View Full Version : Tengu and such stories

17th December 2002, 00:03
I have become interested in koryu in the last few years, after a long time association with aikido and kempo. I am wondering something about history and need help clarifying a few things. I am quick to write off arts that have a shady history, especially gendai arts.
If a modern budoka told me that their art was given to them one evening by a tengu, well I'd LMAO and disregard their story.

I have read about koryu who claim such a history but it is obvious that many of these arts have stood the test of time. What I want to ask is if these tengu stories are hard for everyone to swallow? If someone tried that today, they would be over in Bad budo, can we find out the real dealings in some of these tengu stories? It may seem trivial but I would like to learn more about it. Are they to be taken literally? Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong.

17th December 2002, 07:00
Take such tales with a grain of salt.

Even the gendai budo aren't free of such. Ueshiba himself said he learned naginata from a kami and apparently claimed to have dealings with other such spiritual beings.


17th December 2002, 08:05
Legends based on fact. Friend of mine makes a convincing argument that the tengu (the big nose) were Eimishi.

Originally posted by Chuck.Gordon
Take such tales with a grain of salt.

Even the gendai budo aren't free of such. Ueshiba himself said he learned naginata from a kami and apparently claimed to have dealings with other such spiritual beings.


Joel Simmons
17th December 2002, 12:09

Who knows for sure. I mean, weirder things have happened, but does it really matter if a Tengu transmitted some techniques or if it was, say...an Angel? The techniques, theory, beliefs, whatever are there, and like you said they have stood the test of time...

To each their own...

17th December 2002, 16:28
I do agree but if someone stated that they received their art from a tengu today and had great skill, would they qualify for bad budo? Why, maybe a tengu taught them too. I myself would laugh too but if it was true for old koryu to learn from spirits and tengu, why not now? Don't the tengu want to speak with us modern folks?

What some of the theories on tengu?

17th December 2002, 18:01
Originally posted by O'Neill
Don't the tengu want to speak with us modern folks?

I'm sure they would if they still existed. Today there are no tengu, but their distant descendants, the pokemon, still are with us today.

Rahul Bhattacharya

17th December 2002, 21:37
Originally posted by O'Neill
Don't the tengu want to speak with us modern folks?

The question should be: Why don't modern folk want to speak with them? Probably because we do not want to spend the time and effort. Even in the old legends, contacting the tengu usually required hundreds of days of preparation, spiritual austerities, fasts, and special trials. Nonetheless, people who perform these feats still exist.

Shamanistic techniques for communicating with spirits are still practiced in many parts of the world, including Japan. For an overview, see:

Carmen Blacker. 1975. The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan.

Percival Lowell. 1894. Occult Japan: Shinto, Shamanism and the Way of the Gods.

George Kohler
17th December 2002, 22:12
Originally posted by W.Bodiford
Even in the old legends, contacting the tengu usually required hundreds of days of preparation, spiritual austerities, fasts, and special trials. Nonetheless, people who perform these feats still exist.

Well, I once saw a leprechaun at Ranger school in the mountains in Northern Georgia (12 miles northwest of Dahlonega, Georgia) when I was tired, hungry, and physically expended. Actually it was a midget hiking behind us, but didn't know until we stopped and he walked by our formation.

17th December 2002, 22:16
I was looking for any good clear images of tengu on the net. I have had no luck so far. If anyone has any or knows any good sites please let me know.

As far as the stories go, look at the native Americans. They believe certain animals are represntative of certain spirits and that they have learned from those animal/spirits. I believe the ideals are correct. They are associating something intangible with something tangible. It could be that the Japanese were looking for some way to explain the discovery of techniques that were effctive in the context in which they were created. I guess they had a hard time accepting that a human being was capable of creating a technique on his/her own.

18th December 2002, 01:29
Actually it was a midget hiking behind us, but didn't know until we stopped and he walked by our formation. HEY!!! That was me (I'm not quite that short, though)!!! :D "Have you seen my patrol? They are lost and I am their leader..."

As for origins of Tengu -- A highly skilled budoka I know and respect (living in Palo Alto) posits that Tengu were one of the original "Lost Tribes of Israel." His tongue-in-cheek observations are: Tengu have big noses, wear a pill-box cap on their forehead, have long hair, come from a foreign land, are unjustly feared by the locals. Also, they have "secret scrolls" ... you know (Torah, anyone??) the Five Books .... Book of Five Rings ... need I say more? And they carry the Torah on their backs (I thought those were Shinto shrines!).

Hey Earl .... what were your other observations? Oh yes, they spoke an archaic language unlike the locals ... and they performed rituals that were verrry mysterious (Kabal??). I forgot the rest.


George Kohler
18th December 2002, 04:14
Originally posted by ghp
George, HEY!!! That was me (I'm not quite that short, though)!!! :D "Have you seen my patrol? They are lost and I am their leader..."

Also, they have "secret scrolls" ... you know (Torah, anyone??)

Hey Guy,

If that was you, I can't imagine how you could do chiburi without hitting the ground?

Do you mean "Tora no maki?"

Ethan Merritt
18th December 2002, 13:45

Would you mind elaborating on your friend's theory of the Tengu actually being Emishi? I have never heard that possibility before and it sounds very intriguing.


Ethan Merritt

Jack B
18th December 2002, 14:47
Eimishi were the lost tribes too? Wow!

Guy, I think your friend is right. Very cool. Does Cady know?

Actually, we do listen to and believe in the supernatural origins of our budo. Ueshiba o-sensei ga aiki-o-kami datta, ne?

Ichigeki Boy
25th December 2002, 19:16
Yagyu Munenori was said to have learned from a Tengu also at one point,

but of course there is no such thing as Tengu,
what was actually meant by Tengu were the Yamabushi, the Mountain Priests,
Tengu are said to have lived up in the mountains, so i guess..to fancy things
up, they would say that Tengu taught swordsmanship, when actually, it was by
people much closer to us, regular(or not so regular) mountain priests.

Ichigeki Boy
25th December 2002, 19:26
For A LOT more information on the Tengu, go here : http://www2.kanawa.com/japan/critter.html#tengu

Here is a picture of a Tengu from that website...

16th October 2004, 00:03
Dr. Bodiford:

I was wondering if you had any input on this book by Lowell:

Occult Japan or The Way of the Gods: An Esoteric Study of Japanese Personality and Possession

I am having a bit of a hard time tracking down a copy of Shinto, Shamanism and the Way of the Gods, but his other work is easy to find. Any thoughts or advice regarding this direction of study and research?

