Every year during Japan’s Golden Week, Kyoto’s Butokuden becomes the focal point for budoka from across the globe. For 3 days straight, kendoka perform tachiai in front of an audience. A 4th day (Day 1) is devoted to Jodo, Iaido and other arts. The adjacent Budo Center is open for asa-geiko in the mornings from about 6AM where you can try your luck with various 8-Dan sensei.
My goal in attending this year was to relay some of the ‘feeling’ of the event to viewers of kendomonochrome.com. As such, I didn’t spend time hunting down famous sensei to have my photo taken with them, or sniping out photographs of them. I can see some of them and practice with them in any given week back in Nagoya. One of the points of the taikai is that everyone equally gets their brief chance to display their kendo. To me, everyone has a ‘kendo story’ no matter what their credentials are.
With that in mind, I aimed to document some scenes and the ‘photogenicity’ of the event. The flooring that once supported the bu-sen, the patina of the pillars that have witnessed so many encounters of the kendo greats, the tear in the tatami that almost represents a fissure in time itself (albeit from more recent times). If this place could talk, imagine the stories it could tell!
In this set you will also see a picture of the gate that George McCall refers to in his very good piece here. Also a quick snap of the asa-geiko from inside the Budo Center itself.