Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Originally published in Kendo World magazine vol. 6.3, 2012.
In 1941 the Dai Nippon Butokukai published a set of generic kata and teaching guidelines entitled Naginata-dō Kihon Dōsa, for the purpose of promoting a unified form of naginata in schools, as it had already been the case with kendo in 1906 (Dai-Nippon Butokukai Seitei Kenjutsu Kata - for more information refer to Kendo World 5.2, pp. 29-38).
Naginata was admitted in girls schools since 1913 as an extracurricular activity and was furthemore elevated to an elective subject from 1937. However, naginata instruction in schools had always consisted in the study of ryūha techniques, mainly from the Tendō-ryū and the Jikishin Kage-ryū traditions (also rarely from a few "minor" ryūha such as the Kyōshin-ryū or the Bukō-ryū). Thus, and contrary to kendo which had a somehow unified curriculum since the Taisho period, naginata instruction was totally different from one school to the other, depending on which ryūha was traditionally taught in the area. That was indeed a barrier to naginata dissemination nationwide, and therefore the Butokukai decided to address the matter.
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