- 名古屋大学人文学フォーラム (ISSN:24332321)
- vol.3, pp.81-96, 2020-03-31
The purpose of this paper is to present information on the characteristics of traditions inherited by the schools of contemporary Kobudo (traditional martial ways) in Japan. Today, many Kobudo schools exist in Japan and around the world. As Kobudo is considered to be the origin of Budo (martial ways), contemporary Kobudo schools retain many traditional elements. In recent years, groups advocating Budo in Japan have asked the government to add an article concerning Kobudo to the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. However, there has been little research on the actual practices of contemporary Kobudo. In this study, we focused on the shihan (senior instructor) as a successor of tradition in contemporary Kobudo. Also, Hakko-ryu, Takenouchi-ryu Bitchuden, Shinkan-ryu, and Rikishin-ryu were selected for observation, as these four famous martial arts schools are generally regarded as the best-known schools of Kobudo. Based on our participant observation of these four Kobudo schools, we concluded that the following five points were common to each school of contemporary Kobudo: (1) Since the inheriting of tradition is greatly valued, it is essential that jikiden (private martial lessons) from the soke (head-man of the school) or todai (present head of the school) be provided to the shihan. (2) Jikiden are to be carried out by attending training and special practice sessions. (3) All shihan hold several makimono (scrolls). (4) Almost all shihan have a special name that they use when participating in martial arts. This name, called an imina or gago, selected by their master. When someone obtains a position as shihan, the master gives that person a new name based on the rules of each school. The name consists of two kanji characters, one of which is shared in common with the master’s name. (5) All shihan have mastered a secret technique specific to their school, which has been handed down over a long period. Therefore, these five features should be considered in analyses of contemporary Kobudo.