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Higaonna Kanryo, the founder of Naha-te

After becoming a disciple of Master Ryu Ryuko, Higaonna Sensei helped his master at his trade during the day as a craftsman of bamboo. Training look place after dark starting with the practice of Sanchin. Then, lifting the Nigiri-game (heavy ceramic jars), by their rims, a student would practice Unsokuho (a pattern of stepping movements). …

Yukio Mishima – The Lost Samurai

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) is widely considered as one of Japan’s most prolific writers of the twentieth century, as well as the first postwar Japanese writer to attain international acclaim. Mishima’s contribution to Japanese literature was deep, as he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature three times and author of over forty novels, essays, …

Japan’s Influence on ‘Star Wars’

Here are five ways that Japan has inspired the Star Wars franchise. We’ve done our best to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there may be a few surprises. Star Wars is a cultural behemoth, a media behemoth that spans film, television, novels, comics, toys, and much more. While Star Wars draws inspiration from a …

Yakuza

Yakuza, sometimes known as gokud, are members of Japanese-based global organized criminal syndicates. The Japanese police and media refer to them as bryokudan at the behest of the police, but the yakuza refer to themselves as ninky dantai. The English counterpart of yakuza is gangster, which refers to a member of a Mafia-like criminal organization. …

Hozan-ji Temple Shishikaku In Ikoma, Japan

At the time, the advanced chief priest instructed a temple carpenter to construct a Western-style guest house. In Yokohama, where a foreign residential neighborhood had been established, the carpenter studied Western architecture for three years. He created a stunning structure by combining Japanese and Western features. It is a nationally significant cultural item that is …

Nagoya City Hall & Aichi Prefectural Government Office Building

Nagoya City Hall was completed in 1933 and amazingly survived the city’s bombing during WWII, whereas adjacent Nagoya Castle was demolished. The structure is a blend of Japanese and Western forms, with the imperial emblem above the roof. The tower (seen below) has a total of 12 stories. Many of Nagoya’s administrative offices, including the …

Kano Jigoro – the creator of Judo

Kano Jigoro is the creator of judo, the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to be recognized as an official Olympic sport. Educators of the new innovations presented to Jigoro Kano should be used on white and black belts and be introduced to the dans to show the relative …

Aikido posture and mutual stance

Right oblique posture is ordinarily required in Ken exercises. Conversely, empty-handed exer­cises require left oblique posture. The latter case is because the initial stance between the two partners is more than two steps apart so that when they mutually take one step forward with their right foot, they may come into contact with each other …

The legend Masutatsu Oyama, founder of Kyokushin Karate

Masutatsu Oyama was born in Korea in 1923 and is the founder of Japan’s most famous and widespread karate style in the world. At the age of 9, Mas Oyama learned Chinese kenpo in Manchuria and practiced judo and boxing as a teenager. All this leads to training in Okinawan karate, which serves as a …

Kenjutsu

Kenjutsu is the umbrella term for all (ko-budō) schools of Japanese swordsmanship, in particular those that predate the Meiji Restoration. Kenjutsu, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, means “methods, techniques, and the art of the Japanese sword.” The exact activities and conventions undertaken when practicing kenjutsu vary from school to school, where …