Lessons at Bunbu Gakkō
Instructors and pupils
Instructors at Bunbu Gakkō had regular jobs as retainers and gave their pupils lessons in martial arts additionally.
Only boys of samurai status were admitted to Bunbu Gakkō. At the time of opening, of about 500 eligible children in the Matsushiro Domain, some 200 attended the school.
The Schedule at Bunbu Gakkō
At Bunbu Gakkō, the first and last practices of the year took place on January 18 and December 18, respectively. The instructors and pupils followed a daily schedule assigned by officials of the domain.
The practice schedule was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. About six sessions were assigned every month for each martial art, with some on the days including 1 (1st, 11th, and 21st) and others on the days including 2 (2nd, 12th, 22nd), etc.
Each pupil was allowed to decide how many sessions from which instructors he wanted to attend, and came to school only for his chosen sessions.
After enrollment, the pupils were expected to start learning from around eight years old and to begin practicing martial arts from around fourteen.
Performances in the Presence of the Feudal Lord
Every spring and fall, pupils were invited to give a display of martial arts at a dōjō hall of the Matsushiro Castle Hana-no-Maru Palace. In winter, they would give commentaries on and recite a Confucianism textbook at a hall in the same palace.
These performances were given in the presence of their feudal lord, principal retainer, and other key retainers. Outstanding pupils were rewarded with money and books.