Tamai K. Kuboki S. Ito T.

Ōnisaburo Deguchi

Uchida Ryōgorō


Ultranationalist organizations

Ōmori Shōgen

Shimizu Takaji

Takeda Sōkaku

Yoshida Kōtarō

Kunii Zen’ya

Noriaki Inoue

Nakano School

Okuyama Tadao Shigeru Igami Toshio Kamata

Fujita Seiko

Awa Kenzō

Ueshiba Morihei



Sonobe Hideo

Military Police Academy (Manchukuo)

Dai Nippon Kobudō Shinkōkai

So Dōshin

‘Tairiku Rōnin’

Saigō Tanomo

Tōyama Mitsuru

Uchida Ryōhei

Dai Nippon Butokukai

kobayashi Seio

Yamaguchi Gōyen

Sakakida Yaeko

Mitamura Chiyo Mitamura Kunihiko Nishigaki Kin

Iizuka Kunisaburo Seigo Nakano Ikkan Miyagawa

Hanashiro Chomo


Shiroma Shimpan


Nakakura Kiyoshi

Saigō Shirō

Yabu Kentsu

Ryukyu Shimpo meeting

Kiyan Chotoku

Motobu Chōki

Chōjun Miyagi

Kenwa Mabuni

Funakoshi Gigō




Kenkoku University (Manchukuo) Setsuko Yamada Tomiki Kenji Ohba Hideo Police

Mochida Moriji Ogawa Kinnosuke Oshima Jikita Saimura Gōro

Nakayama Hakudō


Shudo Gakuin Takanō Sasaburo

School system

Funakoshi Gichin

Toyama Kanken

Chibana Chosin

Tokyo Teacher’s Training School


Chinese Revolutionary Societies

Kobun Gakuen

Shimoda Utako Fukuda Keiko Kanō Jigorō


Kimura Masahiko Tomita Yoshitsugu Maeda Mitsuyo

Yamashita Yoshitsugu Tomita Tsunejiro Yokoyama Sakujiro Mifune Kyuzo


University clubs

Figure 10.1 Martial arts figuration since Meiji until the Second World War








One of the most influential figure in women’s education of the era, Shimoda Utako, was also was part of the early days of the Kōdōkan. Kanō also was instrumental in helping Okinawan karate masters such as Funakoshi Gichin (1868– 1957), Mabuni Kenwa (1889–1952), and Chōjun Miyagi (1888–1953) to start spreading their art in mainland Japan during the 1920s. Nevertheless, Kanō’s Kōdōkan maintained also close connections with representatives of the ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ pole, both at the public and at the semi–behind-the-scenes sides. On the public side, Kanō was a key member of the Dai Nippon Butokukai’s jūjutsu committee. He was instrumental in devising the Dai Nippon Butokukai kata for jūjutsu, intervening also in the reformulation of the Dai Nippon Butokukai kenjutsu kata. Kanō maintained a close relation with kendō figures; for instance, a famous kendō expert, Takanō Sasaburo (1862–1950) became an instructor in Kanō’s Tokyo Teacher’s Training School in 1908 and head of the kendō section in 1915. Nonetheless, the main actors surrounding kendō world were connected to institutions such as Dai Nippon Butokukai’s teachers’ training school called Busen (Budo Senmon Gakko), the police, and the army. Kendō luminaries such as Mochida Moriji, Ogawa Kinnosuke, Oshima Jikita, Saimura Gōro, and Nakayama Hakudō (for the latter, see what follows) embodied these close relationships. Advancing towards the connection of Kanō with the semi–behind-thescenes side, we find that the founder of the Amur River Society, Uchida Ryōhei (1879–1937), had entered Kanō’s Kōdōkan in 1892. Ryōhei’s father, Uchida Ryōgorō (1837–1921), was a Shintō Musō ryū practitioner connected to the Dark Ocean Society and founder in 1885 of Uchida ryū tantōjutsu. During the 1900s, Ryōgorō, taught some naval officers at the Dai Nippon Butokukai near Shiba park in Tokyo (Hall 2012: 526). Ryōhei himself was an active ‘continental adventurer’ (tairiku rōnin), connecting the instruction of martial arts to expansionist visions in mainland Asia: in 1896 he opened a dōjō in Vladivostok, Russia; in 1898 he taught jūjutsu at the Japanese Consulate in St. Petersburg; and in 1906 he opened a dōjō in Seoul. Ryōhei attracted prominent martial artists such as the future founder of Shōrinji Kempo, So Dōshin (1911–1980), who had acted since his youth as a tairiku rōnin in China on behalf of the Amur River Society. Moreover, Ryōhei attracted some senior Kōdōkan instructors such as Iizuka Kunisaburo (1875–1958) to the activities of the Amur River Society. After entering Kōdōkan in 1891, Kunisaburo moved to instruct in Kagoshima during 1896 and later in Fukuoka, where he met Uchida and worked as a tairiku rōnin in Manchuria. Iizuka would be one of the Kōdōkan instructors that pressured (unsuccessfully) for Kanō’s resignation because the arrest of Kanō’s son, Riho, as a sympathiser of left-wing movements. Two of Iizuka’s students, Seigo Nakano (1886–1943) and Ikkan Miyagawa (1885–1944), came also under the influence of Uchida to become prominent figures of the fascist actions taking place during the 1920s and 1930s (Stevens 2013: 145). Kanō and Ryōhei also shared another point of contact through their connection with Chinese young radical groups which led the Xinhai revolution of 1911 that deposed the Qing Dynasty.


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The connections of Kōdōkan jūdō with the semi–behind-the-scenes indigenous Japaneseness were also present in the case of another relevant Kanō student who was one of the most influential figures of the early era in Kōdōkan: Saigō Shirō (1867–1922). Previous to entering Kanō’s organisation, Saigō had trained with Saigō Tanomo (1830–1903) in Daito ryū/oshikiuchi. In 1884, Saigō returned to Aizu to become adopted by Tanomo, and during the 1890s he acted as a tairiku rōnin, appearing in 1902 as editor in chief of a far-right newspaper in Nagasaki, a hotbed of ultra-nationalism (Stevens 2013: 121). Saigō Tanomo was also a Shintō priest of the Aizu clan, and he was supposed to teach oshikiuchi to Takeda Sōkaku,1 to whom Shirō introduced Kanō. Kanō’s connection with classical martial arts (koryū) strengthened during the 1920s when he created the Kōdōkan Kobudō Kenkyukai in 1928. In this institution, some of his students such as Sugino Yoshio (1904–1998), Mochizuki Minoru (1907–2003), Tomiki Kenji (1900–1979), and Aritoshi Murashige (1895–1964) received instruction. Sugino studied Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū and Daitō ryū/aikidō (he also studied Yoshin ryū outside Kōdōkan’s research group); Minoru studied Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū, Daitō ryū/aikidō and Shintō Musō ryū; Aritoshi studied Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū, Daitō ryū/aikidō; and Tomiki studied Daito ryū/aikidō and also Yagyū Shinkage ryū under the instruction of Kosaburo Gejo while studying in Ueshiba Morihei’s dōjō. A common instructor of all of the Kōdōkans’ research group was Ueshiba Morihei (1883–1969), who at that time was altering Takeda’s Daito ryū towards his own understanding of aikidō. Tomiki and Mochizuki travelled to Manchuria and Mongolia respectively: Tomiki taught martial arts in the military, the Kenpeitai and at Kenkoku University, helped by his student Ohba Hideo (1910–1986); Mochizuki held educational and entrepreneurial occupations and was immersed in developing irrigation plans in the region while fighting the spread of communism. Sugino would hold an influential position – along with his Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū instructor, Shiina Ichizo – within the Dai Nippon Kobudō Shinkōkai. This organisation was founded in 1935 to promote classical martial arts parallel to the organisation of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, and it counted among its members such prominent koryū exponents as Kunii Zen’ya from Kashima Shin ryū. This organisation counted also the presence of prominent women such as Kobayashi Seio from Toda ha Buko ryū. Women’s relevance in the martial arts world had increased since Meiji, when they became key agents in the inclusion and development of martial arts (especially naginata) in the school system for girls. The early Shōwa period reinforced this trend, as budō in PE classes for girls became progressively more and more promoted for the sake of building a strong nation prepared for war. Ueshiba had asked Sugino and Mochizuki at different times to marry his daughter and become inheritors of his art, but both declined. In the end, it would be a prominent kendoist of the era, Nakakura Kiyoshi (1910–2000), who would marry Ueshiba’s daughter and became adopted into the family for some time, even though he would leave the family some years later. Nakakura Kiyoshi had been proposed to Ueshiba by one of the most acknowledged kendō and iaidō experts



of the era: Nakayama Hakudō (1872–1958). Hakudō founded the iaidō style of Musō Shinden ryū. Apart from studying Shintō musō ryū under Uchida Ryōgorō, he had studied Shindō Munen ryū under Negishi Shingorō (1844–1913), a veteran from the Boshin War who had taught at the Tokyo Metropolitan police in 1880s and was part of the committee that formed the Dai Nippon Butokukai kenjutsu kata of 1912. Nakayama was also introduced to the practice of Eishin ryū by Itagaki Teisuke (1837–1919), a former samurai from the Tōsa domain who helped create different revolutionary societies from which grew the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement; Itagaki would later found the Liberal Party. Hakudō was crucial during the 1920s to develop the iaidō curriculum of the military academy Toyama Gakko. The iaidō curriculum was officially systematised in 1925 and was called guntō sohō. Hakudō maintained a close friendship with another prominent Shintō Musō ryū representative, Shimizu Takaji (1896–1978), who would become 25th headmaster of this martial tradition. He went to Tokyo in 1927 under the patronage of ultra-nationalist Tōyama Mitsuru and Suenaga Setsu. He became chief instructor of the Tokyo riot police (kidōtai) during the 1930s, a decade in which he also instructed in Manchuria. Shimizu also taught some of the jūdō students of Kōdōkan’s research group such as Mochizuki Minoru, who had also trained in kendō with Hakudō. Nakayama Hakudō had also supported Funakoshi’s karate since its introduction in mainland Japan, allowing him to train at his kendō dōjō around 1923–1924. Hakudō maintained also a close relationship with Konishi Yasuhiro (1893–1983), a well-rounded martial artist with close connections in the Kōdōkan (through Nagaoka Shuiuchi and Isogai Hajime), the kendō world, and also with most of the karate masters of the era residing in mainland Japan (Funakoshi, Mabuni, Motobu, Ōtsuka, Miyagi). Some of these masters (mainly Toyama Kanken but also Funakoshi) were very influential with Korean students that would later develop taekwondo. Konishi would be crucial for the acceptance of karate as a sanctioned discipline within the Dai Nippon Butokukai during the 1930s. Konishi became a leading representative of Japanese karate in contrast to Okinawan karate, organised by ethnic Okinawans not conforming with the transformation of the original art into a Japanese budō form. The organisation of the latter group had an evident stronghold in those masters attending the meeting of 1936 sponsored by Ryukyu Shimpo such as Motobu Chōki. Nevertheless, the split between Japanese and Okinawan karate was not that drastic before the war, figures such as Miyagi Chōjun being crucial to maintaining ways of communication between both factions. Miyagi was also a key connection of Okinawan karate with representatives of Chinese Southern Boxing styles such as Wu Xiangwui. Coming back to Konishi, he also trained with Ueshiba in 1935 in the company of karate masters Mabuni and Ōtsuka, developing more fluid kata and also kata for women’s self-defence. Karate master Ōtsuka was also influenced by a Daito ryū expert, Yoshida Kotaro, a direct disciple of Takeda Sōkaku, who was key in introducing Takeda to Ueshiba Morihei during the 1910s. Yoshida would travel to Manchuria during the 1930s, teaching at the Dai Nippon Butokukai


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branch and at the Imperial Martial Arts Academy. Kyokushinkai karate founder Ōyama Masutatsu trained in Daito ryū under Yoshida. When Ōyama travelled to Manchuria as part of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1943–1945, Takeda Tokimune (Sokaku’s son) was head of the aikidō section. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, other budō instructors taught at Manchukuo’s institutions such as Kenkoku University. Tomiki Kenji taught aikidō, Tsunekichi Koga taught kendō, and Setsuko Yamada taught naginata to women. Ueshiba often visited Kenkoku, exhibiting his art accompanied by relevant figures such as his nephew Noriaki Inoue – a fervent Ōmoto believer – or Tenryū, who had been a famous sumō wrestler that led the split in the sumō world at the beginning of the 1930s. Ueshiba and another prominent naginata expert, Sonobe Hideo, headmaster of Jikishin kage ryū naginatajutsu, met at the demonstration held in honour of emperor Puyi in 1942 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Manchukuo’s foundation (Shishida 1980). During the 1930s and 1940s, the connections of martial artists with Ultra-nationalistic societies were maintained and even strengthened. For instance, when Zen master and Jikishin Kage ryū expert Ōmori Shōgen (1904–1994) established his Jiki Shin Dōjō in 1934, his patrons were Tōyama Mitsuru and his son Tōyama Ryūsuke, both active members of the Dark Ocean and Amur River societies (Hall 2012: 371). Several budō experts taught in the army and navy academies as part of the preparation for the war efforts. One relevant institution was the Nakano (spy) school, featuring some of the most influential martial artists of the era such as Ueshiba Morihei, Awa Kenzō (kyūdō), Fujita Seiko (one of the last exponents of ninjutsu), and Shōtōkan karate instructors Okuyama Tadao, Shigeru Igami, and Toshio Kamata (Amdur 2015: 155). Another prominent karateka, Yamaguchi Gogen (headmaster of Gōjū ryū), who had travelled in 1935 as an intelligence officer to Manchuria, ended up as a prisoner of the Russians in 1942. Tension balance between the ‘international Japaneseness’ and ‘indigenous Japaneseness’ A collaborative/opposing relationship could be observed during Meiji between the ‘international’ and ‘indigenous’ poles of Japaneseness in the organisation and systematisation of martial arts. This power balance within the martial arts figuration was openly expressed through the struggle for the monopoly over the means of orientation between Kanō’s organisation and the Dai Nippon Butokukai, two social groups ‘forced’ to work together to foster the expansion of martial arts but, at the same time, struggling to get the predominant position to define the lines of this expansion. This implied not just a matter of discussion over the technical repertoire but more general issues. The most crucial was the question about how martial arts were to embody the habitus of Japanese people. The monopoly over the means of orientation implied legitimacy of terminology and the right to grant official titles, the systematisation of kenjutsu and jūjutsu in specific sets of kata, and the influence over the national school curriculum.



Terminology and official titles Both Kanō’s organisations and the Dai Nippon Butokukai were crucial in the change of terminology from ‘jutsu’ to ‘dō’ suffix. Kanō was the first to move from (even though not the first to use) ‘jūjutsu’ to ‘jūdō’ when he created Kōdōkan in the 1880s. Besides, the Tokyo Higher Normal School of which Kanō was the headmaster adopted the term ‘kendō’ instead of ‘gekiken’ in 1909. The school was adopting the change of terminology that Shizuo Sakaguchi had proposed a year before to refer to the mental aspects of swordsmanship (Kinoshita 2006). Although the Ministry of Education allowed gekiken to be taught in secondary school in 1911, the Tokyo Higher Normal School retained the term ‘kendō’. Michiaki Nagai, PE teacher at the school, maintained that kendō was about the way to perfection in swordsmanship. Nonetheless, the use of ‘jūdō’ and ‘kendō’ was still not predominant in Meiji, and ‘jūjutsu’ and ‘gekiken’/‘gekken’ were commonly used as well. The shift in terminology from ‘bujutsu’ to ‘budō; and changes in specific disciplines from the ‘jutsu’ suffix (jūjutsu, kenjutsu, kyūjutsu) to the ‘dō’ suffix would be officially spread in 1919 by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. The Dai Nippon Butokukai had been successful in controlling kenjutsu within military and police organisations and also provided extracurricular martial arts classes through local branches across the country. Nonetheless, Kanō had also made some incursions in the military (e.g. in 1887, the Naval Academy adopted Kōdōkan jūdō for its trainees) and the police (Tokyo Metropolitan Police) and was spreading its classes at universities (such as Tokyo Imperial University and Keiō), schools, and clubs all over the country. The Dai Nippon Butokukai training institution – named Bujutsu Gakkō in 1910, changed to Bujutsu Senmon Gakkō in 1912 and finally Budō Senmon Gakkō in 1919 – produced a total of 1308 graduates whereas Kanō’s Tokyo Higher Normal School graduated 662 martial artists plus 1136 PE instructors, who also received martial instruction (Gainty 2013: 59). The monopoly over the definition of the ranking system was also at play. Kanō implemented the dan-kyū ranking system, superseding the previous ranks (mokuroku, menkyō, kaiden) of koryū bujutsu, during the 1880s for jūdō and in 1908 for kendo. The Dai Nippon Butokukai created in 1904 the titles of hanshi (grand master) and kyōshi (advanced teacher), establishing another hierarchical official system in the world of martial arts apart from the koryū model (Uozumi 2013: 15). The Dai Nippon Butokukai would include also the dan-kyū ranking system in 1917.

Systematisation of specific sets of kata and influence in the school curriculum The ‘amicable’ tension between both sides can be observed also in the creation of jūjutsu and kenjutsu kata. The Dai Nippon Butokukai decided in 1906 to standardise kata for kenjutsu and jūjutsu. Kanō was acting as part of the committee


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that created the Butokukai ryū jūjutsu kata. The greatest number of experts were from Kōdōkan, but prominent experts from other jūjutsu ryū were also present. At this point, the prominence of Kanō’s jūdō was so clear that his dominant role in the jūjutsu kata was not highly disputed. This is not to say that the Dai Nippon Butokukai did not have an influence in the development of jūjutsu; for example, jūjutsu attire was standardised (sleeves were lengthened and trousers extended down to the ankle) at the Dai Nippon Butokukai embu tournament of 1908. The relationships over the systematisation of kenjutsu were more controversial though. In 1906, the Dai Nippon Butokukai had created three kenjutsu kata for national instruction. Nonetheless, the panel of experts from the Ministry of Education criticised its unsuitability during an intensive seminar for the national instruction of bujutsu during 1911, forcing a reformulation of the kata. The Ministry of Education entrusted Kanō with the reformulation of the new national kenjutsu kata. That was an outrageous move for the Dai Nippon Butokukai because, even though Kanō was a well-respected martial arts educator, he had no experience in kenjutsu. The pressure from the Dai Nippon Butokukai forced a middle-ground solution: the panel of experts from the Ministry of Education, including masters such as Hoshino Senzō (1869–1917), member of the Diet and middle school teacher, created three kata, and the experts of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, including prominent member and expert swordsman Shibata Kokki (1846–1926), created seven kata. The combination of both sets resulted in the Greater Japan Imperial Kenjutsu Kata (Dai Nippon Teikoku Kenjutsu kata) in 1912. Even though several adaptations occurred in the following years, these 10 kata constitute the core of what it is considered the Nippon Kendo Kata nowadays. The 10 seminars conducted by the Ministry of Education, in which some experts from the Dai Nippon Butokukai took part,2 helped not only to systematise training but also to generate a consensus on bujutsu at a national scale. About four hundred teachers attended those seminars and spread the message throughout every school in the country. Martial arts’ habituses Within the complex figuration of martial arts, it is not possible to identify a single habitus for the martial artists of the era. As the relationship among many martial artists composing the complex figuration implied cross-influence among them, martial habituses included different blends. Nonetheless, we can analyse the differences in civilising standards between habitus ‘dwelling’ at different poles of the figuration through the study of the most influencing figures whose lives spanned from Meiji to early Shōwa. Firstly, there is a clear contrast between the figures of Kanō Jigorō and Takeda Sōkaku, clear proponents of the ‘international Japaneseness’ and ‘semi–behindthe-scenes indigenous Japaneseness’, respectively. Takeda’s habitus represented a more extreme habitus than Kanō’s, which represented a more civilised habitus. However, we should not assume that the jūdō practiced during Meiji was just a



soft version of martial arts. The intensity of the practice and the self-control of the individuals was in accord with the level of the monopoly of violence exerted by the state, not fully achieved at that time. Kanō recalled how he became interested in martial arts because of their self-defence aspects in the first place. In my school days, more so than in the physical education of today, anybody who was weak was ostracised by the others. This is what prompted me to try and increase my strength. They were violent times with constant fighting, and weaklings were invariably beaten up [. . .] I then heard of Japanese jūjutsu. I surmised that if I too could learn this art, even one as puny as I would become a match for any opponent. I did not possess the high ideals I hold today, but simply wanted to learn the skills needed to defeat others. (in Naoki 2005: 143) So to say, Kanō’s jūdō did not emerge out of a secluded academic study just for the sake of educational or competitive purposes; Kanō himself used the art as a true means of self-defence in real situations. He honed and refined jūjutsu, studying with different masters and analysing different scrolls of classical traditions and even Western combat styles. As a result, Kōdōkan jūdō represented a civilising spurt within the world of classical jūjutsu ryū, avoiding many of the very dangerous techniques that classical styles allowed during contests that oftentimes ended up in serious injury or even death. Nevertheless, to say that Meiji jūdō advanced the civilising standards of the previous era does not imply that jūdō participants of the Meiji era were like the elite athletes of nowadays, focused exclusively on their sporting achievements. The idea of efficacy was not something only to be tested on regulated mats. Three out of the ‘four kings’ of the early days of the Kōdōkan (Saigō Shirō, Yokoyama Sakujiro, and Yamashita Yoshitsugu) and other prominent Kōdōkan representatives of the era such as Toku Sambo were widely known for causing trouble as streetfighters, with Kanō expelling and later accepting again their mischievous pupils. The very fact that they were (at least) temporarily expelled from the organisation means that a certain civilising sensitivity in Kanō’s organisation did not allow or support these kind of behaviours, something that was not problematic in other martial arts schools. A rough approach to martial arts could be conspicuously observed in the case of Takeda Sōkaku. The son of a former samurai from Aizu that witnessed the horrors of manslaughter during the Boshin war, he suffered a drag effect (see Chapter 7) that kept him closely attached to a samurai habitus: he always talked in a very loud voice, announcing himself on arriving to a house until someone would receive him. He was always suspicious of anyone and never let his guard down even in the presence of supposed friends. An incident recalled by Takeda Tokimune, the son of Sōkaku, is very revealing about Sōkaku’s attitude. They both went to visit Takanō Sensei, the famous kenjutsu expert. When offered some sweets, Sōkaku did not accept them and suddenly just disappeared. When


