yabusame 流鏑馬 archery on horseback

- source and photos : Takada no Baba 高田馬場 - mizukawa

umayumi 騎射 (うまゆみ) "horses and bows"
..... 馬弓(うまゆみ)
..... yabusame 流鏑馬(やぶさめ)Yabusame
inuoumono 犬追物(いぬおうもの)
kasagake 笠懸(かさがけ)shooting blunt whistling arrows
kisha 騎射(きしゃ) shooting from horseback

Finally the great archery contest at the imperial palace takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month.

The horses have been selected in august of the previous year and again in April of this year for training.

- - - - - more kigo in connection with this imperial Yabusame

sa-ukon no baba no umayumi 左右近の馬場の騎射 (さうこんのばばのうまゆみ)
archery contest of the guards at the imperial archery stadium
hiori no hi ひおりの日(ひおりのひ)"archery contest day"
sakon no aratetsugai 左近の荒手番(さこんのあらてつがい)
ukon no aratetsukgai 右近の荒手番(うこんのあらてつがい)
sakon no matetsugai 左近の真手番(さこんのまてつがい)
ukon no matetsugai 右近の真手番(うこんのまてつがい)

The imperial guards were divided into the left (sakon) and the right (ukon). They had to do take lots (tetsugai) to find out in which order they were to perform at this contest.

observance kigo for mid-summer
. WKD : kigo about horses .


- quote
A type of mounted archery in which the rider shoots at a target from a galloping horse. Arrows with a turnip-shaped head are used. There is a theory that the etymology of the word Yabusame is a contraction of yabaseume and it is thought to mean to shoot arrows on horsback.
Three targets are placed along a track which is about 218 meters (two chō) in length. The archer wears a costume comprising straw headgear (aya-i-gasa), cloak (suikan), a bracer or arm guard (igote), gloves, fur chaps (mukabaki), shooting shoes (monoigutsu); he carries a long sword (tachi) and short sword (koshigatana), a quiver of arrows (ebira) on his back, and has a bound wisteria bow (shigedō).

The number of archers is not fixed; it can number from a few to sixteen. The practice of mounted shooting is known from as early as the reign of Emperor Shōmu in the Nara period. Yabusame is listed in the Shin-Sarugakki by Fujiwara no Akihira (989?-1066) as one of the shooting arts, along with shooting from a running horse (haseyumi), ambush (machiyumi), deer hunting with blazing torch (tomoshiyumi), shooting on foot (kachiyumi), mounted archery (noriyumi) and shooting a distant target from horseback (kasagake).

It is also recorded in the Chūyūki that in 1096, on the 29th day of the fourth month, retired Emperor Shirakawa watched yabusame at the riding ground of the Toba Palace. This suggests that in the capital in the late Heian period, Yabusame was popular among the warriors (bushi) as one of the military arts. From the late Heian to early Kamakura periods, Yabusame became a ritual in shrines and temples: it was offered as a petition to the gods for fortune in battle.
In the early Kamakura period, it became a regular feature of the Kosatsuki festival at the Shin-Hie shrine, and in the Hōjō'e (a festival to free caged animals) of Tsuruoka Hachimangū. As it extended to various regional shrines and temples, yabusame as a religious ritual practice became the mainstream and after the Kamakura period it withered as a practice amongst the warriors.

By the Muromachi period it had died out, and while there were attempts to revive it, these failed due to a lack of knowledge of the ancient practices. According to the Teijō-zakki (1843), during the Kyōhō period (1716-36) the Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshimune planned a revival of Yabusame. He ordered all the military families and feudal lords (daimyō) to present their records concerning Yabusame traditions and teachings.

Urakami Yagozaemon collected these, compiled and published the book Yabusame Ruijū, thus establishing anew the rules and forms of Yabusame. The yabusame practiced today at the Ana Hachimangū at Takadanobaba in Shinjuku, is said to go back to 1728 when the Shōgun Yoshimune ordered it as a petition for the healing of his son Ieshige's smallpox. Yabusame is also an offering at festivals at the Tsuruoka Hachimangū and other regional shrines.
- source : Takayama Shigeru, Kokugakuin, 2007

. Ana Hachimangu 穴八幡宮 Anahachimangu shrine Takadanobaba .

Urakami Yagozaemon Naokata 浦上弥五左衛門直方


straw headgear (aya-i-gasa) 綾藺笠

bracer or arm guard (igote) 射籠手 - 射篭手

shooting shoes (monoigutsu) 物射沓

fur chaps (mukabaki) 行縢 - 行騰

cloak (suikan) 水干

click on the images for more samples !

