Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Asian Archery - Japan and Korea

Japanese Kyudo Practitioner, by Reed A. George
Panasonic DMC-G1, Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro-Elmarit Lens
iso 400, f2.8, 1/50 sec.
Japanese archery, known as kyudo, has been practiced in Japan since prehistory. It first shows up in art a few hundred years B.C. No longer a part of military weaponry, kyudo in Japan is a contemplative art form, as well as a sport.
I found a related post on Walter Ulreich's blog, in his case writing about archery in Korea.
(Click Here) to see images of Korean archery, both today, and in some photojournalist's photos Walter found from 1961. Very cool.
Ulreich's blog reports the following:
"In the year 1894 bows were excluded from military use, but Emperor Gojong gave command to use archery for the cultivation of mind and body of the Korean people. As a result of that command, the Hwanghakjeoung pavilion was built in the Royal Palace and opened to the public. It is said, that Emperor Gojong personally enjoyed archery and often visited Hwanghakjeoung."

So, it seems that archery has made a similar transition from warfare into mental and physical concentration exercise in Korea, as it did in Japan.