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

16th October 2004, 04:50
I'd much prefer conversing with tenukis. (sp?) But I tend to believe Tom Robbins (Via Incognito) is a literary genius.

Johnny Yuma
18th October 2004, 14:33
Something I noticed a little while ago whilst studying the stories of the Tengu:

In Mesoamerican "mythology" the God of War for the Aztecs was Huiztliopochtli(sic), a very tall man, with the head of a hummingbird, who carried a sword(so sharp indeed, the natives could only copy it with shards of obsidian and other natural glasses). The descriptions in Mesoamerican literature would be interesting to compare with the Japanese take.

Also, in South American culture, the term for God is Inka, the very term used by JSA to denote the highest of high in sword skill, IIRC.

Any glottochronologists out there?

18th October 2004, 15:28
Old skool Egyptian god-types had bird heads, too. I think the best bet would be the linguistic comparison. If I'm not mistaken, there are a few American Indian legends that involve bird-headed beings, as well--and maybe more than a few involving crows.

Earl Hartman
18th October 2004, 19:26
Since Guy mentioned my "Tengu are really Jews" thoery, I just wnated to say that it's a joke. But as I said on another thread, I have always been fascinated by the obvious fact that Tengu are obviously not Japanese.

The Emishi theory is intriguing, and probably closer to the mark. But they're probably just romanticized yamabushi.

Unless Tengu really exist, of course, which is another possibility.

Anyway, if any of you have ever seen a Jewish man at prayer, with full beard, teffilin (phylacteries) and prayer shawl, the resemblance to some depictions of Tengu is rather striking, if only superficially. So I went "Hmmmmmm....." and made up a theory.

Re: the octagonal yamabushi forehead hats.

The teffilin (one is worn on the head, on the forehead between the eyes, the other is worn on the arm) contain scriptural passages. I have been told that the yamabushi hat contains sutras. I hasten to point out that I do not know if this is true or not; someone told me this, and I thought that the conicidence was striking.

So anyway, that's the basis of my "theory".

However, it is an established fact that Jews made it as far as the city of Kaifeng in China, where a community existed up until the fairly recent past (there are still some Chinese with surnames that identify them as descendants of this community; I read an article recently about a young woman from this community who converted to Judaism and went to live in Israel); so it is not impossible that some Jews may have made it to Japan. So I thought: maybe somewhere in the mountains some drunken peasant was walking home very early in the morning after a terrific bender and stumbled upon some Jews saying their moring prayers, couldn't see very well because of the dim light and his inebriated state; freaked out, and rushed home to tell his village that there were these weird demons living in the mountains who had wings, beaks like birds, huge glaring eyes, and hairy faces.

I have also heard persistent rumors that there is Hebrew lettering on the back of the mirror that is part of the imperial regalia. Doubtful, I'm sure.

FWIW, I can also say that some of the Emperor's relatives (or at least one of them, anyway) are philo-Semites; when I lived in Japan, one of the present Emperor's brothers (or cousins, can't remember which) came to the community Seder at the Jewish Community Center in Tokyo. He sat at the head table with the rabbi and read part of the Hagaddah in Hebrew. My kids got a kick out of talking with all of the Japanese Secret Service guys.

18th October 2004, 20:02
Originally posted by Ethan Merritt
Would you mind elaborating on your friend's theory of the Tengu actually being Emishi?


Emishi (noted);
Yamabushi (noted);
Samurai refugees from battles in which they fought on the losing side;
Muse--metaphor for inspiration...

19th October 2004, 03:07
I would say that given the information here, there is a plausibility that Tengu could be of Jewish decent. Emishi: maybe. Yamabushi...I'd say that some later sightings could qualify for this brand. However, I believe that there are two things that are in need of mentioning; one of which requires a bit of bending your personal perspective.

1) I think that Tengu, in the original spiritual sense, could not be Yamabushi, due in part to the fact that (as I understand it) many Yamabushi have actually sought to commune with these beings/creatures/hallucinations. I believe that alone would discount that the Tengu were Yamabushi. This is not to say that at a later time, some of the less spiritually active bushi-types knew a little about what a Tengu was and went off in a desparate search for one in the mountains, and actually found a Yamabushi (who may have been trying to find one as well...).

So, 2) The suspension of disbelief. You can also try this from the angle that maybe these beings do exist (on some plane) and that there has been communion with them in the past by certain groups or individuals. Given the context, I don't think that is necessarily too much to ask. In any given spiritual climate, there is a demand for the suspension of disbelief (which some would call faith). I've seen people walk on hot coals, people speak in tongues, people do the snake dance, people in trance states...etc., etc. In all cases the actual participant believed that they were involved in an 'experience', and who am I to say otherwise. Foregoing any of my Western psychological boundaries and rendering myself vulnerable to some pretty wacked ideas originating in cultures other than my own, I believe that there is much in the way of renegotiating certain preconceived notions of exactly what may actually be 'out there' (for a person open enough) to experience and interact with.

I think that many of us would love to think that something we are involved with has some sort of extra-human influence (if not straight origin). It seems to give it a bit more qualification and legitimacy, given a certain context. Unfortunately, that acceptance will ususally cease outside of that context.

Por example: Aikidoka (and I'm not generalizing for the sake of attacking Aikidoka, Aikido or anyone involved with the foundation and/or development thereof. Aikidoka seem to be generally the most 'spiritual' of the mainline budoka/bujutsuka out there these days, which I think is far from insulting. There are obvious exceptions to this, in both directions.) In any case, I know a dozen Aikidoka who are quick to defend the, shall we say [alleged] 'less than mundane' origins of Aikido. They are perfectly faithful that all of the extraordinary qualities that past and present Aikidoka may (have) exibit(ed) due to their Aiki are exactly that, extraordinary: beyond the ordinary. But they can't for a minute entertain the idea that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead; or, indeed, that anyone else might believe such a fanciful thing. I personally think that dodging bullets is pretty far out there, along with resurection, but then again I've seen neither.

MA exist on the twilight fringe of acceptable psychology or anthropology, or even history when it curves to that foggy region, specifically because of this type of belief. You can even see a serious judgement cast upon non-spiritual/philosophical MA by participants in the 'deeper' arts, and vice versa. Again, there are always exceptions.

