Coming this spring… The Hidden Lineage

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

In search of the history of the Togakure Ryu

I definitely do not want to cause an issue with anyone regarding the cover of the book. In fact, the picture that was up was just a temporary one. The final cover is a surprise as I have been given the approval to include photographs of Hatsumi Sensei and the Shihan from the 1960’s that have never been published before. They are from the collection of Anthony Netzler and Steve Tansley. I owe them some big thanks. The pictures were taken for the book on the ninja by Andrew Adams (1970). Steve Tansley’s father was the photographer to that project and left Steve and Anthony with a beautiful collection of never before seen photographs. I will include a few of the best and hopefully one will don the cover.

The previous photo, the “Kama Mon” is the symbol of the divine at Suwa Shrine (諏訪神社) in Shinshu. It is the symbol of the “Bujin” (武神) enshrined at Suwa. Yes, the same “Bujin” as in the Bujinkan. Due to the close proximity and tribal relationships, the shrine at Togakushi where our Togakure Ryu comes from also uses the “Kama Mon” as its shrines symbol. The “kama” or a sickle is a farmers tool that held high spiritual importance in the rice-based communities. Once the harvest was over each year, the Togakushi region would hold “kama” festivals 「鎌祝い」, to celebrate and give thanks to the shrine’s deities for a good harvest and to pray for another next year.

Also, please enjoy my clip from yesterday’s Taijutsu session

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Kukishinden Ryū Happō Biken – article translation

From Wanderings in Budo by bujinshugyo



kukishinden 6

Kukishinden ryū happō biken

The founder Yakushimaru Kurando Takanao was a military governor (shugo) under Emperor Go-Daigo. The Kuki family name was an honour granted later. Kenjutsu is added to the eight methods that include bō, yari, naginata, shuriken and taijutsu. The sword (technique) is especially wonderful. At this time it was an era of war and many people were killed with the sword. Later in the period of peace it became the life saving sword. The Kuki naval forces worked on board ship so the fundamental became dropping the hips for a low stable stance.

Kukishinden 1

九鬼神伝流八法秘剣 Kukishinden ryū happō biken – nine demons divine transmission style, eight methods, secret sword.

The 鬼 ki of kuki is generally translated as demon, however could also mean spirit or ogre (read Oni), more importantly this does not have the evil connotation that the word demon in English (or Judeo-Christian languages) does.
Shinden can variously be translated as ‘teachings of the gods’ ‘teaching conveyed from the gods’ ‘transmitted to the soul’.
Happō can be eight methods, laws or principles, bearing in mind that eight can imply ‘numerous’.

kukishinden 2

薬師丸蔵人隆真 Yakushimaru Kurando Takanao

薬師丸 Yakushimaru – medicine man, chemical expert
蔵人 Kurando – keeper of imperial archives or a sake brewer
隆真 Takanao – noble truth – the same kanji can also be read as Takamasa, Takanori, Ryūma, Ryūshin and various others – as there is no furigana in the article to indicate the pronunciation I’ve left it as Takanao.

kukishinden 4

守護 Shugo – military governor in the Kamakura and Muromachi period

kukishinden 3

後醍醐天皇 Go-Daigo Tennō – the later or second to bear the name Daigo, equivalent of saying Emperor Daigo II. Tennō – heavenly emperor/Emperor of Japan. Lived 1288 – 1339 and reigned from 1318 – 1339.
Go-Daigo in 1336/7 (transition from Kamakura to Muromachi period) set up the southern court and so began the period of two courts Nanboku-chō (Southern and Northern)

1185 – 1333 鎌倉時代 Kamakura jidai
1333 – 1336 建武の新政 Kemmu no Shinsei
1336 – 1573 室町時代 Muromachi jidai
1336 – 1392 南北朝時代 Nanboku-chō jidai (a subdivision of the Muromachi)

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The lineage chart shows Kukishinden ryū, originating with Yakushimaru Kurando, passing through Ōoka Kihei Shigenobu to Ishitani Matsutarō Takakage who then passes it on to Takamatsu Toshitsugu to arrive at Hatsumi Masaaki. Note here that in the Japanese article 大岡鬼平重信 Ōoka Kihei Shigenobu is written – usually this person is 大国 Ōkuni Kihei Shigenobu – this may be typo from when the chart was edited for the magazine…

hiden togakure kukishinden genealogy

Shoninki books

From 8þ Kabutoshimen by admin


I got a question today about these books, if they are important for Bujinkan practitioners.
For what it’s worth here is my answer.

Hello. I don’t think it is very important today, but probably very interesting in historical view. I know Don lived in Japan for many years and probably discussed the book with the Shihan when he run into problems in translation. I don’t know who the other person is, he might be better in Japanese, but if he haven’t been training he might have missed some things. Both books probably have errors, why not get both?
But I don’t believe it is that important, the knowledge is old. There is better modern books about survival skills, medicine, tools etc today.

