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Photo #54 – Iaido Katana Sword Training at Butokuden, Kyoto

Iaido katana sword practice in Butokuden at the Kyoto Budo Center in Kyoto, Japan.

Episode 5 of the Savage Japan Podcast, the racism episode, was recorded at the nearby Kyoto International Community Center shortly after this photo was taken. Episode 5 with its difficult subject matter is proving to be a tough episode to crank out. The current target date for availability is Friday, September 10th. You can hear previous episodes of the Savage Japan Podcast at SavageJapan.com or SavageSnowPodcast.com.


You can see a more expansive interior view of Butokuden in the previous photo. I’m glad I got one image of an Iaido Japanese katana sword wielding practitioner this day. With such low light and zoomed all the way across the hall, I was fortunate to end up with even one usable photo.

It’s interesting to me that the one photo I did get is of an older iaido participant. It reminded me of a kendo bamboo sword sport student in his late teens that I had a conversation with about kendo in Japan. During the conversation I asked him what he thought of iaido and if he was interested in it. He replied that iaido was too dangerous and a more appropriate activity for adults.

What was most interesting to me about that response was how open he was and not ego driven in his reply. I suspect most American teenagers would not have responded in that manner, willfully declaring something to be too dangerous for themselves at that point in their lives, or more suited to adults. There may be a general age limitation in Japan with iaido that could have contributed to his mindset and humble answer. I do not know the generally accepted youngest starting age for iaido, if there is one.

I’ve noticed that the Japanese don’t seem to have any confusion about modern kendo (bamboo swords) and it’s reincarnation and invention as a sport in recent history. Whereas western practitioners of the kendo bamboo sword sport are sometimes quite determined to view themselves as the last remnants of the samurai, or some other such romantic frivolity. :-)

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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