I studied JKD (Jeet Kune Do) for MANY years, and always had a bit of a problem with the lack of said spiritual/philosophical compartments. Good example that people always bring up to show how disrespectful and arrogant Bruce Lee (and thus JKD)was is the one where he drops the guy right there on Hong Kong TV. Some great-great-grandmaster was trying to show that he 'could not be moved' (ergo, thrown). Well, to the JKD guys out there, he didn't challenge a throw, he said he couldn't be 'moved'. So Bruce pops him; and consequently, the guy goes spilling onto the deck. What some of you physicists out there may note as 'movement'. A true testament (I think) to the 'outside the box' thinking inherent to what JKD should be. And a true testament, also, to the thug nature of arts designed SPECIFICALLY for fighting. The JKD guys I've ever trained with will tell you that (if it even does exist) technique will best ki/chi/prana/etc. every single time. And who's to argue with them--the two arenas are completely disconnected.

Anyhoo. So, back to the Tengu. I would like to believe that they are or were out there, screwing with lost hikers and stealing babies and kidnapping helpless villagers, and, oh yeah, training some great swordsmen and teaching Yamabushi some nice tricks. But my suspension of disbelief comes with layers of (even miniscule) evidence. Just because someone's tradition says that the founder had a spiritual and enlightening experience involving a crow-man teaching him the secrets of his ryu, doesn't mean that I am gonna jump on the wagon. AND, it doesn't necessarily mean that even if I did supsend ALL belief and have TOTAL faith, that his experience is in any way be transferrable to me (or anyone else).

The fact is, from a pragmatic perspective, that some of these ryu are very good techinically, that hardly means that all of the kenshi were good. Kunii Zen'ya, if I'm not too terribly mistaken, was meant to be this great swordsman ('could cut anything' type-a-guy), and he'd never been beaten in a match, that hardly means that Kashima Shinryu in and of itself is a peerless system. Whether Yagyu Shinkageryu has its roots grounded firmly in the good-natured secret teachings of a half-bird, half-humanoid being or grounded in the insights of one (or many) regular guys is--unless you are willing to cast aside the aforementioned psychological boundaries--pretty moot. Its effectiveness (historically) cannot be denied--Tengu or no Tengu.

So, at this point, I think that the Tengu do find their origins and roots in a completely supernatural setting and context. And, I apologize for rambling a bit. For what it's worth, I think that this is a pretty significant pursuit for anyone truly interested in and devoted to any koryu with a Tengu involved. Hell, Dr. Bodiford mentioned that there are still people around who jump through the hoops to try to get to these creatures (or other beings), so maybe one of us should bite the bullet (instead of always dodging them) and give it a try...

19th October 2004, 04:27
My daughter attending the local Japanese school was taught that the Tengu were foreigners washed up on Japan's shores.

A good gallic nose is the stuff of legend.

As far as the tengu being Emishi I think that might be one and the same since they are considered to have caucasion features (if Ainu and Eimishi are the same - also debateable).

The Eimishi were finally driven out of Honshu be the 9th century but it is conceivable that pockets remained in isolated areas. Lot's of places in Japan are seriously isolated.

19th October 2004, 04:35
Hi all...
Not anything worthy of adding here..But I thought I should point out that the idea that Japanese Karasu (Crows) could be humans is made a little clearer when you actually SEE these beasts in action...They are one of the biggest birds I have seen here...Massive. Like Eagles...And the idea that they could have been men is not too hard to lead to if you use your imagination..That, added to the Yamabushi and survivor theories could lead somewhere...I for one would HATE to see one of those Karasu flying near me if I was in a forest at night...They scare me in the daytime now!!
It could well lead to the origins of the legends.....
But its worth noting...I am still amazed by the size of these flying horses...Quite incredible in my opinion.

Johnny Yuma
19th October 2004, 23:28
Discussing the Hebrew/ Tengu theory with a friend, he came up with a few good leads. Also, I thought that some of the "magical" tricks described as being performed by the Tengu were expressly forbidden by the Torah. I could be wrong about that, though.
A friend of mine had told me about a book that mentions Tengu (Leland, 1891), and the author's rendition that they were Chinese Gypsies, or the Rom culture. The chapter was on amulets and fetishes, the item in question, a "Tengu Battle Axe". Now, seeing as how the Rom originate in Central India, and their religious beliefs still incorporate paganistic qualities, I think it's more plausible the Tengu are indeed "Gypsies". Also, the trickery of the Tengu struck a chord with the Rom cultural aspects towards outsiders. There are even tales of the Chinese Rom traveling to what is today Mexico. Which would explain the Mayan semitic look, the obsession with jade, and of course, the appearance of the Tengu character as God of War.
What do you think?

20th October 2004, 01:29
Nicely done. Someone's gonna get a thesis outta this shite, for sure. But, are the Rom known for their sword (or other) martial skills? I think the 'tricks' may well fit the mold, but the bujutsu... Certainly worth a closer look, in any case.

In studying Central Asian Ethnology and Anthropology, I found a lot of evidence supporting ancient rumors that some of Alexander the Great's men stayed in Central Asia. Some are even rumored to have continued on (in a non-conquering sense) 'to find the edge of the world'. (I know for a fact that the Nuristani of Afghanistan and a few other high-altitude Stan countries adamantly trace their roots to the Hellenes. And there are some pockets further East.) Pretty romantic, indeed, but at this point I think all options are worth investigation.

I'll have to dig through the few books I brought to Japan with me, but I have an old book referencing historical documentation regarding Roman soldiers who were sent to all corners of the world in some effort at ancient long range reconaissance. Many of the records cited missions, by land, that led soldiers far past Parthia (hell and gone from Japan, I know...). Hooked noses, beards AND a martial influence. And, last time I checked, the cult of Mithras had some similarities to worshippers of Marishiten (as did the Roman Minerva). Now, not every Roman soldier was a Maximus, mind you, but there is plenty to suggest that many Legionaires were no BS when it came to personal combat. Give a pocket society some time to go native, and you might just have yourself the basis for a pretty good legend.

Man, this is good stuff. Do any of the PhDs that frequent this establishment have any thoughts or references to further this little adventure?

20th October 2004, 05:28
See what you started Mr Hartman?:p

Well, I've told my gf who is a grad student in medieval Judaisim about all this, but it seems a difficult thing to research...

Johnny Yuma
20th October 2004, 15:14
Well, there is evidence in South America that the Phoenicians explored there, and of course, the Olmec are the subject for another thread (have you ever seen the toy elephants at the Jalapa museum?).
Regarding the martial qualities of the Rom...hmmm, I am thinking of the movie "Snatch", and the skills of the bare knuckle boxer. Is this a cultural affinity, or a just a highly skilled fighter? What about the Spanish story of Carmen, and the skills of her swordfighting hubby (another Rom story)? Ties to Rom martial skills, who knows? I was intrigued by the ties that are still directly named as Romany to both China and Japan, and even Mexico/ America, where these bird headed people showed up.
Can crows be trained? Yes! Ravens are the one's that can't be tamed...but crows, always looking for something shiny, very smart, very trainable. I am also thinking of the Rom fascination for small items, fetishes, and charms. Hmmmm.
Yes, someone who can afford college should get another piece of paper for this. As for me, I am satisfied just to know more about the subject.

