The Iaido Journal  Oct 2011
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One-on-One with Kajitsuka Sensei (2)
(Ohtsubo branch of Owari Line, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu)

copyright © 2011 Douglas Tong, all rights reserved.

The following article is the second part of an interview with Kajitsuka Sensei, who is 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.

Created in 1935, this association held its 75th Anniversary Festival in the summer of 2010.

This article contains two sections. In Part Two, Kajitsuka Sensei tells us about his role in the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai. In Part Three, he outlines the history and purpose of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai.

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

Part Two: About the Role of the Secretary General

Question: You became the Secretary General of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai. What are your responsibilities in this position?
Sensei: I unify the secretariat. The Secretary General is in charge of the general affairs of the association; of course, in response to the directions from the chairman.

Question: How did you become the Secretary General? For example, were you elected to the position? Can you please explain the process/procedure how you became the Secretary General?
Sensei: The Chairman recommended me, and it was recognized at a general meeting.

The opening address by the Chairman, Mr. Saito

Question: How long is your term in office?
Sensei: The term of office is three years. The rules do allow for reappointment.

Question: What do you like about your job? What is enjoyable?
Sensei: What I find most enjoyable about my job is the opportunity to be able to make use of my ideas for the promotion of Japanese kobudo.

Question: Anything you dislike about your job?
Sensei: No. It is very enjoyable.

Part Three: About the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai

Question: What is the mandate of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai? Its goals and purposes?
Sensei: The aim of our association is as follows:

1) To act for the preservation and promotion of Kobudo. The various arts that comprise “kobudo” are the traditional cultural assets of our country.

2) To assume responsibility for one part of the general idea of lifetime education and wellness. In other words, one of our goals is to contribute to the maintenance and enlightenment of good morals and manners in our country.

3) To contribute to the cultivation of our human character and human nature. We aim to contribute to the raising of our youth soundly and increasing the physical strength of our young people.

Question: Can you tell us about the history of the association? How and why was it created?
Sensei: The association was created on February 3, 1935. On April 4, 1940, we, the association, got permission for the foundation of our association. And from that time onwards, we have continued to act for the preservation and promotion of Kobudo in general and all the arts which comprise it, which are Japanese traditional cultural assets.

However, with the end of World War II, the GHQ*, the General Headquarters, prohibited the practice of martial arts and went about to dissolve the martial arts groups in Japan. Furthermore, the GHQ ordered the purging of the officers of such groups. So, many groups were broken up by nomination and in sequence.

Our association sensed quickly the developing situation and dissolved voluntarily and became an arbitrary group on January 1, 1946.

In spite of the intense change of social conditions, we survived. We then continued to pile up many results year after year due to the efforts of the many concerned people who thought it important to preserve this part of our cultural heritage.

And I am happy to say that, due to these selfless individuals, today we have been able to reach this our 75th anniversary.

Question: What is the relationship of this association with other similar organizations? Are there other similar associations?
Sensei: Yes. There is the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (Japanese Classical Martial Arts Association).

Question: Many Ryuha are members of your association. There must be many other Ryuha who want to be a member but are not given membership. Is there criteria for inclusion (e.g., membership requirements)? For example, what criteria do you use to accept or reject a Ryuha when it applies for membership in your association? For example, does the Ryuha have to be an old style? Does it have to be a famous style? etc...
Sensei: We examine and judge each case by itself. In other words, case by case. The applicant presents the required documents, which explain all about his Ryuha, with the evidence to us. We examine it based on the opinions of our experts (professors, etc...) about the personality, the skill, career, and tradition (the rightness of the lineage, the founder, the foundation year, etc...) of the representative of the Ryuha. And then, we judge whether or not to award membership.

Author’s post-script:

There are two major organizations in Japan which oversee kobudo (the old martial arts), the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai (NKS) and the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (NKK). The NKS is the older of the two organizations. The purpose of these two organisations is, more or less, the same: to recognise and preserve Japanese traditional martial arts. Many of the member schools of these organizations have been awarded the distinction of being "National Cultural Treasures" by the Japanese government. It is considered a great honour in Japan to be recognized by these organizations.

Here are some useful links for more information on these two organizations:

Website of the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai:

An article on the 30th Anniversary of the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai:

Discussions on budo forums about membership into the NKS and NKK:

For more information on the GHQ, see: Supreme_Commander_of_the_Allied_Powers (SCAP) or GHQ

For more information on the Occupation of Japan, see: Occupation_of_Japan


A Special 2-Day Intensive Seminar In

Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Kenjutsu

July 15 & 16, 2012


Yasushi Kajitsuka Sensei

from Tochigi, Japan

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend some quality time with one of the great masters of Japanese classical martial arts. Attendance is limited to 20 people. For more information, visit:

Mr. Tong can be contacted via email at:

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