Bugei (military art) (Japan) (武芸 (日本))

Bugei is a military art practiced by soldiers, military officers, and samurai in order to fight in a battlefield during the period from the ancient times to the medieval period, the early modern period in Japan.

General theory of military art
Generally, the military art developed together with the development of iron weapons.
"Gokanjo" (historical records of the Later Han Dynasty) wajinden states '其兵有矛楯木弓竹矢 或以骨為鏃,' while "Gishiwajinden" (literally, an 'Account of the Wa' in "The History of the Wei Dynasty") states '兵用矛楯木弓木弓短下長上竹箭或鉄鏃或骨鏃.'
"Gishiwajinden," states that hoko (long-handled Chinese spear), shields, wooden bows, and arrowheads made of iron (or bone) were used in the 200s in Wakoku. During the period of Yamato Court, the Otomo clan or the Mononobe clan existed as a clan in charge of military affairs. The hoko, swords, bows, grip (sumo) are described in "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), which are probably the oldest history books of Japan.

In the period when the ritsuryo system was established, the training institution according to the ritsuryo codes had a military art based on the ritsuryo system style of military officers. Under the ritsuryo system, Hyobusho (ministry of military) took charge of military affairs. Emperor Tenmu issued the order concerning tactics and training for horse-riding to military officers, and horse soldier troops were enhanced based on the educational system through Taiho Ritsuryo (Taiho Code) and Yoro ritsuryo code (code promulgated in the Yoro period). In 724 in the period of Emperor Shomu, 30,000 soldiers of the military located in nine countries of Bando (old Kanto region) started to take lessons in Kisha (to shoot an arrow with riding a horse) and received training in gunjin (battle array). The do (slingshot) was also used at that time.

Apart from those soldiers, the people including 'lower-ranking nobles' (shodaibu), 'lower-ranking government officials' (samurai), 'lower-ranking government officials of influential families' (samurai), who were officially approved to arm themselves in the kokuga forces system by the Imperial Court or kokuga (provincial government office compounds), became warriors, organizing an armed group with 'the new-type military art' which was established in the 10th century. From this period to the Kamakura period, mainly one-on-one battles by warriors, bows, swords, nagamaki, naginata (a long pole with a sharp curving sword), and yoroidoshi (dagger like thrusting blade for use against an armored opponent) were used in the battle. Bows and arrows were followed by sword fights, which in turn was followed by kumiuchi (grappling).

A change occurred when Mongol invaded Japan and the Japanese army fought against the Mongol army which used group tactics in the latter half of the Kamakura period. In Japan, tactics also changed into group tactics, organizing foot soldiers including ashigaru (common foot soldier). After reviewing weapons to replace piercing weapons having a long handle with weapons suitable for group tactics, spears were considered to be a main weapon, which led to the introduction and widespread use of firearms matchlock guns that used gunpowder.

After entering the Edo period, the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and military organization placed in each domain ceased to experience war for about 250 years as Japan became peaceful. When a civil war occurred in the end of Edo period, a western-style military system was deployed. At this time, the Edo bakufu force was supported by the French Second Empire, while the force overthrowing the Edo bakufu was supported by the British Empire, and both deployed firearms and warships. After the Meiji Government established itself as the Empire of Japan, two military forces; Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), which introduced the military system of the German Empire, Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), which modeled on the British Empire, were organized, and thus, military technology and military drills were modernized. In Navy, battles at close range using sharp weapons including swords, spears, bayonet drills, and knives and dull weapons such as bats were called hand-to-hand combat.

(Meanwhile, after entering the Edo period, warriors had no chance to go to battle, and military arts changed, adding skills and generating various schools.)
(The schools were established as schools in the art of Japanese archery, swordplay, jujutsu, gunnery, and military science, and were practiced as 'essential disciplines of warriors.')
(After the Meiji Restoration, gunnery, and military science were abolished, and other schools, which were also diminished, were not adopted in the educational system as they were determined to be unsuitable to be included in physical education classes.)
(However, after the Russo-Japanese War, they were adopted into the school education system for its educational value in fostering Japanese spirit, rather than a mere skill, and were established as Budo [martial arts].)
(During the Occupation, Budo was forbidden by General Headquarters [GHQ], however, it was resumed as Gendai Budo [modern martial art] after Japan became independent.)

Description of various military arts

Warriors began to ride horses during battles, which brought changes to both battlefield tactics and military techniques. Emperor Tenmu issued an order concerning tactics and training for horse riding to military officers, and horse soldier troops were enhanced based on the educational system through Taiho Ritsuryo (Taiho Code) and Yoro ritsuryo code (code promulgated in the Yoro era). For warriors who appeared after that, horse riding was considered the most important military art, and only warriors (Shodaibu and Samurai) and roto (retainer) were allowed to practice horse riding. Even in the Edo period, the rank of Samurai differed greatly based on whether they were allowed to ride a horse on a battlefield or not.

Busha, a bow (weapon) was available in ancient times, and was developed as Kisha (to shoot an arrow with riding a horse) alongside the development of horse-riding. The period of tactics centering on Yumiire; Kyusha ceremonial shooting lasted long until fire arms appeared as a weapon. Kisha (to shoot an arrow with riding a horse), too, was a most important military art for warriors. Along with Kisha (to shoot an arrow with riding a horse), Busha (to shoot an arrow while walking) was also performed an important military art during the medieval period and modern times even after the appearance of firearms.
Ken (sword of sharpened two edges)

Tsurugi, a Japanese sword in the early Japanese period, mainly Nara period, refers to a double-edged sword, and the first Tsurugi were made of bronze. Tsurugi is considered to have been practically used until the Kofun period (tumulus period).
katana (single-edged sword)

The Japanese sword which is a single-edged sword is considered to have changed from a straight sword to wanto (scimitar), and sword-wielding techniques were also changed and developed after the middle of the Heian period. During the Genpei period (the period of the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan; late 11th century to late 12th century CE), all available swords were wanto, and sharp, strong, and light swords were manufactured.
Hoko (long-handled Chinese spear)

Hoko (long-handled Chinese spear) is a long pole weapon, and the joint with a handle is called fukuroho in which a handle is inserted. It seems that hoko was used together with a shield which was held with the other hand during the battle. Firstly, hoko made of bronze appeared, and later on, hoko made of iron came to be produced.