John Connolly
20th October 2004, 17:21
The jury's not in entirely on whether or not the Irish Travellers are related to the Roma people (in regard to the "Snatch" bareknuckle idea).


I think being so far flung from India in either direction (Japan to the British Isles/Ireland) would create some major variation in fighting style and ability, not necessarily traceable back to a common root.

Johnny Yuma
20th October 2004, 19:24
Yes, I hadn't thought of the fact that being so dispersed would muddle any attempt at lineage trackability by way of a single technique, or style. I will read up on the language links and look there, I believe the beginning of this thread highlighted the effectiveness of linguistics as a tool for tracing origins.
Thanks for the article, I was most interested in the tin connection.
I will read the language links that are interesting and post further, later. This thread has over 1000 views, surely someone else has an opinion? Okay, anyone other than Shirley?

20th October 2004, 20:29
Interesting conjectures...

Earl, when I was in Japan, I also found it odd that there were some references to Jewish and early Christian settlers coming in the pre-Nara period. Supposedly, the whole Uzumasa area in Kyoto was settled by Asian continentals who were in large part members of the Lost Tribe of Israel. Said writings point out the name Uzumasa and other place names in that area as being corrupted Jewish place names. Also, a matsuri of that area entailed the bringing of a white bull into town with...I think...the deity Ebisu astride it. Hmmm. I'm neither Jewish nor that much of a Christian scholar, but didn't some tribes worship a bull god? Supposedly, there are relics dug up in the Uzumasa area that have odd, squiggly inscriptions on them that may be a kind of Semitic alphabet.

And, of course, there are the striking similarities between descriptions of tengu and Jewish pilgrims, possible similarities to American Indian legends, etc. Who knows?

As for tengu, one legend asserts that they came from China, along with Chinese culture, priests and Buddhism. Thus their kanji is related to the T'ien Kou (sp?), the Chinese Heavenly Dogs, or shooting stars, who presaged disasters. In one Buddhist picture scroll (emaki) I saw in the Honolulu Academy of Arts collection, a story tells how the tengu flew over to Japan and caused lots of trouble. (Does this tell of a garbled immigration myth of a group of people?) The king of the tengu then tried to harass a Buddhist priest (actually, now that I try to recall it, he may have tried to eat the priest). The priest captured the tengu king and converted him to Buddhism. Henceforth, tengu were better behaved, albeit they often reverted back to causing mischief and petty mayhem because, like those godawful big karasu that Ben Sharples talked about, it was in their nature. They just like to make trouble.

Even tamed, tengu therefore are supernatural beings that break boundaries, cause trouble, are outside of ordered, structured society. (Kind'a like how Japanese look at foreigners, huh?) It's therefore no small leap of faith to attribute tengu with mystical powers and the ability to have unorthodox swordfighting skills.

There is, BTW, an interesting book out on the relationships between the Japanese and the Jews, esp. in the 20th Century. I might have mentioned it before, but I can't recall its title (Earl?). Of particular interest was the part on the ambivalent way the Japanese military treated Jews in WWII. The military was taken aback by the Nazi antipathy to Jews and so, like any Japanese organization, they studied the "Jewish question" to death, interviewing scores of rabbi in their occupied territories, such as Shanghai. And then, apparently, they failed to execute any widescale pogrom against the Jews. Not that they were saints. But it did bring to the surface a lot of very odd ideas held by some Japanese about a possible ancient, prehistoric relationship between the Japanese and Jews. For most of the war, as far as I can remember from the book, the Jews in Shanghai were left alone. (Earl could probably correct/add/elaborate on this.)

Thus, a Japanese diplomat like Sugihara in Lithuania managed to write thousands of safe passage papers for Jews fleeing the Nazis so that they could escape to Shanghai. From there, many of them managed to relocate to Allied countries. Sugihara, BTW, saved more Jews than Schindler. But he was blackballed by the Japanese government for disobeying orders.

In any case, the incident does call to light that there were many in Japan who adhered to fringe theories that there was some kind of historical or mystical connection between the Japanese and Jews.

I'm not so sure, but at least from my experience, whether or not there are actual historical, cultural and/or blood connections, the two groups do share similar good and bad traits. I often remarked to Jewish friends in college that they were about as driven, as clinging to their culture, and as pushed by our parents to excel as us Japanese Americans were. ;-)

--Wayne Muromoto

Earl Hartman
20th October 2004, 20:56
This has kinda gotten out of hand.

As I said, my theory about the Tengu being Jews is a joke. I made it up, OK?

Bulls were, AFAIK, objects of worship in varous Middle Eastern religious cults (e.g, Mithraism). Clearly, they were invested with some sort of power, as the incident of the Golden Calf would indicate. As far as Judasim is concerned, however, the only object of worship is G-d. One can argue that until Moses "imposed" monotheism on the Jews they worshipped a variety of deities just like the other Semitic peoples in the area (Israelite history can be read, if one so desires, as a blow-by-blow description of how the Israelites failed miserably at being faithful to G-d, but this isn't the place to discuss such things.) Anyway, the bull has no cultic significance in Judaism.

I assume that it is quite possible that there could have been some Semites in the mix of continentals who came to Japan. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon's Temple in, what, 500-something B.C.E, right? The Ten Tribes were exiled to Babylonia where they promptly got lost. From Babylonia it is just a hop, skip and a jump to China, and from there to Japan. So, let us assume that there very well could be a racial admixture of Semitic genes in the Japanese gene pool. Perhaps there might even be vestiges of religious cult practices. It is entirely possible, I suppose. However, while I am not a scholar of this subject, I know of no reputable scholarship that can make a definite connection.

Re: the Japanese and the Jews during WWII, this is a fascinating subject. It appears that the Japanese intelligentsia bought into the the Nazi propaganda about the powerful Jews, but the Japanese, having no particular reason to hate the Jews, saw an opportunity rather than a threat: if the Jews are that smart and powerful, shouldn't we ally ourselves with them instead of kill them? The Japanese government apparently had a plan, called "The Fugu Plan", to resettle Manchuria with about 1 million Jews who would run the colony for the Japanese Empire. This plan never came to fruition, but the Japanese did not seek to exterminate the Jews who came under their control, and, indeed, refused Nazi requests to liquidate them.

