Samurai Bow

Samurai Bow

The yumi is known as the Japanese term for a bow, and as utilized in English, yumi generally refers to the traditional asymmetrical bows of the Japanese.

These include the shorter hankyu and the longer daiky. which were both utilized in the practice of kyujutsu, kyudo, or Japanese archery. Additionally, the Japanese bow and arrow were considered as an extremely vital weapon of the samurai during Japan’s feudal period.

Features of the Samurai Bow

The yumi bow is known to be exceptionally tall, measuring over two meters and is generally higher than the archer. These bows were traditionally made by laminating materials such as wood, bamboo, and leather; and when it comes to the lower and upper curves of the yumi, these also differ.

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Due to its physical appearance, numerous hypotheses have appeared to justify its asymmetrical shape. There were also others who have stated that the shape of the samurai bow was necessary to allow the individual to shoot from a kneeling form.

As for the samurai bow and its string, this was commonly made out of hem yet most of the modern-day archers utilize strings made of Kevlar to make the bows last longer.

The strings of such weapons are rarely replaced, and the only instance where these need to be changed is when the strings break; this is beneficial to the longevity and health of a yumi bow.

Brief History of the Yumi Bow

The early Japanese utilized bows with different sizes yet the majority of these featured a short body with a center grip; by the third century BC, the bow’s length increased by two meters and war blades were much heavier contrary to modern belief.

This specific bow was referred to as the Japanese longbow or the maruki yumi and was created using a small tree limb or sapling.

During the years 794 to 1185 of the Heian era, the length of the samurai bow was a bit altered, making it slightly over two meters; it also featured a laminated construction which was generally based on the Chinese techniques.

By the end of the tenth century, the Japanese weapon makers created a double-pieced bamboo and wood-laminated yumi, then over the next hundred years, the construction of these weapons have evolved; by the sixteenth century, the design and appearance of the bow’s design were considered to be nearly perfect.

The contemporary bamboo yumi is considered to be greatly identical to the yumi bow from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Proper Care for the Samurai Bow

A bamboo yumi bow should be treated with utmost care since it is a piece that can instantly be affected by extreme humidity, temperature, and misuse.

The strength of this type of bow may also vary depending on the season much stronger during the cold and weaker during the summer.


Additionally, utilizing the kyudo bow more than a dozen times a day may greatly weaken the weapon. It is also vital to keep the yumi bow away from an area with high temperatures or humidity; if the bow gets wet, one should immediately dry the piece with a soft cloth.

When the weather is cold, keep it warm with a soft cloth before shooting practice or activities. Also, remember to avoid scratching the surface of the samurai bow since its todake or outer face is easily exposed to kogai if scratched or chipped off.

Yumi Bow for sale

Generally, kyudo is an art that must be practiced by using natural materials; however, bamboo bows are quite delicate and can easily get damaged by an inexperienced individual who attempts to execute a kyudo technique; this is why proper usage and care are necessary when handling a bamboo samurai bow.

Samurai bow

For those who plan to purchase the samurai bow, it is important to first consult a qualified kyudo instructor to acquire proper advice on how to utilize and care for the yumi bow and to also determine which bow is perfect for the individual.

When one purchases bamboo bows, keep in mind that these carry no guarantee or warranty beyond being insured during its shipping; also, every novice or beginner practitioners are greatly advised to purchase a bow made out of carbon fiber or fiberglass as a first choice.

Although these types of bows are generally more durable compared to bamboo bows, it is still necessary for the user to have adequate and proper knowledge of the kyudo technique.

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