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Takanō and Tokimune went to search for him, Takanō offered Tokimune to take the lead while walking outside the room and found Sōkaku waiting. Back at home, Sōkaku harshly scolded his son: What do you think Takano is? [. . .] What would you do if Takano grabbed you from behind. Tokimune was baffled as Takano was a friend of the family and teacher of a normal school and he replied it would be impossible for Takano to do such thing Sokaku exploded: ‘People have been killed after saying that such things are impossible! Shame on you for allowing Takano to follow you! It is natural for a man of budo to follow others. Walking in front of someone is the same as being killed. Don’t you understand that?’ (Takeda Tokimune, in Pranin 1996: 65) Takeda tried (unsuccessfully) to join the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877 and kept travelling and teaching in the same fashion as some samurai from yore spent their lives in several warrior’s pilgrimages (musha shugyō around the country. Takeda always maintained a very realistic approach to martial instruction. This was expressed, for instance, when he refused to wear men (protective equipment for the head) when sparring with the bokken. According to one of his students, Takuma Hisa, Sōkaku used to train them with real swords (Shishida and Nariyama 2001: 231). His approach was still very much combat oriented, something that he would maintain as part of his daily life. In one serious incident occurring in Fukushima during 1882, Sōkaku got in trouble with a troupe of construction workers, the tension escalating into a full-blown clash in which Sōkaku used his sword against them, injuring and killing some of the workers before the latter lynched him to almost a certain death. Sōkaku was absolved due to the interpretation of self-defence by the court. Another part of the figuration in which such a rough approach to martial instruction could also be observed is in the kenjutsu practiced by the police or the imperial guards. It truly maintained a high level of intensity, the consideration for martial efficacy still very present. For instance, Takanō Sasaburo (1862–1950), a former student of Yamaoka Tesshū (1836–1888), recalled the harsh training they underwent in what was considered ‘day and night tachigiri-geiko’, consisting of fencing the whole night, from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. of the next day. His description of the sessions at the Azumabashi Police Station in Tokyo during at last decades of the nineteenth century speaks for itself: [A]ssistants who were willing came from various stations to beat us to a pulp   By midnight, my senses were completely numbed. If we stood in the middle of the dojo in such a dazed state, the assistants would throw us down and hammer us [. . .] My body did not return to normal for a whole week. Although I snored loudly, my head did not sleep at all. All I could see in my dreams for the week ahead were images of fighting with a shinai. Although crude to mention, my pee was bright red for a week as well



because of the blood in my urine. Those were the toughest days of training in my life. (in Bennett 2015: 105–106) In the case of Okinawan karate at that time, the art was kept behind the scenes, not because of a governmental ban but because to explicitly acknowledge being a karate master was a sure invitation from local thugs to a challenge fight. When Itosu Yasutsune introduced karate in the school system, some of his top students such as Chibana Chōsin (1885–1969) had to serve as the first line of defence of the master (Clarke 2012: 181). Looking at the biographies of most of the Okinawan masters of the era, many of them were involved in several street-fighting incidents and challenge matches (kakidamashii). Karate students’ motivation was clearly related to real fighting skills and self-defence. For instance, Kinjo Kensei (c.1895–1971), one of the best students of Chibana commented how he started training after receiving constant attacks by bullies: I believe that the first fight I did win was when ‘my victim’ gave up because he had worn himself out by kicking and punching me. He had broken his hand from punching me in the head one too many times. Yes, it was an interesting ‘victory’. Due to my inability to survive physical confrontations, my family approached the great Okinawan budo-ka master, and family friend, Chibana Dai Shihan. (in Clarke 2012: 214–215; emphasis original) During the Taishō period, more sport and educational aspects were introduced in the practice of martial arts, but the distance in civilising standards between the ‘international’ and ‘indigenous’ poles was maintained. As a case of comparison, let us see what happened in response to challenge matches between Japanese martial artists and foreign contenders that became very popular at that time, overseas but also in Japan. Toku Sambo (1887–1945) was (temporarily) expelled from the Kōdōkan in 1912 after the Brazilian consul in Japan formally complained, accusing Sambo of thrashing Brazilian competitors in a series of challenge matches. Kanō also expelled from the organisation jūdō experts such as Heita Okabe (1891–1966), who was immersed in the so called Santel affair of 1921 (see Chapter 8), organising challenging bouts between jūdō players and Western wrestlers in Japan. Kanō considered these performances debasing for jūdō as an ideal educational activity. These professional bouts focused exclusively on combat proficiency; they were ‘selling the activity as a spectacle’; and they threatened to cause Kōdōkan’s jūdō to lose face in front of the martial community within Japan. The situation in the ‘indigenous pole’ contrasted to what happened in the Kōdōkan. In one exhibition during the mid-1920s between a jūdō expert and a French boxer, the event was billed as a test of Japanese and Western combat systems. Kunii Zen’ya (1894–1966), Sōke of Kashima Shin ryū, angry at the poor


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performance of the Japanese, decided to jump into the ring and knocked out the French contender with a single blow. Then he started a further incident with a French officer present in the venue (Friday 1997: 3). In this case, the reaction of Kunii was based on a rejection of martial arts as some kind of sport-like fad imported from foreigners. The model advocated by Kunii was based on effectiveness in combat and no concern for security or sport format whatsoever. In fact, he was well known for winning numerous no-holds-barred challenges against other martial styles. The ambit of kenjutsu maintained also an intense fighting approach. Famous kendoist Nakakura Kiyoshi recalled how hard was kakarigeiko – a type of training in which students are attacked repeatedly by a succession of opponents – in the Daidokan dōjō at the end of Taishō/beginning of Shōwa: You would go completely blind. Even though we couldn’t see, the hard blows continued to fall on us. In the end, the wall of the dojo was destroyed. On one occasion Masayoshi Arikawa [. . .] was forced out in the corridor. The floor boards broke when he landed and he fell through the floor up to his thigh and was stuck. However, Sensei still told Arikawa to attack and Sensei struck him on his head, torso, hands – everywhere! That left him stuck in the floor and we had to pull him out. (in Pranin 1993: 216) Despite the fact that martial artists habitus developed as blends from these different poles, overall, the predominant civilising trend during Meiji and Taishō – when compared to earlier stages – gave way to a predominant decivilising trend of the early Shōwa, affecting the whole figuration, making all sorts of martial artists’ habituses advance towards a more open and spontaneous display of violence. The roughness of the time surrounding budō can be clearly expressed in the biographical accounts of one jūdō champion of the era: Kimura Masahiko (1917–1993). He recalled how ‘serious’ budō had become during these days. Kimura described two different incidents while in his high school days in which jūdō players did not wait to challenge him in formal competition but took the challenge to a street-fight situation: in both incidents they tried to stab Kimura, who responded properly with jūjutsu techniques and ended the fights. That level of intensity was not only ‘outside’ the mats. Hard training regimens included number of hours and practices that would be considered insane by current standards, and concussions were common during practice. Kimura recalled how during his preparation for the All Japan National Championship of 1937, he ‘produced’ up to 10 people with concussions as an average number when he trained in dōjō such as the one of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Finally, at the competition, he faced Ueno Noboru at the decisive match. He recalled how I and Nakajima fell together down onto the press seats, which were about one meter below the Shiai-jo (platform) many times. Every time I fell with



him, our heads and backs got slammed so hard that we became unable to breathe properly for a while. We both got up to the tatami while feeling half unconscious. (in Clarke 2015: 21) These rough times were also expressed in the karate of the era. For instance, training in Kushin ryū (created by the joint effort of ethnic Okinawan Kinjo Kensei and ethnic Japanese Ueshima Sannosuke) during the 1930s implied free sparring without any kind of protection. As a senior student of Kinjo, Ernest Estrada recalled, Students were allowed to punch and kick their opponents anywhere, so that they would learn by experience to avoid strikes and develop a natural intuition. The students did in fact receive many nasty knocks that often resulted in concussion, internal injuries, or even more unpleasant damage. (in Clarke 2012: 223)

Notes 1 A controversy at this point remains. Some authors consider that oshikuchi was not a martial art but a system of samurai etiquette and that Takeda learnt Daitō ryū form his father, Takeda Sōkichi (Hall 2012: 399). Shishida and Nariyama (2001: 232) support the thesis of Takeda blending oshikiuchi and Daito ryū to develop his own understanding of Daito ryū. 2 E.g., in 1912 a Dai Nippon Butokukai representative, Naitō Takaharu (1862–1929), was invited to instruct in the second national seminar.

References Amdur, E. (2015). Dueling with O-Sensei. Wheaton: Freelance Academy Press. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Clarke, C.M. (2012). Okinawan Karate: A History of Styles and Masters (Vol. 1). Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. Clarke, C.M. (2015). Kimura: The Triumphs and Tragedy of One of the Japan’s Greatest and Most Controversial Jūdō Champions. Huntingtown: Clarke’s Canyon Press. Friday, K.F. (1997). Legacies of the Sword: the Kashima-Shinryū and Samurai Martial Culture. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Gainty, D. (2013). Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London: Routledge. Hall, D.A. (2012). Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. New York: Kodansha International. Kinoshita, H. (2006). Historical Study of the Process of Change from Kenjutsu to Kendo. Taiikugaku kenkyu, 51(1), pp. 33–48. Naoki, M. (2005). From “Jutsu” to “Do”: The Birth of Kōdōkan Jūdō. In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo Perspectives (Vol. 1). Auckland: Kendo World Publications, pp. 141–154. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1993). Aikido Masters (Vol. 1). Tokyo: Aiki News. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1996). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Tokyo: Aiki News.


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Shishida, F. (1980). Ohba Hideo Biography. Waseda University Aikido Club Magazine, 19. Shishida, F. and Nariyama, T. (2001). Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge. Berkeley: Shodokan Pub. Stevens, J. (2013). The Way of Judo: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and His Students. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications. Uozumi, T. (2013). A Cross-Cultural Study of Japanese Budo in the Global Era. In T. Uozumi, A. Bennett, and K.B. Daigaku (eds.). Budō in the Global Era: A Cross Cultural Analysis of Issues Pertaining to Globalisation. IBU Budō Series Vol. 2. Tokyo: International Budo University, pp. 5–29.

Chapter 11

Reformulation, expansion, and hybridisation of Japanese martial arts

Comparing data from road deaths since 1950 in several countries around the world, Elias (1995) pointed out that Japan’s coefficient in 1965 was 64.4 and then rapidly dropped to 4.8 in 1982. Elias used this example as an example of the civilising theory in which the ‘triad of controls’ moves together (see Chapters 5 and 9). According to Elias: One would expect that Japan’s rise into the class of highly developed countries would bring with it that standard pattern of self-regulation – that is, mainly greater stability and evenness of self-regulation – that is indispensable to a highly technological society in competition with other similar societies. (1995: 27–28) Elias (1995) also remarked that ‘The pattern of self-control demanded by motor vehicle traffic is, of course, quite different from the code of a courtier or a warrior’ (p. 30). To sum up, the new personality structure of the Japanese contrasted with the great swings between extreme forms of self-control and extreme loosening of that control characteristic of the warrior or the citizen-soldier previous to the war. After the war, a more flexible and adaptive habitus fitted the demands of the industrial international setting in which the Japanese became a powerful nation in a few years. This chapter further develops Elias’s claims by arguing that the predominant pattern of Japanese society after the Second World War responded to a civilising trend. Nonetheless, we could differentiate different phases of informalisation (1960s–1970s), reformalisation (1980–mid-1990s), and informalisation (mid-1990s–2000s). The wave of informalisation during the 1960s-1970s was characterised by the integration of the middle classes, predominantly based on male workers. It presented few class-related conflicts, as the money was ‘shared’ across social classes and the jobs market was still bound to a national scale. Nonetheless, integration conflicts between generations gave way to violent incidents such as acts of terrorism from the Japanese Red Army or the seppuku committed by the writer Mishima Yukio in 1970 as a desperate romantic cry for lost traditions, a clear


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generational symptom of drag effect. Nonetheless, the social perception of the link of Japanese we-identity and martial virtues had changed: Mishima’s nostalgic act was generally interpreted as simple madness, not as an honourable example, as many still recalled the seppuku of General Nogi at the beginning of the Taishō period. After the Second World War, the production of samurai films such as Akira Kurosawa’s helped to recover the ideal image of the samurai, decoupled from the Japanese militaristic state of early Shōwa. The reformalisation phase during the 1980s–mid-1990s started with big growth for the Japanese economy based on the high-technology turn of the 1980s, in which Japan took the global lead. Nonetheless, inequality grew, a new privileged class emerged, and class distance expanded (Kawasaki 1994), planting the seeds of the crisis of the traditional model that would explode by the mid-1990s (Bernier 2011). The global market economy made Japanese manufacturing jobs suffer but also opened working space for women and foreign labourers, even though they were in a precarious situation (temporary work, badly paid). Regarding generational change, the 1980s witnessed the emergence of shinjinrui (‘a new human species’ – a new type of youth). According to Kawasaki (1994), they were characterised by individualist, selfish behaviour patterns, consumer behaviour, and expression of the self. In contrast to the youthful delinquency and deviance of the previous phase – related to political activism – delinquency during the reformalisation phase was connected to school violence and reported bullying (Kawasaki 1994: 193). This kind of juvenile delinquency could be related to an upturn in ‘superiorism feelings’ (Wouters 2007), a distinct feature of reformalisation phases. The wave of informalisation during the mid-1990s–2000s was characterised by a varying cadence of deflationary cycles from 1998 to 2003, a short recovery period occurred from 2003 to 2008, and then the economy went back again to deflation from 2008 to 2010 (Bernier 2011). The overall period implied a levelling effect on a global scale between lower-class workers in different nations. Nonetheless, on a national level, instead of a middle-class society, Japan became characterised as a divided society (kakusa shakai). The new category of casual workers, called furita, increased dramatically (up to four million according to Bernier 2011: 117). The tertiary sector expanded greatly, hiring more than threequarters of the workforce. This expansion led to the formation of what may be called a quaternary sector, including knowledge-intensive industries of software technology, media, education, welfare, visual arts, music, entertainment, hospitality, leisure, and other ‘cultural’ activities that produced and exported ‘fresh’ images of Japan that Sugimoto (2014: 201) dubbed ‘cool Japan’. The export of ‘cool Japan’ or ‘cute diplomacy’ as a source of ‘soft power’ (Abel 2012) was counterbalanced by the import of ‘coolness’ from the West, promoted especially through the lifestyle of the younger generation. This balance in the exportation/ importation of cultural customs implied also a shift in the power balance between nations towards a more levelled relationship within a global culture. Gender relations became more even, especially in urban areas. The presence of women in the workplace increased, and their sexuality was stripped of the moralising policies of

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convention (Sugimoto 2003: 167). Besides, Japanese lesbians and gays gradually and openly formed homosexual groupings in the 1990s (Sugimoto 2003: 266).

The detachment of martial arts from pre-war militarism After the war, the SCAP (Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces) governed Japan. The first measures to deal with the Japanese militarism were to purge military leaders and remove any connection to the military within the school system; piles of books and equipment for practice were burned in the schoolyards. Besides, a modern ‘sword hunt’ was conducted, and a vast number of swords were collected and destroyed. A demilitarised Japanese army called the Self Defense Forces1 was established in 1954. Such designation acknowledged at the same time the monopoly of violence in the hands of the Japanese state for inner policing but also a coercion of such monopoly of violence within international relations. It was proposed that the Dai Nippon Butokukai be dismantled. As many as two-thirds of the Japanese bureaucrats were purged (including police officers and middle-rank administrative officials) were removed because of their membership in the Dai Nippon Butokukai (Gainty 2013: 145). Even so, the purge of the Dai Nippon Butokukai leaders was much more light in comparison to that of military leaders. The Dai Nippon Butokukai adopted a renovation of the organisation by itself, avoiding the excessive connection to imperial militarism; e.g., jukendō and shagekidō were removed from the curriculum; kamidama (altars) were retired from the Butokuden and all local branches; and the organisation became separate from the state organism, finding funding in private sources to become an independent organisation. The president of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, Fujinuma Shōhei, presented a petition to disband the organisation in 1946 that was accepted by the Ministry of Education.2 The different situation faced by Kōdōkan, escaping the purge (Gainty 2013: 166, note 6), revealed a perception of Kanō’s organisation as more internationalist, much closer to the sports movement. That is why also sumō – conceived as national sport – did not suffer either the consequences of the purge. In fact, the Japan Sumō Federation was established in 1946 and became affiliated with the Japan Sports Association. During the same year, the Lower House proposed the reinstatement of jūdō and sumō as extracurricular activities in schools. Overall, martial arts projected public distance from military views. Bushidō was progressively evolved towards the transmission of a sense of tradition, detached from any militaristic connections. Besides, Japanese martial arts teachers embraced the ‘Zen’ label during the 1950s as a way to rehabilitate their public image, insufflating the ‘dō’ suffix of martial arts with Zen-like ways of spiritual development instead of a training of combat spirit. The book by D.T. Suzuki published in 1959 called Zen and Japanese Culture represented a cornerstone of such identification. The book by Awa Kenzō’s German student Eugen Herrigel called Zen in the Art of Archery, written in 1948 but published in English in


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1953, also became an important source of interpretation of this approach. Some instructors defended their authoritarian teaching methods by identifying them as Zen instead of connecting them to the legacy of pre-war militarism (Bodiford 2003: 484). Within the school system, the shift in the terminology used in the ‘Physical education Curriculum Guidelines’, from ‘tairen’ (physical discipline) to ‘taiiku’ (physical education) in 1947, was a clear symptom of departure from the militaristic approach of the pre-war era. Budō was reinstated in the school system after a short ban period. Jūdō was the first to be reinstated in 1950, after the Ministry of Education submitted a petition to the Allied Forces Command to include jūdō again, connecting it to a modern, democratic sport. After jūdō, kyūdō followed suit in 1951; kendō first as an altered form called shinai kyōgi in 1952 and as kendō in 1953; and naginata in 1959 as an extracurricular club activity, and in 1966 it was included in PE of secondary schools. After the implementation of the ‘curriculum guidelines’ of 1958, the term budō, containing a clear militaristic connection from the period previous to the war, was substituted for kakugi (combative sports). It would not be until 1989 that kakugi was modified again for budō, this time exemplifying the essence of traditional Japanese culture. Sumō, kendō, and jūdō were taught in junior high schools and jūdō and kendō at high schools. Naginata and other budō were also sanctioned at junior high school level. Budō as compulsory regular subjects would not return to the school – more specifically to junior high schools – until 2006, when the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology modified the Basic Act on Education for the first time since 1947 and expected to start the implementation of the measure in 2012.3 The 2012 revision to the Junior High School Curriculum Guidelines expressed a new blend of the ‘international’ and ‘indigenous’ we-identity of the Japanese people. The aim of budō was: Cultivation of an attitude of respect for other countries, and contribute to the development of peace in international society [international Japaneseness], while loving our country and provinces, which have come to respect tradition and culture, and foster them [indigenous Japaneseness]. (Motomura 2009: 65; brackets added) The measure adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology was related to the perceived detachment of Japanese youth from traditions within a global culture. Despite the reformulation of Japanese martial arts into novel formats (e.g. sports), the decrease of budō interest among youth started in 1985 and continued a descending trajectory, contrasting with the trend of sports such as football and baseball, which increased their affiliation. Uozumi (2013: 26) presented convincing data about the progressive lack of interest of Japanese youth in budō culture. For example, the number of boys doing jūdō in 1985 was 59.273, and in 2005 it was merely 28.519. In kendō, the loss was from

