This week: where do Japan’s traditional martial arts come from?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Read, Paul. One Last Thing: The Untold History of the Martial Arts Philosophy.

Meyer, Isaac. The Soul of a Nation: Swordsmanship in Modern Japan. (BA Thesis, Wesleyan University, 2010)

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

Images

techniques

A page from the Heiho Kadensho of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. Books like this one were designed not to propagate the style but to act as certificates of expertise for instructors.

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The domain school of the old Aizu domain, the Nisshinkan. At schools like this one, samurai children would learn a fusion of martial arts and Confucianism unique to the Tokugawa era.

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Traditional karate weapons like these were derived from common household or farming implements, a reminder of karate’s low-class origins.