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about Shihan-Mato (四半的), one kind of Japanese archery for ordinary people

Shihan-Mato (四半的) is a Japanese style of archery, employing a short bow, with the archer shooting from a sitting position. It is a separate style completely independent of and quite different from the other style of Japanese traditional archery, Kyudo. The style originated from what was the domain of the Shimazu clan (in modern-day Miyazaki Prefecture). It is sometimes referred to as a peasant style of archery. The Shimazu lord created the style so as to be able to arm his peasantry with bow, and thus increase the amount of archers in his forces. However, at the same time, so as to limit their ability to use the bows in a rebellion, the peasants were told to practice from a sitting position.

The distance to the target is approximately 8.2 meter (四間半), which is quite short. The target is approximately 13.64cm (四寸五分). The bow is also quite short compared to other bows, around 1.36 meter (四尺五寸), conversely the arrows, typically made by Mizuno or Easton, are around 1 meter in length. Shihan-Mato is very well known in Obi Nichinan, Miyazaki and it was regularly practiced in Obi Castle.


In the modern day, Shihan-Mato is seen as a form of leisure activity. It is customary for people to drink and eat, then shoot in the Shihan-Mato style. Clothing is a lot less formal than other styles of Japanese archery, practitioner may wear any informal clothing.


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