Kyujutsu (弓術)

The term Kyujutsu refers to a technique or a martial art to put an arrow in the target from a bow (weapon). Japanese Kyujutsu is the art of shooting a bow (Wakyu -Japanese bow classified as Chokyu, or long bow), and arrow.

Japanese Kyujutsu developed independently and has its own technique, culture, and history, and is totally different from modern sports like archery, based upon Tankyu (short bow) from Europe.
Historically known as; Kyujutsu, Shajutsu, or Shagei, but at present, traditional Yumiire/Kyusha (弓射) culture in Japan is called 'Kyudo (Japanese art of archery)' and the term 'Kyujutsu' is often used to distinguish the old martial art before it changed to 'Kyudo.'
However, some schools are still in existence which use the term 'Kyujutsu' to maintain a strict Tradition and others use the term 'Kyudo' even though they maintain a Traditional School, so, the borderline between 'Kyudo' and 'Kyujutsu' is not necessarily clear nor classified clearly from the aspect of concept and technique. In this section, we call the Japanese ancient technique and culture of Yumiire, (the basis of Kyudo becoming a modern martial art), 'Kyujutsu,' and describe the situation mainly before the Meiji Restoration and before the Kyujutsu schools changed the name to Kyudo.

Kyujutsu in Japan

It's not sure when Japanese Kyujutsu was systematized as a "technique" not only because of the lack of clear records, but also partly because the use of the bow and arrow began in prehistoric times. It is possible that in the Yayoi Period a technique existed for shooting a bow and arrow which was the original present day Wakyu (long bow with long upper half and short lower half - mentioned below) used in battle, but the details are not known. Reisha (礼射) thought originates from "Jarai (ceremonial shooting)" in culture and seems to have been created sometime in between the Asuka Period and the Nara Period, when basic policies of state were implemented, following China as a model.

At the end of the Asuka Period, since the establishment of "Taisha-rokuho" by Emperor Monmu, Reisha and rules of decorum for Yumiire began to be gradually organized and the technique was also systematized and established as "Kyujutsu" at the same time, based on the simple technique of shooting.

On the other hand, not only was a bow used as a weapon for hunting and for battle, but also Yumiya/Kyushi (bow and arrow) were believed to have spiritual power, so that in Nara Period dedications of Yumiya and Yumiire shrine rituals were performed, which became the origin of present festivals and shrine rituals in various places. In the Heian Period some schools of Kyujutsu were founded and each school had their own technique, lesson style, and mannerisms. In the battlefields, festival events and Kojitsu (ancient practices of customs) or annual events at the Imperial Court, each school of Kyujutsu had flourished and developed.

Around the middle of the Sengoku Period (inJapan), the introduction of firearms retired bows and arrows from actual fighting in battlefields, but Kyujutsu kept the same status as a martial art even after departing the actual fighting, and remained popular as a martial art for Samurai and a way to discipline the mind and body in the peaceful Edo Period. Over time, its technique and equipment had been improved and each school developed individually at the same time. As some schools had lesson which simulated actual battlefield conditions, their lessons were more varied than those of today's Kyudo. However, around the end of the Edo Period the basic system of technique for Kyujutsu among each school became similar and the Yumiire technique for using Wakyu is essentially the same with very minor differences. It's not an exaggeration to say that Kyujutsu, that led to today's Kyudo, was completed in the Edo Period both for technique and equipment.

After the Meiji Restoration, because of the disappearance of Samurai hierarchy together with the demise of the bakufu, Japan's feudal government, and the influence of the modernization policy of the Meiji Government, martial arts were considered to be out of fashion and declined rapidly. Martial art volunteers, who considered this situation seriously, founded the Dainippon Butoku-kai association in 1895 and tried to spread martial arts. In 1919 Kyujutsu changed the name to Kyudo, and Butoku-kai tried to integrate the different ways of shooting, but failed, and they dissolved after the World War II. After that, the representative Kyudo-ka (those who practice Kyudo) at that time, established Kyudo-shaho Hassetsu (eight arts of shooting an arrow), where the process of shooting was explained divided into eight sections in each proceeding, and Kyudo was revived as a modern martial art.
(As to the history of Kyudo after World War II, see the article; "Kyudo-shi (history of Kyudo).")

The comparison to archery of foreign countries

What is the most distinct feature is the length of Wakyu (bow), which is far longer than the height of a person. The length of a normal Wakyu is 221cm long, which is said to be the longest for a bow, in the world. It is said that Wakyu was made long for durability and strength because it was made from plant material such as wood and bamboo which were less elastic, while Tankyu was made from animal material which were more elastic. In addition, another distinct feature is that the grip is on the under side of Yugara (wooden or bamboo part between Motohazu (the lower top of the bow) and Urahazu (the top of the bow)). This asymmetricity upper and lower sides produce a difference in the power of the bow, which results in the characteristic technique of Kyujutsu, and, Wakyu is made to take advantage of this technique.

Moreover, in foreign countries the bow string is usually pulled back as far as the archer's neck, in Japanese Kyujutsu it is pulled all the way back to the archer's ear.. Accordingly, the length of arrow is made longer. Left - "Mediterranean style": the torikake-ho (way to shoot an arrow using Torikake hook) seen mainly in Europe and an arrow rides on the left side of the bow. This corresponds to the Torikake hook in archery. Middle - "Pinch form": the style often seen among lower tribes and also seen in Shihan-mato (四半的) Kyudo. In this style the bow string is usually not pulled to the back of the archer's neck. Right - "Menggu (Mongol) style": the style seen in Turkey, Mongolia, Korea, Japan and so on, in which an arrow generally rides on the right side of the bow. In some regions a ring like thimble is used to keep the thumb from catching on the string.

When a person sets an arrow to the bow, he sets it on the right side of the bow and adopts the "Mongol form (figure.3)" for Torikake hook, in which Torikake is held at the root of right thumb, hooking the bow string. (Yokyu (Western-style archery) adopts "Mediterranean style (figure.1)" in which a string is held with the forefinger, mid finger and annular finger.) The Torikake of Menggu style is seen commonly in regions where Tankyu is used such as Turkey, Mongolia, China, and Korea, and in the Menggu style of shooting an arrow is often set on the right side of the bow. It is said that this was devised so not to lose an arrow from the opposing wind on a running horse. However, in Kasagake (archery to shoot an arrow while riding on a galloping horse) and Inu-oumono (a practice for Kisha, chasing and shooting dogs) an arrow is released against the right side of the direction of movement, so that it is not necessarily applied to all. While in foreign countries Tankyu is used because of it's advantage on horseback, Wakyu of Chokyu has been used in Japan as an exception. A warp called "Iriki" is set on Wakyu in order to push the arrow along the right side of a bow, and the technique of shooting called "Tunomi (the balance of tension at the root of the thumb)" was developed to take advantage of it. In addition, after the Edo Period the form of Yugake leather glove worn on the right hand had largely changed, which also stimulated a particular form and technique in Japan.

Classification of Kyujutsu

The bow and arrow had been used for military purposes and for hunting from ancient times, it also was popular as a game, and as a shrine ritual. The characteristics of Kyujutsu in Japan is that the cultural aspect of Yumiire was developed under the influence of China.
The classification of Yumiire from various viewpoints is as follows:

In Kyujutsu there are various ways and styles of shooting depending upon differences between schools, while focused on the 'principle' and 'shooting style' of Yumiire, they are generally classified as follows;

Classification by character; ceremonial and practical
Classifications under 'Bunsha (文射) and Reisha (礼射)' or 'Busha (武射).'

The classification into 'Kisha (to shoot an arrow while on horse back),' 'Busha (歩射)' and 'Dosha (堂射),' from the difference of Gyosha (行射) style and how to shoot an arrow from a bow.

Each school has their own philosophy and teaching methods which emphasize the above (1) (2) varieties from different historical processes that distinguish each school.

