DougNZ wrote:Mikinosuke Kawaishi is well known as the founder of the Kawaishi Method of judo and jiu jitsu. He is known to have left Japan as a Kodokan yondan, graded in 1924. He was eventually graded to shichidan by the DNBK with that grade confirmed by the Kodokan in 1949(? - haven't got my records with me).
Kawaishi is known to have studied judo and kendo at Wasedo University and it is thought he studied Yanagi ryu and possibly Daito ryu under Yoshida Kotaro.
It occurred to me that the oft-qoted grades held by Kawaishi were all judo grades. Does anyone know whether he held any grades in jiu jitsu (maybe confirmed by DNBK), menkyo, or his judo and jiu jitsu were considered one and the same?
Maybe his son Norikazu knows.
I think it is unlikely that his judo rank was the same as his jujutsu rank. Dan ranks did not originally exist in judo, and even though some jujutsu school adopted them I doubt that such would be the case in Yanagi-ryu that early. I think that 'menkyo' is a rather liberal assumption. People who achieve a rank that high, usually remain active in that ryû. My research suggests that over time that regarding many personalities in judo their eperience and supposed rank in koryû schools has been inflated, not necessarily deliberately, but oftentimes simply due to unfamiliarity with the contents and grading of all those jûjutsu schools, and because for marketing purposes it was a good think for the Kôdôkan to 'suggest' that all these great jûdôka were massively qualified in some obscure jûjutsu school, and yet all gave it up for this famous Kôdôkan school which thus must have been really special.
Particularly the American and Anglo-Saxon world has contributed to the misunderstanding of ranks in koryû due to their obsession with "rank certificates" which would mention one's dan rank and be proof that one is legitimate. In reality though true rank certificates did not exist in many countries. When I obtained my first dan-ranks there did not exist such certificates, and although it was then still technically possible for people who had obtained their ranks earlier do directly convert them into Kodokan rank, I have never met anyone who actually did this or obtained a Kôdôkan certificate, whereas strangely enough in countries like the US and Canada it is quite common. Anyhow, so in jûjutsu such rank certificates oftentimes did not exist, and simply a new scroll was given at different stages. Everyone in the school knew that if you had received this scroll what seniority you had. However, nothing in that scroll actually refers to any rank.
In Kitô-ryû I have never seen any Kitô-ryû "certificate" that would mention a rank. Only some schools issue actual menjô (or diploma's or rank certificates) in addition to scrolls. For example, Kanô received a menjô from Iikubo (likely also several scrolls although I have never seen those and no published pictures of them exist), but that menjô does not inidcate a specific rank or mention menkyo kaiden. It only says that it entitles Kanô to be an instructor ('shinan' which is a function rather than a rank, not 'shihan') in this art. My teacher who was a the pioneer of judo in the country was issued a teaching certificate by his jujutsu/judo teacher in 1943, yet wore a white belt when he came back and I am not sure he held an actual 'rank' at that time. So he graded people (legitimately) after the war, while not holding any rank until he met someone who was a black belt (Jean de Herdt), who then graded him from zero to 2nd kyû, years after hence (logically) jumping the ranks which my teacher had issued to his students. This would be so out of common today that you would have people jumping up and down (usually kyû ranks or novice know it all's) shouting 'fake' and other nonsense, yet is completely logical and ethical in that time frame. After all, Kanô never held a dan-rank in Kôdôkan jûdô either, nor did Ueshiba ever hold a dan-rank in aikidô, yet both properly graded their students all the way to the highest dan-ranks.
It is even more complicated than that since the system in place may be different between branches of the same school, and may have evolved over time. For example, in Tenjin Shin'yô-ryû some of the scrolls that used to be issued are no longer issued and do no longer exist, at least not in the Kubota's lineage. An example of this are the In- and Yô-no-maki which I believe they do not issue, but instead they have a jô-no-maki. It is precisely because it is such a very complicated issue that rank verification often turns into a mess guided by personal feelings and sympathies/antipathies because the level of knowledge and understanding one needs to make a proper judgement often far exceeds the competency many have, yet few are willing to admit that incompetency. In koryû this often leads to public fights when people start questioning the legitimacy of one's lineage. One should not forget though that everyone who received menkyo or menkyo kaiden rightfully could educate their students and issue the same rank, but these people may be totally different than the head of the ryû and their names consequently are lacking in most references books. So people can pop up from branches of a school that no one has ever heard of and be completely legitimate. There are also issues when a school has seriously thinned out and no one with menkyo kaiden is left when the head of the school unexpectedly dies in an accident or so, and the person with the highest rank but below menkyo kaiden and without having been appointed official successor continues the ryû.
One should also not forget that even Japan's foremost koryû association has politics and there exist many legitimate schools that are not a member.
This response, simply to illustrate that you posed a difficult question, and why Kawaishi's son is likely the one who might have the answer. If not, there also exists an extensive book on Kawaishi in Japanese.