The best story is how Sugihara saved the Mir Yeshiva, the Jewish religious seminary from the town of Mir in Russia. On visas issued by Sugihara, the entire yeshiva made if from Lithuania to Kobe, where they stayed for 6 months before going to Shanghai, where they survived the war. Two members of this group, a man and a woman, embarked for America on the last ship to sail. These two people got married and are the grandparents of one of the members of my synagogue in Palo Alto. I also know another woman, whose father or grandfather, I can't remember which, was also a member of this yeshiva. So the connection is very deep indeed, and Jews all over the world owe a great debt of gratitude to Sugihara and Japan. For us, Sugihara was a great man, a true hero, and his story deserves to be more widey known.

I have no idea if this story is true at all, but there is a legend concerning the Mir Yeshiva: after arriving in Kobe, the rabbi of the yeshiva was summoned to meet with the representatives of the Japanese government. During the course of the conversation, he was asked why Hitler hated the Jews so much. The rabbi is reputed to have said "He hates us because we are Asians like you."

Smart guy, that rabbi.

Earl Hartman
20th October 2004, 21:47


Eric Montes
20th October 2004, 23:05
Of course. It's so obvious now.

21st October 2004, 00:53
Man, you learn sumthin new ev'ry day.

I have never heard of Sugihara, so it looks like I've got some reading to catch up on.

White bulls. Pre-Hellenic cultures in the Eastern Maditerranean (two r's, right?) had a big thing for white bulls. Some of the gods appeared as white bulls on occasion. And this connection came from (along with their alphabet) Phoenicia. Phoenician is a Semitic language and shares roots with Hebrew, Assyrian and a few other languages that came up and replaced good ole Sumerian/Akkadian.

Mesopotamians have got a good deal of white bull stories, too. (Gilgamesh, anyone?) So do the Ancient Egyptians. (And, possibly most importantly, to this study, so do the Indus Valley civilizations. But until Fisher works out the script on that, all we got is dusty glyphs.) So, given the primacy of the cultures that show us the first examples of the white bull, it would not be entirely suprising to see it in other, further removed and later, cultures. Now, I would say that the chances of it showing up in Japan in such a typical 'white bull' scenario, is a bit beyond normal convention (i.e. cultural contact and assimilation).

This alone stands out to me as a veritable springboard for the study of any past (pre-modern) relationships involving the Japanese and any South- or Southwest-Asian cultures IN JAPAN. Can anyone give me a quick tutorial on the characteristics of 'Ebisu' (including the meaning, if any, of the name)?

Mickey, from SNATCH (quality flick BTW) was a bare-knuckle boxer because he lived in Brittain/Ireland (sorry to lump those two together, no offence intended to either). Bare-knuckle boxing was big in that neck of the woods, and still is (trained with a JKD fella there who mixed in a lot of old school bare-knuckle boxing--looks a shite-load like Wing Tsun if you look close enough). As was fencing in Spain. These contexts have more to do with the indiginous populous than with passers-by. Which is not to say that a 'passer-by' so inclined, couldn't amalgomate some pretty effective and unorthodox methods.

This still gets us no closer to the tengu (especially with regards to bujutsu/budo)--though I think Wayne's reference could be a great lead. Fruitless? Nay. We have White Bull rituals in the very heart of old Japan. We have Axis Powers differing on the treatment and perception of the Jews. We have have some obviously anomalous ceremonial and cultural examples...Notwithstanding the website offered.

Earl Hartman
21st October 2004, 01:01
Originally posted by shieldcaster
Can anyone give me a quick tutorial on the characteristics of 'Ebisu'?

Full-bodied, a little on the bitter side, nice and hoppy. Kinda like Kirin. My favorite Japanese beer, actually.

21st October 2004, 01:05
Nice one, Earl. Although, you have now got my interest involving beer, I was refering to the god that Wayne mentioned in his post as 'riding a white bull'.

Earl Hartman
21st October 2004, 01:15
Oh, sorry, I thought you would have gotten the joke. (I think you did, but I'm not completely sure.)

Next time I'll include the rim shot sound effects to be sure.


Joseph Svinth
21st October 2004, 02:11
Jesus reportedly died in Japan.

In more verifiable accounts, spend some time reading about the Turkic Khazars. Joe Stalin shot them out pretty good during the 1930s, as did Genghis Khan 700 years before that. Nonetheless, back in the day, there were hundreds of thousands of the folks living in what is today Bulgaria, Turkistan, Uzbekistan, and places like that. And being Central Asians, I'd guess that their merchants did indeed view trips to Western China as little more than summer shopping trips. Online, see, for instance, http://www.khazaria.com/ .

If seriously researching this era, note that the concept that became Zero in Muslim and Christian bookkeeping became the Void when adopted by Ch'an Buddhism. The transmitters in Southern Europe were generally Jews or Muslims, so probably the same holds true in East Asia.

Finally, you might consider my theory that warrior priests using martial arts to fight inner demons was originally Islamic rather than Buddhist. Certainly jihad is a concept more commonly associated with evangelical religions such as Christianity and Islam than with Buddhism.

21st October 2004, 02:43
Yeah, man, sorry. I got it. I guess we can both see that sarcasm is all about tone, and can't really come across in here. It was a good one, I thought. Though, I couldn't comment on the beer--I seem to be having a bit of a hard time enjoying Japanese beer, even beers that are imports but brewed here. Any suggestions, beside the Jusco available ones...

21st October 2004, 03:05

That rabbi was a smart man. Ha.

I'd like to second Earl's note that we shouldn't let our off the wall conjectures take the place of fact. Orthodox historians so far have no viable proof that there was some ancient connection between prehistoric or near-historic Japanese and any Semitic peoples. And according to gene typing done for bone marrow donors in Hawaii, one doctor told me that the closest DNA matches to Japanese happen to be Koreans. They are are almost identical to each other. No mention of Jewish relatives. (Chinese are about as different from Japanese as they are to each other, China encompassing a wide range of gene types, apparently). Some mysterious connections MAY have existed, which MAY have given rise to tengu myths, but what the hey. It's nice to conjecture, but we really don't know.

Joseph: Yes. I read in a Japan Times article when I was living there about a village that claims to be the final resting place of Jesus Christ. --He was a nice Jewish boy, he came down from the cross, decided to retire as a rabbi, and chose Japan as his retirement home, married a nice Japanese girl and settled down and fathered some kids. Some of the villagers in that town still, oddly, have green/blue eyes.