Two aspects of the principle of Kyujutsu

Two aspects of 'Bunsha and Reisha' or 'Busha.'
In recent times Kyujutsu usually had both aspects so, it can not easily be divided into two categories (See the characteristics of Kyujutsu in resent times).

The aspect of Bunsha

The text 'a wise man doesn't participate in shooting contests' in the middle of the fifth line of the right page shows the origin of Reisha thought.

Bunsha is also called Reisha, which shows an aspect of the Yumiire ceremony. Sha shooting was one of the six arts in ancient China and was considered to be an essential quality among the noble hierarchy.
Rongo Analects described, 'a wise man doesn't participate in shooting contests.'
A competition of archery would be the only thing he will participate at most. At the competition, he behaves politely to his competitors and a winner treats a loser a cup of sake. A wise man pays attention to the manners of the contest. As seen above, rulers strongly emphasized the cultural and ceremonial aspects of Yumiire.

This Yumiire philosophy was transmitted to Japan from ancient times, has been consistent and has greatly influenced present day Kyudo.

In the Imperial Court, Emperor Tenmu (at the latter part of the 7th century) held Taisha (Jarai) as an annual event, and various 'ceremonial shooting exhibitions (Reisha)' were performed.

It is natural in the Samurai world that the practical aspect of Yumiire was emphasized, but high value was placed upon the ceremonial aspect and various codes of etiquette developed based upon Yumiire ceremonies of court nobles. Especially, a high value was placed upon Mato-hajime (first shoot in the beginning of the year - later called Jarai). It is said that some clans such as the Henmi clan, Takeda clan, Ogasawara clan, Ise clan, and the Kira clan had originated the code of etiquette. After the middle of the Muromachi Period the Ogasawara clan played the center role of Yusoku Kojitsu (a study of traditional code) (有職故実).

The Ogasawara school inherited a shooting tradition based upon the code of etiquette from the Samurai world and the 'Reisha group' in today's Kyudo means the code or style of shooting originating from the Ogasawara school.

The aspect of Busha (武射)

Busha reveals the aspect of Yumiire as a weapon and a lineage of Kyujutsu which was assumed in actual battle. The bow and arrow was highly valued as the most prevailing weapon in Japan before the introduction of firearms, so technique had been developed and their equipment and strength of the arrow improved to improve the hitting ratio. The Yumiire technique, centered on Busha (歩射), was greatly advanced by the Heki school founded in the early Sengoku Period, and various actual fighting techniques were devised such as Toya flight shooting, Ya'awase (矢合せ), shooting through the side of a spear and shooting through a narrow space. Even after the peaceful Edo Period, some schools had placed high value on actual fighting and continued to learn Yumiire tactics and practiced while wearing armor.

Many Heki schools retain strong characteristics of Busha (武射) so, today mentioning the 'Busha group' immediately brings to mind the various Heki schools and their manners, and way of shooting.

The characteristics of Kyujutsu in recent times

In the peaceful Edo Period when the bow and arrow declined as the role of a weapon, the lineage of the Busha group incorporated rules of decorum so that both aspects of Bunsha and Busha were combined and Kyuju became the essential military art for the Samurai hierarchy. There is a book that illustrates an overview of this age, Gosha-Rokka (five major shooting techniques and six theories) written by Kazan MORIKAWA, Founder of the Yamato school. Gosha (five major shooting techniques) describes representative styles of shooting, and Riku-ka (six subjects) describes what Kyujutsu-ka (those who practice Kyujutsu) should acquire.

In some cases, shooting is classified into 'shin-gyo-so (formal, semiformal, informal).'

"Shin" refers to a normal form of shooting for Matomae (to shoot an arrow for target practice) (Kinteki (short distance target)). "Gyo" refers to rules of Kuriya (a type arrow for Toya) and Yabumi (letter affixed to an arrow). "So" refers to Sashiya (a type of arrow for Dosha) and Dosha.

