Japanese Martial Arts Exhibit opens in Islamabad

Amor of o-yoroi type with helmet of hoshi-kabuto type
Amor of o-yoroi type with helmet of hoshi-kabuto type

ISLAMABAD – Most Pakistanis may be familiar with the martial arts of Judo, Karate, and Kendo but it was a surprising moment for many to learn about Budo, a renowned Japanese martial arts, at an exhibition that opened here on Monday. The exhibition “Spirit of Budo”, focusing on the history of Japan’s Martial Arts, is organized by the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Pakistani National Council of the Arts.

Inaugurating the exhibition at the National Art Gallery, Hiroshi Oe, the Ambassador of Japan, said that “through the exhibition one can discover the history of Japan’s martial arts from battlefield combat techniques to popular sports to train the body and cultivate the spirit, which is called Budo.”

The shining black armours and Japanese swords, on display at the Gallery, assist the visitors to visualize the development in Japanese martial arts through time, focusing particularly on the creativity and aesthetic of the exhibited items. Observing the changed in martial arts from the 8th century to the 19th one is reminded how the spirit of martial arts is still inherent in the daily lives of the Japanese people today as the costumes and equipment of “Kendo” or Japanese fencing, such as bamboo swords, and protectors, that are being displayed are actually used by Kendo players at present.

The exhibition “Spirit of Budo: History of Japanese Martial Arts” is a travelling exhibition and has been to Thailand, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, and France before coming to Pakistan.

Reproductions and original pieces of weapons used throughout the history of Japan are on display, such as sword mountings, bows, arrows, helmets, and suits of armour. The warriors of this period endured strenuous physical training with special emphasis on spiritual growth. The second half of the exhibition focuses on the contemporary practice of the martial arts. Away from the war zone, the equipment and clothing were developed to prevent injury during training. Bamboo swords, protectors, gloves, and Hakama pants are on display, along with descriptive panels.

Budo is a Japanese term describing martial arts or martial ways and is translated as the Spirit of the Warrior. Budo, the Japanese martial ways, have their origins in the age-old martial spirit of Japan. Through centuries of historical and social change, these forms of traditional culture evolved from combat techniques into ways of self-development. The Spirit of Budo explores the history of the martial arts in Japan from battlefield technique to international sport.

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