HKF CENSUS INFORMATION : 2017 (draft; subject to verification)

The Hawaii Kendo Federation has not completed a census for over ten years. In other words we haven't had even a very basic understanding of who we are and how many for quite some time now. For those of us who have been doing kendo for a while, I think nearly everyone has noticed that the number of people doing kendo in Hawaii seems to be declining. But by how much? How fast?

The last official numbers I've seen were from 2004 and reported a Hawaii kendo population of 417. This years census - just completed - tells us that we now have exactly 100 people less: 317. So, with actual numbers in hand, we can finally say something a bit more precise, like, "In a little over 10 years, we've lost 25% of our kendo population."

Depending on what kind of future we want for the HKF, this might be considered a problem. HKF people should try to understand the reasons why this is happening and whether or not we want to do anything about it as an organization.

As a tool for learning and analysis, I hope a census will be the done every year from now on. There's no good reason why it can't be done - I've spent zero dollars doing it and the only thing it required was access to a computer.

Regarding the notes accompanying the graphs, these are exclusively my own observations and opinions and I welcome all comments and criticism.

Special thanks to Laurie Makiya and Reiko Hayashi for their help reviewing the information for accuracy. If any errors still remain, they are mine.

J.K. Shishido, HKF Secretary
March 27, 2017 Sunday


All information as of January 01, 2017

HKF Dojos/Kendo Clubs reporting: 18 established, 1 in formation
Dojos returning member data: 100%
HKF members total: 318 (249 male, 69 female)

Members information by dojo


OAHU ISLAND

Aiea Taiheiji
members: 17 (15 male, 2 female)
ages: 65, 55, 49, 45, 44, 40, 40, 38, 37, 36, 35, 24, 17, 14, 13, 10, 8
rank: 6D (1), 5D (4), 4D (2), 3D (1), 1D (1), 1K (1), 2K & below (7)

Ainakoa Shiseikan
members: 4 (4 male)
ages: 57, 53, 40, 19
rank: 5D (1), 1K (1), 2K & below (2)

Hawaii Daijingu Kendo Club
members: 16 (16 male)
ages: 68, 66, 64, 50, 48, 42, 35, 30, 23, 22, 18, 15, 15, 9, 8, 5
rank: 7D (1), 3D (5), 1D (1), 2K & below (9)

Kaifukan Kendo Club
members: 7 (6 male, 1 female)
ages: 69, 63, 57, 54, 51, 39, 38
rank: 7D (1), 4D (1), 2D (2), 1D (1), 1K (1), 2K & below (1)

Kenshikan Kendo Club
members: 58 (49 male, 9 female)
ages: 74, 69, 68, 63, 62, 62, 61, 60, 56, 53, 50, 48, 48, 47, 43, 43, 43, 42, 41, 40, 38, 35, 35, 34, 33, 30, 26, 23, 21, 21, 21, 20, 18, 15, 15, 14, 14, 14, 13, 12, 12, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7, 5, ND*
rank: 6D (1), 5D (9), 4D (5), 3D (6), 2D (4), 1D (4), 1K (3), 2K & below (27)
*ND = no data

Kenyukai Kendo Club
members: 28 (23 male, 5 female)
ages: 68, 60, 60, 55, 51, 49, 46, 46, 43, 30, 28, 28, 26, 23, 22, 14, 14, 13, 13, 12, 11, 11, 11, 11, 10, 9, 6, 5
rank: 7D (1), 5D (1), 4D (2), 3D (2), 2D (2), 1D (4), 2K & below (16)

Meikyokan
members: 7 (5 female, 2 male)
ages: 70, 61, 59, 49, 48, 48, 37
rank: 6D (1), 3D (1), 1D (1), 2K & below (4)

Mililani Kendo Club
members: 34 (23 male, 11 female)
ages: 76, 70, 65, 63, 62, 62, 59, 50, 49, 47, 38, 36, 35, 34, 34, 34, 27, 26, 26, 25, 22, 22, 20, 20, 16, 16, 11, ND, ND, ND, ND, ND, ND, ND
rank: 6D (3), 5D (3), 4D (4), 3D (6), 2D (3), 1D (2), 2K& below (13)
*ND = no data

