Kanjuro Shibata XX

Kanjuro Shibata XX, whose name at birth was Yoshimune, was born on December 29, 1921 into a Samurai family in Kyoto, Japan’s former capital city. He is the 20th generation in an unbroken lineage of Kyudo Masters.

Munekazu Shibata, the first person to hold the title of Kanjuro Shibata, lived on the island of Tanegashima, off Kyoshu, in the mid-sixteenth century. He and his ancestors served the Shimazu clan as Bowmakers, with the title of Yumishinan, or Master Archer.

The Shogun gave each holder of the Kanjuro Shibata title the highest of honorary titles, Onyumishi, which means “Bowmaker and Archer,” or “Lord Bowmaker”. This title has come down through the generations.

When he was 8 years old, Shibata Sensei began to study kyudo and bowmaking from his grandfather, who not only held the title of Onyumishi, but was the Official Bowmaker to the Imperial family, since the eighteenth generation of Kanjuro Shibata, an honour that dates from the 1889 request of the Emperor Meiji.

The Official Bowmaker’s duties included creating the Goshinpo Yumi, or sacred bows, used in the purification and consecration of the shrine at Ise, the principal temple of the Shinto religion, at ceremonies held every twenty years.

Kanjuro Shibata XX passed away the 21st day of October 2013 in Boulder, Colorado. His son in law, Kanjuro Shibata XXI became the head of the Heki Bishu Chikurin-ha School and of Zenko International. He is the 21st generation of archers and traditional bow makers in the Shibata lineage.

Don Symanski

Don Symanski began the study of Kyudo with Kanjuro Shibata Sensei in 1980 in the Heki Bishu Chikurin-ha form of Kyudo.

He is one of Shibata Sensei's first students and since that time he has dedicated his life to the study, practice and instruction of Kyudo. Over the years, Don Symanski has led numerous Kyudo programs, in the United States, Europe and Canada.

Mr. Symanski also apprenticed in Japanese traditional bow (Yumi) making with Shibata Sensei's son, Kanjuro Shibata XXI, in Kyoto for over two years.

Since 1991, he has made Yumi for Kyudo students on several continents and worked at teaching them the proper use of the Yumi and Kyudo as a meditation path.

Montreal Suiko Kyudojo is privileged to benefit from the teachings of Mr. Symanski and happy to offer its yearly intensive Kyudo program under his guidance.

   © Kyudo Québec Inc. 2011