Setta – Who invented this traditional Japanese footwear?

The Setta (literally meaning “snow sandals”) are a kind of traditional Japanese footwear which were traditionally made with weaved bamboo sheath that was insulated and waterproofed by gluing leather to the sole and lastly metal rivets were attached to the heel for durability. Even in Japan, the opportunities to wear Setta among the general public are very few, and it has become something that only Rikishi ( professional Sumo wrestlers) and Kannushi ( chief Shinto priest) amongst other people with specific professions get to wear regularly. However, as the Japanese national team soccer player Honda Keisuke recently revealed that he usually wear Setta on his free time, Setta has recently…

Win And Tighten The Thongs Of One’s Helmet

There is a Japanese idiom that directly translates as “win and tighten the thongs of one’s helmet”. When you win a fight and take of your helmet in relief, an enemy might attack you unexpectedly. Even after you win, you should not let your guard down but apply extra caution. This is idiom is used quite widely even today to mean “don’t get carried away with your success – stay focused.” Yet we often see the helmet displayed with their thongs tied in a simple bowknot. Some people do tie it with bowknot but it can come undone easily with one pull, so it is not very suited for tightening…

The Bare Necessities

Written by Alex Bennett(Kendo Kyoshi 7-dan) “Commando style”.  A once common word in kendo parlance is now fast becoming obsolete. In fact, I imagine that younger kendo aficionados have no idea what it means. Maybe the Japanese equivalent will shed more light on its meaning: “No-pan”. That’s right, “no pants”. In other words, what you DON’T wear under your hakama. (I don’t know about girls because that’s not the kind of thing we talk about in the dojo.) Ever since I started kendo three decades ago, it was almost inconceivable that anybody would don underwear under that magnificent split skirt. Yup, there is nothing better than having a draft of…

Choosing the right naginata for you

Written by Jeangerard Hughes(Tozando, Naginata 5-dan) It feels tautological to say that the naginata (the wooden weapon) is at the core of your Naginata (the martial art). In few other arts you are supposed to make one with your weapon to the point that you are most of the time simply required to stick physically to it through waza process. Also naginata is a huge weapon, with length ranging from 212 to 225 cm for the AJNF1 standard versions, revealing qualities or on the contrary amplifying default, both in the weapon and the techniques.They are also quite costly to come by, so you want it to endure and stay through…

Japanese Samurai Armor 101

Japanese Armor, or Katchū (甲冑; armor and helmet), depending on in which period it was made they can largely be categorized into two categories, Ō-yoroi (大鎧; great armor) and Tosei-gusoku (当世具足; modern armor) armors. The Ō-yoroi first appears during the middle and late Heian period (794~1185) and became more widespread during the Kamakura period (1185~1336). The Ō-yoroi were designed for cavalry archers as they were one of the main military forces during this period of time, because the box-shaped construction and its heavy weight that didn’t allow for much movement or flexibility, it was unsuitable for use on the ground. To defend against arrows the Kabuto had large Fukigaeshi (吹き返し),…

Samue: Uniform for Samu

The Samue (作務衣) was originally a type of work clothes for Zen Buddhist priests in Japan and was something that they would wear when they were cleaning, cutting firewood, working the fields and do other daily tasks around the temple. Since it originally was a type of working garment, it was never worn during proper Zazen meditation sessions or during memorial services, as they were non-spiritual clothes. Although this is the origins of this type of clothing, with time the shape and style changed and nowadays it is increasingly common to see it worn as a type of casual relax wear. The traditional characteristic feature of the Samue is that…

What is Jukendo?

In the news the other day it was announced that Jukendo (銃剣道; the way of the bayonet) is to be added as one out of nine martial arts that schools all over Japan can choose to teach their Jr. high school students. Due to this, Jukendo has become something of a trendy word in Japanese social networks, including twitter. Judo, Kendo, Iaido are Japanese Budo that most people have at least heard of, however I believe that the majority of the general public probably have never heard of “Jukendo” before. BUY JUKENDO & TANKENDO EQUIPMENT – BUDO MARTIAL ARTS Jukendo is the Japanese martial art of bayonet fighting with a…

Tozando celebrates ‘Hello Kitty’ 40th Anniversary ‘Tozando x Hello Kitty’ for the future of Kendo

Perhaps many of you have seen the picture of a ‘Hello Kitty’ themed Kendo Bogu floating around on the internet, but did you know that the Bogu was actually made by Tozando? Tozando made this Bogu in cooperation with SANRIO CO. ,LTD. to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ‘Hello Kitty’, a character that enjoys much popularity in Japan as well as around the world. Let us first point out that the Bogu shown in the picture is NOT for actually use during Kendo practice. The Hello Kitty Bogu in the picture to the left is strictly for display and the result of a collaboration with SANRIO CO.,LTD. that was meant…

I would like to visit your shop. How do I get there?

Tozando is currently operating two stores as follows: MAIN STORE: Kendo, Aikido, Judo and othersIf you are coming from the Kyoto Central Station, please find the bus terminal in front to the central exit and take #50, bound for the Kitano Tenmangu shrine. Get then off at “Omiya Nakadachiuri” stop and walk toward the same direction the bus is ahead and we are just approximately 100 meter away. Our English speaking representatives are available from Monday thru Saturday, 10 am till 6 pm.  Location: 451-1 Shinhakusuimaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City, 602-8205 JapanTel: 81-75-432-1600Fax:81-75-432-1255 [mappress mapid=”1″] _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ SHOGOIN STORE: Iaido, Japanese Swords, Antique Swords, Karate If you’re coming from the Kyoto Central…

What is Urushi?

Most people practicing Kendo knows that the Menbuchi, which is the rim of the men around the Mengane and the Do are traditionally painted using Japanese ‘Urushi’, also known as ‘Japanese wood lacquer’, however many might not know exactly what this is. Urushi is a kind of natural paint which is gathered and made from the sap from Urushi trees, which is mainly found in Asia. Urushi has been used to decorate furniture and tableware for thousands of years and is still part of traditional craft work of Japan, and is hold in high esteem due to the unique features it provides. Urushi Lacquer has a unique luster and provides great…