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55.871 to 36.798 during the same period. Girls in jūdō started to decline a decade later, in 1995, going from 12.864 that year to 6601 in 2005. Outside the school system, government-sanctioned organisations such as the Japanese Budō Association, the Japanese Academy of Budō, and the Japanese Classical Budō Association4 took the lead after the war in the organisation and promotion of Japanese martial arts domestically and internationally. The reelaboration of Japanese martial arts was a fundamental factor in the promotion of a new image of Japan in the realm of international relations. Different blends of ‘international’ and ‘indigenous’ – the latter without the militaristic undertone, dubbed ‘traditional’ – Japaneseness were established in Japan and extended globally, mainly as a sport and/or a ‘dō’ (based on educative, not combat, efficiency criteria) practice. The police and the military in Japan maintained the ‘jūtsu’ (concerned with effectiveness in combat) approach to the practice of martial arts.5 Sumo¯ as ‘traditional national sport’ Considered more a sport than a martial art by the Allied occupation forces, sumō had resumed activity already in 1945. In 1947, competition in professional sumō became free from the restriction of ‘East versus West’ wrestlers that was mandatory in previous times. Therefore, wrestlers from the same side could compete against each other, and the importance of individual championship gained legitimacy. This measure was continued in 1965 with the abolition of the ban on competition for two wrestlers of the same stable. Nonetheless, despite the progressive modernisation of sumō’s sport format, it maintained a strong connection with Japanese traditional we-identity. The way sumō was able to maintain both modern and traditional images at the same time was achieved by different strategies; for instance, introducing the championship system on the one hand – a typical format of modern sport – but maintaining the yokozuna rank on the other as a way to keep sumō traditionally oriented (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 181). A wrestler could gain the rank of ōzeki based on his competitive achievements, but the promotion to yokozuna implied the presence of a certain habitus than embodied the quintessential traditional Japaneseness. The subjective assessment of the criteria was in the hands of the sumō association elders. The articulation of modern professional sport features and traditional activity was also observed in the organisation of the living conditions of the wrestlers. Professional sumō wrestlers lived in the wrestlers’ stables, supported by associations of individual patrons. The stables were modelled according to the traditional household system, with pseudo-familial relations: the head of the house was called oyakata, older wrestlers were at the top of the hierarchy, and younger ones carried out household chores and other menial work, for which they received a meagre income. Young wrestlers entered the competition at the lowest level. The difficulty of balancing the two – sometimes antithetical – worlds of the market-driven professional model and the moral economy of sumō traditions became explicitly public in the last two decades, with several scandals regarding


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match fixing, illegal betting, abusive and violent behaviour in trainees, and yakuza connections. Another problematic issue in the development of sumō was the difficult articulation of the relationship of established players (Japanese) and outsiders (foreigners) within the world of sumō (see also integration conflicts due to ethnicity in jūdō and kendō in what follows). On the one hand, professionalisation of the sport led to the participation of new talent, be it native or foreign. On the other hand, the traditional values attached to the practice implied the consideration of keeping ‘everything Japanese’. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Hawaiian-born Jesse Kuhaulua was nicknamed Kurobune (‘black ship’) as a clear reference to the foreign threat posed by Commodore Perry before the forced opening of the country (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 186). Kuhaulua never obtained even the rank of ōzeki, despite the fact that he defeated some yokozuna during his career. The case of another Hawaiian-born wrestler, Konishiki, made obvious the instrumentalisation of subjective criteria in the hands of the Japanese establishment to impede the advance of non-Japanese players. A member of the Yokozuna Review Board published an article in which he stated that it would be difficult for a foreigner to achieve the rank of Yokozuna because of a lack of himkaku (dignity, character) (Guttmann and Thompson 2001: 186). It was not until 1993 when another Hawaiian competitor, Akebono, became the first nonJapanese yokozuna. During the last decades, the decrease of youth interest in the sport has provoked a more pressing need for foreign applicants. Since the retirement of the last Japanese-born yokozuna in 2003, no Japanese had been promoted to such high rank, and only 5 out of 66 tournaments had been won by native Japanese. As in other professional sports (think for instance of football in Europe), nationals have tried to preserve certain control over the activity by placing quotas on foreign participants. In 2002, the quota was two foreign wrestlers per training stable, and in 2010 the quota also applied to foreign-born wrestlers to avoid interested nationalisations. Koryu¯ and aikido¯ as traditional, non-competitive martial arts Classical martial traditions (koryū) stayed outside the general trend of sportisation and remained as ‘small reservoirs’ of Japanese traditional culture. For instance, in 1960, Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū was designated an Intangible Cultural Asset by the Chiba prefectural government. One key figure in the revitalisation and expansion of koryū outside of Japan was Donn F. Draeger (1922–1982). Some of these traditions had a restricted success in its international expansion. For instance, Shintō Muso ryū (favoured by the introductory, adapted version of jōdō) saw the foundation of a few active groups in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Kashima Shin ryū Federation was founded in 1973 and gained representatives in North America and Europe. Nonetheless, taking numbers into account, nowadays koryū do not represent a big mass within martial arts: e.g. an estimation of 900 students (half of them foreign) in Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū (Ōtake

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2016: 251) and over 1000 students in Kashima Shin ryū (Kashima-Shinryū Federation of Martial Sciences 2017). In some sense, koryū never adapted enough to thrive in the new sensitivity of the era. Many of the masters from koryū formed their personality structures in the pre-war era, and they certainly maintained parts of these habituses and practices, at odds with the understanding of modern budō.6 Nonetheless, aikidō, a discipline coming from gendai budō (modern budō) but still attached to classical values of martial arts, came to embody the essence of tradition in martial arts. The ‘reinvention’ of aikidō, from the art of war to the art of peace was derived mainly from the work Morihei’s son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, in the very favourable post-war sensitivity towards peaceful solutions to conflict. After the war, the Allied Forces registered Morihei’s art as aikidō, and it gained from then on the official legitimacy of the term (Shishida and Nariyama 2001: 24), despite the fact that both Morihei’s art and Takeda’s Daito ryū were recognised as aikidō in the war period. In 1948, the Aikikai Foundation was created by Kisshomaru, claiming Morihei Ueshiba as the founder of aikidō. In the 1950s, Morihei himself frequently returned to teach in Tokyo, holding the first public exhibition of aikidō after the war in 1956. The dōjō, now operated by Kisshomaru, opened for the first time its doors to non-Japanese. In 1955, the Hombu dōjō hosted for three years Frenchman André Nocquet, its first foreign live-in student. Nocquet proved to be a major asset for the development of aikidō in Japan and abroad thanks to his many contacts in foreign embassies. Idealistic views on aikidō started spreading all over the globe with the new pacifist gospel thriving in the post-war era. Shioda Gozo, a student of Morihei since 1932, helped to boost the renaissance of post-war aikidō when he won the first prize in the exhibition of the Japan Budō Championship in 1954. Shioda gained financial support to open his own dōjō and develop his own style, called Yoshinkan aikidō. Apart from Shioda’s style, aikidō splintered into other branches: the official line of the Aikikai was continued by the son of the founder, Kisshomaru (1921–1999), as the hereditary head of the art (doshu). He published a book called Aikidō in 1957, which became the main reference for technique and terminology; Tohei Koichi (1920–2011) acted as chief instructor of the Aikikai and would expand the art worldwide, based in Hawaii but visiting also the US mainland and Europe, developing his own style, commonly known as ‘ki aikidō’; Saitō Morihiro continued instruction of aikidō in Iwama and developed what is known as Iwama aikidō. Of all the different strands into which aikidō split, one of them became truly problematic for the main organisation. Tomiki Kenji (1900–1979), a pupil of both Kanō and Ueshiba, developed a competitive sports-like aikidō called shōdokan and promoted it from his position as a teacher of the Institute of Physical Education of Waseda University beginning in 1949. In a sense, the idea was to ‘modernise’ aikidō in the same vein that Kanō had modernised old-style jūjutsu. Tomiki’s aim was to bring aikidō to a format that would resemble jūdō at a distance (Shishida and Nariyama 2001: 33, 179). It consisted of two modalities: empty-hand combat and hand against rubber knife. Due to the frontal opposition between traditional


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aikidō and the sports approach, Tomiki’s version lacked support from the aikidō world and registered slow development abroad, mostly restricted to countries such as England, Australia, and the United States. Contrary to aikidō, Takeda’s Daito ryū also experienced greater trouble spreading at a national and international level. It featured the pattern other koryū had followed. Nonetheless, its close connection to aikidō made the discipline be ‘rediscovered’ internationally in the 1980s. Daito ryū never tried to erase the links with koryū, presenting the activity as a blend of jūtsu/dō approaches. As the son of the founder, Tokimune Takeda, commented, Aikido and Daito ryu have different meanings. In Daito ryu, once you have captured an enemy, you must finish him off with a second or even third technique [. . .] I have been watching aikido techniques at the Nippon Budokan but I find that those demonstrations do soft techniques. They won’t work in a real fighting situation. Their partners are only taking falls for them. (Pranin 1996: 77) Overall, the importance of traditional martial arts for the presentation of the Japanese image abroad is not only restricted to the direct influence over martial arts aficionados, indulging in martial arts tourism (Cynarski and Sieber 2007). The theatrical display of martial tradition within tourist-friendly thematic parks such as the Diamond Route7 is part of a broader economic activity and a way to sustain the idea of the ever-present ‘exotic Japan’ to the world. The development of martial arts as amateur sports within Japan: examples from kendo¯ and naginata After the war, the Ministry of Education banned the term ‘budō’, and the emphasis was in promoting martial arts as democratic sports. The development of some disciplines such as kendō, naginata, kyudō, and jukendō remained circumscribed mainly to the Japanese ground. They did not spread overseas to the same extent and at the same rate as other disciplines such as jūdō or karate, even though kendō enjoyed considerable success in countries such as Korea (see what follows). The example of what came to be known as shinai-kyōgi denoted a strategy to revive kendō through hybridisation with modern sport tenets. Shinai-kyōgi was developed by university students, blending kendō and Western fencing. They formed in 1949 the All Japan Kendo Sport Federation, but, in negotiation with the SCAP, they changed the name to All Japan Shinai-kyōgi Federation. It is very telling that the term ‘shinai’ was written with the kanji for ‘flexible’ instead of former character meaning ‘bamboo katana’. They used more pliable and lighter shinai, and clothing consisted of durable top and trousers. Time limit for bouts was enforced, and other changes in rules distanced the activity from its pre-war and war equivalents. For instance, grunting when striking was forbidden, and

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trips and body clashes were outlawed. No mention about the fostering of ‘Japanese spirit’ was present, and no special emphasis on the connection between etiquette and morality existed either. The inclusion in the activity of both men and women was another concession to the modern sports movement. A reaction from more traditionalist kendoists regained predominance over Japanese swordsmanship, creating the All Japan Kendō Federation in 1952 and the first national championship the next year. By this time, this organisation had eclipsed the influence of Shinai-kyōgi as the main legitimate body on kendō matters. Nonetheless, the influence of Shinai-kyōgi was to be noticed in the changes of rules promoted by the new kendō federation (Bennett 2015: 173), approaching more closely the sports orientation. For instance, the court areas and the dimensions of the shinai were clearly defined; match time was specified; excessive body clashes, tripping, and violent behaviour were not allowed; three referees decided the matches. The conditions of the Ministry of Education to allow the introduction of kendō again in the school system in 1953 were clear about the connection with the sports movement, far from the militaristic approach of pre-war era. From the late 1970s (1977–1978), an explicit recognition to the individual right of self-cultivation and growth was mentioned in the guidelines for school kendō. The same approach was maintained through the 1990s, when the guidelines for budō in school encouraged kendō practice as a way for every individual to ‘be rich in humanity and strong in body’ but also emphasised the idea of Japanese budō as a unique component of their we-group identity. Another example of martial art blended with a sports format came from naginata. After the lifting of the ban on budō, naginata training resumed in 1955, the year of the foundation of the All Japan Naginata Federation (AJNF). A special naginata research committee was formed to develop a style of naginata that could be reintroduced into the public schools. Special emphasis was placed on a new technical and methodological approach that would get some clear distance from classical naginata and would align with sport. The new system was finally called Atarashii Naginata (New Naginata), the name using phonetic hiragana characters rather than the Chinese ideograms (kanji) that were used in traditional styles. No ‘dō’ suffix was added, as a way to further remove any connection with pre-war militaristic ideology.8

Japanese martial arts within the global sports figuration During the second half of the twentieth century, Japanese martial arts merged into the global sports figuration. Some disciplines such as jūdō, karate, and, to a lesser extent, kendō became integrated into the amateur circuit, connected to the Olympic movement. Other hybridised Japanese-Western disciplines became integrated in the professional circuit as mixed martial arts, governed by private fighting promoters.


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Japanese martial arts within the amateur circuit The initiatives started by the Japanese government in the 1960s and 1970s clearly fostered a reformulation of martial arts in tune with the international sports movement. For instance, during the 1960s, programmes of ‘sports for all’ – prevalent in Europe at this time – were introduced in Japan with an educational and health approach for the whole population. The main channel of integration of Japanese martial arts within the global sports movement was through international competitions. The Tokyo Olympic Games of 1964 helped to project a Japanese image of ‘peaceful internationalist’ (Droubie 2011) both for the international community and for the Japanese we-identity. Cultural exchange and international events such as the Olympics became very good alternatives of ‘soft power’ (Nye 2004) for foreign policy, as they represented non-political events emanating from the civil society (Abel 2012: 204). The role played by jūdō, acknowledged as a regular Olympic sport (kendō was shown as an exhibition sport), was key to showing positive features of Japanese identity to the world. Whereas Japan’s modernity and international character could be observed in the infrastructures and sports facilities, jūdō was key for conveying elements of Japan’s traditional culture without militaristic undertones.9 The celebration of the 1964 Games served as a ramp for the international take-off of jūdō and also helped to revive kendō. Both sports also opened up the possibility of professional careers, in the case of jūdō as an international athlete and in the case of kendō as an indirect job position, as successful kendoists enjoyed careers in the police, in companies with kendo teams, and acting as PE teachers at school. Nonetheless, the integration of martial arts within international competitions brought also some undesired consequences that would lead to diverse conflicts (see what follows). Despite the defence of amateurism by the Olympic movement, the balance between amateurism and professionalism had shifted definitively towards the second: the ‘play’ of sports became ‘too serious’, and an achievement striving ethos gained preponderance, something that threatened the very essence of budō. The winner of the +80 kg category in the 1964 Olympiad, Isao Inokuma, lifted weights as part of his training regime, something unheard of in the more traditionalist approach of Japanese jūdō. He would publish the first book on weight training in jūdō called Weight Training for Championship Jūdō with Donn Draeger in 1966. Isao’s example represented a clear demarcation towards this achievement striving ethos in the Japanese jūdōka. Japanese jūdō opened itself up to greater gender equality in the late 1960s and 1970s, due in great part to the pressure exerted by Western female jūdōka from the late 1960s but also due to a more pragmatic approach to international competitions by the Japanese after the shameful defeat against Anton Geesink in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 (Saeki 1994). The competitive tendency was aggravated by the exponential development of mass media and sport broadcasting after the 1960s. Japan could not single-handedly halt this tendency and had to adapt to the new circumstances in which jūdō developed within a greater

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international figuration. As Japanese jūdō had been outside international competitions during the war, foreign countries, especially European countries which had received jūdō experts from the beginning of the century, had organised the sport version of jūdō and were in a privileged position to set the pace now that Japanese jūdō was coming again through the ‘rear door’ (Sánchez García 2016). The Kōdōkan organisation lost influence in the way jūdō was to be conducted (Hamaguchi 2006: 16). The shifting relationship in the power balance between Japanese Kōdōkan and foreign international players was paralleled with a shift in the core values attached to the practice.10 The first World Jūdō Championship took place in 1956, still under Kōdōkan rules. In 1965 the International Judo Federation (IJF) established a separate set of rules from Kōdōkan that became progressively the most accepted version on a global scale, introducing rules such as three different scoring points in 1973 (ippon, wazaari, koka) and cumulative penalties or non-combativity (the later introduced in 1974) that gave way to a kind of strategic jūdō, more preoccupied with winning by accumulation of small points than searching for a good definitive technique; in 1997 the IJF decided to introduce coloured uniforms (gi), differentiating participants (blue-white gi) as a way to make the sport more appealing to the audience. Such measures contravened jūdō tradition in profound ways, distorting the meaning and emotional attachment of jūdō as part of the Japan essence. Many of the changes introduced in jūdō aimed at making the activity more viewer friendly, more appealing to massive audiences that might not be versed in the subtle tactics of the sport (Ebell 2012: 35). Several changes affecting not only the clothing but also sponsorship and broadcasting followed (Sato 2013), bringing jūdō closer to a path of mere entertainment that Kanō had criticised from very early on. The other clear example of expansion through the global amateur sports circuit was represented by karate, which spread very successfully at a global scale. In this process, the predominance of the Japanese masters over their Okinawan counterparts in the establishment of strong karate organisations, both within Japan and abroad, became solidly established after the war.11 In 1959, the original Japan Karate Federation (JKF), formally known as the Federation of All Japan Karate-do Organisations (FAJKO), was founded as a way to bring different styles under the umbrella of one organisation. During the 1960s, the JKF recognised the four major schools: Gōjū ryū, Wadō ryū, Shōtōkan, and Shitō ryū. This more or less balanced situation between styles inside the establishment of Karate in Japan was not paralleled in the expansion of karate overseas, in which Shōtōkan instructors swept the board of karate organisations.12 Due to its international expansion, different international karate associations would emerge during the 1960s and 1970s. Overall, the general trend in the development of post-war karate as a sport was channelled through the amateur circuit. Nonetheless, some of the so-called hard styles (such as Kyokushinkai and its offspring) would become key factors to the development of hybrid disciplines of professional combat sports such as kickboxing and K-1 (see what follows).


