A bō, joong bong, bang, or kun is a piece of wood of varying lengths staff weapon used in Okinawa and feudal Japan. Bō are around 1.8 m and used in Okinawan martial arts, while being adopted into Japanese arts such particular bōjutsu. Other staff-related weapons are the jō, 1.2 m long, the hanbō, 90 cm long. The bō is made with hard wood or a flexible wood, such as red or white oak, although bamboo and pine wood have been used, more common still is rattan wood for its flexibility; the bō may be tapered in that it can be thicker in the center than at the ends and is round or circular. Some bō are light, with metallic sides, stripes and a grip which are used for XMA and competitions/demonstrations. Older bō were round, hexagonal or octagonal; the average size of a bō is 6 shaku but they can be as long as 9 ft. A 6 ft bō is sometimes called a rokushakubō; this name derives from the Japanese words roku, meaning "six". The shaku is a Japanese measurement equivalent to 30.3 centimeters. Thus, rokushakubō refers to a staff about 6-shaku long.
The bō is 3 cm thick, sometimes tapering from the middle to 2 cm at the end. This thickness allows the user to make a tight fist around it in order to block and counter an attack. In some cases for training purposes or for a different style, rattan was used; some were banded with strips of iron or other metals for extra strength. Bō range from heavy to light, from rigid to flexible, from simple pieces of wood picked up from the side of the road to ornately decorated works of art; the Japanese martial art of wielding the bō is bōjutsu. The basis of bō technique is te, or hand, techniques derived from quanfa and other martial arts that reached Okinawa via trade and Chinese monks. Thrusting and striking techniques resemble empty-hand movements, following the philosophy that the bō is an "extension of one’s limbs". Bōjutsu is incorporated into other styles of empty hand fighting, such as karate; the "bō" is used as a spear and long sword in some of its motions, such as upward swing and slashing motion across the body as well as extensions by gripping one end and thus increasing its length as thus making it similar to a spear.
The bō is gripped in thirds, when held horizontally in front, the right palm is facing away from the body and the left hand is facing the body, enabling the staff to rotate. The power is generated by the back hand pulling the staff, while the front hand is used for guidance. Bō technique includes a wide variety of blocks, strikes and entrapments; the earliest form of the bō, a staff, has been used throughout Asia since the beginning of recorded history. The first bo were called ishibo, were made of wood; these were hard to make and were unreliable. These were extremely heavy; the konsaibo was a distant variant of the kanabo. They were made from wood studded with iron; these were still too cumbersome for actual combat, so they were replaced by unmodified hardwood staffs. Used for self-defense by monks or commoners, the staff was an integral part of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, one of the martial arts’ oldest surviving styles; the staff evolved into the bō with the foundation of kobudo, a martial art using weapons, which emerged in Okinawa in the early 17th century.
Prior to the 15th century, Okinawa, a small island located south of Japan, was divided into three kingdoms: Chuzan and Nanzan. After much political turmoil, Okinawa was united under the Sho Dynasty in 1429. In 1477, Emperor Sho Shin came into power. Determined to enforce his philosophical and ethical ideas, while banning feudalism, the emperor instituted a ban on weapons, it became a crime to carry or own weapons such as swords, in an attempt to prevent further turmoil and prevent uprising. In 1609, the temporary peace established by Sho Shin was violently overthrown when the powerful Shimazu clan of Satsuma invaded and conquered Okinawa; the Shimazu lords placed a new weapons ban, leaving the Okinawans defenseless against samurai weaponry. In an attempt to protect themselves, the people of Okinawa looked to simple farming implements, which the samurai would not be able to confiscate, as new methods of defense; this use of "ancient martial way" as known today. Although the bō is now used as a weapon, its use is believed by some to have evolved from the long stick, used to balance buckets or baskets.
One would carry baskets of harvested crops or buckets of water or fish etc. one at each end of the tenbin, balanced across the middle of the back at the shoulder blades. In poorer agrarian economies, the tenbin remains a traditional farm work implement. In styles such as Yamanni-ryū or Kenshin-ryū, many of the strikes are the same as those used for yari or naginata. There are stick fighting techniques native to just about every country on every continent. Ejmas.com Martialarm.com Koryu.com
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside katakana; the Japanese term kanji for the Chinese characters means "Han characters". It is written with the same characters in the Chinese language to refer to the character writing system, hanzi. Chinese characters first came to Japan on official seals, swords, coins and other decorative items imported from China; the earliest known instance of such an import was the King of Na gold seal given by Emperor Guangwu of Han to a Yamato emissary in 57 AD. Chinese coins from the first century AD have been found in Yayoi period archaeological sites. However, the Japanese of that era had no comprehension of the script, would remain illiterate until the fifth century AD. According to the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, a semi-legendary scholar called Wani was dispatched to Japan by the Kingdom of Baekje during the reign of Emperor Ōjin in the early fifth century, bringing with him knowledge of Confucianism and Chinese characters.