'Course, that beats the Shinto priest I met at Miidera who claimed that the Japanese circumnavigated the globe in prehistoric times and Momotaro the Peach Boy built the pyramids because, of course, they're still standing so it's gotta have been built by a Japanese.

The relationships between the Jews and the Japanese in WWII is fascinating. In a thread a couple years ago, I mentioned not only Sugihara but the 442nd RCT Nisei soldiers who were among the first to liberate Dachau. Ironically, some of the Mainland Nisei had family who were behind barbed wire in American internment camps when they entered the Dachau complex of concentration camps. I interviewed some of those old timers and they were completely taken aback at what they saw. For various reasons, most of them didn't talk about their experiences (even to their children) for decades after the war.

--Wayne Muromoto

21st October 2004, 03:31
Originally posted by wmuromoto
....according to gene typing done for bone marrow donors in Hawaii, one doctor told me that the closest DNA matches to Japanese happen to be Koreans. They are are almost identical to each other.

About what one would think. The ancient imperial family did send off for Korean women when they wanted worthy brides, right?

But I have a question--I suspect that not all Japanese are as close to each other as some are to Koreans. Folklore/mythology studies relate Japan to such widely different places as Siberia, Vietnam, the Cook Islands, and the Philippines. Have you come across anything on DNA diversity within the country?


21st October 2004, 04:34
Don't forget the mixing of genes between the "Japanese" and the indigenous Ainu, who are more of a caucasian race.

21st October 2004, 08:26
"...But I have a question--I suspect that not all Japanese are as close to each other as some are to Koreans. Folklore/mythology studies relate Japan to such widely different places as Siberia, Vietnam, the Cook Islands, and the Philippines. Have you come across anything on DNA diversity within the country? "

I'm no scientist, but there surely is a certain amount of genetic diversity within any so-called ethnic group. Take, for instance, "African blacks." Actually, they are an incredibly diverse lot, genetically speaking. They are not really one large, monolithic bloc of people.

The doctor I was talking to was stating that there was, however, an amazing overlap between potential Korean and Japanese bone marrow donors so as to make the national demarcation between "ethnic" Japanese and "ethnic" Koreans meaningless. That doesn't mean there's no diversity. It means that the odds of finding a bone marrow donor are the same if you belong to either group because the genes are so similar in those two gene pools. And even within those gene pools, the odds of finding a good enough match is really rare.

...I think. Again, I'm no scientist, I was just a reporter trying to make sense of what the doctor was saying. An Ainu may be rather different genetically from a Korean from Pusan or Seoul, but that difference may be only as great as that of the Ainu compared to a Japanese from Osaka.

I don't know if scientists have done gene typing comparisons between Japanese and other Asian and Polynesian groups.

It's probably not all that conclusive, however, but I did see a Japanese documentary on the South Pacific and they uncovered something interesting, and to my knowledge not yet fully researched. Skull bones uncovered in Polynesia from very early archaelogical sites have a certain jaw structure that have no similarity to modern Japanese skulls. However, Jomon era skulls from Japan have that same characteristic bump. So it may very well be that there were at least some mixing of different tribal and genetic groups in early, early Japan.

But anything else from me is merely conjecture. We need a scientist here. I will say that I think the WWII Japanese notion about their "ethnic purity" is a bunch of hooey. Japan was populated no doubt by a whole mess of different peoples from the Asian continent and other nearby Pacific and Asian islands, said people took advantage of the strong kuroshio currents that sweep up from SE Asia, past the PI, to Japan, and on to the Bering Strait to Alaska and the Pacific NW. One Japanese amateur anthropologist I talked to felt that there were at the very least two or three main immigrations routes; one from the north end down the chain of Japanese islands from northern Asia, and one from the southern end up the island chain, bringing SE Asian culture. Subsequently, the influx of Korean immigration may have overwhelmed the gene pool.

Anyway, just my two cents' worth. And I'm hardly any authority on this, mind you. Just another guy shooting the breeze.

Wayne Muromoto

Jason W
21st October 2004, 14:37
Getting back to the Tengu, I recall years ago when I was working in a Japanese company, reading in one of the Japanese news magazines that the staff always managed to get, an article about how one of the Shinto shrines in Japan has a Tengu hand in its collection of relics. Apparently they allowed some Japanese biologists to examine it, and they were unable to identify it. There was a photo of a dried and mangled looking appendage which certainly didn't look like anything I'd seen, but then, I ain't no biologist.

I think the current view on Tengu is that they were marooned westerners, living by their wits in the bush. What a sight they must have been for the superstitious Japanese peasants.

The idea that they are in fact yamabushi sounds plausible enough. The yamabushi, from what I understand of them, were mountain ascetics who retreated from society to practice their chosen spiritual exercises, often for many years, including martial arts. Mas Oyama Sensei did so for 7 years. Living in the bush, one has less need of looking groomed, another thing the Japanese are fastidious about, so one can imagine also, a poor peasant stumbing across a seedly old mountain recluse, long unkempt hair, dirty clothes and wild look in their eyes.

Milarepa, one of India's great monks, lived in the bush for many years, and at one stage only ate nettles. Reports from people who knew him said that he actually took on a greenish tinge...

So one can imagine how the myth of the Tengu developed over the years, based on cumulative experiences of a simple, superstitious peasant folk.

Mention was made earlier of Yagyu Ryu's connection with Tengu. Information on this topic can be found in "Zen and Confucious in the Art of Swordsmanship: The Tengu Geijutsu Ron (Discourse on the art of the Mountain Demons) of Chozan Shissai", translated by Reinhold Kammer. An interesting read.


Earl Hartman
21st October 2004, 18:53
Sorry to be a pedant, but there is no such thing as "Yagyu Ryu". Yagyu is the name of a family, not the name of a school of martial arts. I assume that you are referring to the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. This is a very common error.

Re: different Asian admixtures in the Japanese gene pool: some historians of kyudo speculate that the length and design of the Japanese bow prove that there must be some Polynesian/New Guinean admixture in the Japanese people. The Japanese bow is totally unlike any continental bow used by the Chinese, Koreans, or Mongols. It most closely resembles longbows in use in various islands in the South Pacific (where exactly I don't remember). This long bow design has been around for quite a while; a scene on what is believed to be a Yayoi period ceremonial bronze bell (a dotaku) shows a hunter shooting a deer with a bow that appears to be as long as the archer is tall and which he grips below the center of the stave. Continental bows are all short, center-gripped recurves made of horn, bone and sinew. This type of bow was never adopted in Japan, in spite of the preponderance of immigrants from the Asian mainland via Korea. This indigenous bow design never fell out of use, pointing to the existence of a significant population not of continental Asian origin that was in Japan prior to the mass immigration via the Korean penninsula.

