Hearing and Writing Kendo History
Biography of Katsugoro Miya, Kyoshi 7th Dan
By Takuma Ishigami
Hearing and Writing Kendo History, (#113)
(Kendo Nippon, January 1994) p. 95.
“… The Toyama Academy had seven dojo. The most magnificent among them was the Tenran Dojo (Imperial Inspection Training Hall)… it was as large as gymnasiums are today.”
“… In Showa 8 (1933), I entered the Toyama Military Academy. It was difficult, entering here! I was the only person from my regiment. Upon entering, it looked scary, I was the only person from the Health Corps… I thought, ‘Just what do you intend, huh… sending me from the Medical Corps!’ Eventually, received shodan (1st degree black belt) in kendo. Was it the destination of this scoundrel to teach calisthenics, etc., in the Health Corps?
At the Toyama Academy we did calisthenics in the mid morning and kendo in the afternoon. Students were from the artillery, infantry, and armor branches and remained separated. However, I was the only soldier from the Health Corps, therefore, I was attached to the artillery. The artillery soldiers’ bodies were huge, but everyone in the unit said they couldn’t swing over the horizontal bar (chin-up bar) or somersault, hmmm… they were dull-witted (laughing).
My very first hour of exercise was with the horizontal bar. I couldn’t even swing my butt over the top; the instructor said, ‘You had best just watch!’ I was the exception.
Actually, Toyama Academy’s kendo was chiefly bayonet fencing. The artillery branch was different from the others and used a shorter version of the wooden training rifle during practice. This was the difference with our group. The infantry branch used the longer training rifle.
In addition to bayonet, we also learned knife fighting. We used a short wooden dagger for training, but this was also different with our group. The cavalry and armor branches used a normal length bamboo sword for training.
The Toyama Military Academy occupies the position of uniqueness in the field of kendo known as ‘two-handed military sword techniques’ and the like. I believe that if you investigate the resumes of many high-ranking kendo people today, you will find that they are graduates of the Rikugan Toyama Gakko. You will find much good about the so-called kendo of the Toyama Academy…”