The earliest Japanese documents were written by bilingual Chinese or Korean officials employed at the Yamato court. For example, the diplomatic correspondence from King Bu of Wa to Emperor Shun of Liu Song in 478 has been praised for its skillful use of allusion. Groups of people called fuhito were organized under the monarch to read and write Classical Chinese. During the reign of Empress Suiko, the Yamato court began sending full-scale diplomatic missions to China, which resulted in a large increase in Chinese literacy at the Japanese court. In ancient times paper was so rare that people stenciled kanji onto thin, rectangular strips of wood; these wooden boards were used for communication between government offices, tags for goods transported between various countries, the practice of writing. The oldest written kanji in Japan discovered so far was written in ink on wood as a wooden strip dated to the 7th century, it is a record of trading for salt. The Japanese language had no written form at the time Chinese characters were introduced, texts were written and read only in Chinese.
During the Heian period, however, a system known as kanbun emerged, which involved using Chinese text with diacritical marks to allow Japanese speakers to restructure and read Chinese sentences, by changing word order and adding particles and verb endings, in accordance with the rules of Japanese grammar. Chinese characters came to be used to write Japanese words, resulting in the modern kana syllabaries. Around 650 AD, a writing system called man'yōgana evolved that used a number of Chinese characters for their sound, rather than for their meaning. Man'yōgana written in cursive style evolved into hiragana, or onna-de, that is, "ladies' hand," a writing system, accessible to women. Major works of Heian-era literature by women were written in hiragana. Katakana emerged via a parallel path: monastery students simplified man'yōgana to a single constituent element, thus the two other writing systems and katakana, referred to collectively as kana, are descended from kanji. In comparison to kana kanji are called mana.
In modern Japanese, kanji are used to write parts of the language such as nouns, adjective stems, verb stems, while hiragana are used to write inflected verb and adjective endings and as phonetic complements to disambiguate readings and miscellaneous words which have no kanji or whose kanji is considered obscure or too difficult to read or remember. Katakana are used for representing onomatopoeia, non-Japanese loanwords, the names of plants and animals, for emphasis on certain words. In 1946, after World War II and under the Allied Occupation of Japan, the Japanese government, guided by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, instituted a series of orthographic reforms, to help children learn and to simplify kanji use in literature and periodicals; the number of characters in circulation was reduced, formal lists of characters to be learned during each grade of school were established. Some characters were given simplified glyphs, called shinjitai. Many variant forms of characters and obscure alternatives for common characters were discouraged.
These are guidelines, so many characters outside these standards are still known and used. The kyōiku kanji are 1,006 characters; the list only contained 881 characters. This was expanded to 996 characters in 1977, it was not until 1982 the list was expanded to its current size. The grade-level breakdown of these kanji is known as the gakunen-betsu kanji haitōhyō, or the gakushū kanji; the jōyō kanji are 2,136 characters consisting of all the Kyōiku kanji, plus 1,130 additional kanji taught in junior high and high school. In publishing, characters outside this category are given furigana; the jōyō kanji were introduced in 1981, replacing an older list of 1,850 characters known as the tōyō kanji, introduced in 1946. Numbering 1,945 characters, the jōyō kanji list was extended to 2,136 in 2010; some of the new characters were Jinmeiyō kanji. Since September 27, 2004, the jinmeiyō k
Onigawara are a type of roof ornamentation found in Japanese architecture. They are roof tiles or statues depicting a Japanese ogre or a fearsome beast. Prior to the Heian period, similar ornaments with floral and plant designs preceded the onigawara; the present design is thought to have come from a previous architectural element, the oni-ita, a board painted with the face of an oni and was meant to stop roof leaks. During the Nara period the tile was decorated with other motifs, but it acquired distinct ogre-like features and became tridimensional. Onigawara are most found on Buddhist temples; the tile's name notwithstanding, the ogre's face may be missing. Chimera Gargoyle Imperial roof decoration Japanese architecture Shachihoko Shibi
In Japan a tōrō is a traditional lantern made of stone, wood, or metal. Like many other elements of Japanese traditional architecture, it originated in China. In Japan, tōrō were used only in Buddhist temples, where they lined and illuminated paths. Lit lanterns were considered an offering to Buddha. During the Heian period, they started being used in Shinto shrines and private homes; the oldest extant bronze and stone lanterns can be found in Nara. Taima-dera has a stone lantern built during the Nara period, while Kasuga-taisha has one of the following Heian period. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period stone lanterns were popularized by tea masters, who used them as a decoration in their gardens. Soon they started to develop new types according to the need. In modern gardens they have a purely ornamental function and are laid along paths, near water, or next to a building. Tōrō can be classified in two main types, the tsuri-dōrō, which hang from the eaves of a roof, the dai-dōrō used in gardens and along the approach of a shrine or temple.
