Locations and events connected to our school since the time of Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami, the founder of Shingake Ryū (as of June 2017.)
+ Hōtoku-ji temple (Yagyū Village in Nara)
-Yagyū Munenori built Hōtoku-ji, a temple of the Rinzai sect’s Daitokuji school, to memorialize his father, Sekishūsai, and his ancestors.
-In April 1565 (Eiroku 8), Yagyū Sekishūsai Munetoshi received a certificate of sole successorship from Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami, the founder of Shinkage-Ryū, for his achievement in mutō-dori, the art of defeating an armed opponent without using a sword.
In June 2015 (Heisei 27), to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Sekishūsai’s receipt of this certificate, a training camp was held for all Yagyūkai members in Yagyū Village. We were joined by practitioners of Hōzōin Ryū Sōjutsu, the school of spearmanship founded by Hōzōin Inei – a man who, along with Sekishūsai, was an apprentice of Kamiiizumi Ise-no-kami. Here we performed an embu of dedication, a demonstration of our achievements in the martial arts, at Masakizaka Kenzen Dōjō after a memorial service.
+ Hakurin-ji Temple (Nagoya-shi, Aichi prefecture)
-In 1615 (Genna 1) Yagyū Hyougonosuke Toshitoshi was, upon the recommendation of Naruse Masashige, the lord of Inuyama caste, appointed by the Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu to be the martial arts teacher of Tokugawa Yoshinao – the first feudal lord of the Owari domain (what is now the Nagoya area).
-After taking up residence in Owari, Toshitoshi chose Hakurin-ji, a temple of the Rinzai Zen Myōshin-ji school, as the family temple of Owari Yagyū house. This was also the family temple of the Naruse clan.
-In June 2014 (Heisei 26) the Yagyūkai held a training camp for all members and also practiced zazen (Zen meditation) under the guidance of the chief priest, master Takeyama Kōdō. In the bustle of the big city, we passed a pleasant time, concentrating on counting our breath and straightening our posture.
The master said “Gather your spirit in your pit of your stomach, think with your abdomen, move by your abdomen; then when your self disappears and your mind becomes nothing, you will be one with all that is around you.” This Zen teaching overlaps with the world as described in our Kuden-sho (Index of Oral Instructions).
The Kuden-sho Gaiden (the Appendix of the Kuden-sho) states “practice Zen and truly know yourself.” We were able to experience the depth of that teaching firsthand.
– In Nov 2015 (Heisei 27), we participated in the “Yatto-kame Cultural Festival,” a program sponsored by the City of Nagoya to introduce traditional culture to Nagoya’s residents. Dr. Shimizu, Tokyo University Professor Emiritus and head of the Research Institute of Ba, gave a lecture together with Yagyū Souke, the current head of Yagyū-shinkage Ryū. The lecture was entitled “Ideas of Owari-Yagyū-Shinkage Ryū and Ba (semantic fields)” and was held in the main hall of Hakurin-ji temple. Then, an embu of dedication was performed in the garden in front of the main hall.
-In February 2016 (Heisei 28), we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the passing of Yagyū Toshinaga, the 20th head of Yagyū Shinkage Ryū, and an embu of dedication was performed in the garden.
+ Rinshō-in (Ukyo-ku, Kyoto)
-In 1648 (Keian 1), Yagyū Toshitoshi, the third head of our school, retired and relocated to Ryū-an in Rinshō-in. This is a sub-temple of the Myōshin-ji temple, the head temple of the Rinzai sect’s Myōshin-ji school. He practiced Zen under the master Reihō Zenji. There he passed away and was laid to rest.
– Here, Toshitoshi’s younger son, Yagyū Renya Toshikane, succeeded his father to become the fifth head of the school in the presence of his elder brother, Yagyū Toshikata.
In his will, Toshikane forbade a grave to be made for himself, but a large mortuary tablet inscribed with his accomplishments was built and enshrined there.
– In 2010 (Heisei 22), after a training camp for all Yagyūkai members at Iwashimizu-Hachimangu, we visited Rinsho-in and held a memorial service for Toshitoshi, the founder of Owari Yagyū-Shinkage Ryū, and Renya Toshikane.
+ Myōkō-ji temple (Ichinomiya, Aichi prefecture)
– In about 1563 (Eiroku 6), Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami encountered a dire scene unfolding in a village on his way to Kyoto. The residents were in trouble because a thief had kidnapped one of their children and was holding him hostage inside a shack.
