Modern Japan

Forbidden Kill Strikes

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After World War II, the American occupiers initially banned most martial arts. The ban didn't hold up for long, though. American servicemen often trained enthusiastically, and many went on to found dojos upon returning to the U.S. The most famous modern art was probably Karate (pp. 169172), introduced into Japan prior to WWII by Okinawan instructors.

Today, Karate (especially Shotokan and Kyokushin), Aikido (p. 149), and Taijutsu (pp. 202-203) are all popular. In addition, -do forms of most historical combat arts still exist and some schools keep ancient traditions alive. Yabusame (p. 181) practitioners demonstrate their art on holidays. Japanese participation in Sumo (pp. 198-199) is declining but the sport is still wildly popular - and a steady influx of foreign-born wrestlers competing at the top levels keeps interest high. Such sports as Judo (p. 166), Kendo (p. 175), and Kyudo (p. 181) are common activities for Japanese teenagers, although people of all ages participate.

In late 20th- and early 21st-century Japan, mixed martial arts (p. 189) are becoming more popular. There are a number of competing "brands" or leagues, and fighters often compete in several of these. MMA and kickboxing matches are major television events, and participants endorse products and make TV appearances quite unrelated to fighting!

A modern Japanese campaign might have any realism level and any theme. Recent Japanese fiction runs the gamut from Gritty Realism (p. 237) to Over-the-Top (p. 239). Modern Japan is relatively safe, though, making the "Street" lens (p. 145) on styles inappropriate and the courses represented by "Self-Defense" (p. 145) vanishingly rare. Even the riot police train in formal, traditional styles.

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