(Of course, the other theory is that the Japanese bow is as it is because of material limitations. The Japanese did not have access to the large supply of horn, bone and sinew from ruminants (such as the sheep of the Mongols) needed to manufacure such bows, but did have ready access to abundant supplies of hardwood and bamboo. They thus developed a type of bow suited to the properties of their native materials.)

21st October 2004, 20:47
Originally posted by wmuromoto
[B...just my two cents' worth. And I'm hardly any authority on this, mind you. Just another guy shooting the breeze.[/B]

Interesting nevertheless, especially the stuff about the bows. Thanks for the effort putting it down for us.

P Goldsbury
22nd October 2004, 00:06
Hello Don,

Have you looked at Chapter One of "Multicultural Japan: Paleolithic to Postmodern", edited by Donald Denoon et al? The author, Kazumichi Katayama, considers biological evidence (not DNA, from what I can gather), but I am not really qualified to judge.

Tengu do not figure in this book, though Emishi are mentioned in passing, along with Wa, Kumaso and Hayato. Tengu are bakemono, of which there are many kinds, and to identify them with yamabushi seems an oversimplification of something the Japanese like to keep as mysterious and richly variegated as possible.

As you know, Morihei Ueshiba believed he was the reincarnation of 17 kami and his mentor Onisaburo Deguchi paid regular visits to their world, as recorded in "Reikai Monogatari". I know Morihei Ueshiba's grandson quite well and meet him frequently, on and off the mat. I do not think he visits the world of the kami very often, if at all. It is not his style.

On the other around 10% of all Japanese are thought to be believers in one or other of the 'new religions, such as Omoto-kyo and its offshoots, and every year large numbers of people still flock to Izumo Taisha to ask for assistance in finding good marriage partners, or to Dazaifu Tenmangu to ask Sugawara no Michizane for help in passing the entrance tests to universities like my own. Presumably Michizane also plays a role in setting the questions.

Best regards,

22nd October 2004, 00:41
So, Dr. Goldsbury, do you think that there are many budoka today (in Japan) that continue to maintain a relationship with kami--to the extent that Onisaburo Deguchi did? Obviously, not necessarily to the effect that he had...

I think that originally this thread was meant to approach the idea that mortal men (specifically budoka/bujutsuka) attended some sort of communion (obviously not in the Catholic sense) with kami or spirits, and thus were granted or attained some sort of 'edge' or 'insight' into their particular brand of budo/bujutsu (i.e., Morihei Ueshiba, Yagyu Munetoshi). The original post had a good point, in that if someone today--out of nowhere--claimed the foundation of a new budo based off of personal instruction by some sort of supernatural creature (obviously a culturally based definition), very few if any would consider this a ligitimate claim. And even fewer still would actually seek to study said budo.

However, I will be quick to note that many people, regardless of what they may say to any modern claims, would very much like to believe that it is either a) possible that any forthcoming teacher may actually have such knowledge and instruction, or b) that they, too may be able to take to the hills with a particular intent or state of mind and receive like instruction/communion.

This leads me, verbosely, full circle back to my question: do you think that there are men and/or women today (specifically budoka/bujutsuka) who attempt and/or maintain some sort of relationship with a kami or sprirt for the improvement or rejuvenation of their budo/bujutsu?

Man, I know that this is a super-broad question, and one that you may not be inclined or qualified to answer, but there is an obvious interest in this level of our training, and any info that anyone in here could spare would be greatly appreciated, I'm sure.

Jason, where was the shrine with the claw? Do you recall?

P Goldsbury
22nd October 2004, 02:42
Originally posted by shieldcaster
So, Dr. Goldsbury, do you think that there are many budoka today (in Japan) that continue to maintain a relationship with kami--to the extent that Onisaburo Deguchi did? Obviously, not necessarily to the effect that he had...

Well, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "maintaining a relationship", to use your phrase.

Few modern Japanese appear to go to the lengths described by Carmen Blacker in "The Catalpa Bow" to engage with the kami, but to judge from Japanese scholars like Nobutaka Inoue, many Japanese are members of religions which offer possible enlightenment. The Byakko Shinko Kai, founded by Masahisa Goi, is one such religion that is an offshoot of Omoto-kyo.

Such people are commonly called 'believers', but the content of what the believe is less amenable than Christian doctrine to expression in the form of a creed. In the print issue of Aikido Journal #115 there are interviews with Masahisa Goi and also translations of his writings. The headquaters of the Byakko Shinko Kai are in Fujinomiya and members undergo spiritual training including an ascent of Mount Fuji. However, the identity of the kami with which they purport to have a relationship is less clear.

Best regards,

22nd October 2004, 03:34
Hi, Peter.

Originally posted by P Goldsbury
Hello Don,

Have you looked at Chapter One of "Multicultural Japan: Paleolithic to Postmodern", edited by Donald Denoon et al?

I have not but I've made a note of the reference and will try to get it through ILL. It's an area I've meant to look into for a long time and never got around to. With a reference, I'm on it. Thanks.

Jason W
22nd October 2004, 13:09
>Jason, where was the shrine with the claw? Do you recall?

Sorry Matt, I don't recall, but I do remember it was not a well known shrine. I saved a lot of Japanese magazines from from work, they're in a box somewhere, but I am not sure I saved the issue with that story. Ask some Japanese people, maybe they know.

>I assume that you are referring to the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu

I don't know offhand which Yagyu Ryu I was referring to...the one with Munenori, the one founded by Iizasa, the one in the book I mentioned...you know...the book's on the shelf, I'm in my chair, its late, I'm too lazy to get off my butt, sorry...

22nd October 2004, 16:29

Speaking of bows, and bows like the japanese use, the Huns also were recorded as using an asymmetrical bow.

Of course the "huns" were a collection of various tribes from all over.

May have been a steppe people from central asia at one time.

Cool thing about an asymmetic bow, japanese or otherwise, is that seem to be less "stacking" as the bow is drawn back.

Chris Thomas

Karl Friday
22nd October 2004, 17:10
Originally posted by Jason W
I think the current view on Tengu is that they were marooned westerners, living by their wits in the bush. What a sight they must have been for the superstitious Japanese peasants. cheers,

Current view among whom? I'd be very interested in seeing the reasoning and evidence behind this idea. As is, I'm having a hard time imagining how this could be possible. Tengu legends in Japan go back at least as far as the Heian period (9th-12th centuries). What Western sailors were venturing near Japan to become marooned that far back? And why would marooned sailors choose to live in the bush, rather than in towns?

