About SHINAGAWA School of Bushi (School of Warriors)
The 2-day event, School of Bushi we have organized is a cultural project that we are implementing for the first time with the cooperation of Shinagawa Ward, the Shinagawa Culture Foundation, as well as Nanago (a non profit organization). The event was held at Isle Shinagawa.
About SHINAGAWA School of Bushi 2023
This year, the second year of the event, we rented out the Isle Shinagawa for two days on July 22nd and 23rd under the theme of "Archery and Horsemanship of the Tokugawa Family".
We welcomed the 31st generation Ogasawara-ryu master Kiyomoto Ogasawara and his family, who served the Tokugawa Shoguns as an instructor of archery and horsemanship. They gave lectures on "etiquette and archery" and "etiquette and horseback archery" to students as young as 4 years old.
Courtesy and Archery
【Lecture on Ogasawara-ryu】
After changing into their do-gi (a uniform worn in martial arts), students learned about the history of Ogasawara-ryu from Mr. Kiyomoto Ogasawara. This makes the students feel like they are true warriors.
First, the students became competent of the history of the Ogasawara family, who served as instructors of archery and horsemanship courtesy for successive shoguns from the Kamakura to the Edo period. The Ogasawara family also maintained the traditional Ogasawara style even after the Meiji Restoration, and devoted themselves to the spread of school etiquette.
【Demonstration of Archery】
After gaining knowledge about the history of Ogasawara-ryu and its basic archery courtesy, the students shifted to the demonstration of archery with the assistance of members of the Ogasawara-ryu School. The students were astonished and impressed by the teachers' skills and expertise.
【Practice of Courtesy】
After observing the Ogasawara-style archery, the students learned the basics on the tatami mats by imitating their teacher.
After getting a gist, the students engaed in arrow-shooting at the target, while the teachers repeatedly instructed them on the proper technique for drawing the bow.
Both adults and children are earnestly engaged in practicing.
Thanks to the thorough instruction, the students made rapid progress in a short period of time.
After practicing on the target, the students challenge a deer-shaped target that resembles real-life situations.
In case you are wondering, this is a historic deer used in a ceremony called "Kusajishiki (grass deer ceremony). In May 1194, during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo was hunting at the foot of Mount Fuji, his men often failed to shoot their prey. He consulted with an old samurai and practiced shooting deer made of grass, which is said to be the origin of the "Kusarika-shiki" ceremony.
The audience applauded those who successfully hit the traget. Even for those who faced difficulties, they could stil enjoy the satisfaction og taking part in the ceremony.
Courtesy and Horseback Archery
Next, students were introduced to the lecture of "Courtesy and Horseback Archery".
【Demonstration of Horseback Archery】
Following a lecture on Ogasawara-ryu, a member of the Ogasawara School gave a demonstration.
While the demonstration involved horseback archery with a wooden horse, the students watched in anticipation, creating a strong and impactful experience.
【Practice of Courtesy】
The foundational principles of archery remail consistent in horseback archery. However, due to the unique context of shooting while riding a horse, it is essential to master distinct physical movements compared to stationary archery performed while standing.
While practicing, the students maintain an upright upper body with they arms and legs spread out. This unconventional muscle movement led to occasional light exclamations througout the hall. The younger students who confidently demonstrated this demanding exercise left the adults impressed.
【Horseback Archery Practice】
Once instructed the proper courtesy, the students proceeded to practice shooting a bow from a wooden horse. Initially, they learned how to bow to the wooden horse and imitate the stance of a samural while doing so. Subsequently, students prcticed shooting arrows at the target while seated on the wooden horse. The teachers closely supervised the students through each step.
While participating, the teachr also provided explanations about archery. The students attentively listened, eagerly waiting for their own turns.
【Horseback Archery Inaction】
Finally, the contestants will try their hand at horseback archery, using a 1.8-square-meter square board, which is actually used in real situations as real targets.
A loud sound echoed in the hall when the participants successfully cracked the board target.
【Demonstration of Shooting the Target】
Concludingly, a member of the Ogasawara School demonstrated how to shoot a wooden board from a wooden horse.
While guarding the arrows, it is customary to emit a cry, "yin-yo".
In addition to the event's online livestream on YouTube, we also had an exhibition area with panels and tools associated to the Ogasawara-ryu.
Both adults and children had a great time exploring the chance to witness genuine artifacts like Edo-period saddles, bows utilized by high ranked warriors, and arrows employed to repel evil spirits.
This exhibition area was open for the general public to visit, and there were many people who seemed quite interested in their observations. Among the participants, there were those who took to opportunity to take a look as well, as well as individuals who picked up merchandise and brochures.
Including exhibition visits, a total of 94 people attended this event in person, and 220 people on online.
Many participants also filled out a questionnaire, providing us with valuable feedback.
If you are interested, please take a look at our website.
Website：SHINAGAWA SCHOOL OF BUSHI
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended the event, Mr. Kiyomoto Ogasawara and other members of the Ogasawara School, the Shinagawa Culture Foundation for graciously lending us the Isle Shinagawa, and the Shinagawa Ward for their support. A huge thank you to the Nanago as well for their cooperation.
We hope to see you at our next School of Bushi.
Title：SHINAGAWA School of Bushi ーArchery and Horsemanship of the Tokugawa Familyー
Dates：July 22nd (Sat) Courtesy and Archery 10am～12pm
Courtesy and Horseback Archery 13pm〜15pm
July 23rd（Sun) Courtesy and Archery 10am～12pm
Courtesy and Horseback Archery 13pm〜15pm
Instructor：Mr. Kiyomoto Ogasawara, members of the Ogasawara School
Per lecture Adult 5,000yen
Per lecture Child 3,000yen
Per lecture Parent and Child 6,000yen
One day Parent and Child 10,000yen
Other：Children（4〜17yo）※parents or guardians of elementary school students and younger must also participate
Coop：Non-profit org. Nanago
Support：Shinagawa Ward, Shinagawa Culture Foundation