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Integration conflicts in the blend of martial arts and sports The international expansion of budō brought also some tensions and integration conflicts within the world of Japanese martial arts. For instance, a heated debate about the ‘corruption’ of the traditional values of kendō appeared during the mid-1970s when young practitioners were playing seriously to win above anything else. This pattern, related to the professionalisation process of any sports activity, leading towards achievement striving values with the subsequent rise of ‘instrumental violence’, was presented by Japanese kendoists as a matter of ‘contamination’ from Western sport. Thus, the All Japan Kendo Federation issued a brief declaration in 1975 about the concept of kendō in which the values of character building and self-development were at the core of the practice. A kendo instruction handbook from 1993 made a clear contrast between Western sport and kendō because, even though they have something in common, they ‘differ in the matter of character development (ningen-keisei). Compared to sports [. . .] budo contains a stronger bent for moral cultivation and hard training [tanren; to forge body and mind]’ (in Bennett 2015: 183; brackets original). In the same vein, the importance of rei (etiquette) while performing, considered as a sign of self-control, was crucial for self-development. Worries about the threats to the integrity of kendō had continued until this point; in 2003, the Kendō Federation organised a working group to clarify the essence of kendō. They assumed that the principles of the sword (ken-no-rihō) and character development (ningenkeisei) were difficult to grasp for foreign practitioners and younger Japanese generations (Bennett 2015: 189). Even though the reaction from the kendō world was the most belligerent case, it was not unique. Some karate styles, such as Gōjū ryū – both in its Japanese branch under Yamaguchi Gōgen (1909–1989) and in the Okinawan branch under Miyagi Anichi (1931–2009) and Higaonna Morio (b. 1938) – resisted for a long time organising karate competition. From the point of view of karate traditionalists, the emphasis on sport competition was spoiling the art. In recent times, jūdō has also experienced a traditionalist reaction. Since 2001, the Kōdōkan and the All Japan Jūdō Federation promoted the ‘Jūdō Renaissance’, organising seminars in Japan to discuss tradition and competition in jūdō, and a kata competition was introduced at the World Jūdō Championship in 2009 as a way to boost the importance of traditional elements (Uozumi 2013: 28). Behind this discussion on values attached to the practice of kendō, jūdō, and karate (see also sumō, earlier), the ethnic question was clearly stated. The idea of the Western sport movement as a distortion of Japanese budō recalls a typical pattern of integration conflicts when the activity spreads far away from the original group that ‘created’ and controlled the activity and the equilibrium between established and outsiders groups becomes more even. In the case under analysis, the shifting power balance was due to ethnic national groups (the Japanese) losing control over an activity (martial arts) in a globalising context. In jūdō, such control by the Japanese was lost early on, related precisely to the successful

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expansion of the discipline as a global sport. The epic win of Dutch Anton Geesink at the finals of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics abruptly showed the Japanese they did not ‘own’ the sport anymore. Since that day, Japanese competitors have maintained a high level in the podium but have been surpassed in many occasions by foreigners. The witnessing of the ‘jūdō pattern’ created an ambivalent position for the kendō organisation about whether it should apply for the Olympics or not. The kendō world, officially represented by the International Kendo Federation, is still nowadays not especially eager about the Olympic dream (Bennett 2005). One of the main concerns of kendō practitioners is the change in the ‘essence’ of the activity that would follow the necessary changes kendō should undergo in order to become an international Olympic sport. The subjective aesthetic criteria to determine valid strikes (yūkō-datotsu), which have changed little since their pre-war conception, would have to be clarified and, thus, lost forever. The current rules – and the huge predominance in the percentage of Japanese referees scoring the bout – are the strongest gate-keeping (closure) mechanism to prevent foreigners – who ‘cannot understand’ these criteria by default – from getting too much into the sport as such. The delicate situation for Japanese kendō still remains to find a way to expand internationally but at the same time maintain control over the legitimation of practices and values. The paradox is that the very mechanism that would definitively help kendō to expand globally (the consideration of kendō as an Olympic sport) would change its very ‘essence’ and would decrease the power ratio of the Japanese in controlling the activity. Nonetheless, the control of kendō is something that is not exclusively in the hands of the Japanese anymore. Korean kumdo (equivalent to kendō) organisations such as the WKA (World Kumdo Association) are pressing harder to dispute Japanese hegemony, openly accepting a policy of introducing changes in kendō/ kumdo to make it an Olympic discipline. Besides, national federations in foreign countries also advocate for rule changing as a way to gain the financial support that would provide the official recognition as an Olympic sport. European Kendō Federations have gained greater power potential. In 2003 they signed a petition to become members of SportAccord – the organisation for international sports federations which works in close collaboration with the International Olympic Committee – and forced the Japanese Federation to join in 2006 to prevent loss of control over the international movement of kendō. Finally, kendō joined the SportAccord Combat Games in 2010 and 2013. Until now, the Japanese solution to this delicate, contradictory situation has been the duplication of kendō: ‘strong kendō’, related to the mentality of winning at all cost, and ‘correct kendō’, related to self-perfection, correct deportment, and etiquette (Bennett 2005: 327–328). The dual strands act as a ‘double gate-keeping mechanism’. On the one hand, ‘strong kendō’ helps to maintain Japanese hegemony though podium rank in international sports contests (more and more threated by foreign players such as Korea); on the other hand, ‘correct kendō’ maintains Japanese legitimacy over the monopoly of the means of


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orientation about what kendō should or should not be. Even in the hypothetical case that Japan would lose its competitive hegemony in ‘strong kendō’, ‘correct kendō’ could still play a role as a powerful resource to maintain some control over the development of the activity. That would be only a temporary solution, because the more kendō would spread internationally through the sports global figuration, the more likely it will be that a shift of predominant values towards the achievement striving ethos would also occur. Hybridisation of Japanese martial arts and Western combat sports within the professional sports figuration The greater acceptance of the sports movement as part of Japanese martial arts after the Second World War helped to lift the stigma from the professional disciplines that had suffered the contempt of the martial arts establishment in the pre-war era. Some karate styles and Japanese pro wrestling evolved through the professional sports figuration, giving birth to mixed styles in two phases of hybridisation that would constitute part of the hypermodern we-image of Japan – dubbed ‘cool Japan’ – that developed during the 1990s and 2000s. Early encounters in pro wrestling and the spectacularisation of karate During the 1950s, Japanese contenders were facing Westerners in the rings of pro wrestling. The first organised professional wrestling event was held in September 1951 when an American wrestler, Bobby Brauns, a former boxing world champion, Joe Louis, and some others came to Japan and took part in matches at the Ryogoku Memorial Hall – which later would become the Ryogoku Kokugikan, the most prestigious sumō venue in Japan. After this event, this group toured Japan in the autumn, and ‘a couple of Japanese were invited to participate’ (Thompson 1986: 69) in the tour. One of them was Rikidōzan (a former sumō wrestler), who became the founder of the Nippon Professional Wrestling Association (NPWA) in 1953 and was regarded as the ‘father’ of Japanese professional wrestling. Already in 1951, Kimura Masahiko (a famous Kōdōkan expert who had turned to professionalism after the war)13 had established the Kokusai Pro-Wrestling Association, and while he kept on organising shows for his own organisation, soon he joined Rikidōzan. The most important element of professional wrestling was the opposition between Japanese and foreigners. For instance, in 1954, a match between the Japanese pair Rikidōzan/Kimura and the American Sharpe Brothers was aired by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. After a series of dirty tricks deployed by the Americans, the Japanese couple reacted and defeated the foreigners, creating an uproar in the audience. In the ring, professional wrestling was an intelligible spectacle for spectators, where Rikidōzan always triumphed over foreigners in the climax. It is important to note that the influence of the media on professional wrestling, and vice versa, was huge. During the Rikidōzan era, television access and ownership gradually expanded across the population. A 1954 survey

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of viewer preference showed professional wrestling as the second option (71,4%), only after feature films (74,1%). Among males, professional wrestling was the number-one option (82,7%), beating boxing (73,4%) as second option by almost 10 points (Thompson 1986: 67). One acquaintance of Kimura and Rikidōzan was Ōyama Masutatsu. A great karate competitor – he won the All Japan Karate Tournament in 1947 – he became disheartened by the way the world of sport karate was evolving and created a ‘hard style’ of karate called Kyokushin. Ōyama’s friendship with Kimura and Rikidōzan exposed him from very early on to the great potential of the professional circuit and the power of the mass media. In 1952, he toured the United States, offering demonstrations and taking challenges from pro wrestlers, jūdōka, and boxers. The New York Times published his story, dubbing him ‘the God Hand’. Ōyama was not a ‘purist’ in the sense of being the keeper of a long tradition of martial virtue. He had a very practical approach to karate in relation to fighting efficiency, and he never hesitated to include techniques coming from other styles if they proved right. He introduced the use of knees and low kicks (customary in Thai boxing) and made use of punches related to Westernstyle boxing. Exploiting the sensational treatment of his figure by the media, he carried out dramatic performances such as fighting bulls, severing the horns of the animals with his bare hands,14 or fighting 100 men in kumite in three consecutive days, inspired by the strenuous test of 100 man duel conducted by Yamaoka Tesshu (famous swordsman of the Meiji period). During the 1960s, he set the standard of the 100-man kumite (Hyaku Nin Kumite) as the definite test for karate practitioners. Within this decade, the Kyokushinkai delegation (e.g. fighters such Kurosaki Kenji) fought in Thailand against Thai boxers, gaining higher respectability. Besides, Ōyama banned Kyokushinkai fighters from engaging in non-contact karate, just allowing them to engage in the full-contact karate endorsed by the organisation. Two cycles of hybridisation Kyokushinkai karate and pro wrestling became crucial disciplines for the hybridisation of Japanese and Western combat sports in two consecutive cycles. The hybridisation of Japanese and Western disciplines started to gain real momentum during the 1970s (associated with kickboxing and pro wrestling) and exploded during the 1990s (associated with mixed martial arts [MMA] such as K-1 and Pride FC). Kickboxing originated in Japan during the 1960s and became popular there during the 1970s, stimulated by the techniques pioneered by Kurosaki Kenji (a Kyokushinkai karate expert) and the marketing promotion of Noguchi Osamu. From 1977 to 1979, several full-contact kickboxing contests, combining traditional karate and kickboxing techniques, were broadcasted in the United States and Japan. Besides, during the 1970s, the world of Japanese professional wrestling, including techniques from different styles, became further developed by two organisations: New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Japan Pro-Wrestling. Like


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American professional wrestling, the outcome of Japanese wrestling was usually pre-arranged, but unlike American professional wrestling, combat was perceived to be ‘real’ and violent, incorporating Thai boxing, karate, and jūjutsu techniques. All Japan Pro-Wrestling started to feature ‘spectacularised violence’ (actions that seemed more dangerous than they really were) as its main attraction to spectators, something that would be also used by later pro wrestling promotions and even MMA (see what follows). During the early 1990s, Seidokan karate (an offspring of Ōyama’s Kyokushinkai) was characterised by a hard approach to combat, an openness to internationalisation and hybridisation, and a keen eye for media exposure and show. Seidokan gave birth to the professional format of mixed disciplines based on striking techniques. Instead of fighting on tatami, Seidokan fights were staged in a kickboxing ring, and some characteristics of boxing and kickboxing were included (e.g. number of rounds was agreed in advance); the first rounds were knock-out karate (no punches to the face) and the final round included fighting with gloves, allowing punches to the face. Nonetheless, some mixed fights took place as well (Brunekreef 2007: 141). Thus, Seidokan karate was getting closer to kickboxing rules. In 1992, the first Glove competition took place, and in 1993 the first K-1 championship was held, constituting the stand-up version of MMA. A more all-inclusive format of MMA, combining floor and standing grappling with striking combat, had been blooming in the world of Japanese pro wrestling under the name of ‘shoot’ or ‘shoot fighting’ (Snowden 2008), which became organised under the banner of the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) in the late 1980s. UWF allowed competitors with any fighting style, so for instance kickboxers were pitted against sambo wrestlers without a fixed ending (Brunekreef 2007: 148). Other pro wrestling promoters such as Rings, Pancrase, and Japanese Vale Tudo followed suit in the 1990s. Nonetheless, the explosion of Japanese MMA promotions came with Pride FC in 1997, influenced not only by the autochthonous Japanese development of pro wrestling but also by the global impact of the Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC), a fighting promotion from the United States that originated in 1993. The irony of it all was that UFC’s original idea and organisation came from Rorion Gracie (1952–), an expert in Gracie jiu-jitsu, a Brazilian discipline based on groundwork highly influenced by Japanese jūdō/jūjutsu pioneers that toured the world, oftentimes accepting professional challenges matches.15 Thus, a return ticket from Japanese martial arts travelling around the world finally came full circle in the development of MMA and its successful promotion in Japan during the 2000s. From 1997 to 2007, the Japanese organisation Pride FC was probably the most successful MMA promotion in the world.16 Nonetheless, around 2007, financial problems started a decline of the Japanese MMA promoters. Tokyo’s tabloid Shūkan Gendai aired Pride’s president Nobuyuki Sakakibara implication with Yakuza ties. The news made Fuji Television stop the broadcasting of Pride in 2006, a devastating blow for the promoter’s ability to generate revenue. This circumstance eventually led to Pride’s purchase by UFC promoters in 2007 (Loiseleur 2011: para. 9). Also in 2007, K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii was incarcerated for tax evasion. The situation got worse

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for K-1 and other MMA promoters around 2010. K-1’s promoter FEG (Fighting Entertainment Group) went through financial problems that would end in the selling of K-1. Dream, a successful Japanese MMA organisation that occupied the place left by Pride FC, ceased activity also in 2012 due to FEG’s bankruptcy. MMA as an informalising trend The disparate development of amateur and professional figurations of combat sports/martial arts has been associated with different civilising patterns associated to them. According to Van Bottenburg and Heilbron (2006), whereas the amateur version followed a sportising (civilising) pattern, the professional version followed a de-sportisation (decivilising) pattern. The same logic presents the analysis by Yokoyama (2009) on the MMA phenomenon in Japan. According to this author, Japanese MMA should be considered a decivilising, de-sportising trend that contradicted Elias and Dunning’s (2008a) theory on the civilising process of pastimes into sport. On the contrary, this section claims that the development of MMA in Japan was as an example of what Wouters (2007) dubbed informalisation (a civilisinginformalising trend). MMA just ‘apparently’ presented a more violent version of combat sport, while in fact it did not present a higher risk of death or serious injury than boxing, a long-established combat sport (Sánchez García and Malcolm 2010; Sánchez García 2018). On the one hand, some ‘cosmetic changes’ (Sheard 1997, 2004) were introduced in MMA. The use of gloves and the ban on the use of elbows to the face and head of an opponent prevented the excess of bleeding due to cuts and allowed organisers ‘to satisfy public opinion and the consciences of individuals’ (Sheard 2004: 23). On the other hand, other changes induced a ‘spectacularisation of violence’ – something already used by pro wrestling (see earlier). Pitting one fighting style against other, allowing a wider variety of fighting actions, and introducing charismatic Western fighters were among the different strategies to obtain a heightened sense of thrill. The simultaneous introduction of some ‘cosmetic changes’ and strategies for the ‘spectacularisation of violence’ solved the question of an adequate ‘tension balance’ (Elias and Dunning 2008b) to produce new social standards of what could be considered as a legitimate combat sport. Despite exaggerated media portrayals of MMA fighters as mentally unbalanced brutes, the reality of MMA fighters is closer to well-prepared professionals who understand their trade. Sakuraba Kazushi, probably the most iconic Japanese fighter from Pride FC and UFC, who started his career in the world of pro wrestling, answered to the question ‘What is the meaning Vale Tudo for you?’ by stating: ‘Meaning? It’s my job. There’s no special meaning’ (Interview with Kazushi Sakuraba 2001a). Also, in another interview he stated, I am a professional fighter. I get money from people for my fights. I don’t think that just beating an opponent is considered a professional fight. I think he [Wanderlei Silva] should be aware of it. If he has the same


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experience as mine who lost the fan base, in U-inter and Kingdom [defunct pro wrestling organisations], which I belonged to, he will see how to make spectators happy or how to draw attention of fans. I think he should learn about it. (Interview with Kazushi Sakuraba 2001b; brackets added) As we see in this excerpt, Sakuraba seems to understand perfectly that MMA is a professional combat sport in which you need to give something more than mere beating to produce spectacle. In summary, one needs to deliver ‘spectacularised violence’. At the psychogenetic level of MMA fighters, we could identify what Wouters (2007: 212) dubbed ‘third nature’, characterised by more permeation of affects by the intellect and a tendency towards speaking more openly about feelings and emotional life. In combat sports, this circumstance implied a shift from ‘affective’, ‘expressive’ forms of violence towards ‘rational’, ‘instrumental’ forms of violence, something that Dunning (2008a: 224) had identified as a civilising trend of the sportisation process. The broadcasting of MMA disciplines permeated a big part of Japanese society during 1990s and 2000s. For instance, in 1996, the first time K-1 was broadcasted nationwide by Fuji Television Network, more than 20% of the Japanese population watched it (Brunekreef 2007: 141); in Japan some 71.000 attended the combined PRIDE-K-1 event called Shockwave 2002 or K-1 Dynamite in 2002 (Gentry 2004); 90.000 attended the K-1 Grand Prix in the National Stadium in Tokyo in the same year (Kerr 2005); and the 2004 PRIDE Grand Prix at Saitama Superarena in Tokyo attracted 50.000 spectators; an estimated 54 million Japanese (almost half the population) followed the Bob Sapp–Akebono superfight in K-1 during 2004 (Snowden 2008). Unlike in the United States or Europe, the road to acceptance of MMA by the general public was much easier in Japan. The progressive identification of martial arts with the Japanese national habitus since the Meiji period made the emergence of open public critiques less likely to occur.17 The world of professional wrestling – featuring ‘spectacularised violence’ – did not have much problem flourishing since the 1950s and paved the way for MMA to arrive without the rejection movement that occurred in the United States during the 1990s (Sánchez García 2018) and in Europe (Sánchez García under review). MMA and ‘cool Japan’ Whereas traditional martial arts and martial arts blended with the amateur sports figuration remained a component of the central core of Japanese traditions, the martial arts that hybridised with sport through the professional circuit including MMA (K-1 and Pride FC) came to embody and portray the ‘cool Japan’ imagery (Sugimoto 2014). This imagery spread at the popular level, both within Japan and overseas, during the 1990s and 2000s, replacing the old and serious image of Japan based on strict work practices. The more playful and cheerful portrayal of

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Japan, exemplified in youth culture such as fashion, manga, software technology, visual arts, and music, was related to a shift in Japan’s society towards a leisurebased economy. The designed staging of the MMA shows and the blend of traditional symbols and hypermodern formats and media helped to reframe Japanese imagery through the format of ‘pop martial arts’ shows; e.g., the term bushidō, considered the quintessential essence of the samurai culture, was even introduced starting in 2003 for special Pride FC shows (called Pride Bushido), in which the entire spectrum of weight classes was present, challenge matches and country-versuscountry and team-versus-team formats were favoured. The rediscovery of Nitobe Inazo’s work on bushidō since 1985 succeeded in placing a more internationalist discourse on a very traditional concept, blending the familiar and the exotic. Apart from Nitobe’s books, Musashi’s Gorin no Sho and Yamamoto’s Hagakure filled the bookshelves. Bushidō became common ground within explanations of the Japanese economic miracle of 1980s and the 1990s bubble followed by the 2000s recovery (Benesch 2016: 229). MMA shows helped to reframe the idea of bushidō as part of ‘cool Japan’ in the global era. Contrary to what happened in the case of some martial arts developing within the amateur sport figuration, the hybridisation of martial arts and sports within the professional figuration did not generate significant integration conflicts. Foreign influence was absorbed, reshaped, and ‘Japanised’ through the creation of ‘occidentalist’ exotic views of foreigners. The introduction of famous and oftentimes flamboyant foreign (usually Western) fighters in K-1 and Pride FC not only served to boost the ‘spectacularisation of violence’ (see earlier) but also served to produce a redefinition in the perception of Japanese traditions (e.g. martial arts) through the modern, international, entertaining ‘cool Japan’. A famous iconic case was represented by Kyokushinkai Swiss citizen Andy Hug (1964–2000), who dominated K-1 during the 1990s. Nicknamed the Samurai with the Blue Eyes, among other terms, he was the favourite of the fans and protégée of K-1 founder Ishii Kazuyoshi. Such impact had Hug in Japan that when he suddenly died in 2000 of leukaemia, a big funeral was set, and his urn was deposited at the cemetery of the Hoshuin temple in Kyoto, built in 1608 in honour of Maeda Toshiie, a famous warrior of Oda Nobunaga. The selection of such place strengthened the ties expressed in the hybrid ‘cool Japan’ between Japan/West and modernity/tradition. But perhaps the clearest example of a foreign fighter embodying and spreading the ideal of ‘cool japan’ was Bob Sapp. As a Japanese website on tourism commented on Sapp in 2003: ‘A two-meter giant of a man weighing 170 kilogrammes and known as “The Beast” has captured the imagination of boys across Japan’ (Web Japan 2003: para 1). An ex-American football player and pro wrestler, Sapp first came to Japan in April 2002 to take part in K-1 and Pride FC. Soon he caught the attention of the fans and became something of a TV celebrity, with almost daily appearances, usually on comedy variety shows, even recording a rap album. Sapp clearly became a pop icon for Japanese youngsters. So to say, the image of Sapp was carrying with him a more friendly and


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easy-going characterisation of martial arts, a redefinition of an essential part of Japanese traditional we-image and habitus through a ‘cool Japan’ filter for the new generations.