Besides, it is called Jarai (or Sharei) or Taikubari pose (体配) to shoot according to defined manner and rules of decorum ('Taikubari' is a term from the Heki schools). Today some Jarai are defined by The All Nippon Kyudo Federation like "Hitote-sharei (a way of ceremonial shooting with a pair of arrows)" and "Makiwara-sharei (a way of ceremonial shooting to shoot a straw target)" and the existing schools, each handed down their own individual sharei (Taikubari).

However, during the Edo Period the phrases; 'Ogasawara etiquette, Heki technique,' reveal, that the Ogasawara school specialized in rules of decorum while the Heki school specialized in shooting style.

Classification by shooting style
Yumiire has been classified into Kisha and Busha (歩射) shooting while riding horseback or Kachidachi (not riding horseback). Moreover, various Busha techniques had developed after the establishment of the Heki school, among which Toshiya (Dosha) (通し矢), which was at it's peak during the Edo Period, developed independently. Various styles of shooting are described in 'Gosya' (above).


Kisha (Umayumi) is a term against Busha (歩射) and a Yumiire style on horseback. Kyuba (archery and equestrianism)' came to mean general military art and fighting itself because it was considered to be a profession of the Samurai, and 'Kyuba-no-ie (samurai family)' meant family lineage of Samurai and 'Kyuba-no-michi (the spirit of the samurai)' meant the morals for Samurai be faithful to. Kisha was a major fighting style on the battlefield until early medieval times, but foot soldiers came to play a major role of Yumiire since around the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) and horse soldiers also learned to shoot alighting from horses, so that the fighting style of Kisha had disappeared. Hunting had been actively practiced as a Kisha discipline, and Yabusame archery on horseback, Kasagake and Inuou-mono (collectively called Kisha-Mitsumono) were popular as ceremonies or games. Riding a horse on the battlefield was a privilege for high class Samurai and Kisha were considered the highest rank of Kyujutsu in the Edo Period. From the aspect of technique, it greatly differs from Busha/Kachiyumi shaho (shooting an arrow while walking). The Ogasawara school and Takeda schools are famous for Kisha.

Busha (歩射)

Busha, Kachiyumi ('Hosha' is not an official reading) is a term against Kisha and is a style of Yumiire done while walking rather than on horseback. Since the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) when Busha was generalized in battle, the Heki school based on the Kyujutsu of Busha, was founded in early Sengoku Period and various techniques such as Kuriya (繰矢・尋矢, 遠矢) to release arrow from far away and Sashiya (指矢, 数矢) of Sokusha (quick shooting) were developed (see Gosha). The Busha groups basically adopted the style of shooting a target (enemy) by drawing their bow in a kneeling position, and transmitted other techniques of various styles.


Dosha is a Toshiya style of competitive sport shooting performed actively during the Edo Period at Sanjusangen-do in Kyoto, Edo Sanjusangen-do, Todai-ji Temple, etc. Yumiire has been traditionally classified into Kisha and Busha, but Dosha is often added as another style of shooting, because it was in it's prime and developed independently during Edo Period.
Dosha is the game of shooting at Nokishita (a space under the eaves) with limited height and width (at Sanjusangendo, it is about 5.5m high, 2.5m wide and 120m long), and the technique has been developed independently because of the need for an arrow to fly a long distance over a low path, and also for a number of arrows to hit a target within a certain time limit, is contested,
After the mid-Edo Period, the Dosha boom declined, but the equipment (such as Yugake) and technique that was improved for Dosha later contributed much to Kyujutsu. It is well know that the archers of the Chikurin and Kishu-chikurin groups from the Bishu-Heki and the Heki schools, left astounding records.

Kyugi (archery games)
Some Japan Yumiire had the aspect of playing a game. The Imperial court nori-yumi game presented an award to the winner with the most points and the loser had to accept Bappai (alcohol which must be drunk as a penalty). Kusajishi' established in the Kamakura Period was also considered as 'Yusha (遊射)' and was different from strict ceremonial shooting. In the Edo Period Kakeyumi (betting on a shooting) was strictly controlled, but some qualified Yaba archery ranges were in operation. After Meiji, there were many shops where customers could draw a bow for money downtown, but a few remain today.

