In the modern world, many local and traditional sports have disappeared, or are at least under threat of disappearing, as they are being eliminated by the profit driven global sports industry. Japan is one of the few countries where local and traditional sports still survive today. The cultivation of traditional sports and games is strongly rooted in Japanese culture and identity.
Japanese archery, called Kyudo in Japanese, is an example of one of these traditional sports.
In Kyudo, participation is more important than winning, and the emphasis is placed on its aesthetics and the meditation necessary to do the sport. It is viewed as a road towards self-improvement and as such, it has its place in the Japanese educational system since Meiji era.
The Japanese bow, called Yumi, traditionally is made of bamboo, wood and leather, however nowadays bows made of wood laminated with fiberglass or carbon fiber are also used. The bows are over two meters tall but archers can adjust the tension of the bow according to their own strength, which makes kydo popular with men and women of all ages.
Arrows called Ya in Japanese were made of bamboo, with either eagle or hawk feathers. Today, they are still made of bamboo, as well as aluminium or carbon fibres, but the feathers were replaced by feathers from non-endangered birds such as swans or turkeys.
For more Japanese archery pictures please view my Kyudo 弓道 gallery.