It is said that the founder dressed like a monk, caught the thief using mutō, and released the child. The great filmmaker Akira Kurosawa took this episode and used it in his famous movie “Shichi-nin no Samurai (Seven Samurai).”
– This temple houses the paintings Illustration of the 16 Arhats in Colored Silk and Illustration of Taoist and Buddhist Deities. These were donated and remounted by Yagyū Toshitoshi, the founder of the Owari Yagyū family. In addition, the temple’s bell tower was donated by Tokugawa Mitsutomo, the second feudal lord of Owari domain and the sixth head of Yagyū Shinkage Ryū. This temple has a deep historical relationship with our school.
– In June 2011(Heisei 23), we held a memorial service here for Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami and performed an embu of dedication
+ Shōjō-ji temple (Nagoya-shi, Aichi prefecture)
– In Uchiyaba-chō of Nagoya-shi, Tokugawa Mitsutomo, the sixth head of Owari Shinkage Ryū and the second feudal lord of Owari domain, built Shōjō-ji to be the family temple of the Owari Tokukgawa house. He had this temple built at the location where Renya Toshikane, the fifth successor, lived.
– Renya built his residence in a large space with a garden. He never married and devoted himself to improving his martial art. He employed Itō Higo-no-kami Hata Mitsushiro, a master swordsmith from Seki of Mino, to forge swords for him. Renya designed and had made sword parts which he called the “Yagyū Goshirae” and the “Yagyū Tsuba.” He also constructed a kiln, and had artisans fire pottery such as tea bowls and tea caddys. It is clear that he had a taste for elegance and sophistication.
– In June 2012 (Heisei 24), the 318th anniversary of Renya’s death, we held a training camp, and afterward payed our respects to his portrait drawn for the 50th anniversary of his passing. We then held a memorial service led by Iida, the head priest, and his son.
+ Sairin-ji temple (Maebashi-shi, Gunma prefecture)
– This Soto Zen temple located in Kamiizumi-machi is the Kamiizumi family temple. KamiizumiIse-no-kami, the founder of our art, took up residence here. On the grounds is a grave which is said to be either his or that of his son, Kamiizumi Hidetane.
– In 2016 (Heisei 28), the locals began holding a festival honoring master Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami. The festival consists of a memorial service and Samurai procession followed by a celebration held in front of his stature and the stone monument that marks his birthplace.
+ Sanjo Kano Memorial Hall/Yonezawa Koubu-kan (Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata prefecture)
– Kamiizumi Hidetane, the son of our founder, fought on the side of the Hōjō clan against the Satomi clan and fell in battle at Kōno-dai in Chiba. His retainers and surviving family members, including his grandson Yasutsuna, relocated to Yonezawa to serve the house of Uesugi.
Concurrent with the Battle of Sekigahara, Uesugi fought on the side of the west army against the Mogami clan of the east army. There Kamiizumi Yatsusuna and his men came to a valiant end; all of them fell at the siege of Hasedō.
In October 1999 (Heisei 11) – 436 years after the time of Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami – the current head of the Kamiizumi family, Kamiizumi Kazuharu, and the 21st head of Yagyū Shinkage Ryū, Yagyū Nobuharu, met together in this hall.
– Since then, Tokyo Yagyūkai has held a training camp here every year and our strong relationship continues.
+ Kasuga Taisha shrine (Nara-shi, Nara prefacture)
-Kasuga Taisha was built about 1250 years ago for the worship of four gods: Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, Futsunushi-no-mikoto, Amenokoyane-no-mikoto and Himegami.
In the apple garden in front of the main shrine, and a great Japanese cedar, over 1,000 years old, rises to the sky and faces the apple tree, seeming to recount its long history to the shrine’s visitors.
– In the book “Gyokuei Shuui,” a record of the Yagyū family’s history, the following is written:
Amano-Iwato (the rock cave of the sun goddess) was broken into two pieces and one flew over to Yamato (Nara) and the place where it landed came to be called Kanbe-iwa. Around the place there were four manors, Ō-Yagyū-no-shō, Tsukahara-no-shō and Tobase-no-shō, which were donated to Kasuga Taisha by Fujiwara no Yorimichi as an offering to the gods. This occurred 1,000 years ago. Time passed, and six domains in Yamato province came to serve as the keepers of Kasuga Taisha. In the record of shrine’s Wakayama Festival held on November 27, 1538 (Tenmon 7), the name “Yagyū” is listed in affiliation with one of the six houses acting as the festival’s executive officers.