Moreover, a game called Yokyu (楊弓) to shoot a suspended target with bow smaller than the Daikyu long bow (a bow of normal length) was popular among the high class and later among the common people. Some Yokyu-ba (house for Yokyu) in the Edo Period placed women to pick arrows up and made them prostitute themselves secretly.

Shihanmato Kyudo, originating from the Obi district, Miyazaki Prefecture (presently Nichinan City) was said to have allowed archery games by a lord because of the farmer's contribution to a victory in battle using the Hankyu, small-sized bow, during the Sengoku Period. Recently it has been spread as a leisure sport.

Shrine ritual

Even today, shrines in various places perform Yumiire/Kyusha Gyoji (shooting events) called 'Busha (奉射),' 'Oyumi-Shinji ritual,' etc. Most of them are performed as religious ceremonies that include fortune-telling for the coming year, rather than a just being a mere game. These events are considered to originate from Yumiire/Kyusha girei (shooting ceremony) of the Imperial court and bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

Moreover, it has been incorporated into rogation and folkways in various forms.

Origin from the Jomon Period to the Kofun Period (tumulus Period)

The history of the bow and arrow goes back to the Stone Age. Sekizoku (a flint arrowhead) and simple wooden bow were used. In Japan the bow and arrow appeared in the beginning of the Jomon Period (10,000-13,000 years ago) and was used as a tool for hunting. As decorated, lacquered bows were buried with prey, it seems to have been used already for witching and spiritual events. In the Yayoi Period life changed from hunting and gathering to rice farming, which led to many problems on lands in order to getting field and water, so the bow and arrow developed into weapons on the battlefield. During this period, the bow and arrow were improved for strength and a long bow with a grip on the lower side, was devised. According to a description in the Gishi-wajin-den (魏志倭人伝), there was already an original Wakyu in the Kofun Period.

Ancient times (from the Asuka Period to the early Heian Period)

"The Chronicles of Japan" says that the 'Emperor went to Asazuma. He saw horses owned by someone below the Daiseni rank at Nagara-jinja shrine. At that time, he made them practice archery on horseback,' as well as 'Umayumi (騁射)' and 'Haseyumi (馳射),' so, original Kisha seemed to have been performed as a shrine ritual, and it also describes that "Taisha-rokuho" was defined by Emperor Monmu and put on exhibition at the end of the Asuka Period. According to the "Shoku-Nihongi," Kisha was actively performed during the Nara Period. The origin of the "Yakatamochi-no-shinji ritual" of Muroki-jinja Shrine goes back to the Nara Period, which shows that the spiritual power of the bow and arrow was already believed in. It is suspected that some forms of Kyuju and codes of etiquette existed in ancient times, but there is little historical data to explain Yumiire in ancient times. Additionally, it is said that some schools existed since around that time from folk tales, but it is highly possible that they are the fiction of a later age. Therefore, it is unknown whether schools of that time in fact existed or not and what their origins were.

From medieval times to recent times (from the Heian Period to the Edo Period)

Over hundreds of years, the structure of Wakyu progressed (for details, see the article; History of Wakyu) and Kyujutsu developed greatly which led to today's Kyudo, Kataboshi Yugake was invented (a type of thumb glove) at the beginning of Edo Period (see the article on Yugake) and the techniques of 'Tsunomi' and 'Yugaeri (the technique where the Japanese bow turns in the left hand after the release).'