The two most common types of dai-dōrō are the bronze lantern and the stone lantern, which look like hanging lanterns laid to rest on a pedestal. In its complete, original form, like the gorintō and the pagoda the dai-dōrō represents the five elements of Buddhist cosmology; the bottom-most piece, touching the ground, represents the earth. The segments express the idea that after death our physical bodies will go back to their original, elemental form. Called kaitomoshi, tsuri-dōrō hanging lanterns are small, four- or six-sided and made in metal, copper or wood, they were introduced from China via Korea during the Nara period and were used in Imperial palaces. Bronze lanterns, or kondō-dōrō have a long history in Japan, but are not as common or as diverse as the stone ones. In their classic form they are divided in sections that represent the five elements of Buddhist cosmology. For details on the structure of one of these lanterns, see the following section, Stone lanterns. Many have been designated as Cultural Properties of Japan by the Japanese government.
The one in front of Tōdai-ji's Daibutsuden for example has been declared a National Treasure. Kōfuku-ji has in its museum one built in 816 and, a National Treasure. A dai-dōrō is most made of stone, in that case it is called ishi-dōrō; the traditional components of a stone lantern are, from top to bottom:Hōju or hōshu The onion-shaped part at the top of the finial. Ukebana The lotus-shaped support of the hōshu. Kasa A conical or pyramidal umbrella covering the fire box; the corners may curl upwards to form the so-called warabide. Hibukuro The fire box where the fire is lit. Chūdai The platform for the fire box. Sao The post oriented vertically and either circular or square in cross-section with a corresponding "belt" near its middle. Kiso The base rounded or hexagonal, absent in a buried lantern. Kidan A variously shaped slab of rock sometimes present under the base; as mentioned, the lantern's structure is meant to symbolize the five elements of Buddhist cosmology. With the sole exception of the fire box, any parts may be absent.
For example, an oki-dōrō, or movable lantern lacks a post, rests directly on the ground. It may lack an umbrella. Stone lanterns can be classified in each possessing numerous variants. Tachidōrō, or pedestal lanterns, are the most common; the base is always present and the fire box is decorated with carvings of deer or peonies. More than 20 subtypes exist; the following are among the most common. Kasuga-dōrō Named after Kasuga-taisha, it is common at both temples and shrines; the umbrella has either six or eight sides with warabite at the corners. The fire box is either square with carvings representing deer, the sun or the moon. Tall and thin, it is found near the second torii of a shrine. Yūnoki-dōrō The second oldest stone lantern in Japan, found at Kasuga Shrine, is a yūnoki-dōrō or citron tree stone lantern; this style goes back to at least as the Heian period. The post has rings carved at the bottom and top, the hexagonal base and middle platform are carved with lotuses; the umbrella has neither warabite nor an ukebana.
The yunoki seems to stem from a citron tree. This type of lantern became popular in tea house gardens during the Edo Period. Ikekomi-dōrō, or buried lanterns, are moderately sized lanterns whose post does not rest on a base, but goes directly into the ground; because of their modest size, they are used at stone basins in gardens. The foll
The Tokugawa Shogunate known as the Tokugawa Bakufu and the Edo Bakufu, was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, each was a member of the Tokugawa clan; the Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern. Following the Sengoku period, the central government had been re-established by Oda Nobunaga during the Azuchi–Momoyama period. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Society in the Tokugawa period, unlike in previous shogunates, was based on the strict class hierarchy established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi; the daimyō were at the top, followed by the warrior-caste of samurai, with the farmers and traders ranking below. In some parts of the country smaller regions, daimyō and samurai were more or less identical, since daimyō might be trained as samurai, samurai might act as local rulers.
