62nd All Japan Kendo Championship - November 3rd 2014.

Below is a very rough translation of the All Japan Kendo Federations "Highlights of the Tournament" piece for the 62nd AJKC coming up next Monday!

The original can be found here:All Japan Kendo Federation - Highliights of the Tournament

Highlights of the tournament

With his eye on the 16th WKC, will this be Uchimura’s fourth victory?

In May of next year, the 16th World Kendo Championships will be held at the Nippon Budokan. With an eye on that, the 62nd All Japan Kendo Championship will be fought by 62 competitors, who are the winners of regional qualifying tournaments from around the country.

Last year, 60 years after the founding of the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF), at the 61st Championship amongst the competitors, almost half of whom were rookies, it was Uchimura who stood out. From the very first round he did not lose a single ippon to an opponent. He carried this spirit forward to the final here he scored two kote on his opponent Kotani (of Chiba), he was crowned the champion for the third time adding to his victories in the 54th and 58th championships.

If we look at the tournament ladder we can see that some of the big players, who could be in contention for the championship, have been drawn quite evenly across the four blocks of the ladder.  

In Block 1, we should first of all mention both Takenouchi (Tokyo) and Shoudai (Tokyo). At 21 years old , Takenouchi, who is a third year student of Tsukuba University balances offense and defensive skill very well. He is especially skilled at drawing in his opponent only to strike a crisp debanna men. Shoudai with his more orthodox kendo style is capable of taking the centre and delivering his techniques with a sharpness which is pleasing to the eye. Shoudai came in third place last year, but the rate at which he has developed this year is quite high. The two could come face to face in the third round and whoever comes through will have a good chance to reach the final.

Another exciting point in this block is the opening match between Harada (Fukushima) and Hashimoto (Saitama). Competing for the 9th time and fighting to raise the spirits of those most affected by the 3/11 earthquake, Harda will face Hashimoto the company worker from Saitama. Hashimoto has beaten off the giant of Saitama, Higashinaga to earn his place in the competition for the third time. Half way down this group Nishimura (Hyogo) could also advance far in the competition if he fights to his full potential.

In Block 2 it is Kotani and Hatakenaka who stand out. Hatakenaga has recovered from a recent slump and is in the spotlight again after this year winning the All Japan Police Championship. He has cast off the style of his youth and his driving Men and Kote attacks have fully matured.

On the other hand Kotani, who last year came in second place following his defeat in the final to Uchimura, has a free flowing fighting style and is able to strike valid ippon from any position. This combination makes him a tricky Shiai specialist. This year Kotani is definitely a strong contender but his first match against Nakano, is key.

Also featuring in this block are the tournaments two oldest competitors, both 38 years old. Both Yoneya (Saitama) and Hojo (Kanagawa) have won fame at past World Championships.
There are barriers for both players to reach the best 8 in Hatakenaka for Yoneya, and Kotani for Hojo. Earlier in the block however, Mori (Fukuoka) will look to take any advantage to get past Yoneya in the second round. 

In Block 3 is the leading favourite, Uchimura (Tokyo). Uchimura with his constant attack and finely honed match winning kote strike will be trying to earn his fourth victory at the championship. His is opposed by Ajiro (Hyogo). With his flexible swordplay, light footwork and ability to take opportunities to strike, he has the chance to beat Uchimura at the quarter final if he can set the pace of the shiai and successfully land his shikake-waza. Before that Fujioka (Wakayama) looms over Uchimura. Fujioka the former Student Champion is known as one of the strongest faculty workers in Japan. He creates the chance for his match winning men strike by first tsuki-ing his opponent and upsetting their rhythm. Koiso (Ibaraki), Tsuda (Aichi) and Matsumoto (Kanagawa) have the chance to climb the ladder this year beneath everyone’s radar.

In Block 4, it is worth talking about Ando (Hokkaido), Takahashi (Tokyo), Nishimura (Kumamoto) and Furukawa (Osaka). If all four suuceed in advancing in the competition, we will be left with Ando (24) Vs Takahashi (34) and Nishimura (25) Vs Furukawa (35), and should see fierce matches between the younger players and the veterans. For Ando, who follows his morote-tsuki with men from long distance, it will be easy to advance if he takes advantage of his good tempo and driving waza. Takahashi, who has come in second place in this competition before, uses his almost text book men strike to win. Nishimura is able to strike an incredibly sharp kote on his opponents as they move in to attack, and from tsuba-zeriai he can strike a crisp hiki-men. Furukawa remains a strong player after his appearance at the 15th World Championships where he was one of the winning members of the Japanese team and placed third in the individuals. Lying in wait for them will be Shiraishi (Tochigi) and Nishi (Kagoshima) who will look to take advantage of any mistakes.

With the results of this Taikai we will get a glimpse of what the Japanese Mens team will look like at the 16th World Championship. Please join us and watch the Championship live or in person.

Kenso editing committee, Masago Takeshi



  1. Do you know if there are streams available of the tournament?