Since Samurai appeared in the 10th centuries during the Heian Period, Kisha and Kyujutsu had been considered to be Kyuba-no-michi as a profession of the Samurai. Kisha and Kyujutsu were major forces in battle and were practiced actively as operational martial arts until the middle of the Sengoku Period. In addition, bow and arrows were considered to have the power to drive off evil and were treated as highly spiritual goods or sacred equipment (even today Hamayumi (ceremonial bow is used to drive off evil) keeps a trace of faith and Kyudo and the Yabusame-shinji ritual are performed in various places). In the Kamakura Period 'Kisha-Mitsumono,' three archers riding horses, Inuou-mono, Kasagake, and Yabusame, were actively performed as one of the military arts or as a performance at events, but it declined temporarily in Azuchi-momoyama Period. The 'Bow and arrow' retired from the status of major weapon in battlefields in the latter part of the Sengoku Period, but 'Yumiire' remained popular as a profession among Samurai so, that drawing a bow was considered to be a discipline of mind and body even during the peaceful Edo Period and various schools of Kyujutsu and ways of shooting developed. In the Edo Period the activities of each school were at their peak. At the beginning of the Edo Period, 'Toshiya,' a competitive sport of shooting at a target through Nokishita (about 120m long) of Sanjusangendo, gradually became popular and the sharp shooters of feudal retainers from each domain competed in order to be called 'Tenka-soitsu (the best shooter in Japan)' by staking their domain's prestige and their lives. In 1669 Kanzaemon HOSHINO (Bishu-Chikurin group of Heki school) recorded 8,000 Toshiya shooting 10,242 arrows and in 1686 Daihachiro WASA (Kishu-chikurin group of Heki school) recorded 8,133 Toshiya shooting 13,053 arrows. In the mid-Edo Period, Yabusame, which once declined temporarily, was promoted by Yoshimune TOKUGAWA and had revived as a shrine ritual all over Japan.

From the Meiji Restoration to the end of the World War II and the postwar era

After the Meiji Restoration, martial arts lost its aim as military art because of the demise of the bakufu and abolishment of the class system. In the middle of civilization and enlightenment and Europeanized thought, martial arts were considered to be "out of fashion" and Kyujutsu also declined like other martial arts so much that the "bow and arrow" came to mean entertainment and sex culture such as Kakeyumi among the feelings of the common people. In spite of such this, some Kyujutsu-ka stove greatly to survive and opened training halls in each house, so that martial arts began to be revalued gradually among the common people, and this included a revaluation of Bushido (the spirit of the samurai). In 1895 some volunteers of martial artists at that time organized The Dainippon Butoku-kai association and promoted the spread of Kyujutsu, which was incorporated into school education to discipline the mind and the body. In 1919 the name of Kyujutsu was changed to Kyudo and various martial arts including Kyudo spread not only inland in Japan, but also to foreign countries. However, reflecting the nationalistic social situation at that time, martial arts came to gradually be influenced by the nation.

One of the goals of Butoku-kai was a systematization of technique such as Kendo-gata (style of Kendo, Japanese art of fencing) and Judo-gata (style of Judo, Japanese art of self-defense), so, after that in Kyudo the integration of shooting styles was attempted. In 1934 the representatives of Kyudo-ka from various schools and board members of Kyudo-bu, Butoku-kai, gathered and talked about the integration of shooting styles at the head office of Butoku-kai, and established 'Kyudo-yosoku (the basic art of shooting an arrow)' after clamorous discussion.
However, it was criticized by schools and cultural figures and also disputed in papers, being unfavorably received so much that it was ridiculed to be 'Nue-mato shaho (the slippery art of shooting an arrow).'
When the Butoku-kai was reorganized as an affiliate company of government, the idea to improve the shooting style was proposed again, so that in 1944 'Kyudo-Kyohan (teaching method of Kyudo)' was edited by 'Kyudo-Kyohan Seitei Iinkai (committee to establish Kyudo-Kyohan),' in which both of the shooting style of 'Kyudo-yosoku' and the existing shooting style of front and skew were admitted before the end of the World War II. After World War II, Butoku-kai was dispatched by General Headquarters (in 1946) and all martial arts were prohibited, but in 1949 The All Nippon Kyudo Federation was established by efforts of Kyudo-ka at that time. Kyudo was revived as "a path to mental training" and "Kyudo-shaho Hassetsu" was established by representative Kyudo-ka at that time, which has been in use until now.
(In detail and for later events, see the article of Kyudo-shi)


