In fairness, I decided to learn as much as I could in a relatively short amount of time and if possible, even cast a Tenkara rod. I've read much, heard from folks who were mostly positive, but a few negative as well. I haven't cast a Tenkara rod yet, but I have digested what I have heard and read and have made up my mind.
First, I'd like to tackle whether it is fly fishing or not. Keep in mind that this is my opinion only. In my mind, it is. The prerequisite for me is the fly. What type of rod, line or other gear makes no difference to me...and shouldn't to anyone else. Speaking of opinions, Lefty Kreh was recently quoted as saying that Tenkara isn't fly fishing and is a fad. Well, Lefty has been around a while longer than me and he's certainly entitled to his opinion, but I certainly put no more credence in his opinion that he would in mine.
Judging by some of the videos I've seen and Tenkara users I've talked to, Tenkara fishermen are every bit as enthusiastic about fishing as those of us who use graphite, cane or fiberglass...or flies, bait or lures. Perhaps more so, with a little mystic zeal thrown in. And that's okay. Good stewards are good stewards.
The first thing I thought of when watching a Tenkara video was, do I have to get one of those crazy looking nets? The answer is no and you also don't fish in a kimono and sandals. Fishermen are known to be an obstinate bunch of people; we gravitate to whatever type of equipment the salesman tells us we should buy and we stick with it and to hell with those "other" types. Glass is dead...bamboo is too heavy...that's too slow or too fast, bait is bad, flies are good. If you care so much about what the next guy is fishing, I suggest you get yourself a life and let your neighbor have his. The bottom line... is it a fair, legal catch and is the fisherman following fishing regulations and being a good steward.