Notes 1 The maintenance of this name until the 2000s speaks about the controversial image of the army – still linked to the pre-war militarisation of the country – in the we-identity of the Japanese people. 2 In 1953, the Dai Nippon Butokukai was reorganised under a new democratic approach and during the 1960s even expanded internationally. 3 Almost 70% of the schools introduced jūdō because it is technically easier to teach and the equipment is less complex; 25% of the schools introduced kendō, and the remaining 5% left introduced either kyūdō, karate, sumō, or naginata (Bennett 2015: 185). 4 The Nippon Kobudō Kyōkai was founded in 1979 and was the heir of the Dai Nippon Kobudō Shinkōkai founded in the 1930s (see Chapter 9). 5 The exclusive jūtsu approach can only be found at the police and military forces (called Self-Defense forces after the Second World War). Different disciplines such as battō jūtsu, Keijō jūtsu, Hojō jūtsu, Taihō jūtsu, Keibō Soho, and Toshu Kakutō are included in this group (Draeger 2007: 65–76). Some of these disciplines were created before the war and were redefined afterwards. For instance, the taihō jutsu was developed by the panel of experts at the Tokyo Police Bureau of 1924, based on kendō/ jūdō methods, would be later renewed in 1947 with experts from these but also more disciplines such as karate, jōdō, pistol shooting, or even Western boxing (Draeger 2007: 70). Some of them nonetheless were only developed after the Second World War. For instance, keibō, the short wooden club used by the patrol officers, were only refined during the 1950s and especially the 1960s, thanks to the work of Shintō Muso ryū headmaster, Shimizu Takaiji. 6 For instance, Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū still teaches divinatory methods known as tonkō, and Risuke Ōtake, master teacher of the art, expressed that ‘there are scholars who assert that the use of spells and divination in military strategy and the warriors arts were nothing more than ignorant superstition. Nothing could be further from the truth’ (2016: 73). Ōtake claims to have successfully performed some fox-spirit exorcism himself (2016: 64). Not only certain practices but the whole mindset are clearly at odds with modern martial arts. Ōtake (2016) begins the section on ‘Living with integrity and sincerity’ with the exemplary act of general Nogi Maresuke, who committed seppuku in 1912, as a genuine example of bushidō: ‘Bushido, the way of the warrior, is solely concerned with living one’s life with integrity and sincerity, guided by the spirit of self-sacrifice. This outlook can be seen in the life of the exemplar general Nogi Maresuke (1849–1912) who demonstrated the importance of living true to one’s own concept of bushido based on a well-tempered character, as well as the desire to make the world a better place’ (Ōtake 2016: 228–229). 7 The Diamond Route is organised by the three prefectures of Fukushima, Tochigi, and Ibaraki and promises to offer nature, outdoor sports, health practices, and historical experiences ‘full of sparkling treasures, to give you the experience of a lifetime in the heart of Japan’ ( The dramatisation of samurai-related festivals and performances represents a significant part of the seductive birdcalls from the organisation. Thanks to Néstor Revuelta Zarzosa for bringing this point into consideration. 8 The international expansion of naginata started timidly during the 1970s and 1980s but became a reality when the International Naginata Federation (INF) was formed in

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10 11






1990 with some affiliated countries. The first Naginata World Championship was held in Japan in 1995. During the early 2000s, an estimated 40.000 people practiced naginata in Japan, and a growing number practiced outside Japan (Bennett 2010: 162). Most of them train primarily in Atarashii Naginata, but some still train in a traditional style. The vast majority of participants in naginata are still women, but men are practicing it in increasing numbers, especially among the foreign community (Nippon Budokan 2009: 236). Exhibitions in which Japan’s artistic and cultural past presented samurai weaponry and equipment as works of fine arts, not necessarily weapons of war. The distance from the past helped to erase the obvious militaristic connotations that would have been attached to the modern, mass-produced swords of the Second World War called guntō, which were absent from the exhibitions (Droubie 2011: 2318). A good example is provided by Goodger and Goodger’s (1977) research on the changes within jūdō culture in Britain. After the war, the United States separated the Okinawa Prefecture from Japan in 1945 and occupied it until 1972. This situation exacerbated again the sense of difference between Okinawans and mainland Japanese citizens. In 1972, Japan reincorporated Okinawa Prefecture into the nation in a process frequently referred to as ‘reversion’, but the region maintained a marginal position. The ‘reconciliation’ and integration of Okinawans into Japanese identity was helped not by the ambit of karate but by another combat sport, boxing, through the figure of Okinawan professional boxer Gushiken Yōkō, who became world champion in the late 1970s (Frost 2010: ch. 5). Shōtōkan instructors such as Kase Taiji (1929–2004), Enoeda Keinosuke (1935– 2003), Shirai Hirosi (b. 1937), Murakami Tetsuji (1927–1987), and Kanazawa Hirokazu (b. 1931) were crucial to expanding karate in Europe. Other Shōtōkan Japanese instructors such as Oshima Tsutomu (b. 1930) and Hidetaka Nishiyama (1928–2008) travelled to the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s, respectively, becoming key figures in the spread of karate in that country. Kimura had won everything in the jūdō world before the war. After the war, he was hired temporarily by the Allied forces to teach jūdō to the American military police. In order to overcome the hard times of the era, he also made a living by engaging in tournaments in which money prize was offered: in 1947 he won the West Japan Jūdō Championship, earning a prize of $10.000. In 1949, after winning for a fourth time the All Japan Championships, he entered the short-lived league of professional jūdō in 1949. His road to professionalisation as a way to earn money continued by accepting challenges during world tours with other jūdō experts. According to John Bluming (a Dutch high-ranked student of Ōyama Masutatsu), ‘It wasn’t a bull, it was an ox’, he insists. ‘Kurosaki [another of Ōyama’s students] comes along beforehand and hits him on the horn so the horn is loose, and then Ōyama comes in there and makes a lot of noise . . . and the horn comes off [. . .] Ōyama never killed a bull. That’s absolute nonsense’ (in Miracle 2015: 51; brackets added). One of Kanō’s students, Mitsuyo Maeda, was key to the development of Gracie jiujitsu in Brazil in the late 1910s when Maeda taught jūdō/jūjutsu to Carlos Gracie. He was already a wrestler, and along with his brother Hélio (1913–2009), the family developed Gracie jiu-jitsu, based on a strong groundwork. Moreover, a high point in the ‘test’ for the style the Gracies had developed came again from the line of ‘professional jūdō’, that time by the hand of the famous Kimura Masahiko in 1951 who faced Hélio Gracie. In 1951, Kimura and two other Japanese jūdōka were invited to travel to Brazil to face the Gracies in the Brazilian style rules. The tour was sponsored by the Sao Paulo Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper in a city where many Japanese immigrants had their home. Hélio Gracie faced first Kayo Yukio, fifth dan in jūdō and larger in size than Hélio. They fought two times, and Hélio prevailed in the second match. Then the match between Hélio and Kimura was set. Even though Kimura dominated the


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bout completely, he could not submit or make Hélio tap, so Gracie took this as a moral victory and a true landmark for the credibility of Gracie jiu-jitsu in Brazil. 16 So successful was the Japanese MMA at the beginning of the twentieth century that girls’ promotion companies were also created and enjoyed relatively success. In 2000, the ReMix promotion staged an open-weight tournament for women, and in 2001 the promoter became Smackgirl. After financial difficulties throughout 2008, the promotion company was sold and rebranded as Jewells. 17 The strength of this identification between martial arts and Japanese habitus acting as a buffer against ‘civilising’ critiques can be gauged not only in the realm of professional sports but also in the wisest spread of Japanese budō played as an amateur sport: jūdō. An article published in the Japanese Times in 2006 stated that between 1983 and 2009, 108 students aged 12 to 17 had died as a consequence of jūdō accidents in Japanese schools, most of them due to brain injuries (Bennett 2015: 185–186). The case of jūdō represented for the Japanese a successful and acclaimed part of Japan’s national habitus by the international community. This circumstance created a self-censured attitude towards the matter, dealing with it behind the scenes. This is not to say that the connection of budō and national habitus is impervious to possible critiques: recent scandals in the world of professional sumō concerning drug consumption, rowdy behaviour in public, violent apprentice abuse, match fixing (yaochō), and contacts with the yakuza were publicly condemned (Manzenreiter 2014: 460). However, such critiques had to do with the perceived destruction of budō essence and values (mostly perceived as part of the Japanese essence and values), and none of these critiques concerned an excessive display of violence within the sport.

References Abel, J.R. (2012). Japan’s Sporting Diplomacy: The 1964 Tokyo Olympiad. The International History Review, 34(2), pp. 203–220. Benesch, O. (2016). Inventing the Way of the Samurai. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bennett, A.C. (2005). Kendo or Kumdo: The Internationalization of Kendo and the Olympic Problem. In A. Bennett (ed.). Budo Perspectives. Auckland: Kendo World Publications, pp. 327–349. Bennett, A.C. (2010). Naginata. In T.A. Green and J.E. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (Vol. 2). Oxford: ABC-CLIO, pp. 158–162. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bernier, B. (2011). Dispossession and Changes in Class Relations in Japan since 1980. Critique of Anthropology, 31(2), pp. 108–120. Bodiford, W. (2003). Religion and Spiritual Development: Japan. In T.A. Green and J.R. Svinth (eds.). Martial Arts in the Modern World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 472–501. Brunekreef, W. (2007). The Golden Kyokushin and K-1 Encyclopedia. Knoxville: MA Productions. Cynarski, W.J. and Sieber, L. (2007). A Martial Arts Warrior as a Tourist. International Journal of Eastern Sports & Physical Education, 5(1), pp. 26–41. Draeger, D.F. (2007). Modern Bujutsu and Budo. Boston: Weatherhill. Droubie, P. (2011). Phoenix Arisen: Japan as Peaceful Internationalist at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 28(16), pp. 2309–2322. Dunning, E. (2008a). Social Bonding and Violence in Sport. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 222–241.

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Ebell, S.B. (2012). Competition versus Tradition in Kodokan Jūdō. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 3(2), pp. 28–37. Elias, N. (1995). Technization and Civilization. Theory, Culture & Society, 12(3), pp. 7–42. Elias, N. and Dunning, E. (2008a). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. Elias, N. and Dunning, E. (2008b). Dynamics of Group Sports with Special Reference to Football. In N. Elias and E. Dunning (eds.). Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilising Process. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, pp. 189–202. Frost, D.J. (2010). Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gainty, D. (2013). Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London: Routledge. Gentry, C. (2004). No Holds Barred. Reading: Milo Books. Goodger, B.C. and Goodger, J.M. (1977). Jūdō in the Light of Theory and Sociological Research. International Review of Sport Sociology, 12(2), pp. 5–34. Guttmann, A. and Thompson, L.A. (2001). Japanese Sports: A History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Hamaguchi, Y. (2006). Innovation in Martial Arts. In J. Maguire and M. Nakayama (eds.). Japan, Sport and Society: Tradition and Change in a Globalizing World. London: Routledge, pp. 7–18. Interview with Kazushi Sakuraba. (2001a). Gong Kakutogi Plus 14, September 2001, viewed 29 June 2017, Interview with Kazushi Sakuraba. (2001b). Gong Kakutougi 108, April 2001, viewed 29 June 2017, Kashima-Shinryū Federation of Martial Sciences. (2017). Organization, viewed 27 January 2018, Kawasaki, K.I. (1994). Youth Culture in Japan. Social Justice, 21(2 (56)), pp. 185–203. Kerr, J. (2005). Rethinking Aggression and Violence in Sport. London: Routledge. Loiseleur, T. (2011). Kakutogi Context: Notes on the Waning Japanese Fight Scene. Sherdog, November 2, viewed 16 January 2018, Manzenreiter, W. (2014). Cracks in the Moral Economy of Sumo: Beasts of Burden, Sport Heroes, National Icons and Living Gods in Disgrace. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 31(4), pp. 459–473. Miracle, J. (2015). Imposing the Terms of the Battle. Martial Arts Studies, 1, pp. 46–59. Motomura, K. (2009). The History of Budō in Schools. In Nippon Budokan (ed.). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation, pp. 61–65. Nippon Budokan. (2009). The Martial Ways of Japan. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation. Nye, J.S. (2004). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs. Ōtake, R. (2016). Strategy and the Art of Peace: Tenshin Shō-Den Katori Shintō-Ryū. Tokyo: Nippon Budokan Foundation. Pranin, S. (ed.). (1996). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Tokyo: Aiki News. Saeki, T. (1994). The Conflict between Tradition and Modernization in a Sport Organization: A Sociological Study of Issues Surrounding the Organizational Reformation of All Japan Jūdō Federation. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 29(3), pp. 301–315. Sánchez García, R. (2016). The Development of Kano’s Jūdō within Japanese Civilizing/ Decivilizing Processes. Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science, 5(2), pp. 108–119.


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Sánchez García, R. (2018). The Development of Mixed Martial Arts: Using the Quest for Excitement and Informalization to Understand Sportization. In D. Malcom and P. Velijja (eds.). Figurational Research in Sport, Leisure and Health. London: Routledge. Sánchez García, R. (under review). The Redefinition of Legitimate Violence in Combat Sports: The Case of MMA in the USA and Europe. Sociology of Sport Journal. Sánchez García, R. and Malcolm, D. (2010). Decivilizing, Civilizing or Informalizing? The International Development of Mixed Martial Arts. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 45(1), pp. 39–58. Sato, S. (2013). The Sportification of Jūdō: Global Convergence and Evolution. Journal of Global History, 8(2), pp. 299–317. Sheard, K. (1997). Aspects of Boxing in the Western “Civilizing Process”. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 32(1), pp. 31–57. Sheard, K. (2004). Boxing in the Western Civilizing Process. In D. Malcolm, E. Dunning, and I. Waddington (eds.). Sport Histories: Figurational Studies of the Development of Modern Sports. London: Routledge, pp. 15–30. Shishida, F. and Nariyama, T. (2001). Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge. Berkeley: Shodokan Pub. Snowden, J. (2008). Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting. Toronto: ECW Press. Sugimoto, Y. (2003). An Introduction to Japanese Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sugimoto, Y. (2014). Japanese Society: Inside Out and Outside In. International Sociology, 29(3), pp. 191–208. Thompson, L.A. (1986). Professional Wrestling in Japan: Media and Message. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 21(1), pp. 65–81. Uozumi, T. (2013). A Cross-Cultural Study of Japanese Budo in the Global Era. In T. Uozumi, A. Bennett, and K.B. Daigaku (eds.). Budō in the Global Era: A Cross Cultural Analysis of Issues Pertaining to Globalisation. IBU Budō Series Vol. 2. Tokyo: International Budo University, pp. 5–29. Van Bottenburg, M. and Heilbron, J. (2006). De-Sportization of Fighting Contests: The Origins and Dynamics of No Holds Barred Events and the Theory of Sportization. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 41(3–4), pp. 259–282. Web Japan. (2003). What’s Cool in Japan, viewed 5 December 2017, Wouters, C. (2007). Informalization: Manners and Emotions since 1890. London: Sage. Yokoyama, K. (2009). Modern Gladiators: Why Is Total Fighting Becoming Popular in Japan? Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag.

Chapter 12


Norbert Elias’s use of the concept of civilisation was at odds with ethnocentric views that came to be attached to the term in colonial Western discourses to assess the value of foreign cultures. He tried to define ‘civilisation’ as a technical, non-teleological, non-deterministic, sociological concept. Elias’s technical approach to the notion of civilisation may afford a fruitful testing ground for comparative analysis that could not be produced by paying attention to ethnocentric notions of ‘civilisation’ from the Western and Japanese sides. Early encounters between Japanese and Spaniards in Japan during the seventeenth century showed ethnocentric views from both sides, featuring protocol misunderstandings and ambivalent assessments. For instance, Spaniards were awed by the silence and order of the Japanese people but also horrified by their barbaric custom of ritual suicide called seppuku.1 On the other side, the Japanese felt repugnance towards some mores of Spanish ambassadors such as not taking off their shoes to meet the shōgun at his premises.2 Avoiding such ethnocentric, evaluative views, this chapter affords a comparative framework through the analysis of the transformation of combat sports and martial arts within Western and Japanese civilising processes. A first section sums up the long-term development of Japanese martial arts; a second section focuses specifically on the comparative analysis.

Japanese civilising process and martial arts The long-term process that led to the shift from koryū bujutsu (classical martial arts) to gendai budō (modern martial arts) included the sedimentation and reelaboration of different practices and values attached to people from different social groups bound together within shifting interdependencies and power balances. The book has revealed that the participation of women in martial traditions, though much less than that of men’s, remained constant along the different stages. This book has built upon the research work of different studies – see Amdur (2002: chapter 8) as a canonical reference in this respect – to continue amending this blind spot in the main literature on Japanese martial arts.


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Following the criteria presented in the introduction about the two axes of tension between civilising–decivilising and formalising–informalising, this section graphically presents the undulating pattern followed by the Japanese civilising process (see Figure 12.1). The graph also features key moments in the development of Japanese martial arts. In the transition from Nara (710–94) to Heian (794–1185), the (1) predominant civilising-formalising trend based on the centralisation of the monopoly of violence (through a big conscripted army) and taxation by the imperial court started to change. Between the eighth and tenth centuries (2), the centralised imperial army was atomised in small, movable units of mounted warriors wielding bow and arrow, and provincial governors started collecting revenues autonomously, challenging the central authority. This decivilising-informalising trend developed further by (3) the mid-Heian period (eleventh to twelfth centuries): a progressive shift in the tax and violence monopoly from a central authority towards the provincial elites, powerful central nobles, and religious institutions became evident through the practice of land commendation (shōen). The creation of this land tenure system sparked conflict, and warriors inflicted violence to confiscate lands illegally. The competition between provincial elites, provincial governors, shrines, temples, princes, and courtiers fostered the use of private military forces. The adjustment of the army to a set of smaller forces suitable to meet the new social conditions ended up hollowing the central court authority on the monopoly of violence. Nonetheless, the process was slow. The central court maintained the control over warriors by pitting one against another,

Japanese Civilising Process Civilising 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Nara (710–94) Heian (8–10thC) Heian (11–12thC) Kamakura (1185–1333) Two Courts Period (1336–1392) Warring States (1467–1600) Early and mid Tokugawa (1603–1789) Late Tokugawa (1789–1868) Meiji (1868–1912) Taishō (1912–1926) Early Shōwa (1926–1945) 1960s–70s 1980s–m.1990s m.1990s–2000s Birth of classical martial ryū Birth of Modern martial arts











4 2




1 Decivilising

Figure 12.1 Japanese civilising process with key moments in the development of martial arts



granting rewards and positions, making them compete for the favour of their masters, at least until the end of the twelfth century. Military houses fought each other to become the ‘chief of all warriors’ on the court’s behalf. The Taira and Minamoto families became the two dominant contenders in the competition, leading to the famous Genpei war of 1180–1185. Yoritomo won and was appointed as shōgun on behalf of the Imperial Court, even though he proclaimed his authority and the autonomy of warriors’ power by establishing a military government (the Kamakura Shōgunate) in the Kanto region. The establishment of the Kamakura shōgunate represented a (4) civilising-formalising trend, gaining some stabilisation after the wars between the Taira and Minamoto. The government during the Kamakura period implied a system of monopoly of violence and taxation shared by elites known as kenmon (influential houses) that by the twelfth century included court nobility, religious institutions, and warrior aristocrats. Whereas the Kamakura military government ruled the east (Kanto) region, the court (based in Kyoto) and religious institutions still held control over the western part of the country. First examples of martial proto-ryū emerged in the case of archery, and ceremonial sumō was connected to the warriors’ arts as part of the preparation for warfare. The multipolar figuration of power relations between the kenmon generated some decivilising-informalising tensions that would become predominant in the Muromachi period in two consecutive cycles of violence: (5) the first one was constituted by the Two Courts period (1336–1392) in which the monopolised centralisation of violence and taxation would be progressively shattered and passed into the hands of shugō daimyō, acting as aggressive local powers, clashing against each other. After a short period of stability during the first half of the fifteenth century, the stability of the figuration became precarious again and headed towards a more pervasive and intense second cycle of violence during (6) the Warring States period (1467–1600). Elimination contests between survival units (warriors, court, temples, peasants) led to consecutive waves of unification of the country. The unification period under Hideyoshi represented a turning point from the predominance of the decivilisinginformalising trend to a civilising-formalising trend, something that would finally settle during (7) the Tokugawa period at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The birth of composite martial ryū was related to non-predominant civilising-formalising trends occurring during the two cycles of violence, gaining some stability once the civilising trend became predominant on a broader scale during more peaceful eras in the aftermath of both conflicts. In this sense, the period of unification and especially the pervasive pax Tokugawa were paramount for the systematisation and codification of martial traditions through kata. During the Tokugawa period, a predominant civilising-formalising trend was solidly established through the baku-han figuration in the hands of the warriors’ group. Imperial court and religious institutions progressively lost political power even though they remained important as part of the legitimation of the shōgunate.3 The shōgun maintained a central position in the multi-power equilibrium of forces with other daimyō thanks to a shōgunal mechanism: the sankin kotai,


