Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kyudo in the USA summary (first draft)

Kyudo came to the United States with the earliest Japanese Immigrants.
Probably first in the early 1900's on the Islands of Hawaii. The Hawaii Kyudo Kai itself was established between 1903 and 1908.

The Hawaii Kyudo Kai with a visiting instructor from the Los Angeles Kyudo Kai. Early 1920's

The next groups, after Hawaii, were established in Washington State, and California.
In California we believe that the first groups formed around San Francisco and San Jose, and then in Los Angeles. The Rafu Kyudo Kai in Los Angeles California existed as early at 1908; The Los Angeles Kyudo Kai was established as early as 1916.

Godo Keiko between the kyudo group in San Jose and the Los Angeles Kyudo Kai in the early 1920's.
The Los Angeles Kyudo Kai at their dojo in  Little Tokyo, 1929.
With the internment of the Japanese Americans during the 1940's kyudo in the U.S. came to a screeching halt. The men pictured above fearful of being caught with weapons either burned or buried their kyudo bows, arrows, and equipment.

The Los Angeles Kyudo Kai, 1984. Rancho Park California.

Kyudo re-emerged in the U.S. in the Mid 1970's. Two brothers, both buddhist priests came to Los Angeles as ministers, and began the practice of kyudo there; Koen Mishima and Kiomaru Mishima began to practice in Los Angeles in the early 1970's; by 1974 they were joined by another Buddhist Priest, Hirokazu Kosaka. In 1976, after being asked by some surviving members of the original group to 'please keep the Los Angeles Kyudo Kai alive', these 3 priest named their fledgling group The Los Angeles Kyudo Kai; in this way they wanted to honor the first Japanese immigrants who came to America and the first Japanese bows to arrive as well.

Also in the 1970's, The Hazard Family in San Jose came back from Japan and began to practice there. Motoki Shigaki Sensei was practicing in New York.

One of the strongest groups in the U.S. practices under the auspicious of the Shibata Family. In 1980, Kanjiro Shibata XX was asked to come to teach the warrior way to the students at the Shambala and Naropa Institutes in Colorado by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. This group is now overseen by Kanjiro Shibata Sensei XXI with groups throughout the U.S. as Zenko International.

Kanjiro Shibata XX with his son as kaizoe in the background

After this there were others who practiced Kyudo in Japan and began to return to the United States. Several of these would in 1996 get together and form the American Kyudo Renmei as the representative group to the All Nippon Kyudo Federation in Japan.

An early Kyudo USA event with some of the founding leaders, and 3 Hachidan Hanchi from the ANKF in Japan.