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Thread: Eagle Feathers

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    Usagi Yojimbo Guest

    Default Eagle Feathers

    I have a question regarding eagle feathers and budo. In the warrior traditions of North America, these items are cosidered tokens of esteem. Did the Japanese have simialar beliefs?

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    Eagle feathers mean many different things across the spectrum of the various Native American cultures. While it is not wrong to associate them with "warriorship," there are-or were- a wide variety of beliefs and practices associated with eagles, other birds and their feathers and their feathers, from instruments of prayer to decoration.While I'm no anthropologist or expert in all things Indian, it is worth noting that feathers that are taboo to one tribe-owl's, for example, are often utilized by another.

    As for your question, to the best of my knowledge, no. While Shinto represents a rather sophisticated form of pantheistic shamanism, and Native American spirtual practices could also be considered shamanistic, I think the only "eagle" in shintoism is Garuda, called Karua{?} in Japanese-some sort of eagle-man warrior deity.Someone else would know better-I just read a little about Shintoism 30 years ago, so i could be wrong.......again. Don't know that there are any eagles in Japan.......oooh-Steller's Sea Eagle, a relative of the Bald Eagle, is found in Japan.So I guess it's possible....
    Last edited by elder999; 14th May 2004 at 14:09.
    Aaron J. Cuffee


    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
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  3. #3
    txhapkido Guest

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    Here's a quote re hawk feathers: "Since ancient times, hawks have been considered the most majestic and noble birds in Japan. Many samurai family crests incorporated the shapes of hawk feathers in their design, and real hawk feathers were used for arrow flights. One popular Japanese proverb says, "A wise hawk hides his claws, or in other words, "talented people never reveal their skills."

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    Arrow Kyudo connection.

    Originally posted by txhapkido
    Here's a quote re hawk feathers: "Since ancient times, hawks have been considered the most majestic and noble birds in Japan. Many samurai family crests incorporated the shapes of hawk feathers in their design, and real hawk feathers were used for arrow flights. One popular Japanese proverb says, "A wise hawk hides his claws, or in other words, "talented people never reveal their skills."
    In Kyudo, Ya (arrows) fletched with hawk feathers are highly prized.

    I have been told that the Endangered Species Act has made it illegal to import them from Japan and rather difficult to obtain feathers for fletching Ya here.

    The mon of the late Haruna-s., who came to instruct Iaido in Guelph (Ontario) for many years, is a pair of crossed hawk feathers as I recall.
    Raymond Sosnowski

    "Setsunintoh, Katsuninken, Shinmyohken."

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    Default Arrow Fletchings

    My arrows were fletched with eagle feathers -- bought them ca. 1984. And no, I don't have them anymore. Sold them to someone living in Palo Alto.

    The arrows were made by Asahi Archery Co. and I had a very nice correspondence going with its owner, Ohnuma Hideharu sensei (15th soke, Heiki Ryu). Ohnuma sensei imported his eagle feathers from China at that time. They also used hawk feathers, but the top-notch arrows used eagle.

    Asahi Archery Co., http://www.asahi-archery.co.jp/wakyu/asahi.html

    Feathers: http://www.asahi-archery.co.jp/wakyu/amain.html

    And no, I was never good at Japanese archery. Maybe I should have had a kyudo teacher? Mr. Obata showed me how to shoot, but that was just the basic "lock, draw, loose" .. which is okay, I guess since I was able to hit the target. But truth be told, I prefer the single-stave yew longbow that I have.

    The Iwasaki family mon is "within a circle, two hawk feathers crossed in saltire." Other families use the same kamon, but I don't know the names associated.


    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

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    Is it just me or is the crossed hawk feathers one of the most commonly occuring Mon? I see it everwhere.

    The mongolian bow I have came with arrows fletched with eagle feathers, but that is a different story. A good friend of mine is putting together a documentary on the Eagle Hunters near the Kazakh border.
    Daniel Madar

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