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Samurai archery, an ancient sport, still thrives in Japan

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“There is nothing like this outside of Japan,”

Actually, there is something like this in Mongolia where the descendants of Genghis Khan do something very similar. And I've seen native Americans demonstrate archery from horseback as well. However, I've seen yabusame in Miyazaki. Quite a site.

“The style is not like Western or European equestrian riding.” They squat, using special stirrups and very light saddles.

Like jockeys in horse races. Cool.

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This is the one thing that I really regret not having seen when I was in Japan. I'd love to learn it!

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Not strictly "ancient," as it started from around 1200. More like "medieval." In fact, Japanese civilization is too new to be termed ancient, as it didn't get started until around 700 AD.

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I've seen live displays of Yabusame and I've loved it ever since. It is impressive to say the least - I can only imagine what a battlefield in the 1400s must have looked like with dozens, if not hundreds of Horse Archers moving and firing as one.

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Me too I've seen it once, really impressive. It takes a LOT of skills to hit those targets, which go smaller and smaller (down to a few square cm).

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Saw a demonstration of yabusame many years ago back home; very impressive. Although I wish I got a hundred yen every time I heard 'this exists only in Japan' or similar.

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“There is nothing like this outside of Japan,” said Ietaka Kaneko, who heads the Japan Equestrian Archery Association

Nihinjinron ignorance at its best. As a poster previously said Mongolia and I watched something similar in northern Italy.

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Thats is so cool. From the Greeks & Egyptians to the Great Wall & Samurai Archery, I wish mankind would spend more time learning all these neat arts, rather than come up with new excuses to fight. I wish the staff would have included more info about this Does that make me another greedy American? I'm really suprised there aren't international expositions of this, 3 shots in 150 yards at what 30 mph?, thats gotta be tough! My hats off to you guys, wish I could visit & see that.

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Now, now, lets not pop the bubble of the natives wish for being uniquely, unique, and being beyond our comprehension.

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Samurai archery, an ancient sport, still thrives in Japan

....however....

Very few people actually participate in yabusame

The least you could do is match the title of the story to the content. You can't have it both ways.

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I would love to see this.

Horseback archery is an artifact of the steppes, but what makes Yabusame somewhat unique is the Japanese asymmetric bow. The Huns used an asymetric bow, I believe, but most cultures employed compact, symmetrical bows.

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It is an amazing experience. The speed and the power of the horse and the strength of the arrow as it smashes through the target take your breath away.

For just a brief second, you get a sense of the effectiveness of a trained samurai on horse back and the damage they could inflict.

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Definitely very cool, even though as others have pointed out mounted archery isn't unique to Japan. But certainly the traditional attire and protocol probably is. The Japanese are the only people of northeast asia who use what is closest to a longbow, the Mongolians, Chinese and Koreans all use the short reverse curve bow. Northern Italy was mentioned and I'd suspect they'd be using European longbows, or crossbows, in which I guess that shouldn't really count. After all, both cowboys and indians could do the same on a horse with a Winchester 94 or Henry.

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They have a good yabusame tournament in Tsuwano... here is a slideshow and short video http://www.ipernity.com/doc/ojisanjake/album/31676

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Yooks like fun. Betcha I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn though. It's a rather athletic endeavour, hats off to the people who do it.

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What kind of horses do they use?

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I can hear Frank Sinatra singing about this:

When a quiver hits your liver and your body starts to shiver...

That's samurai

When an eel bites your hand and it's not what you had planned

That's a moray...and beat goes on....

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and I'd suspect they'd be using European longbows, or crossbows, in which I guess that shouldn't really count.

Take it from an ex-archer and not the fact that you post to form, the Japanese guy in the picture is using a long bow, jusr like mounted Italian archers do all over Italy every year in their local municipalities

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Dogdog,

The guy in the picture is using a Japanese asymmetric bow. While its about the same size an English longbow, it has a very different shape and construction, as well as an entirely different draw technique. Notice how the top part is larger than the bottom. That gives the Japanese archer two advantages: One, it gives him a huge draw which allows him to use long, heavy and very distructive arrows. Two, it makes it easier to use the bow from horseback, as the bulk of the weapon is kept away from the horse.

Now, I've never been to Italy, but I'd be suprised if Italian mounted archers used assymetric bows. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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Take it from an ex-archer and not the fact that you post to form,

dogdog

Could you explain what you mean by "post to form"?

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Dogdog, The guy in the picture is using a Japanese asymmetric bow...Now, I've never been to Italy, but I'd be suprised if Italian mounted archers used assymetric bows. Correct me if I'm wrong.

*‘It has been suggested that most Roman composite bows may have been asymmetric, with lower limbs shorter than the upper…..By the 5th century, there were numerous Roman cavalry regiments trained to use the bow as a supplement to their swords and lances, but the sagittarii appeared to have used the bow as their primary rather than supplemental weapon –*Wikipedia.

Sorry about the source, but I really don’t have the time or patience to substantiate that the moon is not made of chedder cheese.

I said long bow and wasn't being regionally specific

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hardly thriving and hardly unique - the fact that not hitting the target is not terribly important may be uniquely japanese

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What kind of horses do they use?

Magic ones that travel upward of 64 kph!! Just like an American Quarter Horse, the world's fastest.

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"Yoshimi said that tradition is reflected in the longbows, which are better suited for long-range attacks on a general area rather than picking off single adversaries. “The bows haven’t really been adapted for this kind of shooting, because there is a big part of the sport that is spiritual, rather than practical,” he said. “That’s a lot of its appeal.”"

This sounds like 'yes we suck, but in our hearts we're the best' to me.

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