Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai & Nihon Kobudo Kyokai

There is a lot of confusion concerning which organizations in Japan “verify scrolls” and how these organizations function. This post is being compiled from various sources (cited within).

Steve in a post on Martial Arts Planet (as Gunyo Kogusoku) wrote the following:

“There is no koryu federation. There are the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai (Society for the promotion of Japanese classical martial arts) which is the oldest and there is the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (Association for Japanese classical martial arts). “The Shinkokai promote koryu budo by holding public demonstrations every few months, at venues like Riverside Sports Centre, Asakusa in April & Meiji Jingu, near Harajuku in November. The Kyokai only hold one major demonstration a year at the Nihon Budokan in Tokyo, every February.

“Membership of a ryuha to one of these associations is rather stringent, however, the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai has the strictest membership guidelines for koryu entering into the association. To become a member, either as a ryu or as an individual, it is necessary to provide documentation of the individual’s lineage, the ryu and, sometimes, a number of other matters. Both groups are governed by a board of directors, comprised of people generally recognized to be “senior” exponents and the membership committee. Usually when documentation is researched, the oldest document is required for carbon 14 dating (Just a sliver of fabric, not the entire document!) to certify it’s authenticity.

“(The usual rumour going about cyberspace is that sometime in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, Mr. Hatsumi applied and was rejected, since Takamatsu sensei had reproduced most of the densho. Another version is that he didn’t want the densho to be defaced by scientists for the carbon 14 tests, so he withdrew his application. Rumours are rumours though, you can never learn the truth unless you hear it from the horses mouth. That being Mr. Hatsumi himself & the members of the Kyokai who interviewed him.)

“Here’s where it gets complicated – not all “legitimate” ryu have joined one of these organizations, nor do all “legitimate” members of a constituent ryu belong to them. Some don’t want to join or be associated with “old enemies” (Some fuedal rivalries are still apparent with some ryuha), some can’t be bothered with the paperwork, and in other cases it’s just due to the kyokai or shinkokai determining that the person is not suitable for membership yet (e.g. if the applicant has been involved in some unsavoury activities, like organized crime, gambling, or it could be due to just plain old rivalry.)

“A number of rather good quality koryu are not members of either organizations. Most of the time, it’s just down the headmasters’ choice.”

The Bujinkan is NOT a member of either organization. Neither is Takenouchi Ryu Bichuden, for example. Regarding this issue, Chris Moon (in the same thread) added the following:

“It has been explained to me that the Bichu-den higher ups do not feel the need to be represented since the soke and sodenke lines are already well presented in the shinkokai and kyokai. “I can think of another two really good reasons. Paperwork and red tape. Anyone slightly familiar with Ono sensei can tell you those are deal breakers. He is a little too busy with his many interests to deal with it. I am sure he would be happy to talk about his recent art exhibit and lecture in Paris though. As Stephen mentioned some schools just don’t feel the need to make nice nice with past enemies. The line of ***** Araki Ryu to which Ellis Amdur is a member comes to mind.”

As you can see, one cannot consider a school “illegitimate” merely because it does not belong to either of these two organizations.

-ben

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