Aden's 1997 Kendo Trip to Japan

In 1997 I was able to make the pilgrimage to Japan, both for kendo training, and to observe the Tenth World Kendo Championship held in Kyoto.

For 19 days I travelled around , managing to train on 9 of them at Mitsubishi Corporation Dojo, Nittaidai University, Yamato City, Gotanda Municipal Dojo and the Kyoto Budokan, and a private dojo where we had the privilege of training with Kouzou Andou Sensei and Hiroshi Ozawa Sensei.


(front row left to right David Bunder, Hiroshi Ozawa, Aden Steinke, Kirby Smith, unidentified student after training)


The emotional impact of training at Mitsubishi dojo, in the heart of Tokyo, which played a major role in the establishment of Australian Kendo was immense (not to mention physically challenging).


Australian squad for the 10th World Kendo Championship and 1st Womens International Kendo Championship after training at Mitsubishi Dojo, March 1997.


Australian squad for the 10th World Kendo Championship and 1st Womens International Kendo Championship with the students of Nittaidai after training, March 1997.


Brett Smith (shinai raised on left), a member of the Australian team for the 10th World Kendo Championship in action against a Nittaidai student in a training shiai, March 1997.

I also visited three of the major Japanese castles, the oldest, the most complete and the largest. Sadly there are only a dozen surviving castles in Japan, those few not pulled down by the Emperor Meiji fell prey to earthquake and WW2 allied bombing. Most castles you see in Japan are concrete reconstructions.


Inuyama Castle, perched on a hill over the Kiso-gawa, is Japans oldest surviving castle.


Himeji Castle, known as the White Egret, is Japans most complete surviving castle complex.


Matsumoto Castle, home of the national firearm collection, is the largest surviving castle dojon.

The other highlight of the trip was a visit to the national sword collection where Masamune and Murasama blades were on display, as well as around thirty other magnificent works.


1996, 1997 Aden Steinke