There aren’t very many times or places that you are able to see almost four hundred people decked out in kimonos and carrying swords, but the annual Mugairyu International (swordsmanship) Tournament is one time that you can.
This year’s tournament took place on July 29 in Chuuo ku, Tokyo. People from as far away as Spain, Boliva, America and Russia came to compete.
The day began in typical Japanese fashion with “Hajimaru no Aisatsu” (Opening Greeting) which included introductions of and short speeches by the top people practicing Mugairyu, followed by a short demonstration of swordsmanship by them.
Then the tournament began!!! The gymnasium was divided into eight courts, with three judges judging each court. In traditional tournament fashion, two opponents, one designated as being the red athlete and the other as the white athlete, have three minutes to perform three patterns that they have been working on. Then the judges stand, and raise one of their flags, red or white and the competitor with the majority continues to the next round.
Everyone is ranked based on their abilities from “mukyuu” (no rank) to “nanadan” (seventh dan, the second highest level awarded). Children, middle schoolers and high schoolers also have their own divisions.
Last of the day is the finals and then the awards ceremony and closing remarks.
After the end of the tournament, there is also a party! There is no better way to end an amazing day than with a party with the most awesome people in Japan!!!