On the Occasion of the first issue of Women’s Kendo Magazine


Eishin-Gijuku Kobukan (General Incorporated Association) Kancho Hiroshi Ozawa
般社団法人盈進義塾興武館館長 小澤博

I would like to congratulate you all on the launch of the new women’s kendo magazine. With the world in the Coronavirus pandemic grip, I feel that times are changing, so I’m looking forward to this magazine.

Looking at the world of kendo, many championships and events have been cancelled or postponed. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage women to think about kendo.

76 years have passed since the end of the Second World War. Until then, women had rarely trained kendo, but in October 1952, the All Japan Kendo Federation was established, and little by little, women began to be seen. There is no distinction between men and women in Kendo, but as this is a women’s Kendo magazine, we will use the term ‘Women’s Kendo’ here. The purpose of Kendo is not to obtain gradings, but it is easy to see the development of Kendo through the numbers of yudansha of both men and women.

In November 1966, Hatsue Takano sensei, who trained at Takano Sasaburo sensei’s Shudo Gakuin before the war, became the first woman to pass 7-dan. 45 years later, the number of women registered for 6-dan and 7-dan was listed in the Kendo Kawaraban published on 15 October 2011. According to it, they are as follows.              

200814 persons44 persons
200922 persons44 persons
201031 persons98 persons
2011150 persons670 persons

The number of 6-dan and 7-dan increased dramatically between 2010 and 2011; what happened during this year? It would be interesting to analyse this. And then 9 years later there is the following table. Which is the number of registered yudansha surveyed by the All Japan Kendo Federation. It is also interesting to see the change in the 9 years from 2011 to 2020.


In January 2020, these records were published in the monthly Budo magazine. Of the 1,942,563 kendo practitioners in Japan, 577,015 are women (according to a survey conducted by Junji Himeno, a member of the Promotional Committee of the All Japan Kendo Federation).

Kendo is an integrated science.

Here are a few points of view that I would like this magazine to consider for women’s kendo in the future.

1) All these people (listed above) are doing kendo for their own purpose. Each person has their own personality. Kendo is a martial art practiced by human beings, so there must be a philosophy of ‘what is the purpose.’

2) The technology that has been developed over the years is physics. Swords have shinogi or an edge, but shinai does not. However, modern kendo is practised with the shinai, and the oji-waza techniques relate to the use of the shinogi. The same applies to the footwork, techniques using “okuri-ashi” or “hiraki-ashi,” as they are different.

3) Historiography is also important. Kendo has a long history. It is no exaggeration to say that it has developed along with the history of Japan. It is interesting to see how women’s kendo is viewed in this context.

4) Attack and defence, through the interaction with the opponents, is about a practise of psychology. It is effective therefore to learn psychology because we need to learn how to read each other’s minds.

5) In the Edo period, there were more than 260 clans in Japan and each clan built its own school to educate the children of samurai and Kenjutsu was a compulsory subject. It was practiced in various places, such as in a dojo or on the ground outdoors. The kendo dojo attributes its conceptual understanding to these different venues. The dojo has a wooden floor. If it is too thin, you will break it. It puts pressure on the heels, knees, hips, and other parts of the body if it is too dense and hard. This is where architectural engineering comes into play. In the West, where kendo is practised, there are many gymnasiums where other sports are played. My experience is that many injuries occur due to hard floors. To deal with this, some knowledge of human anatomy is required.

6) I have also seen many Japanese kendo practitioners in their 80’s and 90’s still vigorously training with young people. This is the very essence of lifelong kendo. Ideally, people should be able to practice kendo until they are 80 or 90 years old, but this requires some knowledge of physiology. But that is not all. It would be possible to apply the koryu schools’ techniques that flourished in the Edo period in collaboration with physics.

7) It takes a lot of patience to teach beginners. It also requires coaching and pedagogy to teach and guide small children.
There are many challenges for women’s kendo in the future, considering the above.

For the last 71 years of my life, I had lived by the theory of kendo, as I read in the book “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi, which I bought when I was 18 years old. It says, “Let the art of war be your guide, and you will find yourself a master in all things.” 
Similarly, I found the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu’s maxims “Samma-no-I (The positions of the three mills)” helpful not only for kendo but also for life.

 I have stopped writing for public magazines except for my dojo website now as I am over 70 years old, as I believe it is my role as an older man to help younger people write.
Last but not least, I wish this magazine and women’s kendo all the best. 










  1. これだけ(上記)の人がそれぞれ目的を持って剣道をしています。目的は十人十色、百人百様です。人にはそれぞれ人格があります。剣道は人間が行う武道ですから「何のために」という哲学がなくてはなりません。
  2. 長い間培われた技術は物理学です。刀には鎬がありますが竹刀にはありません。しかし現代剣道は竹刀で行われていますが、応じ技は鎬に関連した技術です。足捌きも同様で「送り足」・「開き足」によって繰り出す技は異なります。
  3. 歴史学という視点も大事です。剣道には長い歴史があります。日本の歴史と共に発展してきたと言っても過言ではありません。その中での女子剣道をどのように捉えるか、興味深いテーマです。
  4. 相手との攻防、やり取りは心理学です。相手の心の読み合いですから心理学を学ぶと有効です。
  5. 江戸時代は全国に260以上の藩があり、各藩は藩校を築き武士の子弟を教育しました。剣術は必修科目として行われましたが、実施場所は土の上であったり、道場であったり様々でした。それが現在に受け継がれて剣道場があります。道場は木の床が張ってあります。薄いと踏み抜きます。厚過ぎると踏み込んだ時、踵・膝・腰等身体の各部位に負担がかかります。これには建築工学が必要になります。特に、欧米を例にとると、剣道をする場所は他のスポーツを行う体育館が多く私の経験から床が堅くて怪我をすることが多いのではないかと思われます。それに対応するためには医学的な知識が必要です。
  6. また、日本の剣道家の中には80歳90歳になっても矍鑠として若者相手に稽古する姿をよく見ます。まさに生涯剣道そのものです。どうしたらその年齢まで稽古することができるのでしょうか。80歳90歳まで剣道に携われるのは理想です。これも医学や生理学の知識を借りることになります。そればかりではありません。江戸時代に盛んに行われた流派の技を応用して、物理学とのコラボレーションで可能になるでしょう。
  7. 初心者を指導するのは根気がいります。小さな子供達を教え導くためにはコーチ学や教育学も必要になります。



<strong> Hiroshi Ozawa</strong> 小澤博
 Hiroshi Ozawa 小澤博

Eishin-Gijuku Kobukan (General Incorporated Association) Kancho