Looking at some of the Reyrgear website links to websites that focus on highlighting new gadgets Reyrgear rods appear to have began about mid 2018.
Many people draw a small box and say only the type of rods, tackle, fishing tactics, targeted fish, and place of fishing within the box is tenkara. Anything outside that box is not tenkara.
I would say what is inside that box is a strict definition of historic traditional tenkara, with a much large box surrounding it that is modern evolving tenkara. But the edge of that larger box, outside of which is clearly not tenkara, is a fuzzy line, what in my former profession was called “penumbra”. Wherein activity is a little bit tenkara and a little bit not what people would consider tenkara.
Things such as people I’ve seen in Japanese blogs or videos who fish in a way that would be recognized as tenkara fishing. Only they have modified an inner line rod for the purpose. Or people who have added some kind of cranked small reel, either a manufactured reel or self made reel, or just a permanently attached line spool of some kind to a rod marketed as a tenkara rod.
The only commercially sold rods I’ve seen that are called tenkara rods, that is a similar idea to the Reyrgear rods are the rods made and sold by Kashiwagi Shigetaka-san [柏木重孝さん].
I’ve seen his style called hybrid-tenkara. Not the usual idea of what a tenkara rod is. However, Kashiwagi Shigetaka-san is an interesting guy who was a well known celebrity bass fishing angler. Authoring books, and videos about bass fishing, and I think developer of ZEAL lures before turning to developing his style of hybrid-tenkara.
You can find his rods, kebari and other accessories sold on numerous websites. Usually with the name, 柏木流 , Kashiwagi-ryū, Kashiwagi style. Or 柏木流テンカラ. He has a fun blog, you can see his rods on his blog, too. Basically they are not a lot different from the Reyrgear rods, about the same length, an inner line rod, only the excess line is stored by manual winding the line onto a line spool that is part of the handle design. And his rods are pretty pricey, $800 +/- .
9 years ago I happened to find a fun video with this title. 毛バリバリ伝説2 .
I do not know how to correctly translate the title, other than as Kebari Baribari Legend 2.
If I understood spoken Japanese better I could more fully appreciate the intended comedy in his self debate about the difference between the words Tenkara and Kebari, テンカラ and 毛バリ.
The man in the video is a celebrity entertainer, stage name 松山 三四六 [Matsuyama Sanshirō] or Matsuyama 346.
The YouTube title of the video, 毛バリバリ伝説2, also seems to include a subtle bit of word play and the deeper joke about it also eludes me.
毛バリ is kebari. But if you do an internet search for バリ伝説 - You will find animated or real videos or comic books about motorcycling. With titles similar to this one - バリバリ伝説アメリカＧＰ編part3 , Baribari Legend (or Legendary ) American GP (edited?) part 3. They seem to be a popular series. I am thinking that Matsuyama 346 is a character in some of the バリ伝説 shows. More about that later.
Maybe some of our forum Japanese readers can elaborate on his self debate about tenkara or kebari. And help us better understand the deeper meaning of his comedy. When I posted this video on the TUSA forum 9 years ago Chris Stewart thought he was debating whether tenkara was kebari fishing. (btw I’ve tried to find the video again several times in recent years with no luck. The search feature on the TUSA forum couldn’t find it. Today I finally just went through the slow process of looking at all my post there till I found it again. )
The video was uploaded onto YouTube, Aug 19, 2011, on YTC abn5ch, that I am guessing is a tv channel in Japan.
Sometime in 2010, Dr. Ishigaki made a blog post, url 346, but the blog title is almost the same as the YT video title, 毛バリバリ伝説 .
I could be wrong, but the subject of the blog post appears to be that Matsuyama 346 and tenkara will be featured in an upcoming episode of the バリ伝説 shows.
Anyway, different people place the dividing line between what is tenkara and what is not tenkara. My view is where ever they place the line, it should only matter to themselves. For me yeah, the Reyrgear rods may be fine rods, but they are outside the box I consider to be tenakra, or the spirit of tenkara.