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that acted as a means of indirect taxation and permitted the control of potential armed menace by the daimyō. As the Tokugawa period unfolded, martial arts suffered further civilising transformations such as specialisation (kenjutsu and jūjutsu), development of protective equipment, and shift in methodology from kata towards free sparring. After the forced opening of the country in the 1850s, diverse protest movements against the shōgunate from disaffected warriors represented (8) decivilising-informalising trends during the 1860s, something that continued to influence during the first decade after the establishment of (9) the Meiji government in 1868. These turbulent times were part of the integration conflicts once the functional democratisation of power potential had levelled the game between samurai and commoners’ groups between 1840 and 1880. After a short civilising-informalising trend during the 1870s, a reformalisation phase (civilising-formalising trend) ensued until the end of the period. It was during the Meiji period that the first truly modern martial artists emerged, commoners playing a decisive role in the blend of martial traditions and Japanese we-identity. During the (10) Taishō democracy, a civilising-informalising pattern regained the upper hand even though some political violence emerged as part of decivilising counter-trends. This contrasting situation occurred also in the martial arts: the sports-like orientation of martial arts was counterbalanced by the conception of martial arts as education to follow the imperial way. As (11) the Shōwa period began, the decivilising-formalising trend became predominant with the instauration of a dictatorial state. Martial arts were put to use in the transmission of a militarised habitus to the Japanese citizens/soldiers in their preparation for the incoming war. After the Second World War, a general civilising trend was set, with undulations between (12) informalisation (1960s–1970s), (13) reformalisation (1980s–mid-1990s) and (14) informalisation (mid-1990s–2000s) phases. Japanese martial arts developed within these broader civilising trends. Some of these martial arts (koryū, aikidō) and the ‘national sport’ (sumō) remained as reservoirs of Japanese traditions, detached from militaristic undertones; other martial disciplines underwent a sportisation process: they blended with the global sports figuration, either in the amateur (jūdō, karate, kendō) or the professional (MMA) versions. Functional democratisation, integration conflicts, and closure mechanism in the transmission of martial arts During the long-term development of Japanese martial arts, different phases of functional democratisation expanded martial traditions from established social groups towards a wider circle of outsiders. Nonetheless, associated with these expansive cycles, we also found integration conflicts expressed for instance in reactions such as the creation of a ‘closure mechanism’ played by the established groups to prevent, or at least control, the expansion of these practices. For instance, during the first phase of archery proto-ryū and sumō, ceremonial etiquette was used by the good society surrounding the imperial court as a way



to draw a line between those entitled to perform/witness martial arts and their social inferiors. In a later stage, during mid and late Tokugawa, the discussion of kata vs. free practice was not only a debate about the technicalities of combat. It also implied a shifting power balance between the (established) high and middle samurai groups and (outsider) low samurai and commoners’ groups. The established samurai, clinging to kata practice, avoided losing face in competition against lower rank samurai and also avoided mixing with social inferiors such as commoners. Lower-ranked samurai were the main promoters of free practice and the expansion of the activity towards commoners as a way to make a living out of a professional career. Since the Meiji period, but especially during the early Shōwa period, the bushidō code was used as a closure mechanism in relation to Western foreigners and their foreign practices (sports). Martial arts became connected to the essence of the Japanese we-identity against the Western influences expressed in the sports movement. Nonetheless, the relationship between Japanese martial arts and sports previous to the war was not homogenous. The different early positioning of jūdō, karate, and kendō was crucial for the scope and pace of their ultimate global expansion. Jūdō soon became connected to the international sports movement, expanding internationally faster than kendō, which remained more detached from the international sports channel of diffusion and maintained a closer identification with the indigenous features of the Japanese we-image through martial arts. Kendō4 presented the hardest resistance to the introduction of Western sport values both before and after the war; precisely this opposition was what prevented kendō from expanding globally at the same speed and rate as jūdō or karate.5 Due to its Okinawan origins, karate developed as an outsider martial art and was not essentially connected to the Japanese we-identity until the ‘Japanisation’ of the discipline during early Shōwa. This circumstance favoured the fast spreading of the art after the war, especially through Shōtōkan masters in the amateur version and through hybridisation with Western combat sports (K-1) in the professional version.

A comparison between Japanese and Western civilising patterns in relation to combat sports and martial arts Combat practices, as a kind of ‘universal social trait of human populations, constitute a conspicuous field to study and compare different patterns of civilising processes across the globe. Understanding the transformation of martial traditions of established groups is crucial to understanding the process of state formation and monopoly of violence. For instance, Elias (2018b) compared the English and French processes through the transformation of higher classes’ martial traditions at the stage of court society. Such comparison helped him to understand different civilising patterns of state formation and habitus of the established groups. In the English case, a more even power balance among parties in a more pacified territory since the eighteenth century would give birth to the transformation of prize fighting


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into boxing. In the French case, the predominant central figure of the king gave birth to another kind of civilising pattern. Whereas the English upper classes relied on boxing (using bare hands) as an honourable practice for good upbringing, the French upper classes kept the tradition of duelling (using swords) to resolve private honour affairs well into the nineteenth century. Moreover, the French modality of boxing (‘savate’) kept its lower-class characteristics (including kicks, not only punches) because of the lesser degree of permeability between different classes that impeded upper class-involvement in the refinement of such a practice. This section aims to provide a fruitful comparison between the development of martial arts and combat sports within the civilising processes of Japan and different European nations. Potential issues of ‘Eurocentrism’ must be taken into account when conducting comparative analysis between processes occurring in Western countries and Japan. For instance, talking about ‘feudalism’ in Japan is problematic if we want to literally apply the specificities of the European case to the Asian context. In this sense, Farris (1995) harshly criticised the quick equivalence some authors defending the ‘Western analogue theory’ make between European feudalism/rise of the medieval knights and feudalism in Japan/rise of the samurai. Nonetheless, we would not incur such error talking about feudalism in the technical sense of process-sociology as Mennell (1996) does when he uses ‘feudalisation’ in Japan ‘in a limited sense to mean a process of fragmentation of effective rule to smaller territories ruled by warriors’ (133, note 2). The rest of the section analyses different comparative cases of martial arts and combat sports within the Japanese, French, English, German, and US civilising patterns. Japanese and French duelling at the dawn of the court society The study of duelling6 practices during the early Tokugawa period and French court society allows us to get interesting comparison on the sociogenesis and psychogenesis of both civilising patterns. In Japan, the French ‘duelling fever’ never appeared. The phenomenon of duelling in the transition phase from total war to a more pacified society in Japan is clearly different to what happened in the duelling explosion7 of seventeenth-century France, when the central rule of the king was solidly established. Such behaviour in France was due to the ‘status anxiety’ experienced by nobles threatened by the rising bourgeoisie. The king was playing a balance game through the ‘royal mechanism’, favouring either the noble or the bourgeoisie side in order to remain as the key piece of the whole system. In the Japanese case, when a dual monopoly of violence was established through the baku-han figuration, no samurai ‘status anxiety’ appeared during the early Tokugawa period due to the threat of other rising social group. The Tokugawa law established clear differences between social groups, the merchants being the lowest rank of society. In Japan, samurai experienced status anxiety as an intraestate phenomenon: samurais’ lives were bound to a pervasive status competition through symbolic play (attached to ranking) to gain the favour of their lord, and



the lords competed against each other to gain the favour of the shōgun. As a central ruler, the shōgun used sankin kotai as a successful ‘shōgunal mechanism’ to boost status competition among lords that drained their power resources. The degree of retainers’ autonomy from their lord and from the shōgun when compared to their French counterparts was smaller. Retainers depended completely on their lords to make a living and to keep their place in a society segregated in four isolated groups; therefore, to lose face – and to make one’s lord to lose face – by acting foolishly in a bloodshed incident would imply breaching the whole system of symbolic nuances that pervaded the ranking hierarchy. Vaporis’s (2008: 204) specific example of the number of bloodshed incidents caused in Edo by the retainers of the domain of Tottori presented a small ratio (one every three years) and did not vary much from 1671 to 1826. Such figures express that such behaviour was highly discouraged by the whole figuration in which the retainers existed. Professional sumo¯ in mid- to late Tokugawa and English boxing Elias (2018b) remarked how the sportisation process in which prize fighting developed into boxing implied the transformation of earlier working-class forms of fighting by the intervention of middle and upper classes as patrons, gamblers, and entrepreneurs. For instance, the implementation of John Brouhgton’s first written rules in 1743 were backed up by the support of several gentlemen at Broughton’s Amphitheatre. The commercial interest that brought together gentleman patrons (profiting for betting) and common folks acting as professionals (gaining wages or profits of enterprise) helped to develop the standards of the sport. In comparison to the French aristocracy, the English gentlemen developed a kind of symbolic fighting (fighting for money) through betting, favouring the commercialisation and professionalisation of the activity. Gentlemen and aristocrats also competed in status ‘by proxy’, acting as patrons of professional boxers. Thus, the figuration surrounding professional sports such as boxing became larger than when the activity was performed as a more unregulated kind of prize fighting. The novel figuration implied patron-professional-betting or paying public (Elias 2018b: 191). The sportisation process of boxing developed over a long period, especially during the nineteenth century (Sheard 1997, 2004), representing one among several patterns of diffusion and variation among English sports (Elias 2018a), connected with different figurations of class relations. An increasing market economy and the expansion of the railway (which greatly boosted the chances of mass spectators to attend bouts) were key factors for the growth and stabilisation of national rules for championships in different locations. The case of Japanese sumō during mid- and late Tokugawa presents some common features to boxing in England but also clear differences. The figuration was also patron–professional fighter–paying public, but the power potential of the commoners and the degree of interaction between the social groups of samurai


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and commoners was not quite as big as in England. Besides, the question of gambling was out of the picture in the Japanese case. Tokugawa’s policy on gambling had been very oppositional from the beginning. The corpus of law published in 1742, the Kujikata Osadamegaki, considered gambling a crime and source of social evils and specified penalties for it. Nonetheless, the prohibitions did not finish the activity, just made it go underground, behind the scenes. Professional gamblers (bakuchiuchi) were granted an unofficial special status in return for their function as law helpers. Gambling did not hold a great influence over the development of a standardised set of rules in sumō. Neither did the development of an extended railway network at a time, as Tokugawa’s prohibitions against wheeled vehicles was still enforced. Sumō regulation became standardised mainly due to established groups of the Tokugawa regime. For instance, during the eighteenth century, the influential Yoshida family gained the monopoly over the standardisation of sumō techniques, etiquette, and customs and the right to grant the rank of professional, a compulsory requirement to compete. A closed system of elders (toshiyori), someone with reputation and influence, prevented outsiders from getting into the management and organisation of the sport. Regulation and formalisation of sumō were connected to the social dynamic of status competition among daimyō, who hire the services of strong wrestlers to display their power and wealth in public competitions. For instance, the expensive attire of the wrestler was part of the ‘status consumption’ that daimyō were obliged to obey, spending according to rank. The public display of power was crucial, and the sumō scenery was perfect to put that on public display. The question of gaining money from this activity was not very important; monetary business was still not an officially suitable occupation for samurai. The question of a ‘fair fight’ was not at all pressing: no weight categories were implemented – something that still nowadays remains the same. The fear of contamination with a debasing monetary activity led officially sanctioned professional sumō to become generally associated with campaigns of benefit sumō matches, bounded to some temple or shrine. In fact, sumō tournaments were activities under fundraising designation (kanjin). The connection with religion and charity could balance to some extent the exposure to a pecuniary activity.8 This relationship would be strengthened in Meiji, sumō gaining greater official legitimacy through the introduction of etiquette and symbology attached to Shintō, the state religion.9 The system of wages for wrestlers was also different in the English and Japanese cases. Sumō wrestlers did not get money individually. They were inscribed in a traditional top-down family base organisation (stable), and they received a stipend, depending on their rank, from the stable to which they belonged. Again, the importance was not the individual fighter in itself but the maintenance of the whole system. Thus, it is easy to understand one of the main problems sumō had to face recurrently: match fixing. The hierarchical structure of the sport and the dependence of the individual wrestlers on their stables contributed to the use of match fixing to prolong careers for established fighters and influence the distribution of promotions.



Overall, the more status-bound development of sumō in comparison to sports such as boxing in England was related to a more segregated figuration between social groups: established samurai and rising merchant estate. Even though the merchant estate during mid- and late Tokugawa in Japan thrived, their power potential in the political arena and the public legitimacy of the means of orientation were still held at bay by established samurai groups. The ‘retraditionalisation of sumō’ during Meiji would harden a tight corset over the sport, with it becoming the ‘national sport’ but preventing at the same time the possibility of worldwide expansion. German duelling fraternities and Japanese martial arts as decivilising socio-technical devices Germany’s and Japan’s civilising patterns share a key feature: the late unification of the country by the late nineteenth century under the command of a warrior elite – aristocratic Prussians in the case of Germany and samurai in the case of Japan. These warrior elites were determinant for the militaristic ethos to gain the upper hand in the consolidation of a specific national habitus and we-identity of the German and Japanese peoples. In the German case, the ‘barbarisation’ (decivilisation) of the middle classes was related to their introduction into the ‘good society of giving and taking satisfaction in a duel’ (Satisfaktionsfähige Gessellschaft) through their participation in duelling fraternities of the universities since 1871. The duelling fraternities amounted to a systematic spread of the aristocratic model within the institution of the universities, glorifying the role of the warrior. This process was paramount for the rise of the Nazi regime, as it generated a social tone attuned to the need for strong leadership. Hitler was able not only to incarnate the ideal of strong command but also to succeed in ‘democratising’ the barbarisation of the whole population through the generation of the ‘Aryan race’ as a national we-identity10 (Dunning and Mennell 1998: 351). In the Japanese case, the diffusion of martial arts and martial virtues from the samurai towards commoners by the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries was achieved through organisations such as the Dai Nippon Butokukai. Other civil organisations such as Kanō’s Kōdōkan helped also with the diffusion of martial arts through the Japanese population, although the message was more ambivalent. On the one side, Kōdōkan transmitted classical martial values in the same vein as Dai Nippon Butokukai; on the other hand, it helped to connect martial arts to the international sports movement. The diffusion through the school system started in the first decade of the twentieth century and soon gained momentum in the spread of the message of bushidō, a warrior code linking emperor, martial virtue, and self-sacrifice. This link would become much more evident during the early Shōwa period, when every organisation from the Japanese state and civil society transmitted the values of imperial bushidō towards the whole population.


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The development of MMA in Japan, USA, and Europe The case of MMA represents a more recent case of comparison between the Japanese, US, and European civilising patterns. The problems that Japanese MMA promotions such as K-1 or Pride FC faced during the late 2000s were not related to a ‘violence issue’ as was the case in USA and Europe. The strong figuration of rejection formed in USA by the middle of the 1990s – dubbing UFC as a kind of ‘human cockfighting’ – almost ended MMA activity in the country; nonetheless, changes in the regulation and the format helped MMA to grow into a very successful professional combat sport. In Europe, the figuration of rejection was even stronger. In 1999, a recommendation by the Council of Europe advised the prohibition of free-fighting contests such as cage fighting. The recommendation No. R (99) 11 related the matter to the ‘Convention for the Protection of Human Rights’ and ‘Fundamental Freedoms’ and the ‘European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events’, clearly expressing why such violent behaviours should be outlawed. This staunch opposition to MMA allowed only a limited but successful professional development in the UK, Ireland, and Poland and a much more controlled amateur version in mainland Europe (Sánchez García under review). Contrary to the cases in the USA and Europe, MMA in Japan did not generate a moral panic reaction in the Japanese people due to ‘excessive violence’, and a figuration of rejection was not formed either. Massive attendance at the shows and public broadcasting on a successful national TV channel witnessed the amazing growth of K-1 and Pride FC. The identification of martial arts with the Japanese national habitus made open public critiques on the matter of violence less likely to emerge. An adequate tension balance in the Japanese case was achieved by the simultaneous introduction of ‘cosmetic changes’ (use of gloves, no elbows allowed to the head), and changes which induced the ‘spectacularisation of violence’ (pitting different fighting styles against each other; using foreign flamboyant characters).

Notes 1 Don Rodrigo de Vivero, Spanish Philippines governor, commented the following about seppuku in 1609: ‘and then they reach for the katana and cut themselves by the mid-section, with such bravery or impiety that half of the body is left aside, witnesses praising such a brutal and barbaric feat’ (in Gil 1991: 207). 2 Fray Diego de Santa Catalina, a Franciscan monk, commented on the Japanese view about Spanish Christians in1615: ‘[they consider] Christians as ignorant people, fooled in their religious beliefs; and about customs they considered them as barbarous and coarse, without either police or upbringing’ (in Gil 1991: 456; brackets added). 3 Throughout the long-term development of the Japanese civilising process, the emperor and the religious institutions remained the symbolic compass – the centrepiece in the means of orientation – in political and social life. Being connected to divine origins by religious specialists, the emperor position maintained the narrative of the origins and the order of ‘as in heaven as on earth’. During the first big cycle of civil strife (the Two Courts period), the competing sides legitimised themselves by appealing to the



5 6 7 8




emperor’s cause. Moreover, even when the emperor was finally stripped of almost any executive political power by the Tokugawa shōgun, the latter maintained this title as a subordinate denomination, justifying his actions on behalf of the emperor. The anti-shōgunal forces that propitiated the Meiji restoration appealed to an imperial restoration and the new modern state were built as a nation around the figure of a paternalistic emperor; Shintō as a state religion provided the image of the emperor as a divinity and bushidō as a moral code linked martial virtue, self-sacrifice, and loyalty from the Japanese citizens to the emperor as father of the nation. The same could be applied to naginata or kyūdō. Both are connected to a strong sense of Japaneseness, even though they represent less successful cases than kendō in terms of national and international participants. The equivalent to kendō in the professional version is played by sumō, applying a similar closure mechanism that impedes the activity to expand abroad. The true cycle of expansion in kendō occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, but the number of international practitioners pales in comparison to that of jūdō or karate (Bennett 2015: 200). I use the term ‘duel’ in the broad sense of one-on-one combat. A close equivalent in Japanese for duel is ‘Ketto’, although ‘Hatashiai’ and ‘Shobu’ are also cognate terms. Thanks to Nakajima Tetsuya for the terminological clarifications. Duelling became very common at the turn of the seventeenth century (Brioist, Drévillon and Serna 2002: 52). According to Lacaze (1991: 37), between 1588 and 1606, 2000 duel-related deaths were recorded. A very similar case occurred in the professionalisation of bullfighting in Spain during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As in the Japanese sumō, bullfighting in Spain was supported by noble/wealthy patrons, and the official legitimation of these moneyproducing activity was granted through the celebration of benefit bullfights connected to religious charities or royal bullfights (Rivero Herraiz and Sánchez García 2016). Contrasting to the sumō success, gekken shows organised by swordsmanship expert Sakakibara in the 1870s (aping the sumō format) were harshly criticised by some purists of former samurai status. A merely money-earning activity connected to samurai culture without imperial and/or religious legitimation was a failure in the end. Although not presented in this section, the role played by fencing to blend the fascist values into the Italian we-identity (Terret, Ottogalli-Mazzacavallo and Saint-Martin 2007) could be also compared to the role played by martial arts to infuse the Imperial way into the Japanese we-identity. The Japanese, German, and Italian civilising patterns share some common features: they presented a problematic late unification of the country during the late nineteenth century; the three countries had encounters with fascism during the interwar period; and they presented violence-related issues such as terrorism (‘Red Army’ in Germany and Japan in the 1960s/1970s; Ohira 2017: 77) and/or organised crime (mafia and yakuza in Italy and Japan).

References Amdur, E. (2002). Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press. Bennett, A.C. (2015). Kendo: Culture of the Sword. Berkeley: University of California Press. Brioist, P., Drévillon, H., and Serna, P. (2002). Croisir le fer. Violence et culture de l’épée dans la France Moderne (XVIe–XVIIIe Siècle). Paris: Champ Vallon. Dunning, E. and Mennell, S. (1998). Elias on Germany, Nazism and the Holocaust: On the Balance between “Civilising” and “De-Civilising” Trends in the Social Development of Western Europe. British Journal of Sociology, 49(3), pp. 339–357.


