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Thread: Toyama-ryu

  1. #1
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    Question

    Dear all and Mr. Powers,

    I was reading up on Toyama-ryu again and came up with a question. During its creation at the Toyama Gakko, in China and in Korea, did it ever get to see live combat training against opponents armed with blades (Chinese soldiers with Temple swords or some such).
    There is alot of information about sword work and atrocities but I've never read anything about real 1 on 1 fencing matches.

    Hope to hear something soon--Jody

  2. #2
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    Dear Jody,

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>During its creation at the Toyama Gakko, in China and in Korea, did it ever get to see live combat training against opponents armed with blades (Chinese soldiers with Temple swords or some such).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No, not sword v. sword. However, Kirikomitai (special assault units) would assault rifle-armed Chinese forces, who were said to have dropped weapon and run when the Japanese were within 100 yards. Now, I doubt that *all* Chinese troops dropped their weapons and ran -- but I have heard this from a former member.

    That being said, I do not want to give the impression that the sword was a force-multipler on the battlefield; it was not. I would say that they were seldom used, but for a news article Joe Svinth provided me. The article was about a Japanese government contracted sword smith who went to China to repair all the broken swords. I think he said something like 30,000 -- and remarked how poorly forged most were. So, if that many were broken, they must have been used for more than opening ration boxes or chopping firewood.

    Chances are, the 30,000 (or whatever the number was) broken swords occured while committing war crimes. Even Nakamura sensei -- a former army teacher -- said the "swordsmanship of that period [China/Pacific War] was of the "satsujin ken" variety." That is, the "murdering sword" was employed.

    It is wrong to wax romantically over supposed "battlefield hand-to-hand" combat with the Japanese sword. It is an injustice. When we do so, we tend to ignore the harsh reality of what actually happened -- thus, tacitly sanctioning (by ommission) the war crimes committed. When my students become shodan, I require them to view horrific photographs of Chinese murdered by Japanese soldiers using swords (and bayonet). I want to ensure my new swordsmen understand the difference between katsujin ken and satsujin ken -- and trust that this knowledge will plant the seeds of honor and respect for life.

    The Jews say of the Holocost, "Never Again." I also want to echo that sentiment.

    Regards,
    Guy


    ------------------
    Guy H. Power
    http://www.trifox.com/aux/kenshinkan

  3. #3
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    Toby,

    Thanks for the kind words. I wish I had the opportunity to meet your late sensei. I am sure he has already crossed "Sanzu no Gawa" (the Japanese version of River Styx) and is probably giving instruction on the other side.

    Regards,
    Guy


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    Guy H. Power
    http://www.trifox.com/aux/kenshinkan

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    My thanks to Joe Svinth -- "Historian Extrodinaire."
    =========

    Swordsmiths Rush to Chinese Front to Mend Broken Blades

    Japanese-American Courier, Seattle, Washington, June 4, 1938, 1

    Ed. note: This article first appeared in Japan Times.

    TOKIO -- Swords are still a prime necessity in war time, despite airplanes, armored tanks, machine guns and repeating rifles. It has been found, and the government has taken special steps, to see that officers
    have blades which will suit their needs.

    However, the blades they carry these days are not up to the standards of olden times, according to Hikosaburo Kurihara, expert swordsmith, who recently returned from the Shanghai area, where with a party of smiths he
    has repaired 15,000 swords for Japanese officers.

    So great was the need found for this repair work that the master smith has gone to the North China area, where he will attend to the needs of the officers there.

    Manchurian steel has been found the best material for blades as proved by experience of officers in the Shanghai district, the expert said, and he recommended to the War Ministry that metal of that kind be used in future whenever found available.

    "We mended about 15,000 swords in Shanghai," the swordsmith said at his home in Hikawacho, Akasaka-ku. "Blades of good steel do not snap easily, as did some of those we found. I recommended to the War Ministry that
    they make available Manchurian steel to all the swordsmiths in the country. It is about as strong as any we know of."

    "An officer with a damaged sword, and who expects a battle next day is a pitiful sight. I saw many of them working late at night on their weapons, which may mean life or death to them."



