Archer
The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
home - about - books - articles - prints faq - news - contact - search
   
Home > Articles > Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society > The Japanese Yano Ne > Part 4
The Japanese Yano Ne
Part 4 of 10

The bow and arrow ceased to be the great weapon in war with the introduction of firearms to Japan in 1542, but the archers continued still the guard of honour, a corps d'élite. Etiquette ordered that the archers should be placed at the left, the musketeers at the right, and the battle was formally opened by a shower of arrows. Archery was as old as Jingō Kōkō, and enjoyed the same esteem among the upper classes as it does to this day in Korea and, until 1900, in China. Archery ranges can still be traced in many old Yashiki enclosures, and in the palace grounds of Tokyo they are still kept up. In Korea it is the diversion of the nobles in the suburbs of Seoul, and just before the coup d'état, the Emperor of China presided at an archery contest and awarded prizes at the archery range near the Peitang in Peking. When the American troops took gate after gate of the Forbidden City the day following the relief of the legations, each pavilion or tower over the gate-


Upper left hand: Swordsmith Kumi-Kyo.
Central: Sei, "Truth."
(Van Horne Collection.)
  

Upper: Single Aoi Leaf. 
Lower: Ko.
 (Van Horne Collection.)

ways was an armoury of archaic weapons. For months every one and any one pulled down, pulled over, and helped themselves freely to these imperial munitions, and when I saw the archers' stores, the floor of the vast hall was heaped three feet and more high with wooden bucklers, bundles of arrows, and broken bows. The arrow-tips were mere points of iron, on


(25) Hoso yanagiba (narrow willow leaf). (26) Rio kai (swordsmith's name). (27) Kira ha hirane (sharp flat cutting edge). (28) Sankaku (triangle). (39) Tadenari (smartweed leaf). (30) Rinsetsu (dragon's tongue).

round wooden shafts tipped with feathers, not adaptable in any way for decorative purposes, and useful only for the "arrow fencer" that marked the route of jinrickshas and carts across the vast spaces of palace courtyards. This was probably the last instance in which the bow and arrow will figure among captured arms in any great campaign.

Copyright © 1998 - 2017 | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy