Colorful Ladies’ Wardrobe at the Japanese Archery Event
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nice Smile

My recent coverage of the traditional Japanese Archery event described last week in “Total Discipline: Anatomy of a Japanese Archer’s Shot” has so far covered mostly the guys (such as with the previous post, “More Badass Japanese Archery”), but there were about as many gals as guys.

Most of the time I was at the event was while the guys were shooting, so when I was out and about in the greater temple area, the women were in preparation mode. They were plentiful and very, very colorful.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The guy's wardrobe was pretty standard across the 1,000 who participated, and was elegant in is simplicity. For me, that matched well with the art/discipline of Japanese archery and Japanese cultural history. The ladies, on the other hand, were decked out in a sometimes over-the-top way that I expect most would not see again in their lifetime, except perhaps on their wedding day.

Unlike what's worn on the coming-of-age holiday, the outfits seen today are not kimono, but instead are a kind of hakama specific to archery. Men's traditional formal wear is usually hakama, and they can sometimes be quite colorful (especially for children, as seen here), but are more often fairly subdued in color but rich in detail. You can see a bit of what goes into it on this post.

The level of gaudiness didn't rise to that seen each year on the Coming-of-Age national holiday (a holiday to celebrate those that have become legal adults — reached 20 years old — in the past year), but at times it was still pretty heavy.

As I wrote in the “total discipline” post, this event was primarily a rite-of-passage occasion for those same young adults who had turned 20 in the previous year, but only if they had earned the right by advancing to a high enough rank in the art/sport/discipline of Japanese archery.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos

As I roved around with my lens, it tended to be drawn toward the more reserved (less gaudy) looks among the crowd, but this post is a smattering of all kinds of shots, including some that I just like the vibe of.

I would have missed most of these because after being driven out by the ridiculous crowd at the shooting range, I would have gone home but stuck around because Kyoto friend Nicolas Joannin (he from my “Rained out at the Fushimi Castle” post) had messaged me that he was on his way.

When he arrived, I waited outside the staging area while he checked out the shooting area...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Staging Area

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Keeping In Touch

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pensive

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Too Slow
I was too slow to keep up with the lady walking by
but I somehow like the result anyway

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Hamming It Up
for Nicolas, who had by this time returned

Nicolas had retreated from the scrum at the shooting range and joined me in the staging area, and had been taking a photo of the girl practicing her motions when she noticed him and added a big smile. You can see the shot he got here, along with his others from the day. He got some very nice results. (He also got a picture of me.)


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Post-Performance Call

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Helping Hands

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Peace

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

I can't say that some of the heavier makeup and accessories were always my cup of tea, especially when so many are gathered at once, but it was certainly photogenic, and I enjoyed the experience.

Next, we'll see these same ladies switch to serious mode, shooting a lethal weapon on the firing range. And when I say “lethal”, I'm not kidding. I saw one of these arrows pierce all the way through 3" of hard bamboo at 60 meters.

Continued here...


One comment so far...

Very impressive, Jeffrey. This gives me a new appreciation for archery, and for those activities that are more about the process than the result (as you’ve been mentioning in a few of the blog entries leading up to this one).

I also wanted to commend you on this series of shots. It seems that you’re a prime shooter, as far as lenses go… the thing I like about primes is that you start to visualize the world and photographic opportunities through the “lens’ eye,” but the 300mm field of view is a difficult one to wrap one’s mind around (at least for me). On top of that, 300mm f/2 must weigh a ton, so you’re handicapped in mobility (something I draw upon heavily when using primes). It makes me appreciate your works all the more.

— comment by David K. on January 23rd, 2012 at 4:02am JST (5 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...


All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.


You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting