The Budo Studies Lab was established in the days when the current University of Tsukuba was Tokyo University of Education and the Department of Budo was launched to investigate “the theory and characteristics of each budo discipline in the respective classes, but ensure that fundamental and comprehensive conceptual models be researched independently”.
The Budo Theory course was established on April 1, 1967, within the Budo Department. “Budo Theory” classes were first started by Prof. Ōtaki Tadao. In 1969, Associate Prof. Watanabe Ichirō became a full-time member of staff and taught the “General Budo History”, “Research of Budo Scrolls”, and “Reading Budo Documents” classes which shaped the formal course of study. In 1973, Nakabayashi Shinji was promoted to the position of full-time instructor and he advanced budo studies in terms of both theory and practice.
In 1973, the university transitioned to a comprehensive institution of tertiary learning and research and was changed in name to the University of Tsukuba. In 1977, the Budo Department ceased along with the closure of all former Tokyo University of Education courses. The Budo Theory course was re-organised into the University of Tsukuba’s Physical Education Specialisation Course in the field of Physical Education and Sports Studies. In 2013 “Budo Theory” was renamed “Budo Studies”.
Since its foundation a half century ago, the Budo Studies Lab has been at the forefront of research into Japanese budo, and has continued to produce many exemplary researchers and teachers in the field.
Research into budo at the University of Tsukuba is broadly classified into two categories: history and ideology. Recently, the study of budo has incorporated “Terminology Research”, and is an integrated field of research and education from undergraduate to doctoral level. With the rapid globalisation seen in academia, budo studies is also seen now as a part of Japanese Studies, and is receiving considerable attention overseas.
Previous generations of preeminent professors in the department include Ōtaki Tadao, Watanabe Ichirō, Nakabayashi Shinji, Irie Kōhei, and Tōdō Yoshiaki. Recently, Prof. Sakai Toshinobu and Associate Prof. Ōishi Junko have been leading and carrying out research and educational activities.