Budo World

Post-war Budō—GHQ Prohibition

After the Second World War, the United States took the leading role among the Allied Nations in the Occupation of Japan until 1952. In order to purge Japan of militarism, all forms of budō were banned, especially kendō which was considered to be deeply rooted in ultra-nationalism. The Dai-Nippon Butokukai was also disbanded. Jūdō and kyūdō eventually came back into favour as many of the military personnel in the Allied forces were amateur practitioners. In 1949, The All Japan Judo Federation and the Japanese Kyudo Federation were formed. However, kendō had to endure many hardships to be revived. First, it a hybrid version was reinstated as shinaikyōgi in which the focus was entirely on competition. Shinaikyōgi’s rules and apparel was influenced by fencing. Some of the main differences were as follows:

  • The shinai in use before the war was made of four slats of bamboo, but was changed to a softer fukurojinai wrapped in leather or cloth.
  • The bōgu had to be lightweight.
  • Wearing hakama and keikogi was forbidden, and only pants and shirts were allowed.
  • Matches were conducted in a marked arena.
  • The winner of the bout was decided by who scored more points in the set time.
  • Fouls were decided and competitors could receive penalties.
  • Foot sweeps or body blows were forbidden.
  • Matches were judged by three referees, and points were scored or rejected by majority rule.

The All Japan Shinai Kyōgi Federation was created in 1950, but in 1952 the All Japan Federation was also established, and eventually absorbed the Shinai Kyōgi Federation which disappeared completely in name in 1954. After that, revived traditional Japanese budō became competition-oriented or taught in schools as a physical education subject.