Otherwise, the inflexible nature of this social stratification system unleashed disruptive forces over time. Taxes on the peasantry were set at fixed amounts that did not account for inflation or other changes in monetary value; as a result, the tax revenues collected by the samurai landowners were worth less and less over time. This led to numerous confrontations between noble but impoverished samurai and well-to-do peasants, ranging from simple local disturbances to much larger rebellions. None, proved compelling enough to challenge the established order until the arrival of foreign powers. A 2017 study found that peasant rebellions and collective desertion lowered tax rates and inhibited state growth in the Tokugawa shogunate. In the mid-19th century, an alliance of several of the more powerful daimyō, along with the titular Emperor, succeeded in overthrowing the shogunate after the Boshin War, culminating in the Meiji Restoration; the Tokugawa shogunate came to an official end in 1868 with the resignation of the 15th Tokugawa shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, leading to the "restoration" of imperial rule.
Notwithstanding its eventual overthrow in favor of the more modernized, less feudal form of governance of the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa shogunate oversaw the longest period of peace and stability in Japan's history, lasting well over 260 years. The bakuhan taisei was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government"—that is, the shogunate; the han were the domains headed by daimyō. Vassals provided military service and homage to their lords; the bakuhan taisei split feudal power between the shogunate in Edo and provincial domains throughout Japan. Provinces had a degree of sovereignty and were allowed an independent administration of the han in exchange for loyalty to the shōgun, responsible for foreign relations and national security; the shōgun and lords were all daimyōs: feudal lords with their own bureaucracies and territories. The shōgun administered the most powerful han, the hereditary fief of the House of Tokugawa.
Each level of government administered its own system of taxation. The emperor, nominally a religious leader, held no real power; the shogunate had the power to discard and transform domains. The sankin-kōtai system of alternative residence required each daimyō to reside in alternate years between the han and the court in Edo. During their absences from Edo, it was required that they leave family as hostages until their return; the huge expenditure sankin-kōtai imposed on each han helped centralize aristocratic alliances and ensured loyalty to the shōgun as each representative doubled as a potential hostage. Tokugawa's descendants further ensured loyalty by maintaining a dogmatic insistence on loyalty to the shōgun. Fudai daimyō were hereditary vassals of Ieyasu, as well as of his descendants. Tozama became vassals of Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara. Shinpan were collaterals of Tokugawa Hidetada. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate viewed the tozama as the least to be loyal. In the end, it was the great tozama of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa, to a lesser extent Hizen, that brought down the shogunate.
These four states are called Satchotohi for short. The number of han fluctuated throughout the Edo period, they were ranked by size, measured as the number of koku of rice that the domain produced each year. One koku was the amount of rice necessary to feed one adult male for one year; the minimum number for a daimyō was ten thousand koku. Regardless of the political title of the Emperor, the shōguns of the Tokugawa family controlled Japan; the administration of Japan was a task given by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to the Tokugawa family, which returned to the court in the Meiji Restoration. While the Emperor had the prerogative of appointing the shōgun, he had no say in state affairs; the shogunate appointed a liaison, the Kyoto Shoshidai, to deal with the Emperor and nobility. Towards the end of the shogunate, after centuries of the Emperor having little say in state affairs and being secluded in his Kyoto palace, in the wake of the reigning shōgun, Tokugawa Iemochi, marrying the sister of Emperor Kōmei, in 1862, the Imperial Court in Kyoto
The kairō, bu, sōrō or horō is the Japanese version of a cloister, a covered corridor built around the most sacred area of a Buddhist temple, a zone which contained the Kondō and the pagoda. Nowadays it can be found at Shinto shrines and at shinden-zukuri aristocratic residences; the kairō and the rōmon were among the most important among the garan elements which appeared during the Heian period. The first surrounded the holiest part of the garan. Neither was characteristic of Shinto shrines, but in time they came to replace the traditional shrine surrounding fence called tamagaki; the earliest example of a kairō/rōmon complex can be found at Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, a shrine now but a former shrine-temple. The rōmon is believed to have been built in 886, the kairō at the same time. Itsukushima Jinja is an example of the mature form of the complex. Two types of kairō exist, one 1-bay wide and another 2-bay wide, the bay being the space between two pillars; the first is by far the most common. The 1-bay wide type is supported by just two rows of pillars and is therefore called tanrō.