Kyujutsu in Japan has been classified into Yumiire Kisha (Umayumi) while riding a horse and Yumiire Busha (歩射) (Katiyumi. Recently it is also called 'Hosha' in order to avoid confusion with Busha (武射)). In addition to these, Toshiya (Dosha) at Sanjusangendo popular during the Edo Period, is also a big category. Corresponding to each Kisha, Busha, and Dosha, various styles of shooting were devised in each period. This basic classification had been generally adopted until Meiji Period, but came to be forgotten by many archers over a long time. Based upon the ideas of 'Busha,' 'Kisha'' and 'Dosha,' it is easy to understand the character of schools.
(However, these classification show the difference of shooting styles and not necessarily the difference of the schools.)
Ogasawara school regards Busha and Kisha differently and it divides 'Busha,' 'Kisha,' and 'code of etiquette' and gives licenses separately. In the Heki school groups, some groups perform both Busha and Dosha, while other groups did not dare to perform Dosha because of the emphases of Busha.

Various names were seen in the schools of Kyujutsu, but the actual activities of many old schools are not known so the name of 'school' did not have the same meaning of today's school. "Gendai Kyudo Koza (courses in the Modern Japanese art of archery)" described major schools such as Son school (尊流), Shinto school, the Nihon school, Kashima school, Taishi school, Ban school, Ki school, Hidesato school, Henmi school, Takeda school, Heki school, Yamato school and the Ogasawara school, among which the Ogasawara school, Tekeda school, Heki school and the Yamato school were seen after recent times as well. These are divided into two main categories of the school of Kyuba-kojitsu (ancient practices of customs about archery and equestrianism) centered on the Yusoku-kojitsu and the other of Kyujutsu centered on shooting style.

In addition, Kyudo is divided into Reisha groups and Busha groups; in fact Reisha groups correspond to Ogasawara school and Busha group correspond to Heki school.

Schools of Kyuba-kojitsu

Ogasawara school and Takeda school is said 'to place priority on etiquette' ('Kyujutsu-yoran (directory of archery)', "Bugibu of Kojiruien encyclopedia") and schools of ancient practices on Kyuba (Kyuba-kojitsu). The schools which perform Kisha are usually included in this lineage and they transmit various ceremonies of Busha as well as Kisha such as Yabusame and Kasagake. In Samurai society the technique of Kyuba had been traditionally emphasized and various styles of Kyuba were performed actively from the Kamakura Period to the Muromachi Period. In the Muromachi Period, ancient practices were consolidated and conveyed to these schools.

Ogasawara school: the founder of the school was Nagakiyo OGASAWARA and it was established by Sadamune OGASAWARA and Tsuneoki OGASAWARA (小笠原常興) in the Muromachi Period. It gained the status as the center of Kyuba-kojitsu in Muromachi Shogunate and was valued highly in Edo Shogunate as well.
From ancient times, it has been praised as 'Ogasawara of etiquette.'
It also actively performs Busha and it is one of the major schools in modern Kyudo.

Takeda-ryu Kisha Yabusame: the school to transmit ancient practices of the Aki-Takeda and Wakasa-Takeda clans. It was taught to Yusai HOSOKAWA, who was a relative of the Wakasa-Takeda clan in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period and was preserved in the domain of Kumamoto in the Edo Period, called Hosokawa-ryu Kyuba-gunrei Kojitsu (Hosokawa's ancient practices of customs about archery, troops and military etiquette). At present it performs mainly Kisha and does not perform Busha ceremonies. It is different from Takeda school (Koshu school) of military science.

The schools of Kyujutsu

Heki school, Yamato school, etc. Masatsugu Danjo HEKI, the founder of Heki school, is considered the founder of shooting and Heki school later played the center role in Kyujutsu.

Yamato-Heki keito group, Heki school (Yoshida school): founded by Masatsugu Danjo HEKI in the middle of the Muromachi Period. Since the major forces of Yumiire in battles at that time were foot soldiers, it mainly practices Busha. Later the Heki school was succeeded by the Yoshida clan so, it is also called Yoshida school. (Except for the Chikurin school) It split into many groups from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period to the beginning of the Edo Period.
As opposed to Ogasawara of etiquette, it has been called 'Heki of technique.'
The archer who participated in Toshiya at Sanjusangendo was a member of the Heki school group. Following are the names of the school and their founders as well as their lineage. The lineage is shown in accordance with representative theory, but actual lineage is complicated and unclear so that the following do not completely show the relationship between each school.