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    Guy H. Power
    http://www.trifox.com/aux/kenshinkan

  5. #5
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    Guy,

    Excellent Post. Takamura Sensei would have been very pleased with the explaination of katsujin ken, satsujin ken you just posted.

    Respectfully,

    Toby Threadgill

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    Wow,

    Interesting article.

    I wonder how hard it would be to track down Mr. Hikosaburo Kurihara of Hikawacho, Akasaka-ku, or perhaps some of his family or possible apprentices.

    I'll bet he would have alot of interesting first hand information to share.

    Regards,



    ------------------
    Nathan Scott
    Shinkendo & Aiki Buken Honbu dojo
    Tsuki Kage dojo
    Japanese Sword Arts Discussion Forum

  7. #7
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    Hi all,

    Could Powers-Sensei or anyone in the know out there help me with any information on Yamaguchi Yuki-Sensei of Toyama Ryu Iai Kempo as utilised by members of Hontai Yoshin Ryu.

    I used to train with the Ozzie Hontai Yoshin Ryu branch from time to time and the Toyama Ryu techniques bore some resemblence to the Toyama Ryu of Nakamura-Sensei, but maybe had less footwork/movement. Very similar kata pattern though. And in the manual of Yamaguchi-Sensei the names of the kata are the same (ie: Ipponme- Mae no Teki etc) but the names of the cut were different.

    Can anyone help with this? All the best.

    Regards,

    Paul Steadman

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    Thumbs up

    Thanks again Daniel,

    The discription fits the identity of the man in the photographs I have from Hontai Yoshin Ryu.

    All the best.

    Paul Steadman

  9. #9
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    Hello Paul.

    Could Powers-Sensei or anyone in the know out there help me with any information on Yamaguchi Yuki-Sensei of Toyama Ryu Iai Kempo as utilised by members of Hontai Yoshin Ryu.
    I've done in-depth research and comparrisons amongst Nakamura-ha, Yamaguchi-ha, and Morinaga-ha Toyama Ryu iaido. Suffice it to say that they are all about 90% similar with few changes in actual execution. In addition to comparing their different texts, I've actually been able to compare techniques with two different students of Yamaguchi-ha.

    Yamaguchi-ha and Nakamura-ha are very close, except that Yamaguchi sensei uses the pre-1935 kata for #5 -- however, he reverses the order. Originally, #5 was cut, then thrust; Yamaguchi changed it to thrust, then cut. Additionally, he emphasizes the "kissaki manipulation" so his #5 really looks like Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu chuden-level "Iwanami."

    Another difference is that for #8 "Itto Ryodan" Yamaguchi sensei teaches a jump cut instead of remaining soundly planted on the ground.

    Regards,
    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

  10. #10
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    Thanks Guy,

    I knew you'd have some info for me. I've actually read somewhere about the different Toyama-ryu Batto-jutsu/Batto-do federations in Japan. Thanks for your help.

    Regards,

    Paul Steadman

  11. #11
    shinja Guest

    Question

    As of late, I have become intrigued with Toyama Ryu. I would like to ask a few questions.

    Is the rather abreviated system of Toyama taught on it's own or is it usually taught in conjunction with another sword art?

    Was there a similar abreviated fencing (ala kendo) system developed along the same line as Toyama ryu?

    And is possible to recieve instruction and teaching status in Toyama Ryu?

    Are there instructors here in the US teaching this system?

    Please forgive me if these sound like silly questions.

  12. #12
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    Well, at the top right hand side of the Swords Arts Forum there is a list of recommended sites. The one by mr. Guy Powers is the place to go. Mr.Powers is licensed in Toyama-ryu under mr.Nakamura's branch. If I am not mistaken there are currently 3 branches of Toyama-ryu in Japan. Hope this helps.

  13. #13
    Hans Andersen Guest

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    Steven,

    Check out Guy Power's website for a wealth of information about Toyama Ryu, Nakaumura Ryu, and the history of the Toyama Academy.

    http://www.trifox.com/aux/kenshinkan/

  14. #14
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    Shinja,

    Is the rather abreviated system of Toyama taught on it's own or is it usually taught in conjunction with another sword art?
    It is taught on its own within the 3 major Toyama Ryu Iaido federations. These organizations are each headed by 3 former instructors of the Toyama Academy.

