1. When and where did you start kendo?
I am 66 years old now. I started kendo when I was 35 years old at Kuwana Kume Kendo Shonendan.
2. Who have been your main or most influential teachers?
At first, Yamashita-sensei (Kumeshonendan). Now, Fujiwara-sensei (Hiroshima)
3. Why did you begin studying kendo?
My son started kendo, but after the second or third time, he was crying in a corner when I went to pick him up. He said that he wanted to quit, but if I would start kendo, he would keep on doing it together. So I started kendo.
4. In what ways does the study of kendo benefit you?
The power to live.
5. What do you feel have been your greatest contributions toward budo?
Proving to myself that I can still do hard kendo at age 66. Teaching children how important it is to keep trying and the success and joy experienced when they realize that they can continue in kendo.
6. What was the most difficult grade you ever passed (or didn’t pass) and why?
6-Dan. I could pass at the first attempt until 5-Dan. I often could not join kendo practice because of work. After retiring from work, I could go to practice more frequently. Then, I finally passed the 6th grade.
7. At your current level of kendo, what are the main points that you are currently working on?
That I hit the opponent after making them move. Kan-no-me (観の目), “It is more important to see with mind than with the eyes”.
8. Which direction would you like to see kendo go toward in the future?
I want kendo to become part of the regular curriculum during (Japanese) school education. I want children to know the Japanese mind and bushido. I oppose that kendo becomes an Olympic sport because kendo is not about winning or losing. It is mind and spirit.
9. Do you have a motto or favourite phrase?
Rakuken-rakudo (楽剣楽道) “Enjoy the sword, enjoy the way”.
Translated by Ami Aniyama