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Husband and Wife Practice Kenjutsu in New York City, 1897

October 10, 2014


Some New York City martial history: Taneyoshi Kawakami and his wife Marumi practice kenjutsu. From the New York World, May 30, 1897:

“Prof. Taneyoshi Kawakami is considered the most famous of fencing masters now in this country. For a long time he was army instructor at one of the posts in Japan, and thoroughly understands the methods now in use in the imperial army. In teaching his pupils Kawakami is frequently carried away by the enthusiasm of the exercise, and his numerous scars bear witness to the fierceness of the bouts. His wife, according to the custom of her country, is also proficient in the use of the sword, and during leisure moments the two practice swings and lunges with surprising earnestness.”

Kawakami spent a number of years in New York before returning to Japan. During his U.S. sojourn he spent a year as instructor at St. John’s Military Academy, and taught kenjitsu to General William Verbeck.

This is a reminder that Asian martial arts have been with us in New York City for much longer than many realize…


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