I’m mainly focusing on English here, but even for people who don’t read Japanese there are some useful Japanese books. These are mostly the ones aimed at students, and so tend to be loaded with photographs, illustrations, and sometimes even DVDs. Thus, even without being able to read all the comments, you can get some good ideas.
Of course, the books all cover the same basic material, but the emphasis shifts from author to author. This one by Matsuo Makinori (松尾牧則), at the International Budo University, is the one I like best (so far) when it comes to a book by itself, that is, one without a DVD.
Since the author is a university teacher and coach, he’s probably had many chances to try things out and see what works, and the organization is quite good:
- Five points for improving your kyudo skill
- Shaho hassetsu
- Fundamental postures/movements
- Common problems
- Competition and Examination format
- Equipment selection and maintenance
For some reason I find the photographs and diagrams included in this book particularly clear and informative. The section on equipment is more detailed than most, and there is a glossary in the back (in Japanese) with basic kyudo terms.
The list price for the book is ¥1,200 (plus tax) and it can usually be found in bookstores or ordered on-line. A reliable source for people outside Japan is Amazon, but alas, there are no discounts like at Amazon in the US! Probably, though, if you were only going to order one book, it would be better to get one with a DVD.