The Knightly Art of Archery  (Die Ritterliche Kunst des Bogenschiessens)
Zeitschrift fur Japanologie, 1936 (pp.193-212)

Translation Copyright © 2003 Lutgard Cunningham and Charles Harper (All rights reserved)


Eugen Herrigel returned to Germany in 1929, and in 1936 he published a 20-page article entitled 'Die Ritterliche Kunst des Bogenschiessens' in the journal, Zeitshrift für Japanologie. This was, essentially, the text of a speech he had given earlier that year, on 25 February 1936, to the Berlin chapter of the German-Japanese Society. This text was immediately translated into Japanese by a Mr. Shibata so that it could be shown to Herrigel's Master Awa, and it was published by Imperial Tohoku University in that same year. Herrigel's influence on Japanese archers began from that volume, which is still in print in Japan, along with translations of his later books.

'Die Ritterliche Kunst des Bogenschiessens' ('The Knightly Art of Archery') was the core and basis for his well-known Zen in the Art of Archery (1951). The journal article was presented in three sections, and the first two sections were expanded and amplified in order to create the later book; the third section attempted to elucidate Herrigel's thoughts on the wider field of mysticism and spirituality, and perhaps because he had less success in clearly presenting these ideas – or, to give him the benefit of the doubt, because of his artistic sense of unity –, he elected to minimize this discussion in the book. Whole paragraphs were carried over from sections I and II of the article to the book; little was carried over from section III. Also, in the earlier article Herrigel felt free to express some candid personal opinions which he perhaps did not consider judicious in the later book.

The journal article has been translated by Lutgard Cunningham and edited by Charles Harper, and is herewith being published on the internet. Should you copy or quote from this translation, we would appreciate your crediting us.

The Knightly Art of Archery (PDF)

Copyright (c)2017 Kyudo Notes &