Myohoji Kendo Club
members: 22 (14 male, 8 female)
ages: 86, 63, 59, 47, 41, 31, 27, 22, 16, 16, 14, 13, 13, 11, 11, 10, 9, 8, 8, 7, ND, ND
rank: 7D (1), 6D (2), 5D (1), 3D (1), 2D (3), 1D (2), 2K & below (12)

Wahiawa Kendo Club
members: 27 (16 male, 11 female)
ages: 70, 67, 53, 50, 48, 44, 43, 36, 32, 28, 28, 25, 24, 17, 16, 16, 15, 14, 14, 13, 10, 10, 10, ND, ND, ND, ND
rank: 7D (1), 6D (1), 4D (3), 3D (4), 2D (3), 1D (2), 1K (1), 2K & below (12)
*ND = no data

Waipahu Kendo Club
members: 4 (3 male, 1 female)
ages: 71, 57, 39, 15
rank: 4D (1), 2D (1), 2K & below (2)

Waipahu Seibukan
members: 13 (7 male, 6 female)
ages: 62, 60, 53, 43, 42, 37, 27, 22, 18, 12, 11, 10, 10
rank: 5D (1), 4D (2), 3D (3), 1D (1), 5K (3), 6K (2), 2K & below (1)
 

HAWAII ISLAND

Hilo Hongwanji
members: 15 (13 male, 2 female)
ages: 64, 26, 17, 14, 14, 11, 11, 10, 9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6
rank: 6D (1), 4D (1), 1K (2), 2K & below (11)

Hilo Renshinkan
members: 10 (10 male)
ages: 62, 56, 53, 47, 37, 22, 16, 13, 11, 9
rank: 6D (2), 3D (1), 2D (1), 2K & below (6)

Kobukan Kendo Club
members: 19 (17 male, 2 female)
ages: 70, 69, 63, 52, 51, 51, 49, 49, 46, 41, 37, 36, 33, 21, 12, 10, 9, 7, 7
rank: 4D (1), 2D (7), 2K & below (11)

Rantokan Kendo Club
in formation; data to be collected next year
 

KAUAI ISLAND

Lihue Kendo Club
members: 24 (20 male, 4 female)
ages: 69, 63, 62, 58, 48, 47, 45, 45, 43, 42, 40, 36, 28, 28, 27, 26, 20, 18, 14, 11, 11, 10, 10, 8
rank: 5D (1), 3D (3), 2D (1), 1D (3), 1K (2), 2K & below (14)
 

MAUI ISLAND

Makawao Kendo Club
members: 7 (7 male)
ages: 55, 54, 50, 48, 23, 17, 15
rank: 2D (1), 1K (1), 2K & below (5)

Mitsune Dojo
members: 6 (4 male, 2 female)
ages: 64, 61, 38, 38, 31, 13
rank: 4D (2), 2D (1), 1D (1), 2K & below (2)


HKF members by sex

Male: 249 (78%); Female: 69 (22%).

Less than 25% of the active kendoists in the HKF are girls and women. Outside the dojos the general population is 50% women. Since kendo is an activity that can be practiced by anyone, what's accounting for the large difference? Q: Is it an organizational objective of the HKF to bring our kendo population's male/female ratio more into line with that of the general population?


HKF members by age

Note: no age data for 14 individuals

Note: Based on absolutely no real data and only my highly flawed memory, there seems to me far less young children doing kendo in Hawaii compared to 30 or 40 years ago. The graph above shows far fewer children in the 0-9 age category compared to the 10-19 age category. Are children just starting kendo older nowadays? Is the turnover rate for children higher, lower, or similar, compared to before? We can't answer any of these questions because we don't have detailed information going backwards in time. We need to keep collecting data. Regularly.

Note: What's accounting for the lower numbers of practitioners between the ages of 20-40?

Note: This kind of graph tells us almost nothing about many important questions relating to participation: How old are people when they're starting kendo? How long are they remaining active? For what reasons to people eventually stop? (Physical incapacity? Relationship issues? Frustration with learning?) Again, it'd be nice to see more data.

