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Brief History of Naginata in Australia

By Reiko Nagae
July 2007

Mr. Nagae who was busy to construct Kenshikan-dojo had a idea to establish Naginanta section together with Kendo in this dojo and Mrs. Reiko Nagae had decided to assist her husband’s idea as already she had learned Naginata under the instruction of Chieko Horiuchi (now changed to Tanaka) sensei.

So she returned Tokyo and joined Naginata Club “Shinseikai” closed to her home in Minato-ku Tokyo and started her training again under the instruction Fumiko Noda sensei. This club is belongs to the Metropolitan Naginata Federation as a member of the All Japan Naginata Federation, Since then she has repeated her visit to Tokyo for the training but there was no direct flight to Tokyo from Melbourne at that time, so has to change the night flight at Sydney and after arriving Tokyo in the morning, immediately went to the dojo for keiko which carried 6 times in a week. It was very hard time for her. Following the advise of Noda sensei to promote Naginata in foreign country, she brought back 2 to 3 Naginata from Japan every time when return to Melbourne for new students.

15th July 1990, the opening ceremony of Kenshikan was held and many famous Kendo sensei from Japan attended this big day and together with, Mitsuko Tsujimura sensei (wife of Shosuke Tsujimura, Kendo Hanshi 8-dan) visited. She is one of her Naginata club instructor in Tokyo.

By the way, Naginata club has opened but Naginata is not so popular as Kendo and it was very difficult to give interest to Australian. One day training was carried for only one student and when expected two or three students, no one attended. In Japan this is not able to understand but there is no apology and she had keiko only herself in wide dojo a couple of times and it was a waste of time to prepare their curriculum.

Soon after arrived Australia, she had a opportunity to study at La Trobe University, so by this connection, she could, make a publicity for Naginata on their notice board. This notice was kindly printed free of change by our neighbour Mr. Michael Dockley (Creffeld Co.) By this effect and later by the diffusion of Internet, the number of students gradually has increased.

On December 1990, first Annual General Meeting of International Naginata Federation was held at Grand Hotel in Kudan, Tokyo. By chance, Mr, Nagae was in Tokyo and attended this meeting as an observer and could meet with Board of director late Ms. Konishi.

On September 1993, American Naginata Championships was held at Los Angeles and Mrs. Nagae participated in this event with friends of Shinseikai. She could meet with INF Chairman late Kawamori and discussed how we will be able to join INF. That time, the requirement was very hard, e.g. we should be recognized as official martial arts group and prepare the accounting records of three years etc… Out club is not possible to satisfy even above two qualifications and for our explanation Mrs. Kawamori said “it cannot be helped” and it will need further more time until submit the application.

When we have found out that it is not absolutely necessary to satisfy all the requirements, Mr. Michael Mayne of Kendo club advised that the application of a membership of Victorian martial arts group will help the recognition of national body so we have applied by his arrangement and finally obtained this certificate and quickly made membership application to INF.

On April 1999, we participated the International Naginata Championships at Paris and at that AGM we have recognized as one of member countries. Already number of Naginata students is increased so the election of executive was carried on and the Australian Naginata Federation was born with two clubs of N.S.W Naginata Association (NSWNA) and Victoria Naginata Renmei (VNR).

On July 2000, Mrs. Nagae had an idea of establishment of sister sports between Melbourne and Osaka Naginata club (City of Osaka is the sister city of Melbourne) and proposed this to Ms. J. Sharwood (Int. Relation Coordinator). She has accepted this idea and promised her support. So Mrs. Nagae made phone call to late Mrs. Kawamori asking her to promote Osaka side. The sister sports club agreement was signed in the presence of Mayor P. Costigan and Ms. J. Sharwood at the government office and VNR member and Osaka city Naginata Club member also attended this ceremony which was held on the 15th July 2000.

On November 2000, INF Seminar was successfully held at Kenshikan Dojo and many participants from Japan, Australia NZ and U.S.A. attended.

Since then the activity of ANF is going smoothly under the corporation of member and as one of Kenshikan’s member club, every weeks keiko of VNR became substantial.

Further development of Naginata in Australia is expected and without the assistance of these person, whose name was described in this history, the present status of Naginata in Australia would not be existed.

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