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Nippon Budokan is Japan's most famous and prestigious martial arts hall in the grounds of the Imperial Palace. It was built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.The Budokan was where the Beatles played in 1966, the first band to play there. The acoustics are not that good for concerts though. Playing at the Budokan is a hallmark of a bonafide rock star in Japan.
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In early Jan., it holds the Kagami-biraki (rice cake cutting ceremony) and Budo-hajime (martial arts demonstrations) New Year's event.This is a kadomatsu New Year's decoration next to the Budokan entrance.
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It's an annual New Year's ceremony and a joint practice session of all the major martial arts. Admission is free.The Budokan is near Kudanshita Station on the Tozai subway line.
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The event starts at noon with an opening ceremony until 12:45 pm. Then at 12:45 pm, a procession of armored men appear (yoroi kizome).
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Martial arts demonstrations start at 1:15 pm and lasts until 2:30 pm. People from each martial art performed in turn. First was kyudo archery.
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Jukendo
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Aikido
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Aikido
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Karate
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Karate
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Shorinji Kenpo
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Judo
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Judo
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Officials and dignitaries watch.
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A small shrine
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Naginata
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Naginata
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Kendo
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Kendo
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Sumo
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Sumo. A college sumo club. Sumo ring is just a mat (no dirt) for Budo Hajime at the Budokan.
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Sumo at the Budokan.
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Sumo
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Sumo
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They they all gathered and sat to listen to speeches.
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Speech by a sports official.
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Naginata group
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Sumo wrestlers
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Then the Budo Hajime started with all the martial arts groups practicing at the same time.
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Aikido
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Aikido
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Aikido
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Judo
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Judo
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Judo
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Kendo people were a noisy lot with their swords hitting each other.
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Kendo
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Karate-do
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Karate-do
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Karate-do
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Karate-do
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Karate-do
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Karate-do
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Naginata
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Naginata (pole sword). Naginata was the traditional weapon for woman warriors.
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Naginata
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Naginata
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Naginata
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The sumo rikishi were from a college sumo club. I was hoping a Makunouchi wrestler would appear.
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Sumo
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Sumo
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Sumo. Even little girls participated in Budo Hajime at Budokan.
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Budo Hajime at the Budokan in early Jan. is a real spectacle. Kendo, judo, karate, sumo, naginata, kyudo.
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Kendo
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Kendo
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Kendo
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Kendo
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The Budo Hajime ended at 3:10 pm. What a spectacle it was.
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At the end, they served shiruko, a confection of azuki bean soup with a piece of mochi.
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Martial artists line up for free shiruko.
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Martial artists line up for free shiruko.
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Serving shiruko.
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Shiruko, a confection of azuki bean soup with a piece of mochi. Served free of charge to everyone at the Budokan, including spectators.
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Everyone ate their shiruko on the Budokan floor.
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Eating shiruko.
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The Budokan's gift shop. Is there any martial art where they say "Go for Block"? If not, it must mean "Go for broke!!"
   
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