Koryu.com Book Reviews

Martial Arts & Sports in Japan Martial Arts and Sports in Japan: Illustrated.
Japan Travel Bureau's Japan in Your Pocket, vol. 16.
Japan Travel Bureau, 1993.
ISBN: 4-533-01995-1. 192 p.
4.25" x 6" paperbk.

If you have not yet discovered JTB's delightful little "Japan in Your Pocket" series, here is the place to start. In a purely Japanese manga style, little cartoon-like drawings together with occasionally fractured English (admittedly this has been improving over the course of the series, which began in 1984), show and tell various aspects of Japan and Japanese life, from eating (vol. 3) and the habits of salarymen (vol. 8) to the kanji (vol. 13). Volume 16, Martial Arts & Sports in Japan includes a very brief overview of the Japanese martial arts, chapters on sumo, judo, kendo, karate, other (aikido, naginata, kyudo, ninjutsu, and kempo), and modern day sports in Japan. Among the delights are a step-by-step illustrated explanation of how to tie a mawashi, the loin-cloth worn by sumo wrestlers, a brief history of kendo armor, and the astonishing statement (for a Japanese publication), "Aikido, as a system of self-defense, attracts many women. Although women are very active in this sport, this book uses male pronouns throughout, only for ease of expression and simplicity." In the section on naginata, they use the female pronoun. Political correctness strikes again! A fun book to have lying around to show your friends who have not yet taken the budo plunge.

Diane Skoss

©1993 Diane Skoss. All rights reserved.
This review first appeared in Aiki New #98 Winter 1993-4.

Classical Japanese Martial Arts
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Classical Japanese Martial Arts