Mar 13 Vol 15 No 1
After a year and some persuasion from a few friends I have decided I will start Hanako again. I used to do it every month but after 19 years of producing Hanako, I decided I needed a break. I took the year off from producing Hanako as I had so many projects going on in my private and work life I literally did not have the time or dedication to even consider spending time producing it. As many of you know I run the website www.budoya.org and this was getting busier and busier and I was spending so much time in the workshop making the metal items and researching new items that I had to concentrate on that rather than making Hanako. To date, I would say that I now maybe produce the largest, and where possible the most accurate collection of historical shuriken. I am all the time looking for new designs and I am now moving into making different kagi (hooks). Budoya is ticking over nicely again allowing me a little more free time. Also early last year Budoya which was run from my home literally started to take over my home. Once day I had items under production or complete in the workshop, in the garden, kitchen, lounge, on the stairs, my bedroom and my daughters bedroom. That day I decided things had to change quickly. I was renting a church hall twice a week for Bujinkan and Masaki Ryu training, so paying money to someone else was becoming a silly option. During a conversation with one of my students and then later with his help I took the leap and in July 2012 I opened an industrial unit as a dojo and shop/storage area for Budoya’s growing stock and product range. The sign of relief as the house started to empty of stuff was unbelievable. My daughter was also pleased to see all the ‘crap’ as she puts it disappear from the house. We now have a nice dojo. With the help of several of my students we went and painted the walls, hung weapon ranks and laid new mats, I had collected so many weapons over the years I didn’t know just how many I actually had and have managed to kit the dojo out without buying any new items. We are now running three Bujinkan classes a week, one Masaki Ryu class, and we now have with the help of guest instructors a kids dance and kids kickboxing after school classes and a pilates class. It’s coming along really well now. I am also a member of a ‘Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes’ (RAOB) a fraternal and Masonic style order, known for its history of giving large amounts of money to charity each year. They elected to make me the Provincial Grand Primo (Chief Officer) of the Lincoln Province for 2012. Apart from my duties which included chairing various meetings each month I had to the privilege of performing the 2 nd degree ceremony for one of my own Bujinkan students who had joined the Order. Although it is not a written rule, I was expected to raise as much money as possible for a charity that I chose to support. I would like to thank the following people in the Bujinkan who helped raise money for my appeal. John Oswaik (USA) for donating $60 USD, Patrick Waldron who allowed me to
sell raffle tickets at seminars he organised. Keith Lutz (USA) who invited me to come to his dojo and teach a seminar and who then raised over £100 in a raffle at the seminar. The fee he paid me for the seminar was also donated to the appeal. John Spencer (UK) who organised a seminar for me, I donated the fee from that seminar to the appeal and John organised a raffle on the day that also raised £100, my own students who were pressed ganged into buying raffle tickets, and the gentleman who bought a katana off me with the proceeds going to the appeal. At the end of the year I had raised £1600 ($2,500 USD). This was then spilt up in March 2013 between JCF OURS, (a charity that helps children), PDSA (charity that helps pay vet bills for those who cant afford to get medical help for their pets) and Epilepsy Research UK. As you can see I had a busy year and as such I am now have some free time to do Hanako again. I will maybe make it more pages per issues but do it maybe bi-monthly rather than monthly. I am also not going to guarantee when I will release so it does not put pressure on me to get it out. Thanks to everyone who pressured me into compiling this newsletter again.