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Elias, N. (2018a). Fragments on Sportisation. In J. Haut, P. Dolan, D. Reicher, and R. Sánchez García (eds.). Excitement Processes: Norbert Elias’s Unpublished Works on Sports, Leisure, Body, Culture. Wiesbaden: Springer Vs, pp. 121–136. Elias, N. (2018b). Boxing and Duelling. In J. Haut, P. Dolan, D. Reicher, and R. Sánchez García (eds.). Excitement Processes: Norbert Elias’s Unpublished Works on Sports, Leisure, Body, Culture. Wiesbaden: Springer Vs, pp. 173–216. Farris, W.W. (1995). Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500–1300. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gil, J. (1991). Hidalgos y Samurais. España y Japón en los siglos XVI y XVII. Madrid: Alianza. Lacaze, P. (1991). En garde: du duel à l’escrime. París: Gallimard. Mennell, S. (1996). Asia and Europe: Comparing Civilizing Processes. In J. Goudsblom, E. Jones, and S. Mennell (eds.). The Course of Human History: Economic Growth, Social Process, and Civilization. London: Routledge, pp. 117–134. Ohira, A. (2017). The Development of Socialism in the Japanese Civilizing Process. In A. Ohira (ed.). Civilization, Culture and Knowledge in Process. Tokyo: DTP, pp. 73–92. Rivero Herraiz, A. and Sánchez García, R. (2016). Sport Versus Bullfighting: The New Civilizing Sensitivity of Regenerationism and Its Effect on the Leisure Pursuits of the Spanish at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 33(10), pp. 1065–1078. Sánchez García, R. (under review). The Redefinition of Legitimate Violence in Combat Sports: The Case of MMA in the USA and Europe. Sociology of Sport Journal. Sheard, K. (1997). Aspects of Boxing in the Western “Civilizing Process”. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 32(1), pp. 31–57. Sheard, K. (2004). Boxing in the Western Civilizing Process. In D. Malcolm, E. Dunning, and I. Waddington (eds.). Sport Histories: Figurational Studies of the Development of Modern Sports. London: Routledge, pp. 15–30. Terret, T., Ottogalli-Mazzacavallo, C., and Saint-Martin, J. (2007). The Puliti Affair and the 1924 Paris Olympics: Geo-Political Issues, National Pride and Fencing Traditions. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 24(10), pp. 1281–1301. Vaporis, C.N. (2008). Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.


Page numbers in italic indicate a figure and page numbers in bold indicate a table on the corresponding page. Aikido 2, 16n6, 133, 149, 151, 152, 169–74, 177n9, 181, 184, 186, 200–2, 222 Aizu 92, 97, 120, 128, 132, 184, 189; see also Boshin War Akō incident (47 rōnin) 106n5, 120, 121, 130, 146 amateur 3, 10, 15, 116, 127, 134, 138n10, 143, 147–9, 153, 156n3, 165, 168, 177n8, 202–5, 211–13, 216n18, 222–3, 228; see also fair play Amur River Society 127, 131, 151, 172, 183; see also tairiku rōnin; ultra-nationalistic, Pan-Asianism; ultra-nationalistic, societies anachronism 106n5; and sport 3 Araki ryū 53, 58, 65n8 archery 3, 12–14, 16n7, 25–6, 34–5, 44, 53–4, 57, 62, 82, 85n14, 88, 129, 137n6, 152, 221–2; ground 44, 64, 129; mounted 26–8, 33–5, 44, 85n19, 139n16; and Zen 156n7, 197; see also kyūdō; kyūjutsu aristocracy 32; English 8, 225; French 225; hereditary military 28, 34, 36n3; warrior houses (tsuwuamomo no ie) 28, 44; see also nobility armour 15, 27, 35, 44, 51, 53, 82, 84n8, 99–100, 104; haramaki 34, 55n4; ōyoroi 33; shin guards (sune ate) 43; thigh guards (haidate) 43 Ashikaga, Takauji 39, 42, 54n1 Awa, Kenzō 151–2, 170, 182, 186, 197 bakufu 69, 71–5, 77, 80, 84n7, 92, 94, 96, 106n6; anti 91, 93 baku-han 14, 47, 57, 69, 71–2, 74, 76, 81, 83n3, 88–9, 97–8, 221, 224; see also Tokugawa

banzuke 105–6; see also sumō Baron de Coubertin 10, 126–7; see also Olympic Games Bennett, Alexander 11 Bonwit, Ralph 6 bōryokudan 143–4, 159, 161; see also kokusuikai; seiyūkai Boshin War 92, 96–7, 128, 132, 135, 137n8, 185, 189 Buddhism 54; esoteric 59, 64n2, 65n2, 132; Shingon 55; Zen 55, 64n1, 85n17 budō 2–3, 12, 15, 16n7, 17n8, 120–1, 127, 131, 135, 139n20, 143, 147, 150, 164, 166, 171, 174–6, 178n18, 182, 183–7, 190, 192, 198–9, 202–4, 206, 216n18; gendai 12–13, 170, 201, 219; kōbudō 107n12, 169, 170–1, 177n9, 184, 214n5; militarisation of 167–9, 172; and mystic experience 151–2; see also bugei; bujutsu; bushidō bugei 2–3, 12–13, 15, 16n7, 18n6, 26, 28, 34, 54, 64, 101, 135; see also hyōhō/heihō bugyō 69; jisha 45; karita 79; machi 70, 98; sumō 54 bujutsu 2–3, 12–13, 15, 16n7, 102, 123, 131, 149–50, 156n6, 170, 187–8, 219 Buke Shohatto 70, 74, 88 bunbu ryōdō 42, 79, 106n3 bureaucracy 14, 69–70, 72, 77, 88–9, 94, 113, 129, 135, 143–4, 197; post 31; and samurai 96 bushi 15, 28, 33, 45, 51, 59, 62, 64, 132, 146; see also samurai; warrior bushidō 4, 16n7, 90, 106n5, 117, 119–21, 127, 130, 134, 138n13, 145–6, 153, 160–2, 162, 163–4, 167, 169, 171, 197,



213, 214n7, 223, 227, 229n3; see also monopoly, means of orientation Butokuden 129, 154, 197 Chiba, Shūsaku 100–1, 181 Chikubashō 42, 44 Chōsū 91, 96, 107n8, 115, 144–5 Chūjo, Nagahide 45–6, 58, 59 chūjo ryū 45–6, 58 civilising: process 6–7, 11, 13–14, 17n11, 17n13, 49, 60, 69, 161, 219, 220, 220–4, 227–8, 228n3, 229n10; pattern/trend 48, 63–4, 76, 113, 165, 192, 195, 211–12; spurt 8, 189; standards 95–6, 188–9, 191; theory 11, 18n19, 195; see also decivilising closure 70, 95; mechanism 207, 222–3, 229n4; see also gate-keeping combat: sports 1, 3, 16n6, 17n8, 122, 205, 208–9, 211–12, 215n12, 219, 223–4, 228; and boxing 3, 17n8; and wrestling 3, 17n8; see also K-1; kakugi; kakutogi; MMA Commodore Perry 91, 115, 200; see also Tokugawa (late) Confucianism 41, 90, 152; neo 89–90 contest: ceremonial 4, 13, 34–5; archery 13, 34, 44, 54, 222; sumō 35, 221–2 control: emotional decontrolling 9 (see also tension balance); emotional restraint 9; self-control 6, 9, 72–3, 76, 77, 81, 84n6, 89–90, 161, 162, 177n3, 189, 195, 206; triad of 6, 76, 161, 195; see also psychogenesis; sociogenesis; technogenesis cool Japan 196; and Mixed Martial Arts 208, 212–14 court: courtiers 25, 27, 29, 31, 34–5, 41–2, 44, 49–50, 54, 80, 89, 142, 195, 220; French 4, 75, 223–4; Japanese 224; rank 27–8, 30–1, 33–5, 36n4, 36n7, 48, 65n6; society 4 Daidoji, Yuzan 90 daimyō 15, 36n7, 46–53, 55n7, 62–3, 69, 71, 73–9, 81–2, 84n7, 84n8, 84n9, 88–91, 93, 105, 114, 139n16, 139n20, 221–2, 226; fudai 49, 69; shugō 38–40, 46–7, 221; tozama 30, 39, 49, 69, 74, 90 Dai Nippon Butokukai 4, 12, 117, 120, 123–4, 126–31, 137n7, 137n8, 147–50, 152, 154–5, 156n2, 166, 169–71, 174–6, 181–8, 182, 193n2, 197, 214n3, 227; and Busen 183

Dai Nippon Kobudō Shinkōkai 170, 182, 184, 214n5 Daito ryū 132–3, 149, 151, 156n6, 172, 178n13, 184–6, 193n1, 201–2; and oshikiuchi 184, 193n1 dan-kyū 187 Dark Ocean Society 117–19, 125, 131, 138n13, 151, 172, 177n2, 183; see also ultra-nationalistic, societies decivilising: and formlessness 18n14; pattern/trend 7–8, 10–11, 17n13, 18n14, 48, 63, 76, 97, 113, 119, 161–2, 192, 211, 220, 220–2, 227; process 161; see also dyscivilisation democratisation: functional 7, 98, 101–3, 114–15, 222 denshō 60, 94 detachment 8–9, 13, 63, 99, 197–8; see also double-bind; involvement differentiation: social 7; status 50; see also specialisation disintegration 7; see also integration dōjō 79–81, 91, 96; Chiba 93, 96, 98, 100–3, 106n6, 107n8, 107n16, 116, 132, 148, 155, 166, 169–70, 172–4, 178n13, 181, 183–6, 190, 192, 201; Kobukan 172, 182; Momonoi 93, 96, 107n8; Saitō 93, 96, 107n8 double-bind 162; process 6, 63, 118, 163, 165 Draeger, Donn F. 12, 18n18, 200, 204 drag effect 7, 70, 79, 89–91, 96, 115, 119, 131–2, 189, 196; see also integration, conflicts duel 34, 45, 51, 53, 55n6, 62–3, 78, 80, 82, 85n15, 95, 99, 107n14, 209, 229n6; in France 224, 229n7; in Germany (duelling fraternities) 227; see also musha shugyō dyscivilisation 8, 161 Edo 69–70, 74–7, 76, 79–80, 82–3, 83, 88–91, 93–7, 100, 102–3, 105–6, 106n7, 107n12, 107n16, 139n20, 225; see also Tokyo Education: Ministry 3, 17n8, 123–4, 138n10, 147, 150, 153–4, 166–8, 187–8, 197–8, 202–3; see also school system Elias, Norbert 4–9, 11, 14, 17n10, 17n12, 17n13, 18n14, 18n19, 60, 161, 195, 219 Emishi 26–7 emperor 26–7, 30–1, 48, 51n1, 65n6, 91, 228n3; and Meiji 92, 119, 121, 129–30, 146; retired 32, 38, 42; and Shōwa 147, 152, 160, 164, 166–70, 172, 177n5, 227; and Taishō 146

Index established-outsiders 5, 161 etiquette 13–14, 34–5, 36n7, 41–2, 44, 124, 145, 166, 193n1, 203, 206–7; and archery 54, 222; and buke kojitsu 41–2, 44; and sumō 105, 134, 222, 226 fair play 9, 121, 127 Farris, William W. 224 Fascism: Italian 229n10; Japanese 159, 229n10 figuration 4–7, 47–50, 52, 221; martial arts 15, 102, 124, 181, 182, 186, 188, 190, 192, 203, 211; sports 3, 9, 15, 203, 208, 211–13, 222, 225, 227, 228; suicidal 163–4; Tokugawa 69, 71–2, 74, 76, 79, 81, 83n3, 88–9, 91, 97–8, 107n9, 221, 224–5; figurational sociology 4, 11, 17n13 formalising 7–8, 17n13, 48, 69, 161–2, 220–2, 220; reformalisation 8, 113, 117, 119, 127, 195–6, 222; see also informalisation Friday, Karl 12–13, 63 Fujita, Seiko 182, 186 Fujiwara, Norimoto 28 Fukuda, Keiko 169 Funakoshi, Gichin 154–6, 157n9, 169, 174–6, 178n18–19, 182, 183, 185 Funakoshi, Gigō 175–6, 178n19, 182 gate-keeping: mechanism 207 geidō 81, 85n18 gekken/gekikken 101–3, 116–17, 123–5, 128, 134, 150, 153, 187, 229n9 gekokujō 47, 53; see also Warring States Genpei war 30, 221 globalisation: of martial arts 2, 16n2, 122, 199, 203, 205–6, 210, 213, 222–3; of sport 1, 3, 10, 15, 18n15, 203–4, 207–8, 222 good society 34–5, 54, 222, 227 Gorin no Sho 79, 80, 213 Go-Shirakawa 30 Go-Toba 31 habitus 6, 7, 9, 14, 223; martial arts 188, 201; national 113, 122, 124, 186, 199, 212, 214, 216n18, 222, 227–8; retainer 76, 77–8, 80; samurai 72, 89, 94, 189, 192, 195; sportsman 9; suicidal 121; warrior 70, 73, 78, 80, 84n6, 94–7 Hagakure 90, 106n5, 164, 213 Hakudō, Nakayama 150, 154, 170, 175, 177n11, 182, 183, 185 han 69, 74; see also Tokugawa hatamoto 70, 78, 94; see also retainers


Heian 25, 27, 36n1, 61, 220, 220; archery 34; court 31, 142 Heiji Monagatari 33 Heike Monogatari 33–4, 36n6 Heki, Danjō Masatsugu 53, 58 Heki ryū 53–4, 64, 152; see also archery Herrigel, Eugen 156n7, 197 Higaonna, Kanryo 136, 174 Hōgen: disturbance 30, 33; Hōgen Monogatari 34 Hōjō, Ujitsuna 46 hojōjutsu 97, 128, 170 Hokkaido 92, 119, 172 House Codes (buke kakun) 42; see also etiquette Hōzōin, In’ie 58, 59 Hōzōin ryū 53, 58 Hug, Andy 213 hybridisation 1; of martial arts 195, 202, 208–10, 213, 223 hyōhō/heihō 12–13, 18n16, 34, 80 iaidō 128, 175, 184–5 iaijutsu 82, 99, 185; see also iaidō Ikegami, Eiko 11 ikki 39, 47; Ikkō 48; and miuchi 39; see also peasant Imperial Army; Japanese 107n10, 173, 177n10, 178n16, 220; ritsuryō 26, 33 Inazō, Nitobe 120, 213 informalisation 8, 114–15, 142–3, 195–6, 211, 222; theory 7, 18n14 (see also Wouters, Cas); and sport 9 integration: conflicts 10, 70, 96, 114, 133, 143, 195, 200, 206, 213, 222; process/ pattern 2, 7, 17n12, 51, 115, 161, 195 Interdependence: chains of 5, 6–10, 17, 89; functional 5, 17n10 involvement: emotional 6, 162–3 Ittō, Ittōsai 45 Itosu, Yasutsune 191 Ittō Ryū 45, 53, 78, 80, 82, 91, 100; Hokushin 100, 107n16; Ono-ha 100 I–We: balance 17n12 Japaneseness 106, 117, 229n4; indigenous 124, 126–7, 130–1, 135, 137n7, 149, 151–3, 166, 181, 182, 183–4, 186, 188; international 124–6, 137n7, 146, 166, 181, 182, 186, 188, 198; Okinawan 124, 135, 137, 154, 166, 176, 182; traditional 199 jigai 73; see also seppuku; women Jikishinkage ryū 99, 132, 170



Jikishin ryū jūjutsu 12, 103; jūdō 12, 103, 138n9; see also jūdō jōdō 170, 172, 200, 214n6 Jōkyū war 31 jūdō 2–3, 16n6–8, 103, 107n10, 120–2, 125–7, 136, 137n4, 138n9–12, 147–8, 150, 155, 156n4, 167–9, 181, 184–5, 187–9, 191–2, 197–204, 214n4, 214n6, 215n16; abroad 148–9, 168–9, 171, 175, 177n8, 181, 210, 215n11; kosen 147–8, 156n2–3; as Olympic sport 204–7, 216n18; see also jūjutsu; Kōdōkan jūjutsu 4, 12, 35, 60, 98, 107n12, 107n17, 116, 122–32, 134, 136, 137n4, 139n17, 147–53, 156n2, 156n5–6, 169, 175, 177n9, 178n13, 181, 183, 186–9, 192, 201, 210, 215n16, 222; commoner (shomin yawara/ippan yawara) 97–8, 103–4, 117; see also kogusoku; yoroi kumiuchi jukendō 171, 177n10, 197, 202; see also jukenjutsu jukenjutsu 156n5, 177n10 junshi 73–4, 84n8; see also seppuku K-1 3, 205, 209–13, 223, 228; and kickboxing 205, 209–10; see also Mixed Martial Arts kabuki mono 70; and kyokaku 70 kaishaku 89; kaishakunin 94; see also seppuku kakugi 3, 17n8, 198; see also kakutogi kakutogi 3, 17n8 Kamakura: shogunate 31–2, 34–5, 38–41, 221–2 Kanemaki, Jisai 45, 58 Kanemaki ryū 45, 58 Kanō, Jigorō 4, 103, 120, 123–9, 134, 136, 137n4, 138n10, 138n13–14, 138n17, 145, 147–51, 154–6, 156n4, 166, 168–74, 177n8, 181–91, 182, 197, 201, 205, 215n16, 227; and Kobudō Kenkyukai 169, 177n9, 184; see also Kōdōkan Kanto: region 27, 30–2, 96, 221 Karate 2, 3, 16n6, 124, 154–6, 164, 169, 185–6, 193, 202–10, 214n4, 214n6, 215n12–13, 222–3, 229n5; Japanisation of 174–7; Naha te 36, 139n21, 174; Okinawan 135–7, 139n20, 139n22, 154, 167, 174–7, 183, 185, 191; Shuri te 136, 139n20–1, 154, 174; Tomari te 136, 139n21; see also K-1

Kashima: shrine 62, 65n8; see also Katori, shrine Kashima Shin ryū 58, 62, 85n15, 149, 170, 184, 191, 200–1 Kashima Shintō ryū 53, 58, 60–2, 107n14, 156n5 kata 76, 77, 81–2, 99–101, 125, 221–3; iaijutsu 128, 138n15; jūdō 169, 206; jūjutsu 126, 130, 139n17, 183, 186–8; karate 136, 155, 175, 185; kenbu 135; kenjutsu 126, 128–9, 139n18, 183, 185–8; kumitachi 128, 138n15; naginata (Mombusho Seitei) 168 Katori: shrine 61, 65n8 Katsu, Kokichi (Musui) 94–5, 107n10 kenbu 117, 127, 134–5; see also romantic kitsch kendō 2, 16n6, 100–3, 121–2, 128, 133, 147, 150, 154, 156n2, 164, 166–72, 175, 177n8, 177n10, 182, 183–8, 192, 198, 200, 202–8, 214n4, 214n6; correct 207–8; and kumdo 207; strong 207–8; see also kenjutsu Kenji, Tomiki 169, 173, 182, 184, 186, 201–2 kenjutsu 16n7, 93, 95–103, 106n6, 123, 125, 127–32, 134, 137n4, 139n4, 139n20, 150, 153, 156n6, 175, 181–92, 222 kenka 71; karate 155; kenka-ryoseibai-ho 72, 84n4 kenmon (influential houses) 32, 221 Kenmu shikimoku 41 kenshi 94; see also seppuku Kenwa, Mabuni 154, 157n9, 174–6, 178n17, 182, 183, 185 Kimura, Masahiko 150, 182, 192, 208–9, 215n14, 215n16 kinnō tōbaku 91; see also sonnō Jōi Kito ryū 58, 82, 103, 125, 156n5 Kobayashi, Seio 170, 182, 184 Kōbusho 101, 103, 116 Kōdōkan 107n10, 122–3, 125, 129, 137n4, 138n11, 138n13, 139n17, 145, 147–50, 156n4, 168–71, 181, 182, 183–5, 187–91, 197, 205–6, 208, 227; and Dai Nippon Butokukai 148 kogusoku 53 koku 49–50, 75, 79, 92–3; kokudaka 49–50; see also monopoly, taxation kokusuikai 144, 159–60, 177n2 kokutai 130, 137n7, 146, 166–7; at Meiji shrine 150

