The Yagyū family, famous for its connection to swordsmanship since the time of Yagyū Sekishūsai, has two branches. One branch is called Edo Yagyū; the other, Owari Yagyū. The founder of the Edo Yagyū line was Yagyū Tajima-no-kami Munenori, the fifth son of Sekishūsai. Munenori served three generations of Tokugawa shogun, and later rose to the rank of daimyo.
While it is true that Munenori was a master swordsman, it was in the arena of politics that his mastery of heihō, the martial arts, was most dramatically expressed.
The founder of the Owari Yagyū line was Yagyū Hyōgonosuke Toshitoshi. Toshitoshi succeeded Sekishūsai as the third headmaster of Yagyū Shinkage Ryū, and then served the first head of the Owari Tokugawa domain, Tokugawa Yoshinao, as his mentor in heihō.
Shinkage Ryū has been passed down to the present through Sekishūsai’s descendants of the Owari Yagyū line.
Headmaster and Family Head
The current headmaster, Yagyū Kōichi, is the 22nd headmaster of the Shinkage Ryū of Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami, and the 16th family head of the Owari Yagyū line. These lineages are shown in the list below.
“Headmasters” are those who have served as the head teachers and leader of Shinkage Ryū. This includes people outside the Yagyū family. The “family heads” are the hereditary male heirs of the Owari Yagyū line.
List of Yagyū Shinkage Ryū Headmasters and Owari Yagyū Family Heads
Headmaster / Family Head / Name
The Founder Kamiizumi Ise-no-kami Fujiwara Nobutsuna
2nd / 1st Yagyū Tajima-no-kami Taira Munetoshi (Sekishūsai)
– / 2nd Yagyū Shinjiro Taira Toshikatsu
3rd / 3rd Yagyū Hyōgonosuke Taira Toshitoshi (Jo’unsai)
– / 4th Yagyū Mozaemon Taira Toshikata(JyoRyūsai)
4th / – Owari gondainagon Minamoto Yoshinao
5th / 5th Yagyū Hyōgo Taira Toshikane (Renya)
6th / – Owari Gondainagon Minamoto Mitsutomo
7th / – Owari Gonchunagon Minamoto Tsunanobu
8th / 6th Yagyū Hyōgo Taira Toshinobu
9th / – Owari Gonchunagon Minamoto Yoshimichi
10th / 7th Yagyū Rokurōbe Taira Toshitomo
11th / 8th Yagyū Hyōsuke Taira Toshiharu (Dokisai)
12th / – Owari Saishochujyo Minamoto Haruyuki
13th / 9th Yagyū Mataemon Taira Toshiyuki
14th / 10th Yagyū Hyōsuke Taira Toshihisa
15th / – Owari Gondainagon Minamoto Naritomo
16th / 11th Yagyū Shinroku Taira Toshimasa
17th / 12th Yagyū Chujirō Taira Toshishige
18th / – Owari Gondainagon Minamoto Yoshikumi
19th / 13th Yagyū Sangorō Taira Toshichika
20th / 14th Yagyū Kinji Taira Toshinaga
21th / 15th Yagyū Nobuharu Taira Toshimichi
22th / 16th Yagyū Kōichi Taira Toshinobu