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Deborah Klens-Bigman

Book Review: Katori Shinto Ryu: Warrior Tradition
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Risuke Otake's The Deity and the Sword (originally published in 1977, most recent reprint 1991), an in-depth description of Japan's oldest continuing martial arts tradition. The 3-volume set was required reading for many (especially those of us who studied Japanese swordsmanship) and until the advent of this new volume, was a genuinely expensive, hard-to-find item.

Forging the "Soul of the Samurai" - A Visit to Seki
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Forging a Japanese Samurai style sword (katana) through the traditional hand-made process is technically demanding, complicated and time consuming. While cheap modern manufactured ?knock-offs? may look similar to the uninitiated, the difference is dramatic.

Ghosts of the Samurai - A visit to Matsue
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Japan is a 21st century country, and yet, one does not have to go far to find the ghosts of another Japan?an old graveyard behind a wooden temple, a Shinto shrine surrounded by dark greenery set back from a noisy street.

Exploring the "Old Way" of Kuman
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Here is another chapter in my travels around Japan, this time to Kumano on the Kii Peninsula south of Osaka. This entire area was once crisscrossed by a network of paths that linked three great Shinto shrines to each other and the coast. Shrine pilgrimage to this area has existed since at least the 10th century. In particular, the shrines became a site of major pilgrimage by a series of politically powerful ex-emperors.

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