Kyudo Notebook: France!

József Bereczki pointed out the upcoming special shinsa in France so I just thought I would make a note of it. The details are posted here on the IKYF site (PDF). The latest issue of the Kyudo magazine also had a notice about it from a tour operator. I guess the ANKF has asked them to coordinate arrangements for people going from Japan, which is probably good since they’ll all have yumi, etc. A friend going to Australia a while back said getting hers there was a nightmare. A trip to France would be great (I’ve never been there) but… ¥418,000 (€4,075) for four days on the ground is way beyond me. Maybe if I started hitch-hiking now though…

By the way I also poked around some on the IKYF site in general, and it has lots of information now, including statistics and contact information for most of the affiliated countries. Interesting to compare. Look at the dojo in Iceland. Isn’t that cool?

Later: A curious thing: in the announcement for the shinsa in July they say that applications for 2-5 dan should have been certified at their current level by February 17, 2011. I wonder if that’s a misprint? Normally in Japan you would only have to wait six months at the current level to take those tests. February 17, 2012 would be exactly six months before the shinsa, so I wonder if someone did a cut/paste from an earlier document and forgot to update the year? People considering the shinsa but who passed (or will pass) their current level between February 17, 2011 and February 17, 2012 (and likewise those looking at renshi, 6, or 7-dan) should check to verify those requirements.

Even Later: Sorry, the document linked above is actually for the 2011 shinsa. Thanks and apologies to everyone who pointed out my mistake! The article in Kyudo magazine is for 2012 but now that I look more closely it only mentions practice on July 22nd and a taikai on the 23rd. Nothing there about a shinsa. I guess in my mind I mixed the two.

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5 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: France!

  1. Cor-san says:

    The document you link to is from 2011 altogether… All dates are set in 2011, so I think you guess at an incorrect cut and paste action or that this is the flyer of last year (I think it is, as that is where/when I got my shodan…)

  2. Hi Mu!

    Where do you live? 🙂

    If you happen to come to Europe sometime, you’re welcome in Hungary in our Heki Kyudojo.

    My problem is the same, all documents are for 2011.
    I should go for shodan, but without any information…

  3. karamatsu says:

    Wow! I’m very sorry. You’re completely right. I was fooled by the list on the site, which had two other events for this year. On the other hand, I did send a them note to them about the dates, so maybe they will correct me and send current information. If so, I’ll post something. Apologies!

    I live in Hokkaido, but I’d love to visit Europe. I’ve only been there one time, in the early 90’s, first to Prague (via Frankfurt) and then some hiking in the mountains at Grindelwald in Switzerland. Both were beautiful. If I ever have the chance to go again, I will bring my bow!

  4. ceterum censeo says:


    Was it Disraeli who coined the phrase “lies, damned lies and statistics”?
    I recently analyzed the IKYF membership statistics from the website – just for the fun of it.

    Here are some sample figures:

    Japan: 130251 members, 4361 renshi, 1794 kyoshi
    USA: 230 members, 14 renshi, 1 kyoshi
    Germany: 1348 members, 7 renshi, 1 kyoshi
    France: 574 members, 17 renshi, 2 kyoshi

    Statistically in Japan there are 28 members per renshi and 71 for each kyoshi

    In the USA there are 15 members per renshi and 229 per kyoshi.

    That would suggest that kyoshi are under-represented statistically. As a percentage of members there could be 2 more to bring it up to japanese levels.
    Renshis on the other hand are seriously over represented.

    In France you have 32 members per renshi and 286 per kyoshi.
    The number of renshi in the membership is roughly that of Japan, kyoshi again a very low ratio.

    Now let’s look at Germany:
    Yes, we have our well organized Kyudo-bund, complete with glossy magazine (, we have hundreds of kyudo events annually, competitions, seminars,… our “Bundesliga” competition has about 100 teams taking part. The german approach to teaching kyudo is very serious, our infrastructure is very good… and yes, the DKyuB has 1348 members, as many as all the non-japanese IKyF put together I would guess,… Kyudo is doing well in Germany… or is it…?

    Germany has 192 members per renshi, 1347 per kyoshi
    Germany has 7 times fewer renshi relative to its membership than Japan (12 times less than the USA) and 18 times fewer kyoshi (USA und F are around 3-4 times fewer)

    What conclusion are we to draw from those figures?
    Germans are just rubbish at kyudo… ; )
    Or perhaps the majority of german Kyudoka practice an older style of kyudo (heki ryu insai ha) a style not favoured by the ANKF.
    Or perhaps rank is political…
    The number of kyoshi world-wide really does seem to bear this out.
    According to the IKYF website there are 7 non-japanese kyoshi among the 2800 non-japanese IKYF members.
    So statistically we gai-kyu-jin have one kyoshi for 400 members.
    After 40 years of kyudo in Germany we have one kyoshi for 1347 members.

    I sound a bit forthright at times, I do it for effect as you know.
    It isn’t my place to criticize but there is an undeniable difference in the rank-demographics of IKyF member countries.
    Everyone can draw their own conclusion from the figures. I’ve drawn mine.

    I am being leant on (again) to go to the Paris shinsa this year.
    Will I go?
    …not likely.

  5. karamatsu says:

    I never looked at the statistics quite that way before, but I always just assumed that the reason most countries didn’t have a lot of people at higher ranks was more a matter of proximity and experience. It’s hard to know how long many of those people have been practising. Also I’m not sure when it became possible to test for renshi abroad, or if it’s possible to test for kyoshi outside of Japan even now (is it?). But even in Japan it’s quite difficult and expensive. Many people who live far from Kyoto or Tokyo simply give up because of the travel costs and need to take vacation time away from work. When you’re looking at only a 1% chance of passing it gets hard to justify. And then, I figured that many of the people “seeding” new countries probably got their start in Japan and simply haven’t been able to get back, either to train or to test. Dunno.

    But perhaps the biggest difficulty, it seems to me, must be that it’s hard to make progress unless you can train regularly with people who are better than you… who can see things you can’t. One 5-dan in Bhutan could train a lot of people at 1-4, but who would train him/her? Obviously it gets even more difficult at the kyoshi level. Even my teachers here in Japan lament not having more experienced people to train with. They’re stuck with lubbers like us, so if they want advice they either have to travel or invite someone.

    But of course, I can only see things from my side of the water. Germany seems exceptional in many ways: the history, the infrastructure, just the plain numbers, as you say. I’ve never noticed any negative attitude regarding Heki-ryu, though. The last time we had a tutorial there was someone who shot using Insai-ha, and the hanshi teaching that day just switched gears and helped him shoot Insai-ha. But in the wider world, I don’t know. It could well be like some of the more subtle forms of racism… you have to be in the oppressed group to really feel it.

    Still, if people don’t test, they can’t possibly move up, so there may be an element of self-fulfilling prophesy in there as well. I have no way to know! But speaking of Paris, do you happen to have details for the shinsa? They seem hard to come by. The IKYF haven’t responded to my mail yet, and due to quirks on their web site it’s possible that it was never received at all…

    All that said, though, I’m pretty much blind when it comes to the politics, etc, within Kyudo World. I know it must be there. People are people. But I’ve managed to steer clear up until now and will try my best to keep it that way. Let’s just shoot!

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