Tokyo - 1939

 Belts, ranks

"There wasn't anything like exams or ranks in the early Japan. When the master found his apprentice ready, he orderd him to show his knowledge. There were three levels in Jikishin Kage-ryu. The reiken, the normal trainee level, the moku-reiken, the advanced level, and the highest menkyo kaiden, was the masters' level, and gave the owner the right to start teaching.
The diplomas were hand-written, and contained every technique the examinee showed before the master. If the exam was successful, the new master could wear the hakama. This represented todays black belt. These thigs have changed nowadays, we use the same kyu-dan method as in most of the martial arts."

(Kimiyoshi Suzuki,
interview by László Kehidai
2003., Katana Magazin)