Heki-Izumo school: Shigetaka Suke-zaemon YOSHIDA (Izumo-no-kami (chief of Izumo-no-kuni), Roteki)

Heki-Yamashina school: Ietsugu Heiemon KATAOKA or his grandchild Iekiyo Suke'emon

Heki-Sakonemon school: Narishige Sakon-uemon YOSHIDA (Moku-sori (木反))
It is also called the Sakon school after his grandchild Shigenari Kosakon.

Heki-Okura school: Shigeuji Okura YOSHIDA

Heki-Daishin school: Hidetsugu TANAKA (田中秀次) (Daishin)

Heki-Insai school: Shigeuji Gempachiro YOSHIDA (Insai)
Some of the schools are also called Heki-to school.

Heki-Jutoku school: Jutoku KIMURA

Heki-Sekka school: Shigekatsu Roku-zaemon YOSHIDA (Sekka)

Heki-Dosetsu school: Ichiyasu (一安) Bankizaemon (Dosetsu)

Heki Iga-heki Keito group: the lineage of Noritsugu Yazaemon HEKI
The Chikurin school identifies itself as this Iga-heki lineage. Its relationship with Yamato Heki school is uncertain.

Hekiu-Chikurin school: Josei Chikurinbo ISHIDO
The relationship with Yoshida clan of Yoshida school is also pointed out, but the detail is unknown.

Ishido-Chikurin school: the lineage of Ishido family

Bishu-Chikurin school: the lineage transmitted in domain of Owari
It is also called the Bishu-Chikurin school.

Kishu-Chikurin school: the lineage transmitted in domain of Kishu

Yamato school: founded by Kazan MORIKAWA at the beginning of Edo the Period. It is said that Kazan learned Heki-Jutoku school from his father and mastered the secrets of the Heki-Dosetsu school, Okura school, Insai school, Chikurin school, Takeda school, Ogasawara school and the Henmi school. He established Yamato school, incorporating the ideas of Confucianism and Buddhism around Shinto religion thought.

Other schools

Heki-Ikkan school: founded by Ikkan Matabe ONO in Kansei era.

Oshin school: Masatomo Shozaburo TAKAGI (高木尚三郎正朝) (Oshinsai)
Oshinsai was born in Kishu Province. He taught in the domain of Koromo, etc. Hayataro ANDO, a retainer of Koromo domain and later a member of Shinsengumi masterless warriors' party, was his disciple. ANDO performed Toshiya at the west corridor in the Daibutsu-den, Todai-ji Temple in Tempo era.

Yoshida-to school (domain of Shibata, domain of Kumamoto), Toyohide school (豊秀流) (domain of Aizu), Taishi school (domain of Himeji), etc.

Established modern schools

The following are schools established after the Meiji Period. They include schools which identify themselves as Kyudo instead of Kyujutsu.

Honda school: founded by disciples of Toshizane HONDA in the Taisho Period. It is a group of Heki school, but adopts Shomen-uchiokoshi (shooting with forward facing posture).

Muyo-Shingetsu school: founded by Kenran UMEJI
UMEJI was a high-caliber disciple of Toshizane HONDA.

Dainihon Shakaku-in (大日本射覚院): founded by Zenzo OHIRA in 1923. It incorporated the idea of Zen. OHIRA was a high-caliber disciple of Toshizane HONDA.

Daisha-dokyo: the school was founded by Kenzo AWA at the beginning of Showa Period. It has a strong religious character. It is famous for "Zen in the Art of Archery" written by Eugen Herrigel. AWA was a high-caliber disciple of Toshizane HONDA.

Shobo school: founded by Yoshiyasu YOSHIDA. YOSHIDA was a high-caliber disciple of Kenzo AWA.

[Original Japanese]