Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jinichi Kawakami Seminar 1st day - PART ONE

This is an article on the Seminar that took place in New Jersey last week with Jinichi Kawakami. This article was taken from the koga ryu blog site I copied and pasted in below. It is two parts with the second part being an interview with Meik Skoss. I personally found it to be an intelligent well put together article with out all the B.S. name calling and personal commercial agendas. THIS IS NOT MY ARTICLE SO PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME QUESTIONS ABOUT IT.

On the afternoon of Friday, June 26th in New Jersey at Drew University in the Brothers College building, a three day seminar was given by Jinichi Kawakami. The week end started with an academic panel discussion about the history and nature of Japanese Ninjutsu, followed by two days of unique demonstrations and training.

Jinichi Kawakami a Koka Ninpoden Soshike (headmaster of Koka or Koga ryu Ninjutsu)and honorary curator of the Iga Ninja Hakubutsukan (Museum) and Yasushi Kiyomoto stood in front of approximately seventy people and a panel of experts. The panel consisted of Meik Skoss, who is the Co-Publisher of Koryu Books, an instructor in Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu and a shihan (master instructor) of Toda-ha Buko-ryu naginatajutsu. Also on the panel was his wife Diane Skoss, who has earned a Master of Library Science, an MA in English, and has a go mokuroku [license] in Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu and an okuden in Toda-ha Buko-ryu naginatajutsu.

Other panelists were Jeremy Sather, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Pennsylvania; Marc Boglioli, Professor of Anthropology of Drew University; Wyatt Evans, Professor of History from Drew University; and Michel Farivar, psychiatrist and instructor of Geijin Ryu Ninjutsu.

Another in attendance was Professor Ronald Duncan. According to Dayn Derose, Professor Duncan, who is the shihan of the Way of the Winds School and affectionately called O-Sensei by his many students deserves, a special mention due to the fact that without his help this presentation would not have been possible.

Kawakami Sensei's lineage is recognized by the governments of Mie (Iga) and Shiga (Koka) prefectures where the old Iga and Koga areas are located, as well as the Iga Ninja Museum as the last real practitioner of ninjutsu. The Iga Ninja Museum is registered under law as a certified museum by the Mie Prefectural Committee Board of Education. It is the only museum in the world of its kind, the only public ninja museum in Japan that is backed by the government. The prefectural governments' recognition is part of the Japanese system of designating Intangible Cultural Assets and is a designation that is awarded to traditional arts and crafts of many sorts, including martial arts.

In the seminar, Kawakami, with Yasushi Kiyomoto, his senior student and the President of the Ban-ke Ninpoden Kenshujo, and interpreter Katie Takahashi, the Artistic Director of Team Takahashi, were welcomed by Drew University's Athletic Director[,] Jason Fein. After that, all attending were shown a Japanese video presentation of Kawakami Sensei, Kiyomoto Sensei and their associates, which was interpreted by Ms. Takahashi.

After the video presentation, a question and answer session took place. Hit with a barrage of questions from both the panel and the other 70 people in attendance, Kawakami sensei and his senior student Yasushi Kiyomoto patiently and politely answered all questions from the panel of experts and those attending.

One of the many questions that was put before Kawakami Sensei was if the art was a complete transmission or if they had reconstructed it based on actual historical densho. Kawakami sensei explained it was a transmission. Another question asked was whether ninjutsu was a koryu or not. Kawakami Sensei gave a unique answer, by saying that he did not think so because he believes ninjutsu to be entirely different from koryu bujutsu.

Koryu organizations have long discounted claims by ninjutsu practitioners, stating that there are too many gaps in their lineages. The explanations given by Kawakami Sensei apparently impressed Meik Skoss; he believes Kamakami Sensei is authentic, saying "I found Kawakami Sensei's answer a telling one with regard to my being convinced of his legitimacy. Many other writers have either spurious or unsubstantiated backgrounds, which is why, up until now, I have dismissed their claims to being genuine exponents of traditional arts."


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