The History of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu

Te Beginning of Shinkage-ryu
Kamiizumi Isenokami Fujiwara Hidetsuna (later Nobutsuna), the man who created Shinkage Ryu during the Warring States period (about five hundred years ago), was from Joshu (present-day Gunma Prefecture ). He was familiar with many schools of martial arts techniques of his day. Importantly, he learned Kage Ryu from its founder Aisu Ikosai, and then created Shinkage Ryu (New Kage Ryu) after apprehending the principal which he called gMarobashih. Marobashi is a deep understanding of the nature of combat and is the basis of all techniques in Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. It is traditionally described as meeting the opponentfs activity as freely and naturally as a round ball rolling on a board or a round stone rolling down a steep hillside.

Yagyu Sekishusai Munetoshi was a famous warrior of the Yamato region (present-day Nara Prefecture). After losing a match with Kamiizumi Isenokami, he became his disciple in order to thoroughly master Shinkage Ryu. Sekishusai was appointed the legitimate second headmaster of Shinkage Ryu after demonstrating his own development, gMutoh (the concept of gno swordh), to Kamiizumi Isenokami. It is here that the history of the Shinkage Ryu of the Yagyu family begins.

The fifth son of Sekishusai, Yagyu Munenori, served the Tokugawa family shoguns as an instructor in Heihou (the strategies of war/combat). As a result, the name Yagyu Shinkage Ryu became well known to the entire country. Unfortunately, however, the techniques of Munenorifs swordsmanship were later lost.

The grandson of Sekishusai, Yagyu Hyogonosuke Toshitoshi, studied Yagyu Shinkage Ryu under his grandfather, and was named the legitimate third head master. He served the Owari Tokugawa family as an instructor in Heihou and founded the Owari Yagyu family line. He invented the concept of gTsuttattaru Mih (Heihou without armour) and with his son, Renya, rethought the application of Shinkage Ryufs principles to the new situation of the Tokugawa era. From that time on, the orthodox line of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu has been and is under the direction of the Owari branch of the Yagyu family, and was continued throughout the Edo/Tokugawa period with the strong patronage of the Owari Tokugawa family and the Owari-han government.

Founder of The Owari Yagyu line, Hyogonosuke Toshitoshi
The 5th Headmaster,
Renya Toshikane
The History of @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@Yagyu Seigo Ryu
Isahaya Chouzaemon Nobumasa learned the techniques of ju-jutsu and batto (sword drawing) from the monk Seigo, and created a school which he called Seigo Ryu. Isahaya's leading disciple, Kajiwara Genzaemon Naokage, passed Seigo Ryu down to the warriors of the Owari domain, and Nagaoka Fusahide, who played an active role as an assistant to the headmasters of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Heihou, mastered the heart of Seigo Ryu Batto. In the following generation, Nagaoka Fusashige, another important figure in the history of Owari Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, continued to develop its theory and technique in accordance with the principles of Shinkage Ryu.

Yagyu Toshichika and Toshinaga polished Seigo Ryu Batto, and it has been passed down to Yagyu Koichi as Yagyu Seigo Ryu Batto.
The Modern Era
Every school of Japanese swordsmanship had great difficulty continuing after the Meiji Restoration (1868), but the Owari Yagyu continued their activities with great effort. The nineteenth headmaster, Yagyu Toshichika, taught Yagyu Shinkage Ryu at the Saineikan Dojo of the Imperial Household, because the Meiji Emperor required that he should permanently preserve Yagyu Shinkage Ryu.

The 20th head master, Yagyu Toshinaga, based Yagyu Shinkage Ryu in Tokyo and made an effort to spread it further. He was master instructor of the Imperial Guard Officers Organization and also taught seminars at the Butokukai(martial arts training academy) branch schools through Japan.

The 20st Headmaster of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu.
Yagyu Toshinaga
The 20th head master, Yagyu Toshinaga, based Yagyu Shinkage Ryu in Tokyo and made an effort to spread it further. He was master instructor of the Imperial Guard Officers Organization and also taught seminars at the Butokukai (martial arts training academy) branch schools throughout Japan.

During the Second World War, the Yagyu family dojo, which had existed in Nagoya since the Edo/Tokugawa period, burned down. It was, therefore, difficult to continue the activities of Shinkage Ryu in Nagoya. In 1955 Toshinaga started the Tokyo Yagyukai to re-establish the spread of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. He wrote gShoden Shinkage Ryuh(gThe correct transmission of Shinkage Ryuh - Published by Shimazu Shobo ) which clearly lays out the history and theories of Shinkage Ryu.

The 21st headmaster, Nobuharu took over the leadership of the Yagyukai in 1966 and taught and lectured at branches of the Yagyu-kai in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka until his death in 2007. The 22nd headmaster, Yagyu Koichi assumed leadership in 2007.

@Books on Yagyu Shinkage Ryu
(Only printed in Japanese)

gShoden Shinkage Ryuh

by Yagyu Toshinaga

Published by Shimazu Shobo

Yen 5,974-

gYagyu Shinkage Ryu Dogenh

by Yagyu Nobuharu

Published by Shimazu Shobo

Yen 7,573-

gKendo Hachi-koh

by Yagyu Toshinaga

Published by Shimazu Shobo

Yen 4,600-