Budo World

The Dai-Nippon Butokukai is established

In 1895, an organisation for the unification of martial arts named the Dai-Nippon Butokukai was established. The initial objective of the Dai-Nippon Butokukai was to assume leadership over budō in general, to promote and spread it, to hold tournaments, and to acknowledge martial artists who made notable contributions. In 1899, the Butokuden (“Hall of Martial Virtue”) was completed in the precinct of the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. 1902 saw the creation of a life pension for masters awarded with the honorary titles of Hanshi or Kyōshi.

Among the achievements of the Dai-Nippon Butokukai the creation of unified sets of kata is particularly important. In 1906, Kanō Jigōrō led the creation of the “Butokukai Jūjutsu Kata”, but took account of other ryūha’s opinions. The same year, three kata were created for kenjutsu. However there was considerable dissatisfaction among many kenjutsu experts, and in 1912, the “Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kendō Kata” was created instead by Takano Sasaburō and Naitō Takaharu and others. It is still practised now as the “Nippon Kendō Kata”. The important thing here is that through the Butokukai’s unified kata, kenjutsu finally saw the successful synthesis of techniques from different ryūha into one unified form.

Concerning the Dai-Nippon Butokukai, another important contribution was the integration of budō into the school curriculum as a required subject. In order to achieve this objective, first it was necessary to create an institution to train bujutsu instructors, and in 1912 the Bujutsu Senmon Gakkō (Martial Arts Vocational School) was inaugurated. In 1919, Nishikubo Hiromichi became the vice-president of the Butokukai and the principal of the Bujutsu Senmon Gakkō. Nishikubo advocated using the word “budō” instead of “bujutsu” because of the more profound spiritual connotation, and thus he changed the name of the school to Budō Senmon Gakkō. At the same time, jūjutsu, kenjutsu and kyūjutsu became jūdō, kendō and kyūdō respectively, and budō was used as the appellation that encompassed all disciplines. The trend of using the word budō in order to refer to martial arts started at that period.