The Iaido Journal  Sept 2011
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One-on-One with Kajitsuka Sensei
(Ohtsubo branch of Owari Line, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu)

copyright © 2011 Douglas Tong, all rights reserved.

The following article is the first part of an interview with Kajitsuka Yasushi Sensei, the Secretary General of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai (the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Classical Martial Arts and Ways) (日本古武道振興会 ), the oldest national association of the classical styles of Japanese budo and bujutsu (koryu) in Japan.

Kajitsuka Sensei is also the headmaster of the Ohtsubo branch of the Owari Line of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and soke of Yagyu Shingan Ryu.

On August 15, 2010, this association held its 75th Anniversary Festival. In this first part, Kajitsuka Sensei tells us some facts about the Festival.

Those interested in learning more about Kajitsuka Sensei can consult his group’s website:

Part One: About the 75th Anniversary Festival

Question: Where was the Festival held?
Sensei: The venue was the Nakano Sunplaza. 

*The Nakano Sunplaza is a large hotel in Tokyo that houses a large concert hall. It is located in Nakano-ku, one of the wards of Tokyo. Nakano lies just west of Shinjuku, one of the famous districts of Tokyo.
For more information about Nakano Sunplaza, see Nakano Sun Plaza
Official website:

Question: Why was it decided to hold the Festival at that place?
Sensei: The last festival (the 70th Anniversary) was held at the same place, Nakano Sunplaza. Therefore, since the staff of Nakano Sunplaza had some previous experience with us and knew exactly what we required for the festival, we decided to hold it again at their place.

Question: How many people attended (general attendance)?
Sensei: The overall attendance (which includes our members, the press, our guests) was more than 300. We don’t know the exact number of only the general attendance because it was free admission.

Question: Were there any problems either before or during the Festival?
Sensei: There were no serious problems. Everything went smoothly.

The opening ceremony

Question: What is the goal (objective) of the Festival?
Sensei: We have several goals for this festival. First, we would like to have many people know about Kobudo, to learn about Japanese traditional culture, and also to learn about our association, the Kobudo Shinkokai. Second, festivals like this one also have the purpose of recording the skill of the tradition.

Question: Can you tell us which groups (i.e., Ryuha) participated in the Festival?
Sensei: 57 Ryuha attended. In our association, there are actually 77 Ryuha (full members). 279 association members participated in this festival.

Question: Were the Ryuha all from the same budo category (e.g., kenjutsu) or from many different categories (e.g., bojutsu, naginatajutsu, jujutsu, etc...)?
Sensei: They were from many different categories.

Question: How many different categories were included? Why did you choose these specific categories (and not other categories)?
Sensei: Please refer to the list of our members. It is difficult to classify because many Ryuha have some techniques in several different categories*.
* In other words, some styles may have a specific branch dealing in jujutsu and another section dealing in kenjutsu or naginata jutsu, and so on. So some styles cover a few different categories.

Question: Are the Ryuha free to decide what they wish to demonstrate or did you have certain rules about what they could and could not do? For example, did all groups demonstrate only or did some groups have seminars, etc..?
Sensei: It was only demonstrations. Every Ryuha performed a 10 minute demonstration, more or less.

Question: Was there some kind of party or get-together for everyone after the festival?
Sensei: We had the 75th anniversary party after the festival.

The party after the demonstration

Question: I see. Are there any final words you would like to say to conclude this section of the interview?
Sensei: Yes. I would like to explain more about the Kobudo Shinkokai. Today, the Kobudo Shinkokai is a voluntary group, a non-profit group. Each member pays an annual membership fee. In addition, each member pays the entrance fee for each Enbukai (demonstration). Each Enbukai is financed and made possible by the members’ entrance fees. The membership of our association consists of the special members, such as the representative of the Ryuha (e.g., the Soke, etc.), and the regular members (i.e., people who belong to the Ryuha). There are 77 styles (Ryuha) officially registered in our association. The total number of members (both special and regular members) is approximately 800 people.

Question: Thank you, Sensei.

Here is a site where you can view videos of the embu (demonstrations) of some of the schools that participated:

Mr. Tong can be contacted via email at:

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