– Our relationship with Kasuga Taisha, a shrine deeply connected tp Yagyū’s forefathers, is being rekindled thanks to our friendship with Ichiya Junzō, the 21st head of Hōzōin Ryū Sōjutsu. Here we performed an embu of dedication in Spring 2016 (Heisei 28). We performed another enbu at the 60th Shikinen-Zōtai ceremony and we participated in the shrine’s “On-Matsuri”.
– The 881st On-Matsuri was held on December 17 2016 (Heisei 28). The festival unfolded as time passed slowly and calmly. We participated in the “Tameshi-no-gi” ritual and performed an embu of dedication with members of Hōzōin Ryū Sōjutsu school in front of the “Yōgō-no-matsu” pine tree.
After a ceremony at the “Otabi-shō,” the gods’ rest house, we started back to the Daibutsu-kan inn. Passing the shrine’s front gate, we saw the winter Sun begin to sink and Mt. Ikoma directly before us. In this moment, we were impressed by the feeling that it was the air of this land which Yagyū’s forefathers had breathed.
+ Kitabatake Jinja shrine (Tsu-shi, Mie prefecture)
– Three gods are enshrined at Kitabatake Jinja: Kitabatake Akiyoshi, Kitabatake Chikahusa and Kitabatake Akiie. Another god, Kitabatake Tomonori, is enshrined in Ryū-kon-sha, a smaller shrine on the grounds. Once, on his way to Kyoto, our founder visited lord Tomonori, the ruler of Ise province. There he was introduced to Yagyū Sekishūsai, a swordsman of the Shinto Ryū school locally renowned for his prowess.
– Our founder and Sekishūsai pitted their skills against one another in a bout with bamboo swords (shinai). The bout took place at Hōzō-in, a sub-temple of Nara’s Kōfuku-ji temple, in the presence of Hōzōin In’ei, one of the temple’s monks and Sekishūsai’s friend. Sekishūsai found that he was no match for our founder, and immediately he became a student of Shinkage Ryū. In’ei joined him, and they became fellow disciples. After a time, Sekishūsai succeeded our founder as the head of Shinkage Ryū, and In’ei founded the Hōzōin Ryū school of sōjutsu, or spearsmanship.
Shinkage Ryū became the private school of the Owari clan, and Houzou-in Ryū Soujutsu was taught in many feudal domains.
– Still today, our two schools, spear and sword, are endeavoring to develop the spirit of the arts. In 2015 (Heisei 27) 450 years after Sekishūsai’s receipt of the Inka-jō certificate from our founder, both schools performed an embu of dedication for the deity Kitabatake Tomonori.
+ Biyō Jinja shrine (Nagoya-shi, Aichi prefecture)
– Biyō Jinja was built in 1910 (Meiji 43). Here are enshrined Tokugawa Yoshinao, the first lord of Owari Domain, and Tokugawa Yoshikatsu, the domain’s 17th and last lord.
– During the Edo period, along with the head of the Owari Yagyū family, seven lords (one of the seven passed away before assuming his duties as lord.) became sōke, head of our school. Lord Yoshinao was the fourth sōke and lord Yoshikatsu was the eighteenth.
– We performed an embu of dedication at this shrine in 2015, 400 years after Yagyū Toshitoshi, the third sōke, became Lord Yoshinao’s personal martial arts teacher and relocated to Owari.
+ Asuke Jinja shrine (Toyota-shi, Aichi prefecture)
– During the Battle of Genkō (1331), when Emperor Go-Daigo took refuge at Kasagiyama, Yagyū Harima-no-kami Nagayoshi, Yagyū Sekishūsai’s ancestor who lived six generations before him, hastened with his 270 soldiers to join the emperor. He fought under the command of Lord Asuke Jiro Shigenori against the army of the Bakufu, the shogunate government. Lord Shigenori is enshrined here.
-Lord Shigenori was beheaded after the army of Kasagiyama fell, but his daughter went on to serve the noble house of Nijo. It is said that her son founded the Naruse clan of Castle Inuyama in Owari. Thus, we are also connected to this place in that Naruse Masashige recommended that Tokugawa Ieyasu hire Yagyū Toshitoshi, founder of the Owari Yagyū house, to serve as the martial arts teacher of Lord Tokugawa Yoshinao, the first feudal lord of the Owari domain.
– At the shrine’s annual festival in honor of lord Shigenori, the chief priest of Asuke Jinja and the chief priest of Kasagi-dera temple mourn the fallen soldiers on both sides of the battle. Because of our connection with this shrine we have performed an embu of dedication at this festival since 2015 (Heisei 27).