Book Launch – Tengu: The Shamanic and Esoteric origins of the Japanese Martial Arts by Roald Knutsen

Date: 6 December 2011 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, 10-12 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5EH

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk.

This fully illustrated volume is the first in-depth study in English to examine the warrior and shamanic characteristics and significance of tengu in the martial art culture (bugei) of Muromachi Japan. Prompting Roald Knutsen’s life-long study of tengu – part-human, part-animal creatures – was the realisation that they were interacting with the deadly serious bugei masters teaching the arts of war. Here were beings who did not conform to the comic, goblin-like creatures of common folklore and were not the creations of the Buddhist priests intent on demonising that which they did not understand and could not control.

Roald Knutsen has practised traditional Kenjutsu, Kendo, Iai-jutsu, and So-jutsu under a succession of famous Japanese masters, having menkyo-kaiden (senior master’s licence), in one of the oldest transmissions of Iai-jutsu, and the rank of 7th dan Renshi in Kendo. He has researched and written extensively about the Japanese warrior traditions and aspects of Japanese history. Clive Sinclaire will act as discussant at this event – he is a very active kendo practitioner who runs a dojo in Kent, with over thirty years involvement with the To-ken society, an organisation dedicated to the study of Japanese swords, fittings and armour.

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