View Full Version : Bugei Ju-happan

17th April 2002, 11:03
Most of us have propably heard the term Bugei Ju-happan, but where does this term actually come from?

The concept seems to be "the 18 arts considered essential to bushi", but where this idea came from and is there indeed any "generally" accepted Bugei Ju-happan? I understand that different ryuha naturally had their own curricula and emphasized different arts more than others and I believe saying anything too general about all the ryuha is propably misinformation, but yet I'd like to know in what degree do different sources agree on the 18 arts.

What I'd really like to know is the historical (pre-meiji) documents that refer to the concept of Bugei Ju-happan and what they say about it. If there are historical documents on the subject, how old are the earliest ones that survive? I got a gut feeling this might be an Edo-period thing, but my gut has known to be wrong many times :)

18th April 2002, 10:30
To quote G. Cameron Hurst 111 in his "Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery":
"Martial Arts texts are a recent phenomenon in Japan; all but a tiny fraction date from the Tokugawa period. Seventeenth-century writers began to cite specific martial arts and classify them, typically referring to "four martial arts," the "six martial arts," and the "eighteen martial arts."*

Four martial arts: equitation, archery, swordsmanship, and the use of the spear.
Six martial arts: the four martial arts plus hojutsu (gunnery) and jujutsu.
Eighteen martial arts: the six martial arts plus battojutsu, or iaijutsu; torite (grappling); use of the short sword, naginata, staff, jutte (truncheon), needles (which were spit from the mouth), kusarigama (sickle and chain), and mojiri (a barbed staff); shuriken, swimming in armour; and ninjutsu (techniques of stealth and assassination).

The lists certainly do not exhaust the various systems of combat in premodern Japan. Draeger lists thirty-four, but there may be more than fifty, depending on the scholar consulted and the method of counting. But these are the eighteen usually mentioned in Tokugawa texts."(pp 12/13)

*(From 'Notes to Chapter 1')
"The Japanese term 'bugei juhachibanji' ("eighteen martial arts"), like the concept, was based upon the Ming Chinese original, with slightly different arts being emphasised. See BRH (Bugei ryuha hyakusen, by Watatani Kiyoshi) pp 190-242."

So from what I gather, it's a system of classification that arose from the bugei journalists of the Tokugawa period, and was based upon "the ming original". I haven't found out whether or not this concept was used in any ryuha densho or makimono, or whether it was used solely by extraneous commentators on the arts

Hope this perspective helps a bit,

Brendan Finn:toast:

23rd April 2002, 05:11
Thank you for the Information Mr. Finn, exactly on the lines of what I was looking for. That book by G. Cameron Hurst III is on my rather long list of books to get and seems it defenitely has its place there.

My original thought was that at least great majority, if not all of references would be from outside of any ryuha densho or makimono, from those "extraneous commentators on the arts".

Any further references and information are naturally wellcome.

And it also seems my gut would've been worth the trust :)