Thanks for the links, I didn’t know Don also had a translation.

Happy training!


The post Shoninki books appeared first on 8þ Kabutoshimen.

Shinden Fudō Ryū Dakentaijutsu – article translation

From Wanderings in Budo by bujinshugyo


Shinden Fudō ryū dakentaijutsu
Legend has it that Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru was the first to understand the flow of koppojutsu, Minamoto Hachirō Tameyoshi was the founder in the 12th century. The principal feature is the natural body posture. However, in actual fact I have an image (of a posture) pictured in my mind.

神伝不動流打拳体術 Shinden Fudō ryū dakentaijutsu – Divine transmission of immovability style striking body-technique or art.  Often referred to simply as Fudō ryū by teachers in Japan.

出雲冠者義照 Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru – Izumo (province), young man (coming of age), shining justice – A young man from Izumo.

In mythology the entrance to Yomi黄泉, the land of the dead, is to be found in Izumo province. An interesting link to the ‘natural hell methods’ of the Shizen Shigoku no Kata in Shinden Fudō ryū…

源八郎為義 Minamoto Hachirō Tameyoshi – Minamoto (clan), eighth son, source of justice. An eighth son of someone in the Minamoto clan, of which there were many…

In the 12th Century 3 major families/clans vying for supremacy were the Fujiwara 藤原, Minamoto (aka Genji 源氏 Gen clan) and Taira (aka Heike 平家 Hei family).

The genealogy for Shinden Fudō ryū is fairly straightforward – from Ikai to Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru, Minamoto Hachirō Tameyoshi founded the style that was passed down to Toda Shinryūken Masamitsu to be passed on to Takamatsu Toshitsugu and then Hatsumi Masaaki.

There is a historical Minamoto Tameyoshi 源為義 – also known as Mutsu Shirō 陸奥四郎 sixth (rank) of the interior, fourth-son, with the position of Rokujō (Hangan) 六条判官 sixth-rank judge (under the Ritsuryō system mentioned in a previous post).

Minamoto Tameyoshi became the head of the Minamoto clan and supported Fujiwara Yorinaga in trying to place Sutoku on the throne in 1156, opposing Go-Shirakawa who was supported by Fujiwara Tadamichi, Taira Kiyomori, Minamoto Yoshitomo (the son of Minamoto Tameyoshi) – a mix of both Minamoto and Taira. This became known as the Hōgen war or rebellion (保元の乱 Hōgen no ran). Go-Shirakawa’s faction was the victor, with Minamoto Tameyoshi becoming a monk and consequently executed by his son. This begins the struggle between the Minamoto and Taira (源平 Gempei), with the Taira initially gaining dominance to then be defeated by the Minamoto at the battle of Dan no ura no tataki 壇ノ浦の戦. Minamoto Yoritomo was to became the first Shōgun of Japan.

(This is just here for interest – in no way to indicate that this person is the same as the founder of Shinden Fudō ryū!)

Gikan Ryū Koppōjutsu – article translation

From Wanderings in Budo by bujinshugyo



Gikan ryū koppōjutsu

Drawing from the transmission of kosshijustsu, founded in the 16th century in Kawachi by Uryū Hangan Gikanbō.
From this koppōjutsu transmission there is another koppō school called Hontai Gyokushin ryū by Suzuki Daizentaro Chikamasa, passed on to Fukao Kakuma Shigeyoshi as Izumo koppō, this school was not transmitted to Hatsumi sensei (aka this is not the one that was passed to Hatsumi)

爪生判官義鑑房 Uryū Hangan Gikanbō

判官 Hangan, Zō – judge or magistrate, this term originates from the Ritsuryo 律令 system introduced to Japan from China in the 7th Century – originally it indicated an administrator of the 3rd or 4th rank (out of 4).

義鑑 Gikan
Paragon of Justice

Most commonly Gikan ryū is referred to as the ‘Truth, Loyalry and Justice School’, this name being repeated throughout any site in English in relation to the Bujinkan (schools).

It may seem strange to many to point out this out, however Truth, Loyalty and Justice are differing meanings of the first character ‘Gi’ 義 – so really the ‘Truth, Loyalty and Justice School’ should be Gi ryū.

The more significant, and completely ignored, is the second character ‘kan’ 鑑, used to indicate several ideas from ‘to learn or take warning from’ or ‘a specimen or model’.

Gikan can be understood as the Example of Righteousness, Model of Honour, Paragon of Justice, Exemplar of Truth, To Take Heed of Morality.

Gikan ryū, to narrow it down in English parlance, can be the Paragon of Virtue or Paragon of Justice Style.

Example of loyalty

Gikan ryū is one of the 4 styles attributed to Gyokkan, who learnt the Gyokko ryū of Hachidō Nyūdō through Tozawa Hyakuunsai Kaneuji. Gikan ryū is passed though Ishitani Matsutarō Takakage and then on to Takamatsu Toshitsugu to arrive at Hatsumi Masaaki.