Typical windows called renjimado let light in. The 2-bay wide type is supported by three rows of pillars, is called fukurō and is divided in two identical corridors by a wall. Although it is known that several existed at major Buddhist temples, for example at Tōdai-ji, none is extant; some fukurō survive however at Shinto shrines
Kasuga Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. This shrine was established in the same time the previous capital of Nara was founded. Surrounded by the sacred Mount Mikasa, Kasuga hills, the land that it was built upon is said to have been holy ground before the shrine's establishment; the shrine was constructed by the Fujiwara family who ruled during the Heian period and has since been rebuilt several times over the centuries every 20 years in the process of shikinen sengu. Both Kasuga-taisha and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest that it protects are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara"; the path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Nara Park nearby Man'yo Botanical Garden. This park is home to free roaming deer that are venerated as sacred messengers of the Shinto deities in and around the shrine and mountainous terrain. Kasuga Grand Shrine and the hundreds of deer have been featured in several paintings and works of art of the Nambokucho Period known as Kasuga Mandalas.
The birth of this shrine, according to legend, began when the first kami of Kasuga-taisha, rode on the back of a white deer to the top of Mount Mikasa in 768 CE. This kami is said to have traveled from the Kashima Jingu Shrine; the shrine location first received favor from the Imperial government in the Heian period as a result of the power from the Fujiwara family as well as Empress Shotoku. From 1871 through 1946, Kasuga Shrine was designated one of the Kanpei-taisha, meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines; the four main kami enshrined here are Ame no koyane, Futsunushi no mikoto, Takemikazuchi no mikoto. Though these are the primary divine beings of Kasuga taisha, they are grouped together as a syncretic, combined deity known as Kasuga Daimyōjin, or the "great bright kami of Kasuga." This amalgam lead to the creation of the "Cult of the Kasuga" in which devotees could worship multiple kami at once. Kasuga Daimyōjin is composed of five divine beings and each consists of a Buddhist deity and Shinto kami counterpart.
The fifth deity, Ame no oshikumone, was added much and is said to be the divine child of Ame no koyane and Himegami. The importance of the multifaceted kami was that it became a template for future worshipers who wanted to combine several deities to pray to at once; the architectural style of Kasuga-taisha comes from the name of it's main hall known as Kasuga-zukuri. This style consists of red tones that are reminiscent of Chinese architecture; the shrine complex is protected by four cloisters and contains a main sanctuary, treasure house, several different halls, large gates. One beautiful aspect of this shrine is the many wisteria trees known as "Sunazuri-no-Fuji" that bloom in late April and early May; this shrine is home to over 3,000 lanterns which are made of either stone or bronze. An entire hall is devoted to them, Fujinami-no-ya Hall but the lanterns are only lit during the Setsubun Mantoro and Chugen Mantoro festivals; the four main kami each have a shrine devoted to them. They are characterized by sloping gabled roofs, a rectangular structure and chigi.
The first hall established is dedicated to Takemikazuchi no mikoto, the second to Futsunushi no mikoto, the third to Amenokoyane no mikoto, the final hall is attributed to the consort, Himegami. Several auxillary shrines lie outside the main sanctuary. One is alloted to Tsunofuri no kami, known as Tsubakimoto Jinja Shrine or Kayabusa Myojin. Kasenomiya Jinja Shrine is atttributed to Shinatsuhiko no mikoto and Shinatsuhime who are kami of the winds. Wakamiya Jinja Shrine, created in 1135 CE, is one of the more prominent auxillary shrines because it houses the kogami, or offspring kami called Ame no Oshikumono no mikoto; the primary worship here revolves around vengeful gods and the dead and is the location of the Kasuga Wakamiya festival. The Treasure House at this shrine contains hundreds national treasures as well as about many other cultural properties, most of which are from the Heian period; some of the most noteworthy items that reside here are ornate taiko drums used in gagaku from the Kamakura period, arrows with crystal whistles from the Heian period, bronze mirrors of the Heian and Nanboku-cho periods.
During the festivals of Setsubun Mantoro and Chugen Mantoro, three thousand shrine lanterns are all lit at once. The Setsubun Mantoro refers to the celebration of the seasonal shift from winter to spring while the Chugen Mantoro relates to the transition of summer to fall, they both takes place in order to celebrate the Setsubun holidays in Japanese culture. At Kasuga Grand shrine, people are seen writing and attaching their wishes, or ema, to the lanterns before lighting them during both festivals. Additionally, it is said that tossing dried beans at these times will ward off bad luck in the future. March 13 is a local festival which features the dances of gagaku and bugaku. Shinto women perform traditional Japanese Yamato-mai dances that date back to the Heian and Nara periods; this festival holds a horse celebration which consists of a parade through the streets by a "sacred" horse. One will see people dressed in traditional costumes of the Heian to Edo periods and can experience authentic kagura dance displays with dengaku music.
The Kasuga Wakamiya Festival takes place at the Wakamiya Jinja shrine from December 15 to 18th each year. The main goal of this gathering was to ward off disease while promoting new growth for the spr