Japanese onion: the history of creation, form, material for the bowstring, features of the relationship, methods and nuances of caring for yumi

Heavy yumi was commonly used in naval battles. Huge arrows hit enemy boats. This bow has a two thousand year history. Currently, it is used for kyudo and various ceremonies.

Yumi features

Yumi in the cartoon

Traditional Japanese onions are made from wood, bamboo and leather. Modern analogues are made of carbon and fiberglass. Japanese onions are asymmetrical-shaped weapons. According to one version, this form is more convenient for shooting from a horse. You can also shoot from yumi from a knee and standing.

Archery Technique

Girl in class

The peculiarity of the Japanese bow is that the shooter uses longer arrows, pulling the bowstring by the ear. In this case, the arrow is held motionless with one hand, and the other pulls the bow with a bow. European technology involves pulling the arrow with the hand in which the archer holds the arrow. The horseman lifted the Japanese yumi bow up and turned it vertically.

Hiking wars during the campaign kept the bow on the side. When fired, the yumi was also raised and deployed. The arrow was captured using a special bone ring. Sometimes gloves with skin pads were used instead. After the shot, the bow freely rotated in the hand. This technique is the least traumatic, but requires long training. Arrowheads are hollow. Therefore, when flying, they emit a characteristic whistle. It is believed that so the shooter scares away evil spirits and frightens his enemies. The whistle of an arrow was also a signal of the beginning of the battle.

Archers and their weapons

Japanese samurai

Japanese archers were distinguished by endurance and rate of fire. An experienced master hits a target from a distance of 60-120 m. A bowstring for yumi was made of hemp. Modern archers prefer various synthetic materials to her. The bowstring is not changed until the cliff. The place where the arrow is in contact with the bowstring is reinforced with thread with glue.

Attitude to yumi

People involved in kyudo (the Japanese art of archery) believe that yumi contains part of the soul of the master who made it. Therefore, they treat him like a living person, protect him from heat and cold. Do not touch the bow without the permission of its owner. Also, you can not step over the bow lying on the ground. Yumi needs to be stored in a room with a certain humidity so that it does not lose its shape. In this case, you can adjust the shape of the bow by pulling and loosening the bowstring. Also, special devices are used for this. With proper care, a yumi can serve its master for several decades.

The art of archery

Woman with Yumi

Kyudo belongs to the traditional martial arts. In the middle of the twentieth century, it was transformed into a sport. Kyudo appeared during the Mongol invasion of Japan. Then the first shooting schools began to be created. Much attention was paid to the education of the spiritual personality of a warrior. Therefore, kyudo for the Japanese is also a way of life. Zen art has been greatly influenced by this art.

Shooting from a Japanese bow has become a special ritual. It differs significantly from traditional European technology. When shooting, most of the bow is under the palm holding it. The diameter of the target is 36 cm. The distance to it is 28 m. The master must observe all forms and rules of kyudo. This is much more important than hitting the arrow on target. In Japan, 500 thousand people are engaged in this martial art. This state has long been called the Country of Long Bows.

Shooting began in childhood. The future archer held a heavy staff in his outstretched hand, gradually increasing the time. Yumi was made from cheap natural materials. Therefore, the Japanese longbow was the most affordable weapon.

Battle use

Horse archer

Yumi is indispensable in any environment. It was used in naval battles, for coastal defense, mountain ranges, forest ambushes. An experienced archer on a horse easily coped with a group of foot soldiers. The convenient shape of the bow allowed him to shoot in any direction, sharply turning the body. Such an activity was commonplace for noble samurai. To neutralize the war with the bow, it was necessary to kill his horse. Less wealthy Japanese became foot archers. They were used to storm castles and other fortifications. Wars lined up in several rows. Each line fired arrows alternately while the other archers were preparing. This made it possible to bring down a continuous hail of arrows at the enemy. With the invention of muskets, the effectiveness of using horse archers became minimal. But the samurai did not stop practicing this art. In their residences, huge shooting ranges were created, at which competitions were organized. Yumi was also used for hunting. The killing of a deer by an equestrian archer was a rare event. In this case, a messenger was sent to the samurai family with a message.


Samurai before shooting

The best archers were recruited to protect the shoguns and the palace guard of the emperor. Among them, tournaments were held at which not only the accuracy of the shooter was evaluated, but also its speed and endurance. Archer Wadi Deihati in 1686 fired 8 thousand arrows per day, each of which hit a target. Only 150 years later, another shooter, Masatoki, repeated his achievement. Japanese women used small bows - ajusa-yumi.

Hanku, ecu, eco-yumi, daikyu - the names of the combat types of bows. Tabi-yumi - folding bow. Ko-yumi is a ninja bow. Each genus of samurai used arrows with a special shape of the tips. By the decoration of the quivers it was possible to determine the rank of war. Kyujuzu was originally considered the art of archery. His main goal was to increase the physical stamina and psychological stability of the war. Kyujuzu masters defended the coastal borders from the Mongol invasion. Gradually, martial art turned into a system for the spiritual development of kyudo.


Onions were made from Japanese yew and strengthened with bamboo plates. All parts of the onion were greased with fish glue and pulled together. Then the product was covered with hemp threads and varnished. The bows of the generals were wound along the entire length. The bowstring was made separately by special craftsmen. After all, it was considered the most important part of the weapon. For its manufacture, animal tendons, skin, silk and other materials were used. The bowstring was also wrapped with thread. While pulling the bowstring on the bow, the master clamped an additional loop on it in his teeth. The onions were stored in a special case made of leather or fabric. A wooden case with a spare bowstring wound on a special reel was fastened to the quiver of war. Arrows were made of strong and light wood. Some arrows were glued together from four fragments and wrapped with palm bast. Then the arrow was dried, checked and balanced using plumage. Most often used feathers of an eagle owl and an eagle. A recess for the bowstring was made on the back of the arrow.

Kyudo School

Tips were made of stone, horns of animals. Then they were replaced by bronze and iron. The tips were driven into an arrow and secured with a winding. Their form depended on the destination. There were "generic" tips. They depicted the family coat of arms. Such arrows remained in the quiver and were not used in battle. They identified the samurai in case of death. Quivers were of two types - open and closed. In the first arrows were separated from each other by partitions. So their plumage was not damaged. The arrow could easily be removed from the quiver. Special cords kept them from falling out. Closed quivers held arrows securely and protected them from rain. They were fixed on the back or belt of the war with two leather belts. The bow and quiver were stored in the house on special stands. Usually the length of the boom did not exceed 1 m, the average diameter was 14 mm, and the mass was 80 g.

Left hand

Wars considered their left hand, in which they held a bow and sword, more necessary than the right. A samurai injuring a left limb was considered useless in battle. The Japanese Yakuza preserved the custom of cutting off a finger on his left hand in recognition of his guilt. Until now, the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun respect the archers and the Japanese bow. Photos with arrows like to make tourists traveling in this country.

Some terms

Inomuno - an exercise in which a horse archer shot the dogs with blunt arrows. At the same time, space was limited by ropes. Kasagake is another exercise. Horse shooters had to overcome a certain distance and hit a target.

Yabusame is a special ceremony that includes the expulsion of evil spirits, divination and archery. At its beginning, one of the shooters fires an arrow into the sky as a sign of eternal peace.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/A11722/

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