- 武道学研究 (ISSN:02879700)
- vol.36, no.1, pp.1-20, 2003
The “concept of a double-edged sword, ” which we often hear about in kendo and swordsmanship, is a symbolic reference to the sacred sword (Kusanaginotsurugi) of the three sacred treasures. The three sacred treasures themselves have very unique circumstances surrounding them, and the image of Kusanaginotsurugi, which is one of the three treasures comprising the imperial regalia, represents the “concept of a double-edged sword” and describes this most symbolically. The “concept of a double-edged sword”itself departed from the field of faith and religion in ancient Japan, and had another value system differing from that of the martial art. Then, in the Edo period, the “concept of a double-edged sword” was determined as a benchmark that symbolized the cultural nature of the martial art. Namely, that the “concept of a double-edged sword” passed through various changes during the medieval era, and it was the Kusanaginotsurugi, one of the sacred treasures, that represented this notion.<br>This study aims to identify the circumstances surrounding the “concept of a double-edged sword” from the perspective of the three sacred treasures, paying special attention to the medieval era.<br>In this research, the circumstances in which “the concept of a double-edged sword” came to combine with the martial art, and the subsequent directionality are clarified by examining the notions regarding the three sacred treasures in the medieval era. The contents are described as follows and are summarized for each period.<br>(Heiancho Period or before)<br>*The sacred treasures symbolized gods prior to the Imperial Throne, and without this structure, they could not symbolize the Imperial Throne adequately. In other words, a dual structure existed, in which the sword was a ritual utensil and simultaneously a ceremonial arm.<br>*At that time, the structure in which the sacred treasures symbolized the Imperial Throne was not as significant as the role played in society.<br><Kamakura Period><br>*The samurai class represented by Genji and the Heike considered the three sacred treasures to be very important symbols of the Imperial Throne. The role this idea played in society became very influential.<br>*Such tendencies were originated in the samurai's adherence to positions of the Emperor's military (Imperial army), because only the adherence affirmed their usage in military force.<br>*Since only the Kusanaginotsurugi was lost among the three sacred treasures, this sacred sword conversely attracted more attention and was regarded as important; consequently, it began to be treated as a special object. Though the sword was originally a ritual utensil and a ceremonial arm, it came to be treated as an element of the martial art.<br>< Nanbokucho/Muromachi Period><br>*The three sacred treasures of the Imperial House became common.<br>*Symbolism without the actual existence of Kusanaginotsurugi began to appear.