Kyudo Video: The Old Days

These are some remarkable films of kyudo in the days before video. The first is from a taikai in Hakodate in 1936. It includes footage of Awa Kenzo (three years before his death) and several other well-known kyudoka of the day.

Based on the jerky way the archers appear to move in the early scene where they walk into the dojo, I’m pretty sure that, when shooting, they actually moved more slowly than they appear to in the video. The reason for their apparent speed is probably that the film was shot at a slow frame rate, then converted to video frame-by-frame. Since video is normally 24fps and a lot of old movies were done at 16fps, that means we’re seeing them “sped up” by a factor of 1.5.

The second is of Heki-ryu master Urakami Sakae (1881-1971). No date is given, but judging from the military officers in uniform and what appears to be the silhouette of an armed soldier in the background it was probably made during WWII.

Finally this appears to be a French documentary, with footage made at the kyudojo inside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in 1963. The ite is identified as Suzuki-sensei. I didn’t even know there was a kyudojo in there. I wonder if anyone uses it these days?

Sometimes Youtube gives you the option of a higher resolution. That seems to help if you have the bandwidth.

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