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Uchi-deshi (内弟子?, lit. "inside student") is a Japanese term for a live-in student/apprentice who trains under and assists a sensei on a full-time basis. The system exists in kabuki, rakugo, shogi, igo, aikido, sumo, karate and other modern Japanese martial arts.


Uchi-deshi usually live in the dōjō or the home of the teacher, or in separate accommodations near the dōjō. He serves the teacher all day, every day. Duties may include cleaning and secretarial work. In contrast to uchi-deshi, students who live outside are referred to as soto-deshi (外弟子?, lit. "outside students").

Historically, an uchi-deshi was typically chosen and groomed to become the next head of a school of martial arts when a direct family member was not available.

Related terms[edit]

In modern times, the role is also referred to as tsukibito (付き人?, lit. "attached person"). Other terms include senshūsei (専修生?) and kenshūsei (研修生?, "trainee"), although these terms are more general and do not necessarily indicate a live-in apprentice. The term renshū-sei (練習生) is used in Japanese pro wrestling.

Current uchi-deshi programs[edit]

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