Inuoumono (dog-hunting event, a skill of an archery) (犬追物)

Inuoumono is one of the manners of the art of Japanese archery that started from the Kamakura period. It is one of the Kisha-Mitsumono (three archeries with riding a horse), along with Yabusame (horseback archery) and Kasagake (horseback archery competition).

A flat space of about 132㎡ is prepared and is used as 'umaba' (a horse-riding ground). 36 horsemen (one unit consists of 12 horsemen), 2 judges (called 'kenmi' an inspector), and 2 people for calling, and 150 dogs also enter the umaba, and horsemen compete each other how many dogs they shoot at within a given time period. However, they did not actually harm dogs but used specially designed arrows called 'inuuchihikime' arrow (an arrow for dog-shooting). It was not merely about shooting at dogs but there were many techniques according to how to shoot or what part of the dog an arrow hit, such as winning moves in sumo. To judge these techniques, inspectors and persons for calling were needed.

It is said that Inuoumono was started by samurai in the Kamakura period to train and improve their military arts skills. At that time, the hunting that horsemen did Kisha (to shoot an arrow with riding a horse) at animals was called 'oumonoi,' and there were also other games such as 'Ushioumono' (cows-hunting event, a skill of an archery) but only 'Inuoumono' had been preserved. Legend has it that Inuoumono was the reason of the down fall of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) because the last head of the Tokuso Family of the Hojo clan (Soke, [head of family, originator]), Takatoki HOJO, devoted himself in dogfights and Inuoumono then neglected the politics. In the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) (Japan), dominant Shugo daimyo (Japanese territorial lord as provincial constable) and Shugodai (the acting Military Governor) who were preserving Inuoumono manners perished one after another, and those who could maintain the manner even to the Edo period were only the Shimazu clan and the Ogasawara clan. After that, in the Satsuma clan, Inuoumono was held at auspicious events such as heirs' genpuku (celebrate one's coming of age), except during the interruption by the law prohibiting cruelty to animals. Mitsuhisa SHIMAZU once held the event for Ietsuna TOKUGAWA.

After the Meiji Restoration and the demise of the feudal system characteristic of the shogunate, Inuoumono lost its patrons such as the bakufu and the Satsuma clan and become difficult to maintain its techniques. Because, in addition to the tendency of ignoring Japanese traditional culture at that time, Inuoumono which required a huge space and many participants needed also tremendous amounts of money to hold its event and its training and practice. In 1881, Tadayoshi SHIMAZU held an Inuoumono event with the Emperor Meiji in attendance and this was the last Inuoumono event in Inuoumono history. Today, the manner has been handed down in the historical materials related to the Shimazu family (a national treasure 'the archives of the House of Shimazu') and the Ogasawara school, but the demonstration will not be restored in the future due to animal welfare.

[Original Japanese]