FIRST SOKE KAWABATA TERUTAKA (河端 照孝 初代宗家)
Kawabata Terutaka was born in Tokyo in 1940. His interest in Japanese swordsmanship began in his early childhood when his grandfather gave him a sword he had purchased in San Francisco. Throughout his life, he has made significant contributions to both the study of Japanese swords and Japanese Swordsmanship.In 1963, in his early twenties, Kawabata began training in ancient sword style at the Sogo Budo Shobukan founded by his father. He studied under the headmaster of the Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu at the time, Ueno Yasuyuki Genshin (1913-1973). Tenshinsho Jigen Ryu is a school of swordsmanship which has its origins in the Kanto area, dating back to the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period).
In addition to training in kenjutsu, Kawabata also expertized in the collection and study of swords and their accessories. He has subsequently become an executive of the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK) (Society for the Preservation of Japanese Swords) and known as one of their experts on the subject, while also contributing to the foundation of the Nihonto Bunka Shinkou Kyokai (the Foundation of Japanese Sword Culture for the purpose of public interest). An example of Kawabata’s proficiency as a sword master was demonstrated in 1987 when he appeared on the TBS television program Chikyu Roman Yomigaeru Hiken/Sengoku Kabutowari. In this program, using a sword made by swordsmith Yoshihara Yoshindo, Kawabata cut a gash measuring 12 cm. (nearly 4 sun) through a steel helmet called oki tenugui gata (flat on the top). The helmet-splitting technique had not been performed successfully since Sakakibara Kenkichi, the hanshi of the JikiShinkage Ryu, demonstrated it before Emperor Meiji in the autumn of 1886, over 100 years before. It was around this time that he received the Martial Arts Meritorious Award (Budo Korosho), considered the highest honor in the world of martial arts.
In addition to his work with the NBTHK, Kawabata would continue to spread his knowledge of Japanese swordsmanship through the International Martial Arts Congress (Kokusai Budoin) and the International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) (Kokusai Budo Renmei). Through IMAF, he was sent abroad to Europe and the United States to spread his school of swordsmanship. He would eventually serve in the successive posts of director and vice-director, and as the sectional chief of the Kobudo division. In 1975, Kawabata taught at the NRC (currently the Nihon Zaidan) dojo in Akasaka. He also trained many students at the ANA Haneda dojo and the Yokohama Municipal Fire Station. He later opened the Seiseikan dojo on the ground floor of the Sankei Indoor Sports Akabane at Akabane Minami, Kita-ku, Tokyo in the early 2000s.
On the 1st of January in 2008, Kawabata relinquished this position to his senior student, Yahagi Kunikazu. Currently, Kawabata serves as the head of the Seiseikan and advisor to the soke. He continues to play an active role in various fields and has been awarded the Medal of Yellow Ribbon and the Medal of Blue Ribbon by the Government of Japan for his contributions.