The Japanese Bow and Archery (Yumi)

The battle of Kawanakajima. Utagawa Yoshikazu
  • The first samurai were mounted archers.
  • The bow and archery were considered as more spiritual and more important than sword in samurai’s life.
  • Japanese arrows were carved in a way to fly through to air by making the whistling sounds to call the Shinto gods.
  • When a new boy is born, a set of bow an arrow is given as a gift to the family to wish for the boy to grow and become a strong samurai.
  • Yabusame (horseback archery) has also been always performed as a spiritual activity, not for the audience, but for the gods who are watching. The same for sumo, ( it is a Shinto ritual).
  • Japanese have one of the longest and uniquely shaped bows in the world.
  • It emerged more than 1800 years ago and did not change in the past 500 years.
  • Some say it is asymmetrical in order to shoot from the kneeling position with the strong force (up to 70kg).
  • It is made by using 2 bamboo sticks and some lamination. A special glove is used to give more power to the thumb.

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