Note: Overall, women and girls make up only 22% of the kendo population in Hawaii. Other than a significantly larger percentage in the 20-29 age range (13 out of 39 individuals are women, or 39%), the ratio of women to men falls fairly close to the overall average between the ages of 10-19 (23%), 30-39 (19%), and 40-49 (24%). The ratio drops noticeably after the age of 50, with women representing only 15% of kendoists. The most striking numbers come from the age 9 and below category, with only 3 out of 29 individuals being girls (10%). My guess is that for individuals in this age range, it's largely the parents that are deciding what kind of activities their children are going to participate in. Perhaps kendo just doesn't spring to mind when parents are looking for something their young daughters could be getting into. Q: Is this a perception that the HKF would like to change? If the number of little girls starting kendo were to increase, is the HKF and member dojos willing and able to actually support them?


HKF members by rank

Note: The criteria by which individuals are judged when testing for rank in the HKF are, practically speaking, formulated by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF). This does not necessarily mean, however, that individuals testing for dan here in Hawaii are judged in a manner identical to our counterparts in Japan. This would be an interesting question to examine, as would be differences in rank distribution in Japan, Hawaii, and elsewhere.

Note: Among 317 active kendoists in Hawaii, 95 individuals (30%) hold the rank of 3dan or higher, and nearly half (46%) hold at least 1dan.

Note: The distribution of rank among women kendoists raises important questions - as a percentage of the total number of individuals at a certain rank: 1dan (22%); 2dan (24%); 3dan (30%), 4dan (17%); 5dan (10.5%); 6dan (0%); 7dan (0%). What accounts for the large drop in ranking women after 3dan? Are the grading criteria and testing process biased against female kendoists? Is kendo sexist?


HKF members by island

Oahu: 237 (74%); Hawaii Island: 44 (14%); Kauai: 24 (8%); Maui: 13 (4%).

Note: The island of Kauai is home to only 4% of Hawaii's total population but has 8% of Hawaii's kendo population. Good on you, Kauai kendo people!


Active Kendoists in Hawaii (approximate, years not to scale)

Pre-2017 data from _HKF 50th Anniversary Reader, 1955-2005_, p.20-23. (http://www.meikyokan.org/s/2005_HKF50anniversary.pdf)

Note: The main reason why I included this graph is to show the enormous change between pre-WWII and post-WWII levels of kendo participation. While it's become 'common knowledge' that the Second World War radically remade Japanese American identities and cultural practices during and following the war years, somehow I still found it shocking to see, in visual form, the difference between the 1933 dot and everything that follows after.


Girls & Women: By Rank

% of total female population (69) by rank: 2K & below (57%); 1K (3%); 1D (7%); 2D (10%); 3D (14%); 4D (6%); 5D (3%); 6D & above (0%)

Note: Although the distribution for kyu/dan illustrated in the graph above follows approximately the same shape as the data for males, I think the fact that girls/women represent only 22% of the kendo population here in Hawaii compels us to ask additional questions - for example:

How does a lack of high ranking women sensei affect the ways girls and young women think of their future in kendo?

What can be done to support girls and women in transitioning from unranked status to kyu and dan rank?

Are there differences in perception of rank between females and males? Of 'desiring' or 'holding' rank, or even differing conceptions about the relationship between rank and ability?

Does rank confer status in identical ways between women and men?

It's easy to come up with these kinds of questions but as an organization only sustained, serious inquiry > sincere dialogue > real initiatives and/or programming will allow the HKF to actually do something to help egalitarian values to take root in our small community of kendoists.


Girls & Women: By Age

% of total female population (69) by age: 0-9 (4%); 10-19 (29%); 20-29 (19%); 30-39 (9%); 40-49% (16%); 50-59 (4%); 60-69 (9%); 70 & above (0%). Note: no age data for 7 individuals

Note: Although the data illustrated above is drawn from a small sample size - only 61 individuals - I'm curious about the noticeable dips in numbers for the 30s and 50s age group, a pattern that also arises among the men. If anyone has any hypotheses about why this may be so, please contact me!

Note: Relative to male kendoists, it appears that women in the HKF may be ending their kendo activity slightly earlier in life. This is another subject to study.


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