The 62nd All Japan Business Kendo Competition was held on 21st of September, 2019. The winner was NTT, the runner-up was Panasonic (LS), and third places were Fuji Xerox and Fuji Xerox Tokyo. This year, 377 teams from all over Japan participated.
Saito from NTT, who won the tournament, said, “I’m so happy I could die”. After the victory of NTT in the All-Japan Business Team Championship six years ago, NTT suffered because it could not get past third place. He analyzed why they couldn’t win, and talked with his teammates until late at night at training camps. The conclusion he has made is that you can’t win with just one general practice per week. Furthermore, he reviewed kendo including private life.
Fuji Xerox was the opponent in the semi-finals, one of the hurdles of the day. Due to the painful situation of the previous two players losing, chuken player Watanabe of NTT took the lead from Xerox’s Iwakawa. After that, Iwakawa scored the equalizer but Watanabe landed a men-strike to end the match. The fukusho, NTT’s Saito, won by single ippon over Xerox’s Uehara. Xerox’s Uehara is a good sempai of NTT‘s Saito. He has said before that he often asked advice from Uehara who he respects a lot. Facing his sempai and being victorious, there was something that seemed to well up in him during the fight. It was NTT’s Hyodo who landed a kote in the taisho-match that would decide the game. In the final that ensued, Hyodo also led the team to victory in the daihyo-sen.
The fact that the company has a kendo club is rare and it is amazing for nearly 400 business teams to gather from all over Japan and for a tournament. Japan is now focused on reviewing working hours and improving productivity as work style reforms are called upon. As the phrase “Bunbu Ryodo (The unification of literacy and budo)” symbolizes, the business group swordsmen strive to achieve the best results in work, home, and kendo. These top swordsmen chose to find a job in a business company rather than joining the police or teaching, and continue to kendo while working. We could learn a lot from their attitude of producing results in kendo within their limited time.