Japanese archery

September 2nd, 2007 by Author

Girls of archery is something commonly seen in anime. They are not as abundant as mikos, the shrine maidens, but the type is well established. But with all my years of anime I noticed something odd just now. Look where the string of Lemmy’s bow is.

It can be seen plainly (with the help of slow-motion) that after the arrow is released, the string continues to move, circles around the left hand and comes to rest on the outside of the left wrist of the shooter. I can only presume that the bow turns almost a full turn in the grip. Not being an archer myself, I have no idea what purpose this technique serves, but since it’s painstakingly reproduced in anime I have to assume that it’s real.

UPDATE: Reader Refugee wrote to inform that the technique is called “yugaeri” (弓返り — literally “bow return”) and provided a link.

In the shooting form, the yugaeri allows the archer to return to correct toriyumi no shisei (bow holding posture). This is the beginning and ending shooting posture where the bow and arrows are held at one’s side. If the yugaeri is incomplete the bow must be readjusted after shooting in order to return to the correct posture, and that action takes away the fluidity of the shooting procedure.

Refugee also asked, “Why do Edo-era and older farm buildings have large rocks on their roofs? Lack of nails?” I automatically assumed that to be the case, although I do not know.