CHEERZ, the app for cheering on your favorite idols, isn’t just limited to Japanese, but is also available in English, Chinese (Traditional), and French, and is used by idol fans around the world. At TGU, as part of our campaign, we have the top three monthly ranked girls of CHEERZ NEXT with us today, to experience what Japanese culture has to offer “NEXT”!

Our three guests today are Haruka Kurino from Non Sugar, Miku Hoshina from +tic color, and Remi Ogata from Hachimitsu★Emperor. They’ll be visiting a training lesson for modern sword dance movement, a type of Japanese traditional art, put on by “SAMURAI TRAINING TOKYO produced by夢乃屋 -YUMENOYA-” Most lessons are held at the main studio, just a one-minute walk from Asakusa Station, but the studio we visited is located in Myogadani.


This is Ukon Takafuji, our sword dance instructor. He’s a second-generation creative sword dance master, and is head of the Ittoryu Tachibana-style of dance. Producing original stage shows that combine his experience at sword and traditional dance, multiple times he’s experienced performing both overseas, and is virtually Japan’s last samurai! (?!) Plus, I know what you’re all thinking- he’s a total hottie!


Naturally, none of the girls have ever touched a Japanese sword (*lessons use fake, practice swords) before… Or at least that’s what you probably assumed, but actually Remi used to do traditional dance as a child, and has apparently handled one before. She doesn’t really recall much about it, though, so basically all three girls are beginners. Can the three of them become splendid samurai…?! Will they be able to do the training…?!


To start off, they practice the etiquette of rei (showing respect) first. Since samurai never knew when they might be attacked, they would always have their sword ready, and never put it down. This is the most fundamental basic rule.

cheerz-katana-exercise-01 cheerz-katana-exercise-02

Up next were the basics on how to draw a sword. Drawing your sword is the movement of taking out and putting your sword away without looking at it. Managing this, the girls would be okay on the chance any of them happened to ever travel back in time to the era of the samurai!! They continued repeating the exercise until it was perfect! When Haruka got caught looking at her sword, our instructor called her out on it! (laugh)

After finally learning the basics, it was time to move onto some exercise-like maneuvers to really get their bodies moving. They learned how to wield a sword from various stances, and once they’d gotten the hang of it, they put these moves to music to create a good rhythm and increase speed! Little by little, they began to shout some fierce battle cries! (laugh)

The next step was about how to engage your enemy. Exchanging swords is called yama (“mountain”), and they set out to practice it until they had it down. It may look easy, but it requires quite a bit of movement at the waist, and gradually you could see the exasperation showing on their faces. (laugh) After this, with their sword hilts touching, they faced one another in a tsuba-zeriai, or hilt match. You’ve probably seen this move in movies or dramas! The girls were really into it. The last part of the lesson was about using force. Becoming the “slasher” or the “slashed”, they quietly engaged in a violent swordfight!

At the end, we asked all three girls to share their thoughts on the experience.



Remi Ogata

Usually I tend to hunch my back a little, so I feel like this really helped my posture. Even though it wasn’t a hard workout, I could really feel it in my waist, and I was really sweating! I’ve handled a long sword before, but it was my first time to learn these kinds of moves, and I really encourage anyone from abroad to give it a try!


Miku Hoshina

I thought it’d be tough, but actually I was surprised at how enjoyable it was. I’d like to work on my posture more and use what I’ve learned during stage performances. Learning how to move precisely was really useful.

Haruka Kurino

I’d like to use this in our group during a performance of our song “Kendo Shojo”! Even though it’s a song about kendo, none of us are very savvy when it comes to using a sword (laugh), so I’d like to tell the other members about what I’ve learned here.


Our teacher looked somewhat worried while watching the girls’ movements in the beginning (laugh), but by the end he shared with us, “I was extremely surprised by how quickly they learned the movements; they really are idols!” All three of them seem eager to use what they’ve learned in their idol work. More than anything, that “feeling” is the most important part. Apparently when it comes to those without any sword handling experience, those who like samurai movies and anime are usually the quickest to pick it up. So image training is important, too!


For those of you in Japan reading this, or those of you overseas, what do you think about trying your hand at this simple introduction into this traditional Japanese art form through one of these lessons at SAMURAI TOKYO TRAINING?


Address: Venice 2F, 1-36-8 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

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Photos by Nathan GEY
Translated by Jamie Koide


Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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