According to "Katabisashi" written by Hikomaro SAITO, the origin of the spear is the hoko during the age of gods. However, the term, 'long spear' appeared in the part where Naka no Oe no Oji and NAKATOMI no Kamatari executed SOGA no Iruka, of "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan).

Nagamaki is a long Japanese sword with a handle the same length as the blade. Nagamaki was developed from Nakamaki which has an extended handle of a long Japanese sword for ease of removal. The difference between Nagamaki and Nakamaki is that Nagamaki originally had a longer nakago (end of the blade) while Nakatsumaki were lengthened by extending the nakago of a long Japanese sword of regular length.

Naginata (Japanese halberd)
Naginata (Japanese halberd) is a weapon with a blade warpage attached to the top of a long handle, and was originally called 'Naginata' or 'Naganata.'

kumiuchi (grappling)
Before modern times, in a battle field, an enemy general was beheaded with a Japanese sword after being pushed down, which was called Kumiuchi. Kumiuchi was practiced through the skill of sumo wrestling.

According to "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), it appears that striking or kicking was also allowed in sumo wrestling in ancient times.

In the period of the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan, and in the medieval period in Japan, fairness and graciousness were required in a battle, and the battle was done on a one-on-one basis. Concerning one-on-one battles, it was common to cut at each other with a sword after battling using bows and arrows, which was followed by kumiuchi (grappling) ("Genpei Seisui ki" [Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and the Taira clans] by Sanemitsu TOHEI).

Volume 10 of "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace), describes kumiuchi on a horse by Shitara Gorozaemon jo (Lieutenant) and Saito Genki Okina (an old man).

The pattern of one-on-one battles was abolished due to the appearance of ashigaru (common foot soldier).
Still kumiuchi remained an important military art in battles ('six or seven times out of ten times, kumiuchi was done in battle with warriors donning kacchu [armor].'
That's why warriors must practice the sumo wrestling which was done by ancient warriors.' according to "Sumo Torikumidensho" by Ryuetsu Morinao KIMURA in 1745)

In this manner, information began to be collected on the proper timing and distance at which to use bows, firearms, spears, and swords, as well as information on battles themselves and on methods allowing wrestlers without great strength to pin strong opponents on the ground.

The Kibi clan Disturbance, which is believed to have happened in the fifth century, is an example of old wars which Suigun (warriors battle in the sea) were involved in.

Until recent times, Japanese ships had been wasen (Japanese Style of Small Fishing Boat), as well as military ships. The hull form haniwa (a clay figure artifact) reproduced wasen in ancient times, and are records that show morotabune-boat was used for military use in ancient times. The Azumi clan, the Ama clan, the Tsumori clan took charge of suigun under the Yamato Administration. During the late Heian period (the end of ancient times), military forces like 'pirates' became active at sea, much like warriors on land. They used fishing boats or merchant ships armed with boards instead of warships which were specially designed. Fully equipped warships such as Atake-bune (a type of naval warship) appeared after the middle of the Muromachi period.

Hiya (arrow with fire) is a kind of primitive firearms.

Within Chinese communities, black gunpowder was invented early on, and grenades in which gunpowder was put or primitive manual guns were used became widely available in the 10th century. Tetsuhau (gun), which appeared at the time of Mongol invasion attempts against Japan in the 13th century, was the first firearm with gunpowder that was used in Japan.

It is believed that the process to manufacture black gunpowder was introduced to Japan during the period from the 13th century to the 14th century through trades with Konan (Jiangnan) of China and Korea. It is said that Masashige KUSUNOKI used tetsuhau (gun) to hold a castle, and it is recorded that the military force of the Hosokawa clan used tetsuhau (gun) or fire arrows in the Onin War. Further, it is said that Dokan OTA, too, discovered 'Moyuru tsuchi' (flammable dirt), which was considered to be natural saltpeter, in building the Edo Castle, and developed and used weapons using gunpowder such as signal fire or fire arrows, which used 'Moyuru tsuchi' as a material.

After entering the Sengoku period (period of warring state), matchlock guns made in Europe were introduced and domestically manufactured for widespread use. However, in Japan, where iron was mainly processed by hammering, it was difficult to produce cannons. Grenades which were called horokubiya (cooking-pot fire arrows) or horokubiya (cooking-pot fire arrows) were used instead of cannons, and were still used in the Edo period.

Heiho (Art of Warfare)
Before the modern times, systematized war strategies, tactics, battles (may include wrestling) in military affairs were referred to as Heiho (art of warfare). The art of warfare of Sonshi (Chinese books about tactics) in the ancient China is famous in Japan, too.

It is described that 'there are 4 skills of martial arts; that are archery, gunnery, art of warfare, equestrian art' in "Koyo Gunkan" (record of the military exploits of the Takeda family), which is a military science book written based on the achievements of the Takeda family in Kai Province in the Sengoku period.

Bugei Juhappan (18 skills of martial arts)
Refer to Bugei Juhappan (18 skills of martial arts).

[Original Japanese]