President of the Japanese Academy of Budo
Emeritus professor of Saitama University
In April, I was appointed as the 11th president of the Japanese Academy of Budo. I have been asked to take on an important role that I fear is beyond my capacity, but I will continue to do the best I can. Thank you very much for this opportunity.
The world has already experienced epidemics such as the plague and Spanish flu, which became major turning points in history, and now we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of a rapidly changing social environment, we have taken various measures to prevent the spread of infection. In Japan, this includes avoiding the so-called gThree Csh H closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings H even in familiar communities. With JAB chairman Mr. Nagao taking the lead, the JAB has held Standing Directors and Board of Directors meetings over ZOOM without any problems. Through these online gatherings we have discussed and assessed possible new paths to take from now. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the administrative officers who have taken swift and appropriate action in such trying circumstances.
It was the opinion of the executive directors and board members that the 53rd Japanese Academy of Budo Conference should be held online this year. We ask all members for their kind understanding and cooperation regarding this matter.
As you know, the Japanese Academy of Budo, which was founded in 1968, has carved out a history of more than half a century. Behind its foundation was the hosting of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, a long-cherished wish of Japan, which had just recovered from the tragedy World War II. In addition to judo, which made its first appearance as an Olympic event, various types of budo were recognized by people all over the world, and the Nippon Budokan, which was built when the games were held, became a symbol not only of budo, but also the gJapanese spirith. The launching of the JAB is also a legacy of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
How should the JAB progress in todayfs chaotic worldH What should be done to create a new era continuing the momentum of past activities. As president and a humble scholar of budo theory, I want to draw on the words of our predecessors who led the JAB until now and reassert the perspective that gwhen the future is uncertain, we should go back to our rootsh.
Last year, the g50th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Japanese Academy of Budoh was published. From the memoirs of Mr. Imamura Yoshio, president at the time of the publication of gBulletin No.9 H 10th Anniversary Special Editionh, we can see the societal circumstances under which the JAB was established. Based on that, I would like to check what the ideal form of the JAB should be.
gUntil the inaugural general meeting was held, various opinions were exchanged during the preparation stage. Some of the discussions were premature, and there were problems with relations with the Japan Sports Association and the research divisions of each budo organization, but with strong guidance from the Nippon Budokan, Shoriki Matsutaro, head of the Budokan, was made the first president. Therefore, the reality was that the inauguration itself was approved mainly by people that were sympathetic with the ideas and enthusiasm of the president, rather than according to the wishes of martial arts researchers. It could be said that the decision was made at the last minute with a lot of problems. In hindsight, although there were diversions along the way, our efforts were not for nothing. In that context, the first questions are: What is budoH What is budo studiesHh
Finally, Mr. Imamura wrote: gWith regards to the many problems that the budo world is confronted with, I think that the Japanese Academy of Budo should be sincere, calm, and honest in its convictions, and progress with constant reflection. It is the current and ongoing theme of the Japanese Academy of Budo to make budo, once the domain of the samurai, into a culture for all people.h
The reasons for the start, establishment, and development of the Japanese Academy of Budo are explained in detail in the recent gSymposiumh publication. The questions which examine the essence of budo, gWhat is budoHh and gWhat is budo studiesHh were present at the foundation of the JAB. 50 years have passed since then, and even today these questions transcend the boundaries unique to Japan and are indeed universal in nature.
2018 was the 50th anniversary of the Japanese Academy of Budo. Nakiri Fuminori, the former president, wrote the following address:
gI look forward to seeing the desired international development and future direction of budo, and hope that the JAB will make a great leap forward in the next half century. cc It is vital that the academic achievements of the JAB in budo are actively disseminated both domestically and internationally. First, regarding the fundamental question of gWhat is budoHh and the cultural value of budo, it is important that these be transmitted throughout the world. To that end, we hope to deepen the mutual understanding of the uniqueness of Japanese budo and be active in disseminating knowledge about it both in Japan and overseas. To internationalize the JABfs activities, we have been promoting international exchange events since 1998 and conducting academic exchanges with overseas researchers through holding international conferences. At the same time, the JAB is translating materials into English and maintaining a website.h
In accordance with this policy, the JAB held two international budo conferences in 2013 and 2017. In line with this trend, the 3rd International Budo Conference is expected to be held in 2023.
After the Basic Act on Education was revised in 2006, in the governmentfs curriculum guidelines, the purpose of education states: gTo nurture Japanese people who can live in international society with our countryfs traditions and culture as its base.h Mr. Nakiri said, gWith the introduction of compulsory budo education, a national project is underway that aims to promote an understanding of Japanfs unique traditional culture and the educational characteristics of budo in order to help educate the Japanese people who will be responsible for the future of the country. We, as people involved in budo, believe it is our mission to assist and support from many perspectives in order to enhance budo education and solve problems that may arise in order to achieve the goal of making budo essential.h
In addition to judo, karate will also be included as an official event at the Tokyo Olympic Games, which has been postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hoped that the second Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo will give an opportunity for lively debate on the universality of budo.
As we confront such issues and focus on realizing new initiatives, the role that is expected of the JAB is much larger and more demanding. As mentioned above, the duty of the JAB is to understand the reality of budo from a variety of perspectives, and to communicate its essence and value both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, the JAB has to build new relationships with the Nippon Budokan and the organizations it started in order to fulfil its social function. When the JAB celebrates its 55th anniversary in three years, it will be necessary to show the results of these two issues in a way that can be understood not only by our members, but also by overseas budo enthusiasts and Japanese elementary and junior high school students.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives. We have been forced to refrain from keiko, classes and research meetings H things that we used to take for granted. However, at the heart of budo is the courage to accept a crisis and use it as an opportunity to take a step forward. If said in the style of Kano Shihan, it would be gScrew it! Letfs do it!h For example, this crisis may be a good opportunity to learn the original meaning of gsan-mitsug and try to put it into practice. [gSan-mitsug (O§) also uses the same kanji to describe the gThree Csh mentioned above.] Also, deep within the Japanese mind-body technique is the idea of performing san-mitsu, the three esoteric secrets of Buddhism. These are shin-mitsu (body and actions), ku-mitsu (words and speech) and i-mitsu (mind and thought). This means to look back and re-examine the three things we take for granted in our daily lives: actions, words, and thought. This can be thought of as gshingitai-no-itchig (mind, technique and body as one), a way of thinking that is at the root of budo. I would like to take this opportunity to re-examine the martial arts for myself.
Just as the plague and the Spanish flu did in the past, we are now at a turning point in world history because of a crisis caused by an unknown virus. How can budo change as new science and culture blossomed after surviving the hardships of the pastH I would like to conclude my remarks by asking for your support to create a new era in which the true value of budo will be examined and re-evaluated.