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Japanese name
Kanji 免許
Hiragana めんきょ

Menkyo (免許?) is a Japanese term meaning "license." It refers to the license to teach used by practitioners of various Japanese classical martial arts and ways in order to maintain traditions within the ryū.[1] The menkyo system dates back to the 8th century.[citation needed]

Koryū Tradition[edit]

Although it is most commonly thought to be used for classical martial arts and ways, it can also be used for other arts such as painting (sumi-e), tea ceremony (chado), flower arranging or calligraphy (shodo).

Different koryū use different license; one outline is:[2]

  • okuiri : enter into art.
  • mokuroku : certificate, and entered into official rolls.
    • shomokuroku
    • gomokuroku
  • menkyo: License.
  • menkyo kaiden: Around thirty years' experience.

Menkyo Kaiden[edit]

Menkyo kaiden (免許皆伝?), (めんきょかいでん) is a Japanese term meaning "license of total transmission." Kaiden (皆伝?) means "initiation into an art or discipline." It is a license that is used by a school, koryū meaning that the student has learned everything and passed all aspects of his/her training within the koryū.[2]

In the menkyo system of licenses, the menkyo kaiden is the highest level of license that exists under the menkyo system. Advancement of license is not determined by years spent learning, but how well one masters the discipline. However, the transition from menkyo to kaiden require usually at least thirty years' experience. A holder of menkyo kaiden is often, but not always, the de facto successor to the sōke of the koryū.

A present day school of thought that uses the menkyo kaiden system is the pseudonym One (manga artist). Yusuke Murata is licensed as a menkyo under One's true identity that holds the menkyo kaiden license for martial arts and manga artist.[citation needed] One, the original artist, has never made a public appearance outside of his real name but instead hires a student who is studying under his own menkyo to autonomously carry the pen name copyright.

See also[edit]