View Full Version : Looking for sources
03-03-2001, 07:34 AM
Is there anyone who can advice me on some good sources on Kiyoshi Nakakura Sensei and his training under Hakudo Nakayama Sensei in Shindo Munen Ryu? Is there perhaps a biography on his life?
Though I have absolutely no knowledge of Kendo itís my understanding thereís a (big?) difference in pre-war and post-war Kendo. I read a book (I forgot the title) about an American teacher who was adopted into a classical sword school. He indicated some of the differences in pre and post-war Kendo. Any good sources on this as well would be very much appreciated.
Nakakura Kiyoshi, kendo 9th dan, just passed away last summer. I don't know much about his kendo -- other than he was the most respected representative of the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei. I do know that he was once married to Ueshiba Morihei's daughter -- and was adopted into the family. He was to be the successor, but stuff happened (I don't know what it was) and a divorce ensued.
What I know about Nakakura sensei is that my teacher (Nakamura Taizaburo) held him in high regard, and Nakakura sensei visited his house on a few occasions. Nakamura Taizaburo sensei, Nakamura Kakuji sensei (not related), and Nakakura Kiyoshi sensei grouped together to form the Zen Nippon Battdo Rengokai -- the All Japan Battodo Union (pretty soon all these organization names sound verrrry similar) and there have been a few taikai -- but that's all I know.
I think Nakakura sensei was one of three famous kendoka who were called "The Three Crows."
Somebody correct me if I've erred -- especially about the Ueshiba part (sometimes my brain crosses names with other people).
Here ... I found this for you: http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/kendo/nakakura.html
Nakayama sensei, seeing his [Nakakuras'] keiko, invited him to come to Tokyo and practice at his Dojo. Nakakura entered the Yushinkan Dojo of Nakayama Hakudo at the age of 19 in January, 5 Showa . Once he decided something, he was very quick to carry it out; he came to Tokyo in preference to becoming a teacher at Kogeisha.
Yushinkan was also famous for hard, agressive keiko, consisting mainly of kirikaeshi but also tsuki,
yokomen, ashigarami, nage, kumiuchi and so on. It was normal for some to leave the training on a
stretcher; but there was no shortage of students at the evening keiko.
Yushinkan Dojo had a grading match twice a year. At the first match after Nakakura entered
Yushinkan, he won 16 matches in a row; in matches against other dojo, his strength stood out
quickly. In autumn of 5 Showa there were taikai called Kodansha Yusho shiai, in which 3-person
teams from every dojo including schools, University, company and private dojo fought; a kind of
national championship of the time. In that taikai, he fought as a member of Yushinkan with Haga
Junichi and Kamuro Isao, and they finished as winners, defeating the Imperial Police in the final.
After this win, for 10 years until the war disrupted kendo, he had an excellent record in kendo. He,
Haga and Nakajima Gorozo were known as the Yushinkan's three strongest fighters.
A young Nakakura with his father-in-law
(b. 1910). B. Kagoshima Prefecture. One of the top students of famous
swordsman Hakudo NAKAYAMA. Entered the YUSHINKAN DOJO in January
1930 at age 19. Known as one of the samba garasu (three crows, roughly
equivalent to the "Three Musketeers") of kendo fame in the 1920s and
1930s. He became the adopted son of Morihei UESHIBA in 1932 and
assumed the name of Morihiro Ueshiba upon his marriage to the founder's
daughter, Matsuko. The two were divorced about five years later. At present,
he is one of the grand masters of kendo and iaido holding the 9th dan
hanshi rank in both.
Ain't research great?
03-04-2001, 01:59 PM
There is a chapter on Nakakura Sensei in the AJ publication "Aikido Masters". Go to the Aikido Journal website for ordering information.
03-05-2001, 01:15 PM
I wish to thank all of you for your kind suggestions.
Being an aikidoka myself I have an indirect interest in my inquiry which I posted previous to this one.
I train in a ryu according to the teaching principles of the late Rinjiro Shirata Sensei. One of the most respected aikidoka in it's short history. Shirata Sensei trained at the Kobukan of Ueshiba Sensei under Nakakura Sensei, hence my interest. Shirata Sensei left a sword system which I thought could very well resemble that of Nakakura Sensei. Though I don't know what Nakakura Sensei thought at the Kobukan I thought it very likely to be Shindo Munen Ryu. I was hoping to find a connection there but after privately consulting Meik Skoss he left little doubt there would be such.
Still, I'm very interested into the nature of Nakakura's lessons at the Kobukan because Shirata Sensei should have been influenced on some level be it not noticeable directly anymore.
Though I'm aware the sword loving community regards the aiki-ken reportoire as not being realistic in terms of a worthy sword system, I'm glad I can 'use' the status of Meik Skoss' reputation (sorry) to 'defend' Shirata Sensei's use of the sword as Mr. Skoss thinks very highly of Shirata Sensei.
Anyway, this is all besides the point.
I do have Mr. Pranin's "Aikido Masters" but surely there are other written sources about Nakakura Sensei as well. Not to my knowledge but perhaps to someone elses.
We recently started regular weapons classes at our aikido dojo, and one of the main aspects that are being emphasized are the weapons styles of Shirata Sensei. One of the instructors of the class indicated that he thought Shirata Sensei's sword training was from the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, or at least influenced by it. I believe this might have come from one of his discussions with Funakoshi Sensei's student from their last visit to our Summer Camp. I'll try to ask him (the instructor) next time I see him. Perhaps Mr. Skoss or Mr. Dave Lowry could verify whether this is or is not true?
03-06-2001, 03:31 AM
Hi Bob, fancy meeting you here.
I just discovered an error in my last reply. I said "I don't know what Nakakura Sensei thought" which should have been what Nakakura Sensei TAUGHT. Sorry.
About Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. According to Meik Skoss there's no resemblance of that in Shirata Sensei's ken as well. He did think there's some influence/resemblance of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu to the movements taught by Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei.
Please inform me if any surprises would come up from talking to your senior.
03-06-2001, 07:53 AM
Maybe it's just me, but that picture looks like a young Morihei Ueshiba.
03-06-2001, 08:41 AM
It is indeed Ueshiba--he's the father-in-law of Nakakura on the left.
03-07-2001, 08:30 AM
Iíve wondered about this picture in the past. It seems to me that the person on the right of Ueshiba Sensei, the one in front, looks very much like a young Rinjiro Shirata! That would be a coincidence to say the least!
For those of you who have ďAikido MastersĒ, just compare it with the picture on page 155.
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