Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Ethnography in ancient Japan a theoretical essay about Kinship

Background. This article refers to a line from my field research in Japan from 2012 to 2015, being a stage reference for my PhD in Social Anthropology and aims to relate some ethnographic facts collected with practitioners of Japanese swordsmanship (Kendo) - among them, Japanese and non Japanese – through the relationships made in the dōjō (the training places). The aim is to make an analogy between the notion of house within anthropological theory that remains an important practical concept for building a kinship and the studied case. By kinship and relatedness we understand the ways to make relatives, or an analytical mode for their mutual relations. ‘Relatives’ here have a more free sense, as ways of making relationship without implying human reproduction. In short, we use the training hall as the unit of analysis with the notion of House that tells us about building a kinship beyond blood. The plan is to relate some facts about the fieldwork, which operate in the concepts of hierarchy, family and Dōjō in a relationship with the notion of House, trying to build a model of interpretation.
Aim. To build a model of interpretation based on the concept of House, since it looks like a suitable proposition.
Methods. I used the following materials: bibliographic, structured forms, semi-structured interviews and conversations in Dōjō, and the method was ethnography, or the living experience of data research. The ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in Brazil (2007-2011) and Japan (2012-2013). In Japan, we conducted ethnography in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanagawa Ken and Ibaraki Ken. The data collection was structured in the form of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and informal conversations, collected in Japan with Kendo practitioners of all possible nationalities. The questionnaires were applied at Kendo events or training sessions or sent by Facebook and email.
Results and Conclusions. A new discussion about the anthropology of Kinship using a new analytical framework regarding he concepts of Hierarchy, House and Ie (Japanese House).