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Ikuo Matsuo, at left, a fifth degree kendo master, and his teacher, eighth degree kendo master Tsuyoshi Fukugawa, demonstrate some of the moves used in this fighting technique on Sunday afternoon at Sasebo Naval Base’s Harbor View Club.

Ikuo Matsuo, at left, a fifth degree kendo master, and his teacher, eighth degree kendo master Tsuyoshi Fukugawa, demonstrate some of the moves used in this fighting technique on Sunday afternoon at Sasebo Naval Base’s Harbor View Club. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — An area scholar of the Japanese samurai culture and a pair of kendo masters visited the Harbor View Club on Sunday and presented a lecture about samurai, a display of centuries-old swords and an exhibition of ancient kendo movements.

Navy spouse Holly Mateikat counts among her friends samurai scholar and collector Naomi Itoh, fifth-degree kendo master Ikuo Matsuo and his teacher, eighth-degree master Tsuyoshi Fukugawa. She thought an event showcasing Japanese culture could be a rich experience for the base community.

“I felt it would serve to help Americans understand and appreciate the culture of our host country,” she said. “I also hoped it would enhance the relationship established between our two countries.

“It was wonderful for my Japanese friends, too. They were truly flattered and appreciative that we were so interested in their culture and traditions.”

The event, hosted by the base Morale, Welfare and Recreation department, started with the lecture, which was translated for those attending, and was followed by the martial arts exhibition.

“Seeing some of the real samurai swords here was cool, especially with some being more than 300 years old,” said Sasebo dependent Leif Bogen. “I’ve never seen the razor-sharp real ones before, just the cheap ones in stores,” he added.

“This was very interesting, especially the history of the swords,” said Navy spouse Christopher Lambert.

The culture-sharing event is of the sort MWR Director Scott Poluhowich said he’d like to host more often.

“We try and, certainly, we’d like to have more events like this,” he said. “It’s just a matter of making contacts in the area community who are willing to volunteer, and having people from the base community suggest and assist in making the connections.”


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