- quote
Yabusame shinji 流鏑馬神事
This rite takes place on September 16 at Tsurugaoka Hachimangū in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture. In the afternoon, horseback archery (yabusame) take place at the horse riding area inside the shrine precinct (keidaibaba). Three archers dressed in the hunting clothes from the Kamakura period receive the Shinto priest's (shinshoku) blessing and drink sacred sake (miki). When signaled by the magistrate (bugyō) they start running their horses. There are three targets numbered one to three. They each shoot an arrow from their horses. After three archers are finished, more than ten other yabusame are performed.

On April 22 and 23, yabusame rites takes place at the branch (massha) Hachimangū of Watatsu Shrine, Hamochi Town, Sado County, Niigata Prefecture. Two young archers are selected from clan members (ujiko). They confine themselves for two nights and three days.
Early in the morning of the twenty-second, a bamboo purification place (imidake) is set up on the seashore and a purification ceremony for archers and horses takes place. In the afternoon, the sacred horse (shinme) flanked by two other horses, line up in front of the shrine gate (torii). Then the rite is performed and there is a ceremony (yūmato shiki) where two archers shoot an arrow in the evening sky.
On the morning of twenty-third, three horses line up in front of the torii and food and wine offerings to the kami (shinsen) are presented. Yabusame takes place at a temporary Hachimangū shrine and also in front of the torii.

The first archer starts running his horse from in front of Hachimangū, and throws peach leaves he is holding in front of the first target. The second archer throws peach leaves in front of the second target, reaches the torii, turns around, and returns to Hachimangū. Next, they change their clothes and three times shoot arrows at the target from the running horses. When the ceremony is finished, they head for Watatsu Shrine. In front of the torii, the last arrow is shot into the sky. At the shrine, arrows (ya), fans (oogi), and amulets (shinsatsu) are distributed. These items are believed to drive off the kami of disease.

Yabusame rites takes place on May 5 at Sengen Taisha of Fujisan Honmiya, Fujimi City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The day before this the shrine buildings are decorated with irises (shōbu) and mugwort (yomogi) and there is a ceremony. The distinctive feature of this ceremony is the presentation of steamed sticky-rice wrapped in leaves (chimaki), bamboo shoots (takenoko), sweet arrowroot (amakuzu), shōbu, and yomogi as food offerings to the kami (shinsen). Once this is completed, priests (shinshoku) and archers together go pay respect to other branch shrines (sessha and massha) such as Massha Wakamiya Hachimangū, Wakanomiya Sengen Shrine, Kanenomiya Shrine, and Fuchi Shrine.

At that time, targets are set up in the shrine precincts (keidai) in front of the shrine and each archer performs yabusame with a single arrow. Then, they return to the horse riding ground at the main shrine and participate in the kannagake ceremony of test shooting. On the afternoon of the fifth, five horseback archers bring offerings and face questioning (toigyōji) to confirm their backgrounds. In yabusame, there are "okonai" and "hon'nori."
Okonai perform various archery styles such as bow holding (dakiyumi) or kokiyumi in front of the mounted archers. Furthermore, the archer demonstrates the form to shoot heaven and a form to shoot the earth. He then stops his horse and demonstrates the form to shoot an arrow at the front and back, right and left, and at the target itself. At the third form, he shoots at the target. The hon'nori follows with each archer shooting an arrow from a running horse. This shinji is believed to have begun in 1193 by Minamoto no Yoritomo who was hunting at the base of Mt. Fuji.

Yabusame takes place on April 15 at the first shrine (ichinomiya) of Nukisaki Shrine in Tomioka City, Gunma Prefecture. There are two mounted archers. The curtains are set up around the horse riding ground in front of the gate of the shrine precincts (keidai). Two targets are erected and archers shoot from running horses.

At Mononobe Jinja in Ōta City, Shimane Prefecture, there is a Yabusame ceremony that takes place on October 9 as part of the seasonal festival (reisai). On the afternoon of the day before, the street in front of the shrine becomes a horse riding area and three targets are prepared. Sand is spread and horses have a test run. This is called "showing the horse riding ground" (babamise). The day of the event, in the afternoon, after the traditional ceremony (koden matsuri) and the shrine-maiden's dance (mikomai), the person in charge that year (nenban) and caretakers raise a flag (nobori) and parade on horseback wearing either warrior outifits or old ceremonial clothing (kamishimo). They parade from the shrine around the town and then return to the shrine. This is called the "renewal of donations" (kifumono aratame). Next three horses perform yabusame in the precincts of the shrine (keidai). In addition, there is a ceremony called shinme hikiwatashi where the sacred horse (shinme) is walked back and forth three times in the main garden in front of the shrine.
- source : Mori Sakae, 2007, Kokugakuin

