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In ancient Japan, a kensei (剣聖 master swordsman?) was an honorary title given to a warrior of legendary skill in swordsmanship. The literal translation of "kensei" is "sword saint". Thus, the term is considered by some to imply a higher degree of perfection (possibly also encompassing a moral dimension) than the more commonly used kengō (剣豪?) or "great swordsman", "master fencer". This is not to be confused with the word kenshi (剣士), meaning "swordsman", "fencer".[1]

Among swordsmen widely regarded as kensei, one of the famous swordsman is Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵?). Other historical kensei are often the founders of the Japanese swordsmanship schools (ryu) from the feudal period of Japan. Although there is no such written rule, the title carries such prestige that it is commonly understood that there should be no more than one kensei at any given time.

Notable kensei[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, Kenkyusha Limited, Tokyo 1991, ISBN 4-7674-2015-6