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Different Ideas on the origin of the Tenkara name

Tenkara is a new type of fishing to the US, and information (particularly in English) is sparse. This is the place to build a knowledge base of Tenkara.

Different Ideas on the origin of the Tenkara name

Postby Anthony » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:05 pm

There is a great Website called Trout and Seasons of The Mountain Village that has much information on Japanese Fly Fishing including Tenkara and Tenkara flies.

In the section about Tenkara it says:
No one knows for certain why it's called tenkara. Some say it's because tenkara means "from the sky", suggestive of the way the flies are dapped into the water from above.
Others say it came from the word "Tengara", which is an entirely different method of fishing for Ayu (sweet fish), it was introduced to Japan from China.
Still others say it's derived from a game in which children hop around on one leg inside a circle drawn on the ground and Tenkara fishermen hop from rock to other rock in the streams, it's like the children's game "Ken-Ken". It's pronounced differently in various regional dialects, including Chingara, Shinkara and Tsunkara. I prefer this theory, because the playfulness appeals to me.


Like the author, I just think the idea of Tenkara being named after a children's game is great. Just wanted to share.
Last edited by Anthony on Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ebisu (now retired), Iwana 11'ft (with additional short handle - also retired), Amago, Ito, Ayu II, Rhodo, Sato
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Re: Different Ideas on the origin of the Tenkara name

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:09 pm

I like that possibility too...it would just take longer to explain :) (and is a more obscure explanation too).
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Re: Different Ideas on the origin of the Tenkara name

Postby Anthony » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:04 pm

dwgalhardo wrote:I like that possibility too...it would just take longer to explain :) (and is a more obscure explanation too).


Yeah I guess it's not quite so catchy as "From the Sky" or a similar saying - I do like the image of hopping from rock to rock though.
Ebisu (now retired), Iwana 11'ft (with additional short handle - also retired), Amago, Ito, Ayu II, Rhodo, Sato
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Re: Different Ideas on the origin of the Tenkara name

Postby rsetina » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:07 pm

I like the hopping from rock to rock too. I feel like a kid again every time I go fishing. So it fits!
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テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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