Index Kondō, Isami 93; see also shinsengumi Konishi, Yasuhiro 156, 175–6, 182, 185 koryū 12, 57, 59, 123–5, 127, 131–2, 137n7, 149, 151, 166, 168–70, 181, 184, 187, 200–2, 219, 222 kumi uchi 35; see also sumō Kunii, Zen’ya 149, 170, 182, 184, 191 Kurosaki, Kenji 209, 215n15 Kyokushinkai 186, 205, 209–10, 213; see also K-1 Kyoto 26, 28, 30, 35, 40, 43–6, 48–50, 65n8, 75, 79, 83n2, 85n14, 88, 90–1, 105–6, 107n8, 116, 129–30, 137n5, 137n8, 174, 213, 221 kyūba no michi 34; see also yumiya no michi kyūdō 150, 152, 157n7, 167–70, 177n8, 186, 198, 202, 214n4, 229n4; see also kyūjutsu; shadō kyūjutsu 16n7, 107n12, 124, 127, 129–30, 137n4, 150–3, 187 Kyushu 45, 61, 74, 90, 95, 117, 119, 131, 139n20 law 5; and district magistrates 26–7 (see also strongmen); Kamakura 31–2, 39; Meiji 114, 118, 136; Muromachi 40, 46–7; Shōwa (early) 144, 159–60, 167; Tokugawa 72–4, 80, 88, 90, 224, 226 Louis XIV 4; see also court, society; Tokugawa loyalty 31, 39, 46, 50, 74, 90–1, 121, 131, 146, 160, 164, 166, 229n3; and chūsetsu 39 Maeda, Mitsuyo 148, 168, 181, 182 Manchukuo 138n14, 173, 178n16, 182, 186; and Kenkoku University 173, 178n16, 182, 184, 186; see also Manchuria Manchuria 118–19, 151, 156n5, 173–4, 177n2, 183–6; incident 138n14, 150, 178n16; see also Mongolia Marishiten 45, 55n5, 59–61, 64n3, 65n4, 65n8; see also denshō; tengu Military: aristocrats (gunji shizoku) 25; conscription 26–7, 31, 114; governor (shugō) 32, 38–40, 46; militarisation of budō 167; positions (during Heian): ōryōshi 28; tsuibushi 28; tsuitōshi 28; unit 33, 44; see also Imperial Army; warfare Minamoto no Yoritomo 30 Minamoto Yoshitsune 55n5


Ministry of Education 3, 17n8, 123–4, 138n10, 147, 150, 153–4, 166–8, 187–8, 197–8, 202–3; see also school system Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) 3, 203, 209; and Gracie jiu-jitsu 149, 210, 215n16; see also K-1; Pride FC; pro wrestling Miyagi, Chōjun 154, 157n9, 174–7, 178n20, 185 Miyamoto, Musashi 55n6, 58, 64, 78–82, 85n15, 85n17, 130, 160, 213 Mochizuki, Minoru 169, 182, 184–5 mon (crest) 41, 51 monastic: violence 32, 40 Mongolia 118, 151, 173, 184; Mongol invasions 31 monopoly 5; means of orientation 50, 75–6, 113, 117, 119–20, 145, 160, 186–7, 207–8; taxation 6, 14, 17n13, 25–6, 29, 32, 38, 46, 49–50, 74–6, 113, 117, 220–1 (see also taxes); violence 6, 14, 17n13, 25–6, 29, 32, 38, 40, 46, 49–50, 71–4, 76, 76, 81, 94, 97, 107n9, 113, 117, 143, 145, 161, 189, 197, 220–1, 223–4 Mori, Anori 123 Motobu, Chōki 154–6, 174–7, 178n17, 178n20, 182, 185 Murakami, Hideo 116 Muromachi: shōgunate 32, 39 musha shugyō 15, 45–6, 51–3, 57, 59–63, 78–9, 85n15, 91, 95–6, 99–102, 116, 132, 190 Muta, Bunnosuke 96, 107n11 Nagashima: battle 48 Nagashino: battle 52 naginata: atarashii (new) 203, 214n4, 215n9, 229n4; jutsu 60, 98, 124, 127, 129–30, 137n5, 153, 170–1, 186, 198; ryū 100; taisō 123; and women 137n5, 167–8, 186; see also weapon, naginata Nakakura, Kiyoshi 182, 184, 192 Nara 26, 36n1, 53, 137n5, 220, 220 national: character 17n12, 153; see also habitus nazi 7–8, 161–2, 227; and Weimar Republic 18n13 Nen Ami Jion 45–6, 58, 59, 61 Nen ryū 45–6, 57, 58, 59–61; Maniwa 100, 103, 107n14 nikudan 146, 163; see also tokkōtai ninja 48, 98, 186



nobility 26, 28–9, 32, 34–5, 39–41, 83n2, 97, 106, 220–1, 224, 229n8 Nogi, Maresuke (General) 145–6, 196, 214n1, 214n7, 72, 213 Oda, Nobunaga 48–52, 54–5, 65n7 Ogasawara, Sadamune 44 Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko 164–5 oligarchy 113, 118, 142 Olympic Games 2, 10, 127, 147, 156n3, 166, 177n8; Tokyo 204, 207; see also Kanō, Jigorō Ōmoto 151–2, 172–4, 178n14, 186 Onisaburo, Deguchi 151, 156n6, 172–3, 182 Ono, Jiroemon Tadaaki 58, 78–81 Osaka 50, 52, 71, 78–9, 83n2, 88, 90, 105–6, 114, 133–4, 147, 149, 153, 155, 169, 173–4, 178n13 Ōtagaki, Rengetsu 98 Ōtake, Risuke 164–5, 214n7 Ōtsuka, Hironori 156, 178n19, 182 Ōyama, Masutatsu 182, 186, 209–10, 215n15 peasant 13, 26–7, 29, 47–9, 71, 83n2, 93, 221; see also ikki People’s Rights Movement 113, 118, 185 permissive society 8; see also informalisation police 27–8, 32–3, 69–70, 97–8, 117, 123–5, 127, 132–4, 138n8, 145, 149, 155, 170, 181, 182, 183, 187, 190, 197, 199, 204, 214n6; doshin 70; and kenjutsu 128–30; machi-bugyo 70; military Police (Kenpeitai) 173; office of investigators (Kebii shi chō) 28; Tokyo Police Department 118, 125, 128, 150, 185, 187, 192, 214n6; yoriki 70 power: balance 5–7, 25, 27, 31, 38, 46, 48, 69, 89, 92, 102, 104, 113, 115, 125, 186, 196, 205–6, 219, 223; gradient 5; ratio 5, 116, 207 Pride FC 209–13, 228; and UFC 210; see also Mixed Martial Arts process: blind social 6; sociology 4, 8, 10–11, 14 professionalisation: and achievement striving 10, 204, 206; martial arts 3–4, 79, 81–3, 98, 101–6, 122, 132–3, 148–9, 156n4, 181, 191, 199–200, 203–13, 215n14, 215n16; sport 9–10, 15, 168, 208–9, 216n18 province: elites 27–9, 220; governors 26, 28–30, 35, 220

pro wrestling 208–12 proxy: by 35, 82, 105, 225 psychogenesis 6, 76, 76–7, 161–3, 162, 224; see also sociogenesis; technogenesis public schools 9, 123, 203 quest for excitement 53, 70, 102; theory 144 retainers 14–15, 32, 39–40, 46–7, 50, 70, 73–81, 76, 84n8–9, 85n13, 92–5, 101–2, 106n2, 107n8, 115, 225; see also samurai Rikidōzan 208–9 roaring twenties 8; see also informalisation romantic kitsch 117, 127, 134–5; see also kenbu rōnin 52, 70; see also samurai Russo-Japanese war 113, 120–1, 129–31, 136, 146, 156n5 ryū 12–15, 52–3, 55n5, 107n12, 124, 127, 131–3, 169–70, 181, 182, 184, 200–2, 219, 220, 222; archery 44, 53–4, 82, 129, 152; composite (sōgō) 38, 45–6, 53, 57, 82, 85n14–15, 98; and esoteric traditions 59–61, 65n4, 65n8; ha 74, 81–2, 128, 130, 132; and hafuribe 62; jūjutsu 82, 103–4, 107n17, 117, 122, 125, 138n9, 139n7, 149, 151, 156n5–6, 178n13, 184, 186, 193n1, 202; and Kaden 18n17; karate 155–6, 174–6, 186, 188, 193, 205–6; and musha shugyō 63, 91; naginata 100, 137n5, 168; proto (archery and sumō during Heian) 14, 34–6, 221–2; spear 100; sword-related 44, 78–81, 96, 99–101, 107n14, 107n16, 116, 138n15, 139n8, 149, 164, 184–5 Ryukyu Tode Kenkyukai 174–5 Saigō, Shirō 138n13, 182, 184, 189 Saigō, Takamori 115, 132 Saigō, Tanomo 92, 182, 184 Saitō, Yakurō 91, 103, 107n16, 181 Sakakibara, Kenkichi 116–17, 132, 137n4, 229n9 Sakuraba, Kazushi 211–12 Sakurai 172; see also ultra-nationalistic, societies samurai 11–12, 15, 16n6–7, 18n16, 27, 31, 39, 46–7, 51, 53, 69–83, 76, 83n1–2, 88–98, 101–6, 106n6–7, 113–20, 124–35, 137n1, 137n3, 137n8, 138n13, 139n20, 143–6, 151, 160, 170, 181, 185, 189–90, 193n1, 196, 213, 214n8, 215n10, 222–7, 229n9; see also retainers

Index sankin kotai 30, 74–7, 89, 139n20, 221, 225; see also shōgunal mechanism Sapp, Bob 212–13 Satsuma 74–5, 85n14, 91, 95–6, 106n1, 115, 128, 131, 139n20; Rebellion 115, 132, 145, 190; see also Shimazu school system 14, 115, 121, 136, 182, 184, 191, 198; and martial arts 14, 117, 123–5, 129, 146, 148, 153, 168, 181, 197, 203, 227 Second World War 3–4, 11–12, 119–21, 168, 176, 177n2, 181, 182, 195–6, 208, 214n6, 215n10, 222 Seigō ryū 58, 82 seiyūkai 143–5, 160, 177n2 Sekigahara: battle 50, 52, 69, 71, 75, 78–9 Sekiguchi ryū 58, 82, 107n17, 139n17 self-perfection 1, 12–14, 53–4, 62–4, 76, 77–81, 151–2, 167, 207 seppuku 71–3, 84n7–8, 89, 94, 97, 119, 132, 145–6, 195–6, 214n1, 214n7, 219, 228n1; seppukunin 89, 94 shadō 151–2 shiai 99–100 Shimabara Rebellion 52, 71 Shimazu 71, 74, 139n20 Shimizu, Takaji 131, 169–70, 172, 182, 185 Shimoda, Utako 125–6, 182, 183 shinai 91, 99–100, 116, 128, 171, 190; fukuro 63, 107n14; kyōgi 198, 202–3; see also kendō Shinkage ryū 53, 58, 59–63, 85n14, 107n14; Jiki 99, 116, 132, 138n15, 170; Yagyū 78–9, 82, 107n14, 175, 184 shinsengumi 91–3, 96 Shintō 54, 59, 62, 64n2, 65n8, 124, 151–2, 184; etiquette 134; and Japanese state 166, 226, 229n3; Yoshida 62, 65n7; see also shrine Shintō Munen ryū 91, 100, 139n18 Shintō Muso ryū 53, 58, 85n15, 131, 151, 169–70, 183–5, 200, 214n6 shishi 91, 93 shōei 40 shōen 29, 31–2, 46–7, 220; and kokugaryō 29; see also taxes shōgunal mechanism 5, 74, 76, 77, 221, 225 Shōrinji Kempo 183 shrine 25–6, 31–2, 35, 54, 59, 65n5, 83, 105, 129, 132, 149–50, 171, 220, 226; and hafuribe 57, 60–2, 139n19; and jinnin 40; and jisha bugyō 45; see also Kashima; Katori


Sino-Japanese war 113, 118, 120, 129, 136, 146, 160, 164, 167 sociogenesis 6, 49, 76, 76, 161–2, 162, 224 So Dōshin 182, 183 sonnō Jōi 91 sōshi 117–18, 143, 145, 159 specialisation 7, 51; of martial arts 57, 82, 98–9, 101, 103–4, 107n12, 222 sport: and achievement striving 10, 204, 206; American 122, 213; athletics 9, 168; baseball 3, 121, 146, 165–6, 198; cricket 9; football 9–10, 16n3, 147, 198; fox hunting 8; hockey 9; horse racing 8; rugby 9–10; sports-like (martial arts) 4, 14, 101–4, 133, 201, 222; tennis 9, 147, 168 sportisation 1, 3, 8–10, 18n15, 212, 225; de-sportisation 211; of martial arts 167, 200, 222 state formation 6, 14, 25, 38, 46, 69, 88, 223; see also sociogenesis status consumption 75, 76, 89, 92–3, 226 strongmen: fellows (kondei) 27; local 25–9, 33, 35 Sugino, Yoshio 169, 177n9, 182, 184 sumō 3–4, 14, 17n8, 25, 34–6, 54, 62, 82–3, 98, 101, 104, 106, 114–17, 121–2, 132, 149, 198–200, 208, 214n4, 216n18, 221, 225–7, 229n4, 229n8–9; kanjin 54, 83, 104–5; as national sport (kokugi) 3, 134, 153–4, 197, 199, 222; retraditionalisation of 127, 133–4; shikiri 154; sumai no sechi 35; yokozuna 134, 154, 199–200 survival units 7, 17n12, 47, 51, 221; see also sociogenesis sword hunt 197; Hideyoshi 49 Taekwondo 2, 16n6, 178n18, 182, 185 tai-chi 2 Taihō: army 27–8; code 26 Taira, Kiyomori 30–1 Taira, no Masakado 27–8, 84n5 tairiku rōnin 113, 118, 127, 131, 138n13, 144, 182, 183–4; see also ultranationalistic, societies Taishō 12, 14, 122, 124, 137, 144–5, 147–8, 151, 154, 156n6, 159, 181, 191–2, 196, 214n1, 220; democracy 142–3, 146, 153, 222 Takano, Sasaburō 123, 128, 147, 177n11, 182, 183, 189–90 Takeda, Shingen 48, 135



Takeda, Sōkaku 92, 132–3, 151, 173, 178n13, 182, 184–5, 188–9, 193n1, 201–2 Takenouchi ryū 53, 58, 65n8, 82, 107n17, 139n17, 175 Taoism 54, 65n7 taryu jiai 82, 99 taxes 26, 29, 39, 47–9, 75; and land stewards (jitō) 32 technogenesis 6, 49, 76–7, 76, 161–2, 162; and engineering 76, 77 temple 25, 29, 31, 40, 50, 52, 54, 55n1, 60–1, 65n8, 83, 105, 220–1, 226; Anbaji 45; Anrakuji 45, 61; Chōfukuji 45; Enryakuji 32, 40, 48, 61; Jufukuji 45, 61; Kōfukuji 32; Kurama 32, 45, 55n5; shrine multiplex 59; Tōdaiji 32 Tendō ryū 53, 58, 137n5, 170 tengu 45, 55n5, 59–60, 65n4, 93; see also yamabushi Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō ryū 53, 58, 60–2, 85n15, 149, 164, 169–70, 184, 202, 214n7; and cosmetic changes 211, 228; and spectacularisation of violence 211; tension balance 7, 9, 186 Toda ha Buko ryū 116, 170, 184 tokkōtai 163–5, 177n4; and kamikaze 163 Tokugawa: shōgunate/period 11, 15, 47, 50, 52, 57, 84n9, 181; early 46–7, 57, 58, 60, 65n5, 69–71, 76, 78, 81–3, 88, 99, 101, 104, 161, 220, 224; mid/late 4, 57, 76, 82–3, 85n19, 88, 93–4, 96–8, 100, 102–4, 107n9, 181, 220, 223, 225, 227; pax 14, 221 Tokugawa Ieyasu 36n7, 48, 50, 53, 65n7, 69–71, 80 Tokyo 2, 62, 114, 116–17, 127, 131, 134, 139n16, 142, 152–6, 159, 172, 174–5, 183, 201, 212; Olympic Games 204, 207 Tōsa 96, 107n8, 115, 185; see also bakufu, anti Tōyama, Mitsuru 117, 131, 151, 172, 177n2, 182, 185–6; see also Dark Ocean Society Toyama ryū 150 Toyotomi, Hideyoshi 48–51, 52–5, 57, 65n7, 69, 73–5, 84n8, 221 Tsukahara, Bokuden 53, 58, 59, 61 Two Courts (Nanbokuchō) 14, 38–9, 57, 58, 59, 63–4, 73, 220, 221, 228n3 Uchida, Ryōgorō 131, 182, 183, 185 Uchida, Ryōhei 127, 131, 150–1, 182, 183

Ueshiba, Morihei 133, 151–3, 156n5, 156n6, 169–70, 172–4, 178n13–15, 182, 184–6, 201 ultra-nationalistic: and Pan-Asianism 113, 118, 124, 178n16; societies 117, 119, 120, 125, 127, 131, 138n13, 143–4, 150–1, 159–61, 166–7, 172–3, 177n2, 186 Unification: late 227, 229n10; Period (Azuchi Momoyama) 13, 38, 47–8, 51–3, 58, 78, 84n8, 221 vassalage 30, 36n2, 73; and goke’nin 31, 38–9, 44, 94; and non-houseman (higoke’nin) 31 violence: affective/expressive 212; cycles of 14, 38, 52, 57, 58, 59, 63–4, 89, 221; instrumental/rational 10, 206, 212; monastic violence 32; see also combat; warfare warfare 11, 13–14, 25–6, 30, 33, 38–48, 51, 57, 59, 71, 114, 121, 134, 153, 160, 162, 164–8, 172–3, 177n2, 221; cavalry 33, 42, 44; hand-to-to hand combat 43; infantry 26, 33, 42, 51–2, 59, 71; mounted archers 25, 27, 33; siege tactics 33; skirmishes 33, 42–3, 59, 70, 91; wounds (percentage) 43 Warring States (Sengoku Jidai) 13–15, 38, 40, 46–9, 51–2, 54, 57, 58, 59, 61, 63–4, 71–3, 78, 81, 181, 221 warrior 11–15, 17n13, 25–35, 36n4–5, 38–54, 55n3, 57, 59–64, 70, 72–4, 77–82, 90–101, 162–3, 170, 179, 195, 213, 214n7, 220–4, 227; ashigaru 51, 93; dogō/jizamurai (see also peasant) 47; genin 43; gōshi 95; high-ranking 46, 54, 59, 62; mid/low-ranking 54, 92; myōshu 39; mononofu 15; tsuwamomo 15; professional mercenaries 27, 33; protowarriors 27, 33; soldiers of the noble houses (shoka no heishi) 28; warrior houses (tsuwuamomo no ie) 28; women (onna-musha) 33, 36n6, 44, 73, 92; see also shōei weapons: bō (long staff) 45, 85n15, 156n5; bokken (bokutō) 107n13; bow and arrow 33–5, 36n6, 42, 44–5, 53, 59, 63–4, 82, 99, 220; firearms 51–2, 71; goshinki (selfdefence weapons) 97; guntō 150, 164–5, 172; jō (short staff) 53, 85n15; jutte (metal truncheon with hooks) 82, 98; kaiken (dagger) 73; katana 43, 59, 228n1; naginata (halberd) 43, 45, 53, 57, 63,

Index 92, 99–100, 116; ōdachi 43, 59; oyumi (giant crossbow) 26; pike 43, 51–2, 64; restraining 70, 97, 98, 170; spear 33, 35, 45, 51, 53, 57, 59, 63, 95–100, 132; sword 27, 33, 35, 42–6, 49, 51, 53–4, 55n5, 57, 59–64, 65n6, 71, 73, 78–82, 85n14, 85n16, 92–3, 95–6, 99–105, 107n12, 115, 118, 128, 134–5, 167–8, 170–2, 190, 197, 206, 215n10, 224; tantō (short sword/ dagger) 73 we-identity 7; German 223, 227; Italian 229n10; Japanese 3, 15, 113, 117, 119–20, 122, 124, 133, 142, 145, 153, 166, 170, 196, 198–9, 204, 214n2, 222–3, 229n10; Okinawan 136; samurai 76, 81, 89, 90, 106; warrior 31, 41–2, 47, 53; see also we-image we-image 7; Japanese 3, 127–30, 134, 160, 208, 214, 223; samurai 94 women 14, 36n1, 48, 52, 97–8, 113–14, 116, 125–7, 137n5, 137n6, 138n12,


142–3, 148, 167–70, 183–6, 196, 215, 219; and sport 147, 165–6, 203, 216n17; see also warrior Wouters, Cas 7–8 Yagyū, Munemori 58, 78–82, 85n17 Yagyū, Muneyoshi 58, 78, 107n14 Yagyū Shinkage ryū 58, 78–9, 107n14, 175, 184 yakuza 118, 144, 156n1, 159, 229n10; and Mixed Martial Arts 210; and sumō 200, 216n18 yakyūdō (the way of baseball) 3 yamabushi 62, 65n8; proto 59 Yamaga, Sokō 89, 106n5, 146 Yamaoka, Tesshū 91, 128, 190, 209 Yokoyama, Kensuke 211 yoroi kumiuchi 53, 82 Yoshida, Kanetomo 65n7 Yoshida, Shigekata 54, 58 yumiya no michi 34