Kyūdō is based on ancient archery (kyū-jutsu). Archery in Japanese began in the Jōmon period; and it developed in the samurai or military class. At the beginning of the Meiji era (1868-1912), the samurai lost there position because the Emperor Meiji replaced the Tokugawa family, the samurai, as a ruler of the nation. Therefore, all martial arts, including kyudo, declined. The other side, before the Meiji Restoration, military class only allowed to do Kyūdō (without expection). But after it, the ordinally people permit to do, so archery spread outside the military class and it became an amusement. At present, All Japan Kyudo Federation plays a role in the promotion of kyudo as a sport.
There are many kinds of style at present, but most of kyudo players are learning the technique ruled by All Japan Kyudo Federation(Shaho-Hassetsu). In most cases, style means the kind of movement(called Taihai).
Ogasawara style [change]
This is a major style at present, and known as the style of mannar. Most of the kyudo players plays based on it.
Heki style [change]
This style places importance on hitting and power.
Honda style [change]
This style is derived from Heki style. This is considered as the brebded style of Ogasawara style and Heki style.
Yamato style [change]
This style is derived from Heki style.
There are the Eight Stage of Shooting(Shaho-Hassetsu) which is a fundamental movement.
1.Ashibumi :placing the footing
2.Dozukuri :forming the body
3.Yugamae :readying the bow
4.Uchiokoshi :rasing the bow straightly(Ogasawara and Honda style) or slantwise(Heki and Yamato style)
5.Hikiwake :drawing apart
6.Kai :the full draw
7.Hanare :the release
8.Zanshin : "the remaining body or mind" or "the continuation of the shot"
The equipment of kyūdō has evolved from ancient times.
Yumi (弓) is the Japanese term for the bows used in kyūdō. Yumi is traditionally made of bamboo, wood and leather. But, recently, many yumi are made from fiberglass and carbon fiber. They are cheaper than those made of bamboo. Generally, there are two sizes. One is nami and the other is nobi. Nobi is longer than Nami.
Ya (矢) is the Japanese term for the arrows of kyūdō. The arrow's shaft is traditionally made of bamboo. Recently, many shafts are made of aluminum or carbon fibers. The traditional fletching is made with three fins or vanes of eagle or hawk feathers. The modern ya may be made with turkey or swan feathers.
People wear special clothes called Kyūdōgi when they practice kyudo or play a game. In a formal place, people wear Wahuku.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kyudo" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 588.
- Onuma, Hideru. (1993). Kyudo: The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery, p. 37.
- Onuma, p. 52.