Signalling Orders given by Taiko or Hyōshigi

These notes on non-verbal ‘Orders’ that are sometimes given by means of the taiko (drumbeat) or the wooden hyōshigi (signalling billets of hardwood) are based mainly on my own experiences in a very limited number of ko-budō dōjō in Japan, and, more reliably, in personal teaching initially by both Harry Russell-Robinson (The Royal Armouries) through the late-1950s to the 1970s, and Dr. Benjamin Hazard, late-Professor of Japanese and Korean History, in California, both acknowledged authorities on Japanese culture and military history, as well as a number of senior high-ranking kodansha in Japan.

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Lafcadio Hearn: a true Japanophile

The entrance gate to Lafcadio Hearn's residence in Matsue-shi, Iwate-ken. Now preserved as a museum.
The entrance to Lafcadio Hearn’s residence in Matsue-shi, Iwate-ken. Now preserved as a museum.

There is always pleasure in reading some authors who have taken a deep interest in subjects close to one’s own heart; this is particularly true of Japan since almost every writer seems to give a fresh insight into this fascinating culture. It doesn’t seem to matter if these writings were penned a hundred or more years ago, they come across the interval of time fresh and often stimulating. One of these authors was the remarkable Lafcadio Hearn who resided in Japan between 1890 and his death in 1910, precisely at a time when the Edō period was still a vivid memory to most of the population and this mediaeval culture had yet to be significantly influenced and modernised by outside events and ideas.

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