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Swords, Cutting and Military History

First Kendo video ever made: 1897

First Kendo video ever made: 1897

photo from Wikicommons

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Presented as a historical curiosity, this is the earliest known video of kendo practitioners.  It’s obvious the event was heavily staged and more than a bit slapstick.  Seemingly with the camera operator telling the participants “More action, more action!”.



Still, it provides some interesting insights in dojo weapons practices of them time; the use of a kusarigama — sickle and weighted rope — makes an appearance in the movie, for example.

The Youtube page has the following description:

“According to the deleted french narrator the film was shot in Kyoto during a kind of warming-up training of a kendo competition at the end of October 1897 by Constant Girel. Louis Lumière was apparently not satisfied with the work of Girel, for unknown reasons.”


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