There is a lot of talk on the web right now about some Gyokushin Ryu videos that appeared on a website and also on Youtube. Some people are even trying to claim it is the Gyokushin Ryu that is in the Bujinkan It is not. If you read the title properly it very clearly states the following Gyokushin Ryu ‘AIKIDO’ 玉心流合気道 Please don’t be a fool, and start teaching this at seminars. Its Aikido it is no Bujinkan Taijutsu
Master Samurai Armour Craftsman,
Ogawa Nobuo is one of the few remaining traditional samurai armour craftsmen remaining in Japan. Born in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward in 1948, he now restores, repairs, dates and evaluates old armour, as well as crafting new suits of made-to-order armour from his workshop in Nagoya. He is a Director of the Japan Armour and Weapons Research and Preservation Society, Chairman of the Tokai Region Master Craftsmen Association, leader of the Japan Armour Warrior Corps reenactment group, and Armour Institute Instructor. Why did you become an armour craftsman? When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I saw a photo of my cousin wearing a kabuto (samurai helmet), and I thought, “How cool!” I’d liked Japanese history since I was in elementary school, and really wanted my own kabuto , but my father had recently transferred from Tokyo to Nagoya and having just bought a house, I couldn’t ask him for a kabuto too. Anyway, that feeling remained in my heart, and when I became a father and my son turned ten years old, I wanted a photo of him in samurai armour and helmet as a memorial. I looked at a number of suits of armour available at the time, but wasn’t impressed. That’s when I thought, “Right then, I’ll make it myself!” I guess I wanted my children to feel the same level of excitement I felt as a kid, that’s what drove me to making armour. How did you start to learn about making armour? At first I had an old Boys’ Day Festival small scale display set of armour, which I pulled apart to study the various parts. Of course, we didn’t have the
internet back then so I studied by reading books and asking people, and by starting to recreate the parts on my own. That’s how I started to become an armour craftsman. You just suddenly decided to make armour That’s quite amazing! Well, I thought it would be impossible to just go up to a craftsman and say “Teach me how to make armour”, so initially I’d visit and look at the armour produced by my teacher, and he gave me guidance and advice. At first I’d take him pieces I’d made, and he’d ask, “Why is it like this” or, “Why did you make it like that” to say, basically, “That’s not right”. At first I didn’t understand what he was trying to say, so I’d go home and think about what he’d said, and research further, and then I realized, “Oh, the parts and styles don’t match the period!” I was trying to make Sengoku (Warring States) period pieces. Of course it was wrong to mix Heian and other period parts and styles! I listened to his advice, studied hard, looked at various pieces, and continued to make parts, then after about seven or eight years he stopped complaining! (laughs) Did you face any adversity to becoming a Master Armour Craftsman? My teacher, Sato Sensei, told me to give up the idea, saying that “These days you can’t make a living as an armour craftsman.” But we had this wonderful culture, and so I believed I could make a go of it. If I couldn’t make a living from being a craftsman, I’d find other ways to earn money. I figured I could work eight hours and support my family, spend eight hours enjoying crafting armour, and have eight hours to rest and sleep. No wasted time and a good lifestyle. I figured it was possible to live this way. The plan worked, and so today, I make my living as a craftsman restoring old armour, and making samurai armour to order. How many suits of armour have you repaired or produced over the years? I’ve restored over 20 sets, and made over 200 original and replica armours. I recently completed restoring armour owned by the Sakai Clan’s second lord, Sakai Ietsugu, and
I’m currently re-building General Kato Kiyomasa’s armour that had been discovered and excavated in Yamagata Prefecture. What is the most difficult part of the samurai armour to make? Technically, the Do, body armour is most difficult. Making the armour to fit the owner, taking their height, bust, waist, sitting height and body type into consideration is quite a daunting task. Next would be matching the correct period. As I mentioned earlier, after about seven or eight years study my teacher stopped criticizing my work, instead, Sato Sensei would pull some armour and helmets from his back room and ask, “So, what period do you think this is from, and why?” That was a wonderful way to study. I really love the armour of the late Muromachi to the early Edo periods, (1550’s to 1620) the styles I studied the most thoroughly. You like the period when the craftsmen and their products were at their peak, right? That’s right, that was the period the katchushi (armour craftsmen) were at the peak of their craft, and armour for fighting was at its most developed stage. It was visually attractive, yet simple, and highly functional, it was most wonderful armour. The craftsmen of old divided their labour didn’t they? That’s right. Metal workers, the threaders, …all the parts were handled by various specialists. However I do all the stages on my own, from beginning to completion, cutting, shaping and beating the metal plates, the lacquer work, threading the coloured ties. From the prototype to the finished item, I’m grateful I can do all the processes, however the disadvantage is that of production time. I’d like to be able to produce armour more quickly, but I do manage to keep up with demand. How long does it take for you to craft a set of samurai armour? On average, about a year to a year and a half.
Are they all steel? Recently, for armour to be worn in events and re-enactments, I use aluminium. There are a few companies selling stamped sheet metal armour for events, which isn’t a bad thing, I mean, it’s contributed to making armour popular and they’ve penetrated the market, however it’s not made to order and so the wearer quickly becomes tired after wearing it for a day. It’s heavy and doesn’t fit properly. A properly fitted suit of armour, although heavy, is made for the individual, leaving it both highly functional, easy and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The aluminium armour is strong but lightweight, I can craft it faster than steel and it’s cheaper too. Some might think, “Aluminium, that’s not right!” but by studying history, and the samurai General, Oda Nobunaga’s idea of rationalism, conceptually, it’s not a bad idea. How many samurai armour Master Craftsmen remain in Japan? Nationally there’s only about ten of us left now. Locally there’s me, also Kiyosu Nobumasa, Mizuho Nobuyoshi, Gamagori Nobuaki, my three former apprentices, now professional craftsmen. I no longer accept apprentices into my armour workshop anymore. I guess over the years I’ve had about 120 students from Aichi Prefecture alone. By teaching these people, we’re encouraging and spreading the culture of samurai armour. Do you think that Japan’s traditions are being lost? Years ago I told my teacher that I wanted to create a book on armour crafting for the people of the future. He said, “ You suddenly came seeking me. No matter the age we live in, there will always be people looking to preserve and inherit the culture. It will happen naturally, so there is nothing to worry about.” I guess he was right, there are people who genuinely want to learn, and so we need to pave the way for those few, and the next generation, and the generations to follow. What is your dream?
