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Unfortunately, the book was very one-sided in its description of kyudo as a Zen art and is responsible for a lot of the current misconception surrounding the practice of kyudo as a religious activity.

While kyudo is not a religion it has been influenced by two schools of Eastern philosophy: The previously mentioned Zen, a form of Buddhism imported from China, and Shintoism, the indigenous faith of Japan.

The original word for Japanese archery was kyujutsu (bow technique) which encompassed the skills and techniques of the warrior archer.

Some of the ancient schools, known as ryu, survive today, along with the ancient ceremonies and games, but the days where the Japanese bow was used as a weapon are long past.

Kyudo, which literally means The Way of the Bow, is considered by many to be the purest of all the martial ways.

In the past, the Japanese bow was used for hunting, war, court ceremonies, games, and contests of skill.

The essence of modern kyudo is said to be synonymous with the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Truth in kyudo is manifested in shooting that is pure and right-minded, where the three elements of attitude, movement, and technique unite in a state of perfect harmony.

In kyudo, truth and goodness, themselves, are considered beautiful.

In any event we know that Japanese pottery also began at this time, as can be seen from the radiocarbon dates obtained at the oldest Jomon sites, namely: Odaiyamamoto I site (Tohoku) (14,540 BCE); Fukui Cave (Kyushu) (14,000 BCE); and Kamino (Kanto) (13,500 BCE).

Jomon pottery evolved over six periods: Incipient Jomon 14500-8000 BCE; Initial Jomon 8000-5000 BCE; Early Jomon 5000-2500 BCE; Middle Jomon 2500–1500 BCE; Late Jomon 1500–1000 BCE; Final Jomon 1000–100 BCE.

Modern kyudo is practiced primarily as a method of physical, moral, and spiritual development.

No one knows exactly when the term kyudo came into being but it was not until the late nineteenth century when practice centered almost exclusively around individual practice that the term gained general acceptance.

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