- - - - - Yabusame videos on youtube
- source : www.google.co.jp


Yōshū (Hashimoto) Chikanobu (1838-1912)


- quote
Kasama Inari Jinja 笠間稲荷神社東京別社
The ceremonial yabusame observed at the Kasama Inari Jinja is dedicated both as a ritual of harvest divination - a subject with obvious and deep associations to the deity Inari Okami - and also as an element of Japanese culture. In order to preserve the ancient principles and techniques of the Ogasawara school - one of the two major styles of yabusame - a special equine training facility was built on the site of the old Kasama domain mounted archery grounds.

Shooters' Costumes
The yabusame rites held at the Kasama Inari Jinja are realized through the concerted participation and cooperation of large numbers of people. These include the shooters from the Ogasawara school of mounted archery, dressed in their meticulously recreated costumes, as well as members of the Kobudo Shinkokai (Society for the Promotion of old Martial Arts), parishioners of the Kasama Inari Jinja, and interested citizens, together with the mayor and police chief of the city of Kasama, who act as Grand Marshals (sobugyo) for the competition. Preceding the ritual, the participants gather before the shrine's Hall of Worship where they pray for a successful conclusion of the rites, after which they proceed in accordance with ancient precedent to the special equine archery grounds.

At the grounds, cedar targets are set up at three locations on the horse run ; the first is erected some thirty meters from the start, the second seventy-five meters from the first, and the third seventy-five meters from the second. Each target is erected at a height two meters from the ground. The rider spurs his horse from the start, and is required to shoot a whistling arrow at each of the three targets, all in a period of only about twenty seconds. The Grand Marshals judge the hits, which are used to divine the coming year's harvest.

- source : www.kasama.or.jp/english


Yabusame Summit at Moroyama, Saitama

Symposium シンポジウム - -  October 31 till November 3, 2010

Nine groups from all of Japan participated in this meeting, the first of its kind. They discussed the problems of finding followers of this difficult art form. It is also difficult to find suitable horses. The brocade costumes of the riders are also problematic to keep and pay for.
Yabusame is practised from Aomori to Kyushu in about 120 places, much less that the summit participants had envisaged (about 200, they hoped).
Many of the local yabusame events had been stopped after WW2, and only revived after 1990 again, but many have probles finding fundings nowadays.
Some shrines have no proper training place and the villagers have to train in nearby fields.

CLICK for more photos

The local yabusame at the shrine Izumo Iwai Jinja 出雲伊波比神社 has a history of 900 years.

Yabusame Video
source : Tim Ferriss


- - - - - from the WKD library

Archery on Horseback, yabusame 流鏑馬  --- and more about Japanese Archery

Yabusame at Shrine Hachimangu Kamakura 鎌倉八幡宮

Yabusame sadame 流鏑馬定 at Shrine Kasuga Jingu

. Yabusame at Shrine Miyazaki Jinja .
In honor of the first emperor, Jinmu Tenno 神武天皇.

. Tsuwano Yabusame Festival流鏑馬まつり . 津和野、鷲原八幡宮

Amulet with Daruma, O-Tafuku and the hitting arrow.
Amulet to hit the target at Yabusame
from OkuniTama Shrine 大国魂神社
. Atariya 当たり矢 arrow to hit good luck .

source : katzegatto.blog58.fc2.com
amulet from 下鴨神社にて「流鏑馬神事」 Kyoto, Aoi Festival
to bring you good luck while hitting the target of your life !


弓道人名一覧 - 弓道研究室 List of famous archers
- source : kyudoken.web.fc2.com/kyudo-jinmei

- Reference : 流鏑馬

- Reference : yabusame

. Shrine, Shinto Shrine (jinja 神社) - Introduction .


- - - - -  H A I K U  - - - - -

yabusame ni ame no agarishi midori tatsu

for yabusame
even the rain stops -
green starts to come out

Tr. Gabi Greve

Gotoo Hinao 後藤比奈夫 Goto Hinao

. WKD : 緑立つ green starts to stand up .
kigo for spring


source : www.mapple.net/photos

yabusame no baba ga totonoi akimatsuri

for yabusame
the race ground is prepared -
autumn festival

Tr. Gabi Greve

Kurihara Minoru 栗原満




1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Igusa Hachimangu Shrine 井草八幡宮
Kami-Igusa 上井草商店街 / 1-33-1. Zenpuku-ji, Suginami-ku Tokyo

with Yabusame