REVIEW of REVIEWS

Didn’t Wear Correct Togs

Japanese Prime Minister Censured for Practising Archery in Informal Costume.

HUGH J. SCHUCK October 1 1926
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Didn’t Wear Correct Togs

Japanese Prime Minister Censured for Practising Archery in Informal Costume.

HUGH J. SCHUCK October 1 1926

Didn’t Wear Correct Togs

REVIEW of REVIEWS

Japanese Prime Minister Censured for Practising Archery in Informal Costume.

HUGH J. SCHUCK.

THE of a Englishman certain amount has been of good-natured the subject raillery because of his insistence that every sport demands a costume of scrupulously standardized fashion. Now we learn, from Hugh J. Schuck of the New York Times, that the Japanese prime minister, Reijiro Wakatsuki, has brought down upon his august head a storm of criticism by permitting himself to be photographed while practising archery in the Japanese conventional undress of cotton kimono and wooden clogs. “He was,” says Schuck, “from all sides taken to task; by open letters to the newspapers, by public speakers, by letters to Mr. Wakatsuki himself and, it is reported, by leaders of his party. The great sin of the Premier was one of omission rather than of commission—-he had failed to don the proper dress for practising archery!

Archery at Princely Births

“'T'HE incident, coupled with the an1. nouncement by the Imperial Household Department that Prince Sumi, the fourth son of the Emperor and Empress, and an ardent archer, will give a demonstration of his ability with the bow at a party for his school mates on the closing of the Peers’ School, has aroused a new interest in the ancient art, and brought forth a number of stories in connection with archery.

“To the Old Guard, immobile faced old men whose eyes are fixed determinedly upon the past and whose left shoulders, in many instances, still droop from the weight of the two swords they wore as Samurai in their youth, it is especially grievous that the Premier should have committed the sin against archery, for that sport is so closely intertwined with history and mythology in Japan that it has a religious significance. Archery, in accordance with an ancient custom, played a part in the ceremonies following the birth of Princess Shigeko, the first child of the Prince Regent and Crown Princess, only last December.

“From earliest times until Japan finally opened her gates to the rest of the world the bow and arrow were used as weapons of war, and the stories told of the valiant use of the weapon fill many pages of Japanese histories. It was used, and still is, by the Ainu tribes in the Hokkaido and Saghalien, for hunting birds and animals. In these respects the history of archery in Japan resembles that of other parts of the world, except that it was here used until later times as a weapon of war, because of the isolation of the country.

“Japanese rules for using the bow became as strict as those for the ceremonial commission of hara-kiri. Four schools developed great masters of the bow, passing their knowledge on to the next generation, so the dress, form and conduct of to-day’s formal archer differ no whit from those of archers of centuries ago. It was by ignoring the rules of dress in archery that Premier Wakatsuki aroused the indignation of devotees of the sport. Of the four schools, that founded by Hioki Danjo Matatsugu is the most popular in Japan, and its leading exponent, Giichi Ouchi, is accepted as Japan’s leading archer and has been commanded to train Prince Sumi in the use of the bow.

Philosophic Archery

THE necessity for complete repose of mind and control of body in archery gave rise to a philosophy in connection with archery. It is held that he who harbors evil thoughts cannot free his mind of them to shoot straight, and he who does not respect and care for his body cannot control it while drawing the bow. The posture assumed by the archer is conducive to erect growth, and it is a meditative sport in that it does not require companions. For this reason also it does not arouse rivalry as do sports which one cannot partake of alone, but promotes a peaceful, quiet sentiment which assures long life.”