A more plausible hypothesis would be the possiblity that there might have been sailors marooned during the Edo period (1600-1868), when Europens were forbidden access to Japan except under close supervision, who chose to hide out, and were then mistaken for tengu by villagers who spotted them. There is some documentation of castaways who were captured by Japanese authorities being taken for tengu by people who saw them while they were being transported to Nagasaki (the SOP for dealing with foreigners during the period).

But there's a huge difference between mistaking real people for creatures of legend that one fancies they resemble, and creating a legend about creatures based on having seen real people . . .

22nd October 2004, 18:03
I read something a while ago about tengu mythology being traceable through Tibetan Buddhism to the Hindu god Garuda. Garuda was originally more an eagle/human than a crow/human and was who Vishnu used for aerial transport. Hence the Indonesian airline.

Aren't yamabushi linked to Tibetan Buddhism in some way as well?

Jairaj Chetty

Earl Hartman
22nd October 2004, 19:17
Originally posted by Jason W
I don't know offhand which Yagyu Ryu I was referring to...the one with Munenori, the one founded by Iizasa, the one in the book I mentioned...you know...the book's on the shelf, I'm in my chair, its late, I'm too lazy to get off my butt, sorry...

Well, please get up and check the book, then. As I said, there is no such thing as a "Yagyu Ryu". If your book says that there is, it is wrong.

Iizasa, by whom I assume you mean Iizasa Choisai Ienao, was the founder of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu. To the best of my knowledge, he had nothing whatsoever to do with either the founding or propogation of the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, which is, as you say with such penetrating insight and concern for accuracy, "the one with Munenori".

Earl Hartman
22nd October 2004, 19:30
Originally posted by cxt
Speaking of bows, and bows like the japanese use, the Huns also were recorded as using an asymmetrical bow.

Hm. Never heard of this. Any links to sources? AFAIK, the Hun bow, from which, IIRC, the Hungarian (Magyar) bow descends, was a center-gripped recurve with a very pronounced recurve on the end limbs (which are called, I believe, "sayahs"). I have drawn such a bow; in an odd way, it seems to act somewhat like a modern compound with what seems to be a perceivable letoff once the draw passes a certain point. This design seems to allow for a much deeper draw than would be normal with a single-curved bow of the same length; the bow seems to almost "unwind" as you draw it. I am very interested in such bows and I hope to be able to research them further.

Originally posted by cxt
Cool thing about an asymmetic bow, japanese or otherwise, is that seem to be less "stacking" as the bow is drawn back.

Personally, I think the lack of stacking on a Japanese bow is primarily a function of its length and recurve design rather than a function of the offset grip. However, I am not a physicist or an engineer, so I can only speak from my experience with shooting one. I have never handled a standard center-gripped longbow the length of a Japanese bow; the ones generally in use seem to be under 6 feet in length, so I don't know how they "stack up" against a Japanese bow in that regard, so to speak. I have heard, however, that English longbowmen would shift the position of their grip on their bows depending on the type of shot they wished to make.

To what other assymmetrical bows are you referring? Have you tested them personally? As I said, I have never seen, heard of, or handled a bow with an off-center grip other than a Japanese yumi. If you have any information on assymmetric bows, I would like to have it.

22nd October 2004, 20:09
Hi Earl,

Check the "Hunnish" bow at http://www.grozerarchery.com .I've no idea as to the historical accuracy of these designs but the "Hunnish" bow shown is assymetrical. The bows on this site look really nice.

I would guess the perceivable letoff (from the asian composite recurve) would occur when the string is drawn off from the base of the siyahs.

Aren't English longbows slightly assymetrical as well, the upper limb being slightly longer?

Jairaj Chetty

Earl Hartman
22nd October 2004, 20:29
You are right. The Hunnish bow looks very slightly assymmetrical. I will contact the bowmaker and ask him about it.

Regarding longbows, I really can't say. Most I have seen look as though they are drawn from the center.

Jason W
23rd October 2004, 00:27
Gee, I get chastised for missing out one word. Yes, Earl it was indeed Yagyu Shinkage Ryu that I was making the reference to in someone's post earlier. (Matt Snowden's)

To be a pedant myself, in Kammer's book he writes that "A distinction is made between Yagyu Shinkage Ryu (Yagyu Muneyoshi) and the Yagyu Ryu, a modified and expanded form, originating with either Munenori or Mitsuyoshi." In the notes he states that this view is held by Jirokichi Yamada, in his Nihon Kendo-shi (1966), and by Shoshi Munemitsu in the Sekai Dai Hyakku Jiten (1964), but is not held by the Nihon Budo Zenshu (1966). So perhaps you can forgive me my previous indiscretion?

>Iizasa, by whom I assume you mean Iizasa Choisai
>Ienao, was the founder of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu

Yes, my mistake. As I said, it was late and I was confusing the names Iizasa Choisai with Chozan Shissai, author of the book in question who I was associating with Yagyu Ryu, er, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu.


Johnny Yuma
23rd October 2004, 00:52
That bow site was really cool, thanks!

Back to the Tengu:

Who is Enkai(sic) of Hurtado Mountain?

I have seen this name but nothing else, he was supposedly a Tengu, and I could have the name completely wrong, so please forgive me. Any info on this character would be helpful.

23rd October 2004, 05:35
Who is Enkai(sic) of Hurtado Mountain?

Hurtado Mountain? Sure that's in Japan? ;) Well, I think you mean Hinamaru Enkai of Haguro Mountain.

Please read this, from furyu.com (http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue2/tengu.html). Not too much there specifically, sorry.

Interestingly, much of the same text is found here (http://www.klearadvantage.com/Page4.html)...better check that copyright stuff...Those are the only sites that came up from a google search.

Benkei is a Japanese folk hero, who has a connection to the tengu as well. He was a sort of Little John, invincibly smiting poor bridge-crossers near Kyoto until he had his butt handed to him by the Tengu-trained Yoshitsune, whom he thereafter followed, just like Robin Hood. But these guys have a bit more historical support than the Merry Men of Sherwood. There is a brief mention of Benkei in the furyu article. Buy spendy prints of him, and read some history, here (http://www.artelino.com/articles/benkei.asp). There are kenbu dances of him...fun!

23rd October 2004, 06:09
Those bows get me drooling like a bull mastiff. Earl please let us know whatever you find out from the bowyer.

Back to tengu. I found this regarding Garuda - http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/karura.shtml .So Garuda/Karura is a beasty different from tengu.

Also on the same site regarding tengu - http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/tengu.shtml

Jairaj Chetty