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Japanese Archery Club - Winners of the Men’s and Women’s Team and Individual Competitions at the Seven Universities Meet

Japanese Archery is a Team Sport

Taking aim at a target 36 centimeters in diameter, the archers take aim from 28 meters away and fire their arrows. To practice Japanese archery, one must have high technical skill and a strong mentality. One might expect that archery to be a solitary competition, but as last year’s team captain, ARAKI Shinta (4th year, School of Engineering), explained, “your relationship with the people around you is important in the training leading up to a match.” By practicing together, teammates can point out each others' strengths and weaknesses and improve together -- in this way, Japanese archery has aspects of team sports as well.

The Japanese Archery Club has existed for over a half-century. There was a period in which a decrease in members may have seen an end to the club, but effective campaigning has seen a recent increase. In this mentality of recovery, the team has finally accomplished something big.

“Always be seamless.” This is the goal that Mr. Araki set last year. “Tightening up in both daily life and practice will bring about good fortune.” Perfecting “archery as a martial art” through not only improving technique, but also valuing hierarchy and mutual respect between team members, has led to victory. Team Captain Araki lead his team with an unselfish approach, stressing “gathering good experience,” and the team won both the men’s and women’s team competition at the Seven Universities Meet. This was a huge improvement from the previous year's results, with the women’s team coming in 4th place and the men coming in 7th. In addition, SHIMIZU Misato (3rd year, Faculty of Medicine) and KONDO Kagekatsu (3rd year, School of Engineering) won the individual competitions.

The Secret to Victory

This year’s men’s captain, FUKUYAMA Atsushi (3rd year, School of Engineering), set the slogan of “Finishing Strong.” He uses the regret of being “one arrow away” during the Kansai Student League as a source of encouragement, and to give practice a feeling of tension similar to an actual match, “We set aside time during practice in which we can ‘Take Our Best Shot’ by firing one final arrow.” In addition, he has changed weekday night practice from a small group to all members of the club. He spoke about the secret to victory, saying, “Because there are often times where we rely on our own senses when we shoot, getting advice from all kinds of angles is quite useful, and coaching other teammates allows us to realize certain aspects of our own technique.”

The goals for this year are “League promotion for both the men’s and women’s teams” (Mr. Fukuyama) and “Winning both the team and individual competitions” (Ms. Shimizu). The Japanese Archery team has already set their sights on this year’s “targets.”

Getting Better in Bursts

The beauty of Japanese Archery is that, according to Mr. Araki, “unlike most sports in which improvement can be seen as a curved line with practice, Japanese Archery is a sport in which your skill will tend to dramatically jump by some chance happening.” Mr. Fukuyama added, “It’s the best feeling when you can finally draw your bow well after trial-and-error.”

*(The logo in the top right of the title image is the logo that has been used by the Japanese Archery team for generations.)

Japanese Archery Club

Started in 1963, the Japanese Archery Club holds full team practices on the Toyonaka and Suita campuses once during the week and on Saturdays. The men's team is in the 2nd Division of the Kansai Student League and the women's team is in the 3rd Division of the same league. During the 2015 Seven Universities Meet, both the men's and women's teams won the team and individual competitions. The women's team had also been promoted within the league 2 years in a row. For their remarkable achievements at the 2015 Seven Universities Meet, the Japanese Archery Club was awarded with the "Yamamura Prize," which is an award given by Osaka University Sports Union to the teams, etc. that had the most outstanding achievements at the Seven Universities Meet. There are 71 members in the club.

• Image taken from Osaka University NewsLetter No. 72

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