Yamato School (大和流)

Yamato school, one of the Kyudo (Japanese art of archery) schools, was founded by Kozan MORIKAWA in the early Edo period (in 1652).


Kozan MORIKAWA had been taught Heki school Jutoku line's archery by Doju, his father, since his childhood and came to expert in shooting. After that, he had trained his shooting technique more than ten years, learning as a student of each famous Kyudo school around the country. According to the Kyudo genealogy of Yamato school, Kozan mastered each esoteric technique of these schools: Itsumi school, Heki school Dosetsu line, Heki school Okura line, Heki school Insai line, Heki school Chikurin line, Takeda school, Ogasawara school. While Kozan learned the archery technique of Itsumi school from Naotsuna KUMAGAI in Osaka, he also embraced Shintoism Naotsuna believed in. He perfected the Yamato school centering Shintoism that included Confucianism and Buddhism.

Origin of the name

Kozan Yoshitada MORIKAWA (his pseudonym is Kantokuken), the founder of Yamato school, stated in 'Yamato-ryu Kyudo Kyokun no maki' (Precepts for Kyudo of Yamato school) as follows:

There are three reasons why I named my school Yamato. First, the name Yomato would make the vision known that Kyudo, Japanese archery, is venerable because Yamato is the original name of Japan. Second, Kyudo should be always with Danjo HEKI who came from Yamato Province. Third, given that Yamato means to become more even-tempered, I intend to help archers with an inflated sense of their own abilities and who don't understand the truth of Kudo to see reason.

Shooting style

The ceremonial style seems to refer to that of Ogasawara school. Because the shooting technique is based on that of Heki school, the method of readying and raising the bow is Shamen Uchiokoshi (anchoring in slanting position). Yamato school's shooting style has the twelve fundamental stages of shooting: Ashibumi, Dozukuri, Yugamae, Sumashi Midokoro, Monomi, Uchiokoshi, Hikikomi, Hijinari, Tenouchi, Kake, Tamochi, and Hanare.

Lineage around the country

While the lineal descendants are 'Nobukazu' of the Mito line, Kozan's oldest son, and 'Yoshiyori' of the Shimabara line, the third son, there are some collateral descendants. Nobukazu died some time before Kozan's death and Yoshiyori succeeded Kozan, so that the Yamato school was continued to the Meiji period by Yoshiyori line as a lineal descendant in Shimabara.

Famous archers

In the modern period, Nobumitsu ICHIKAWA (also known as Torashiro), a statesman of the Shimabara clan, was famous. When Dai Nippon Butoku Kai was established, he became a Kyudo grand master in the Nagasaki branch and, then, a grand master at the headquarters of Butoku Kai in Kyoto, where he moved to live. He died from stroke during the exhibition of Kyudo technique in Kyoto Butokuden Hall in 1925. He died at the age of 79.