The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Articles > Outing > Yumi: The Japanese Long-Bow > Part 9
Yumi: The Japanese Long-Bow
Part 9 of 9

Some Japanese feats have already been mentioned. A well authenticated shot of long range accuracy was that of Nasuno Yo-ichi, who pierced the Hinomaru (rising sun) on a warrior's fan, at the distance of 700 yards, hoisted by the enemy as a challenge.

A sportsman's most perfect "hit" was to sew the wings of a flying bird—that is, to impale the two wings on an arrow without injury to the bird. Robin Hood, is accredited with this capacity.

The great feats of the Japanese bowmen, interesting to all lovers of archery, are now no longer to be witnessed.

In 1871, the edict went forth that abolished feudalism by retiring the Daimios to private life; the samurai were disbanded and found their two swords but useless, ornaments, and the proud bowman degraded his bow into an humble implement for beating cotton. Happily, the practice of archery as a pastime still exists to a large degree, and is, as it deserves to be, more popular than the art of fencing. A common adjunct to many Shinto temples is the yaba, or place for archery, where the enthusiast, native or foreign, can display his skill or be heartily laughed at for his lack of it.

By the yaba is meant ranges from 100 yards to 200 yards, equipped with bows from one-half inch to one inch, from five feet to seven feet in length, and with a pull of twenty-five pounds to one hundred and fifty pounds.

The keeper may be an old woman minus eyebrows and with blackened teeth, but the dark-eyed maiden may bring the tea; she may be attractive and pretty, with winning ways and sweet smile, If you are good-natured and awkward she may, with a merry little laugh, slip a fair arm and shoulder from her ample-sleeved kimono and give you a few lessons in Japanese archery that will convince you that Cupid with his bow and arrows is an active member of the Pantheon of Dai Nipon.