Yabusame: Horseback Archery
Today let’s talk about the Yabusame, an ancient Japanese tradition, which we had the chance to see with our creators Kevin and Emilie from La Vie du Riz in Asakusa, more precisely in Sumida Park. Yabusame or the technique of Japanese archery.
Yabusame is a Japanese archery technique while riding on a horse. To make things easier to understand: a man or woman rides on a horse at high speed galloping on a 255 meter long trail, with the objective of shooting 3 wooden targets.
This technique which is considered more like a ritual than a sport, first made its appearance in Japan during Kamakura Period. Because the shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo thought that his Samurai army weren’t skilled enough archers, so he made them practice while riding on horses.
You can see Yabusame in different areas of Japan, and one of the most famous is the one being held at the Tsurugaoka Temple in Kamakura.
While riding the horse, the archer has to guide his horse with his knees because his arms are busy aiming with the bow. Once he is close enough to a target, he prepares his bow and arrow, and shoots while screaming « In-Yo-In-Yo » (darkness and light). The biggest difficulty lies in the fact that you have to be accurate and powerful enough to break the targets. Between each of them, the archer has 3 seconds to reload and shoot, while riding a horse galloping at a fast speed. And that was really impressive to watch!!
Cover picture by: http://lavieduriz.com