/ Detailed Report
The opening ceremony for Second World Kyudo Taikai started at 10 am on July 19th, in the competition hall of the CROUS Sports Center in Paris.
After an opening address by Izuru Katô, President of the Executive committee and Director of International Kyudo Federation (IKYF), the President of the Taikai (and President of IKYF), Takeo Ishikawa made a short speech.
“This is the second World Kyudo Taikai, and the first to be held outside Japan. Eight years have passed since the establishment of the International Kyudo Federation and, today, Kyudo is practiced in 24 member countries and 20 other countries.
I have great hope for this Taikai in which a large number of participants from all over the world are taking part. I would like everyone to show the skill that they have built up in their daily training and for them to deepen their relationship with other kyudoka from other parts of the world. I hope you will all have many good memories to take back home with you.”
There followed a welcoming address from Mr. Yôichi Suzuki, Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France, in which he emphasized the significance of organizing the Taikai in Paris and expressed his wishes for the success of the Taikai. Finally, Yoshimitsu Usami, Director of the Taikai (and Director of IKYF) provided the tournament instructions and closed the ceremony.
The competition was honored by the presence of the Ambassador Mr. Suzuki and his wife, the First Secretary at the Japanese Embassy in France, Mr. Yoshiyasu Tanaka, the Director of the CROUS of Paris, Mr. Denis Lambert, and the Director of the CROUS Sports Center, Mr. Thierry Andrieux.
After the opening ceremony, Takeo Ishikawa, Hanshi 9th dan, performed a Makiwara-Sharei with Kiyoshi Kubota and Izuru Katô, Hanshi 8th dan, as his assistants.
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The individual tournament started at 11 am. It was divided into three categories: 3rd dan and below (including 0 dan), holders of 4th and 5th dan, and holders of Shôgô (Renshi, Kyôshi). In the qualification phase, each archer shot four arrows and needed to hit three times out of four to go through to the finals. The individual tournament, all categories together, totaled 149 competitors including 36 competitors from Japan participating in the “Taikai Tour”. The archers shot in groups of three, the competition progressed smoothly and the finalists for the second day were selected.
From 2 pm, two special demonstrations were held. The first one was performed in the name of the All Nippon Kyudo Federation by the students of Tochigi Prefectural Kanuma Higashi High School. Three boys and three girls shot four arrows each in competition rhythm, led by Atsuhito Masubuchi, chairperson of Tochigi Prefectural High Schools Sports Federation, and by their coach Mutsumi Ishikawa. Their shooting, bursting with energy, received the applause of the whole audience. The participants of the demonstration and their coach have shared their impressions with us.
The second demonstration was a Mochimato-Sharei performed by the European Kyudo Federation. The participants were Liam O’brien, Kyôshi 7th dan (United Kingdom), Feliks Hoff (Germany), Hans de Wekker (Netherlands), Tryggvi Sigurdsson (Iceland), Ray Dolphin (United Kingdom), all Kyôshi 6th dan. All the spectators were fascinated by the performance of the senior European instructors.
The qualification phase of the world team tournament started immediately afterwards. Twenty-one teams were in the competition. Each team, made up of three archers, shot twelve arrows in each round (four arrows per archer). The eight teams with the greatest number of hits were selected for the quarter-finals. The Japanese team got off to a good start. With ten hits and only two misses, they came first in the qualification phase. Germany came second, the United Kingdom and France third. (See the table below.)
The members of Japanese delegation, Nozomu Yoshida, 5th dan (Aichi Prefecture), Yûsuke Iiyama, Renshi 5th dan (Miyagi Prefecture), Akito Ômori, Renshi 5th dan (Tokyo) and Jun Yamaguchi, 4th dan (Ibaraki Prefecture) had been selected on March of this year. Since then, all four have had several special training sessions together. Jun Yamaguchi competed in the individual contest and then went to the side of Japanese team’s enthusiastic supporters.
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Incidentally, the evening before the Taikai, the International Kyudo Federation hosted a reception at the Luxembourg Palace, seat of the French Senate, a place that is seldom open to the public. Many more guests than were initially expected thronged to the Palace and it became a gorgeous and lively interaction between people from all over the world.
The second day of the competition started at 10 o’clock with the finals of the individual tournament. The three competitors qualified in the 3rd dan and below category (58 competitors) competed in izume and the victory was won at the first round by Nagy Akos, Ist dan (Hungary). In the 4th and 5th dan category (56 competitors), Ryôhei Miyahara, 5th dan (Ôsaka), took the top spot over the seven other finalists after three rounds. It was then the turn of the nine finalists of the Shôgô category (35 competitors) to enter the shooting area. At the third round, the winner of last year’s All Japan Women Kyudo Cup, Sayuri Fujino, Kyôshi 7th dan (Fukuoka), was the overall winner.
From 1:30 pm, a special demonstration was performed by Yoshimitsu Usami, Izuru Katô, Hanshi 8th dan, Jérôme Chouchan, Renshi 5th dan, Kiyoshi Kubota, Terumi Akiyama, Hanshi 8th dan.
The Taikai reached its climax with the quarter-finals of the world team tournament. The five hundred seats of the stands were packed and many people were watching the competition through the windows of the Sport Center as well. The weather was supposed to be cooler than in Japan at this time of year but it was very hot and, with no air-conditioning inside the building, the competitors, as well as the spectators, had to struggle against the heat.
Perhaps the Japanese team felt under some pressure by being the strong favorites to win because the quarter-finals had only just begun when they encountered unexpected difficulties in their contest with Sweden.
However, the Japanese team finally won through and started to shoot to form. In the semi-finals, they won over Germany by a margin of six hits. Germany went on to get third place.
In the final, the Japanese team faced France, the winner of the First World Kyudo Taikai. The atmosphere of the competition hall, that had remained relatively quiet so far, changed radically as the audience started to voice their encouragement for their home teams. The final result, thanks to Mr. Iiyama’s kaichû, was that the Japanese team won the world team event by 8 hits versus 6. (See September’s report.)
At the closing ceremony, Mr. Yoshitaka Sakurada, the Japanese Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, sent his greetings, and the prizes were given to the winners of the team and individual tournaments. The chairman Takeo Ishikawa praised the winners, thanked all the officials and staff members and the curtain fell on the Second World Kyudo Taikai.
All the competitors from outside Japan received many congratulations for their great fight. Despite the fact that many of them were not familiar with this kind of competition, the results show, without a doubt, that they will become powerful competitors in the future.
The success of the Second World Kyudo Taikai was mainly owing to the meticulous preparation and to the careful attention to procedure by the French Kyudo Federation, host of this event, who made sure that everything ran smoothly. The President of the French Kyudo Federation, Ms. Laurence Oriou, who took a great part in the Taikai, has shared her impressions with us.
The Third World Kyudo Taikai will be held in Japan. I am looking forward to seeing what surprises it will provide.
Director of the International Kyudo Federation (President of the Executive Committee)
The Second International Kyudo Taikai was held overseas for the first time, in Paris. Although seminars and examinations are conducted every year in Europe, this is the first time a Taikai of this scale has been held outside Japan.
The first Taikai－organized two years ago as a trial－had only just finished when the meticulous preparations began for this year’s event. The floor of the C.R.O.U.S. Sport Center where the competition would take place was entirely refinished and sanded. I was told that the floor had been prepared especially for this Taikai. The French Federation, who were in charge of the organization, carefully followed all the advice that I and the Taikai Director had given them and prepared everything very beautifully. The result was so excellent that I can easily imagine the tremendous effort and the amount of time that must have gone into to it.