Nouchi Hanamine

Representative of Sukedachiya JuhachibanHanamine Nonouchi

-First of all, could you tell me how you started sword fighting?
I started sword fighting when I was three years old. At the time, my father was an actor specializing in sword fighting, so I started acting by watching and imitating him.
My father is now 71 years old, and has been an actor specializing in sword fighting for 40 years on stages such as the Kyoto Studio, Shin-Kabuki-za, and Misono-za, and currently specializes in teaching sword fighting.
I was 8 years old when I became an apprentice to my father and began learning sword fighting techniques in earnest.
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-When you think of sword fighting, you think of men. What was your father's reaction when you actually started sword fighting?
Well, when I started sword fighting...when I was a child, it was a male-dominated world.
I wanted to embody with my body the thrilling dynamism that I felt watching sword fights, and the coolness and bravery of the maneuvers, in a way that only a woman could express. My father didn't say anything in particular.
I made my first stage appearance at the age of 9, and my father encouraged me to take on challenges, and I was able to appear in many plays.
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-What do you think is the appeal of sword fighting?
After all, it's the turn of the sword fight, the intensity of the fire, and the ability to convey the atmosphere of the scene even without dialogue. One of the attractions is that it can be communicated to people overseas who don't understand the language.
I call it ``the beauty of cruelty,'' and I believe that there is beauty even in cruelty. Originally, it is a cruel act of cutting or killing people, but depending on the expression, it can be made more appealing, and there are parts that make you want to applaud or think it's cool.
I feel that the stance and behavior of a sword fight is a form of art, so I want to cherish it.
The distance and movements differ depending on the opponent, so it's difficult, but it's also fun to read the atmosphere and practice over and over again to create a shape.
- Even if you do the same poses and movements, the atmosphere will be different depending on the person.
Sword fighting is an art, not a sport. I think it's very important to have a taste and atmosphere that only that person can create, so while having a beautiful shape is the most important thing, I think it's better to make the most of your individuality.
What I value most when performing is "beautiful form." Since I can't see myself, I'm always conscious of how my customers see me, including my movements, my line of sight, and my eyesight.
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―Sukedachiya Please tell us how you started Juhachiban.
The origin of the name ``Sukedachi-ya Juhachiban'' is that we want to make sukedachi that will make those who watch our sword fights think, ``Let's do our best from tomorrow'' or ``I feel refreshed.'' ” I named it. As for Juhachiban, ``Sword fighting is what I am best at, after all,'' so I combined these.
It was exactly in 2014 that I launched “Sukedachi-ya Juhachiban”. We wanted to create a production full of variety by incorporating ``kenbu'' and ``dance'' while preserving the classic sword fights, including Mie.
-What is the reason for the sword fighting in Osaka?
The most important thing is that it is the place where I was born and raised, and that I can train under my father, who is my master.
There are also many events and theaters, so I really want to continue working in Osaka because of these circumstances.
-By the way, have you ever thought about quitting sword fighting?
Actually, I have never thought of quitting. I truly love this sword fight. Sometimes it's frustrating to not be able to do it well, and it's also a job that requires a lot of nerves, as there is a risk of injury.
However, the applause from the audience is still encouraging, and once you experience this pleasure, you will be so happy that you won't be able to stop.
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-Please tell us about your future goals.
I would like more people overseas to learn about the appeal of sword fighting through SNS.
I also hope that people will come to Japan after learning about sword fighting.
Currently, I am teaching people from 12 countries, and all communication is in English. I also have a dream that in the future, the person I am currently teaching will come to Japan and we can work together to complete a project together. Regardless of your nationality, I would like you to become a Japanese samurai and create sword fighting together.
My ultimate goal is to continue sword fighting even after I become a grandmother, and to be known by people all over the world as ``the world's best female swordsman.''
-Finally, please give a message to our readers.
Osaka has many famous places, such as Osaka Castle and other castles, Dotonbori, and other lively places, as well as delicious food. I would also like you to experience sword fighting. We hope you will actually visit the places we introduced this time and have a wonderful time!