I really don’t have a dream as such, (laughs) Samurai armour is part of the history and culture of Japan, and there are many people around the world with an interest and appreciation of samurai armour. I want to tell these people that this magnificent armour was created not in America, not in China, but Japan! I’d really like to connect with people from all over the world with an interest in samurai armour, and have a drink together! (laughs) I have been a student of Ogawa Sensei for almost 19 years now since our first meeting at Nagoya Zoo, and becoming one of his first apprentices. Under his instruction I commenced making my first samurai helmet, and from there, over the course of a year and a half, together we made my samurai armour (right) which remains one of my treasured possessions. He has been a great source of inspiration and learning during my years in Japan. I look forward to his continued friendship, and our desire to study, preserve and promote samurai armour customs and history. WEB http://www.j-armor.com/
Rare female samurai armour to be auctioned off in U.K.
A full suit of samurai armour is set to be auctioned off in the U.K. next month, and while such an item is already a rarity on its own, what make this one truly unique is that it was designed to be warned by a woman. The suit of armour is expected to reach prices of at least $64,000 on its November 6th sale date. The armour is clearly made for someone with a height of under 5 feet, but she was truly a well-trained samurai, that would have made no difference in her combat abilities
Suzannah Yip, a representative from auction house Bonhams, which is selling the armour, says there were a very small number of female samurai in history, but it’s clear this suit was intended to be worn by a woman. The most notable difference between the women’s and men’s armour is that it’s put on differently; for a woman, it’s more like kimono. Yip adds that the armour was made to hide the fact that it was actually a woman inside, as the bright red mask has a fake moustache attached and rows of snarling teeth painted on.
In regard to women becoming samurai, they were most often drawn from the uppermiddle classes, and while well-trained, almost never went into battle. The suit being auctioned is confirmed to have been owned by one of the few female samurai, and dates back to the 1800s. The samurai were the warriors of Japan before the industrial eras, but they were also part of the ruling class from the 12th to 19th centuries. The 15th and 16th centuries were part of the often-known warring era, when Japan was divided into many factions, each fighting each other for reasons like land control or power. But at the centuries moved forward, the upper classes became less of warriors and more bureaucrats, artists, or teachers, and the samurai were eventually outlawed in the late 19th century. Whoever wins this item will certainly be a lucky bidder. Not only will they be acquiring a rare historical and cultural artefact, but one from an even smaller group of women where it may have only been used a handful of times. Hopefully the buyer will put the armour in a museum or somewhere similar where it can be enjoyed by the public, and not just locked away in some rich person’s private collection.
In July 2012 we opened our own dojo. The purpose was to provide us with a place to train in, as and when we wanted to, and not to have to wait for permission to use the church hall we had been in for 8 years. It would also provide a home for Budoya.
It was a surprise that we lost a small number of our students with the move. These were not full committed so they did not stay with us. We have however seen a rise in new beginners, larger than before. In fact we have attracted more female beginners than male. The unit had previously been used as a car repair garage so there were areas of oil on the floor, walls in serious need of some sort of decoration. The walls were sad looking and needed to be brightened up a lot.
The windows were not secure so we obtained some laminated aluminium to cover them. This will strengthen the windows and make it exceptionally difficult to break the actual window or get in. Some walls needed to be covered in wall paper and then all of them painted over.
Above - Before and after photos of the same wall. The walls where painted and weapons such a Bokken, Hanbo, Jo, Chigiriki, Nodachi Bokken mounted to give it the feel of a proper Kobudo Dojo. Another wall has Yari, Naginata, Rokushakubo etc.
The same wall (before and after) from different angles The Kakejiku (Togakure Ryu Ninpo) was a gift from someone in Estonia when I did a seminar there a few years ago. The punch bag I found at a car boot sale (Flea market) for only £7
The kamidana I obtained new from a Japanese auction site some years ago. It is 1m wide and really dominates the wall it is on.
The menkyo top left is my shodan certifctae from 1991. The others are original pictures by Hatsumi sensei
Armour belongs to Mark Reid (Nidan), he now lives in London. The armour was stored at his mothers for several years. He has lent it with us on loan in our care. The kakejiku read Hana (flower) and is a gift from my daughter Annastazia.
This is a custom made suit of armour It is covered in 100% python skin. The price was $240,000
Planning on going to Japan and want to try something different than staying in a Hotel such as the kashiwa Plaza/Annex. Have you considered actually staying in an apartment instead. Shawn Gray is well known in Japan and teaches at the Honbu Dojo. I have stayed at the apartment in Abiko and I would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to experience Japan in a different way. Shawn now runs several apartments, all within easy access by train to the Honbu dojo and also to Tokyo Abiko Location Tenshiyama is in Abiko City (Chiba Prefecture), 5 minutes from Kashiwa on the Joban Line, between Noda/Kashiwa and the airport. The apartment is 10-15 minutes walk from Abiko Station. Detailed directions from Narita Airport to Abiko Station and from there to the apartment, including photos and street address are available when a reservation is made. (Pick-Up/Drop-Off by car (to/from Abiko Station) may be available depending on timing.) Food and Drink There are 4 convenience stores within 1 minute walk from Abiko station where you can stop to pick up things on the way to/from the apartment, a large supermarket/department store is a 7-8 minute walk from the apartment, another good-sized supermarket 5-6 minutes away, and a roadside fruit/vegetable market 4-5 minutes walk on the way to the supermarket. There is also another large department store just on the opposite side of the station as well, and there are many Japanese eating/drinking places within easy walking distance. Denny's, McDonald's, and Mister Donut are also within easy reach for anyone who may not be too keen on traditional Japanese food. There is also a Starbucks in the large supermarket. Post Office There is a post office within 1 minute walk from Abiko station, which has a machine where you can withdraw money on international credit cards. Banks There is a bank across the street from Abiko Station where you can change foreign currency into Yen.
Shimizu Koen Location (Noda) The Shimizu Koen apartment is located right next to Shimizu Koen Park, a 10-minute walk from Shimizu Koen Station, which is one stop from Atago on the Tobu Noda Line. From the apartment to Bujinkan Hombu Dojo is about 20 minutes on foot, or 10 minutes by bicycle. The apartment is located in a quiet area with lots of greenery, and is approximately 5 minutes' walk from a large supermarket, shopping center, sporting goods store, and restaurants. Food and Drink There are many traditional, family-run restaurants in the area, serving all different kinds of food - everything from Sushi to Yakiniku to Chinese food. For those who wish to cook at the apartment, the large supermarket 5 minutes' away has everything you'll need. Post Office The Post Office between the apartment and Shimizu Koen Station has a machine where you can withdraw money on international credit cards, and they can also exchange foreign currency. Parks Shimizu Koen Park, site of the 2008 & 2012 Daikomyosai seminars, is literally 2 minutes' walk. They have a great obstacle course, as well as a Buddhist (FudoMyo-O) temple. Edogawadai Apartment There is room for 1 guest to stay in this apartment, which is shared with a local resident, her son, and other guests, "homestay" style. Per Person Rates: Daily: 4,500 yen Weekly: 25,000 yen Monthly: 65,000 yen These rates are excellent when you consider th cheapest price the Kashiwa Annex/Plaza offers is 5,250 yen per night (36,750 yen per week saving you 11,750 yen per 7 night stay). Or if you look at it another way, 11,750 x 2 (2 weeks saving) comes to 23,500 yen, for an extra 1,500 yen (23,500 + 1,500 = 25,000 yen) you can stay for 3 weeks in the apartment compared to 2 weeks in the hotel. For more information, contact Shawn and to book look at Shawns website http://bujinkan.graycastle.com/tenshiyama/
The Gi and many other items are available from www.budoya.org
BUJINKAN TRAINING TIMES: Tuesday 7pm – 9pm – Friday 6.30pm – 8.30pm, Saturday 11am – 1pm Lincoln Budokan, 13 Monks Way, Lincoln, LN2 5LN
Hanako is the newsletter of the Bujinkan Lincoln Dojo (UK). This is not an official Bujinkan newsletter. It is also a free publication, and may be copied and distributed to anyone free of charge, no monies are to be paid for newsletters except for the cost of reproducing the copies. Anyone wishing to submit an article should e-mail it or post it to the addresses below Produced and edited by Paul Richardson (Shidoshi) Bujinkan Lincoln Dojo, Lincoln Budokan Unit 13 Monks Way, Lincoln LN2 5LN, England. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org For information regarding the newsletter, training, any comments, or to be added to the mailing list (Mailing list is e-mail based only), please E-mail us at email@example.com © Bujinkan Lincoln Dojo 2013ad Disclaimer. All comments and views made in the articles are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the personal views of the Bujinkan Lincoln Dojo or the Bujinkan Dojo directly. If you have an issue with an article please take it up personally with the author. We don’t have time for petty childish Bujinkan Politics.