History of kendo book
Precis of the book:
Recently, a new book regarding the history of kendo was released by the publishers of Kendo Nippon Magazine. The book, A Bilingual Guide to the History of Kendo, is, as its title suggests, a bilingual guide to the history of kendo. The author is Sakai Toshinobu, expert in sword history and professor at the University of Tsukuba. The English translation was done by me.
The book is comprised of a number of essays outlining the earliest sword ideals from the continent and how they were introduced and developed in Japan, right through the international situation of the art in the 21st century.They were originally published every month for two years in Kendo Nippon (20072009) with the accompanying English translations always done at the last possible moment by me. A significant amount of work went into re-jigging the English translations and the Japanese content ready for the publication of the book, but I think the finished product is a beauty. As the book is bilingual with Japanese text on the left-hand pages, and the English translation on the right, the content provides important reading for kendo enthusiasts who want to know more about the history of the art, and also for people who are engaged in promoting kendo outside of Japan. I also think it may be of particular interest to people who are studying Japanese!
If I had been the author, I possibly would have spent more time looking at kendo in the modern era. However, being an expert in ancient sword ideals, Sakai sensei placed a fair bit of emphasis on introducing the meaning of swords portrayed in Japan's myths, and also the religious significance of swordsmanship to the old kengo such as Tsukahara Bokuden and Miyamoto Musashi. It was a great privilege to be allowed to translate Sakai Sensei's work, and I believe that this particular volume will certainly help fill the knowledge gap in the international kendo community. The following is from the TOC. You can purchase the book here!
Section 1 Kendo Tradition
1 Kendo as a Martial Way
2 The Beginnings of Kendo History
3 The Evolution of the Japanese Sword (Nihon-tō)
4 From Bows and Arrows to Swords Giving up the Gun
5 The Age of the Sword Masters Tsukahara Bokuden
6 The Age of the Sword Masters Miyamoto Musashi
7 The Creation of Martial Art Schools
8 The Three Great Kenjutsu Ryūha and their Offshoots
9 The Formulation of Kenjutsu Theory
10 The Origins of Fencing with Shinai
11 The Rise of New Schools and the "Three Great Dōjō of Edo"
12 Kenjutsu in the Nineteenth Century
13 The Modern Period
14 The Development of Modern Kendo
15 Kendo in the Shōwa Period (1926‒1989)
16 The Current Situation and Globalization of Kendo
Section 2 Kendo Culture
1 Sword Ideologies Part 1: The Origins
2 Sword Ideologies Part 2: Sacred Swords in Mythology
3 Sword Ideologies Part 3: "Kusnanagi-no-Tsurugi" and the Imperial Regalia
4 Sword Ideologies Part 4: "Cutting the Self and Others"
5 Ascetic Training of the Masters‒The Sanrō Kaigan Legends
6 Kenjutsu and Religion
7 Lifelong Kendo
I have ordered it and in addition to its obvious attraction to me as a student of kendo and iaido, will assess its usefulness to those of us who have an "in period" interest in the JSA.