International Kyudo Federation 10th Anniversary
The International Kyudo Federation was established in April 2006 in Kyoto. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Second World Kyudo Koryu Enbukai was held in the city of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, following the first one, held in 2012 in Paris, France. The event took place at the Sporthal Zuid Amsterdam, a sports hall situated just outside Amsterdam.
The opening ceremony started at 10 am with a welcoming dance performed by a group of young people practising Yosakoi, a Japanese festival dance. The group was named after the city of Leiden and adapted into “Raiden” Yosakoi, which means “Thunder God” in Japanese. Their energetic movements were greeted enthusiastically by all those gathered in the hall.
Her Imperial Highness Princess Hisako of Takamado, who honored the event by her presence as the Honorary President of the International Kyudo Federation, then greeted the assembly:
“Ten years have already passed since the establishment of the International Kyudo Federation and I am delighted to be here today at the commemorative Enbukai to celebrate this 10th anniversary with all of you.” She then summed up the activities and achievements of the IKYF and shared her wishes for the future before concluding with these words: “It is really gratifying to see that the continuation of a Japanese tradition that we have been carefully preserving has created individual ties that transcend national borders. I sincerely hope Kyudo will continue to contribute to peace and harmony in the world”.
Takeshi Shibata, President of the International Kyudo Federation (and All Nippon Kyudo Federation), then made some opening comments.
These were followed by the welcoming address of the Vice-President of the Kyudo Renmei Nederland, Jaap Buitink, and a congratulatory speech from Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, Ambassador of Japan to the Netherlands.
Soon after, silence descended on the assembly and a feeling of anticipation filled the hall. A Kyudo demonstration had just started. First, ceremonial shooting on a straw butt (Makiwara-Sharei) was performed by Takeshi Shibata and Yoshimitsu Usami as his assistant, both Hanshi 8th dan. It would have been the first time many of those present were to see a Sharei performed in accordance with the ancient tradition in ceremonial dress.
Ceremonial shooting on one target (Hitotsu-Mato Sharei) demonstrated by three high-ranking European female archers and three archers from the executive board of the Netherlands federation. They were (in order of shooting): Yumi Minaminaka, Renshi 6th dan, Régine Graduel, Renshi 6th dan, and Laurence Oriou, Kyōshi 6th dan (from France); Jimmy Fredriksz, Renshi 6th dan, Jaap Buitink, Renshi 5th dan, and Hans de Wekker, Kyōshi 6th dan (from the Netherlands).
Ceremonial shooting on individual targets (Mochi-Mato Sharei) was demonstrated by Mr. Chouchan, Director of the International Kyudo Federation and high-ranking European archers. They were Jérôme Chouchan, Renshi 5th dan (France), Gérald Zimmermann, Kyōshi 6th dan (Switzerland), Charles-Louis Oriou, Kyōshi 6th dan (France), Feliks Hoff, Kyōshi 6th dan (Germany), and Tryggvi Sigurdsson, Kyōshi 7th dan (Iceland).
To conclude this series of demonstrations, battlefield archery known as Satsuma Hekiryū Koshiya Kumiyumi was performed by archers who had travelled especially from Japan. They were Kōji Yanase, Masanari Ōsumi, Fumikazu Yoshinaga, Hiroaki Gō, and Kōichirō Yano. All eyes were on their impressive performance recalling the atmosphere of a battle of the Warring States period.
Several personalities such as the Secretary-General at the Dutch Ministry of Sports, Mr. Erik Gerritsen, and the former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Japan, Mr. Philip de Heer, attended as guests.
The Enbu (martial art demonstration) open to all participants started after lunch at one o’clock with a total of 136 archers, 21 of whom had travelled from Japan with the tour especially organised by the IKYF. The archers performed in groups of three in three Shajo, with each archer shooting one set of four arrows. The sound of arrows hitting the target one after another echoed around the hall, making for a lively event.
When all had shot, only five archers had hit with all four arrows: Seikichi Okita (Japan), Gérald Zimmermann (Switzerland), Michel Dupont (France), Patricia Stalder (France) and Ingrid Haussner (Germany).
The Enbu finished at 3 pm and the closing ceremony began. Those who had hit with all four arrows were awarded a certificate and a souvenir.
Lastly, Takeshi Shibata, President of the International Kyudo Federation, praised the participants for their good performance, thanked the staff for their commitment to the running of the event and the curtain fell on the Kōryu Enbukai.
After the Enbukai, an anniversary reception was held at Hotel Okura Amsterdam. The reception hall was filled with the rhythmical sound of numerous Japanese drums.
First, a welcoming address was delivered by Hans de Wekker, President of the Kyudo Renmei Nederland. Then, the President of the All Nippon Kyudo Federation, Takeshi Shibata, and the President of the European Kyudo Federation, Gérald Zimmermann gave their greetings and the party began, with all the guests engaging in animated conversation, a testimony to the bond created by Kyudo among its practitioners.
During her stay in the Netherlands, Her Imperial Highness Princess Hisako of Takamado visited the headquarters of the Kyudo Renmei Nederland, the Engakuan Kyudojo, a traditional Dojo built by Mr. Hans de Wekker, and heard how training was organized.
This Dojo, built through the collaboration of fellow Kyudo practitioners, does not only have a beautiful view but also includes many clever devices such as a filming network of several video cameras set in different locations to check the form of the archers’ shooting.