    1. Dai Nippon Toyama Ryu Iaido Kai (Osaka). Founded by Morinaga Kiyoshi sensei (d. ca 1986). This system teaches the original 5 kata implemented in 1925, plus the 3 additional kata introduced in 1939 (original #5 was deleted). Morinaga sensei served several assignments at the Toyama Military Academy, starting as a second lieutenant. He is the one who sent the Army's request to Nakayama Hakudo, asking his help in making combat effective army sword techniques. Throughout Morinaga sensei's army career -- as a captain, major, and lieutenant colonel -- he taught kenjutsu at Toyama Academy. Then, as a lt. col., he became the Director of Fencing at the academy and incorporated some changes and added kata in 1939. Tsunami Videos (http://www.dragon-tsunami.org) sells a video of these waza, performed by Tokutomi Tasaburo sensei [if you saw "Budo: The Art of Killing" you saw Tokutomi sensei in the end, performing kumitachi with my teacher, Nakamura Taizaburo].

    2. Zen Nihon Toyama Ryu Iaido Renmei (Yokohama). Founded by Nakamura Taizaburo sensei (b. 1911). This system uses the 8 Toyama Ryu Iai kata as they were taught in 1939 -- when Nakamura sensei attended the academy. After graduation, Nakamura sensei was dispatched around China teaching "Combat Budo" including kenjutsu (Toyama Ryu), jukenjutsu (bayonet), and tankenjutsu (dagger/dismounted bayonet).

    3. Zen Nihon Toyama Ryu Iaido So-Renmei (Sapporo, Hokkaido). Founded by Yamaguchi Yuuki sensei (b. 1900). Yamaguchi sensei was also an instructor at the Toyama Academy. His teachings are very similiar to what Nakamura sensei teaches (1939 version), except Yamaguchi sensei has interjected a neo-Shinto religious aspect into the art [similar to what Uyeshiba Morihei did when he wrapped Daitoryu aikijujutsu into a neo-shinto religion to create aikido]. Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu has recently (well, around 1980) added Toyama Ryu Iai to its training.

    4. Nakamura Ryu Battodo. Founded in 1953 by Nakamura Taizaburo. Toyama Ryu Iaido is the foundation for Nakamura Ryu Battodo. Tsunami Video sells Nakamura sensei's video tape which includes the 8 Toyama Ryu kata.

    Was there a similar abreviated fencing (ala kendo) system developed along the same line as Toyama ryu?
    I don't understand your question.

    And is possible to recieve instruction and teaching status in Toyama Ryu?
    Yes. However, understand that "teaching status" is not the same as "blackbelt" rank. There are 10 rank grades in Toyama Ryu, and there are 3 teaching certificates: Renshi, Kyoshi, and Hanshi. This is true in each of the three autonomous Federations. These certificates are not automatic. A person can test for the first license, Renshi, when he or she reaches 5th dan. When the person is 7th dan, he or she may test for Kyoshi, and when 8th dan one can test for Hanshi. There are time-in-grade factors, as well as age criteria involved. A person can be a 7th dan without even testing for Renshi. That doesn't mean a 6th dan is unqualified to teach, assist, or run a dojo.

    Are there instructors here in the US teaching this system?
    Yes.

    Nakamura-ha:
    1. Guy Power. Renshi, 6th dan. San Jose, CA
    2. Peer Halperin. 6th dan. San Diego, CA
    3. Ron Zediker. Renshi, 5th dan. Assigned to England
    4. John Vincent. 4th dan. Detroit, MI
    5. Bob Elder. 4th dan. Orlando, FL
    6. Ted Petit. Unranked, but leading a study group in Palmdale, CA.

    Another teacher will be announced soon, but it's not official yet.

    Yamaguchi-ha:
    1. Dr. Steve Fabian. 3rd dan. Hanover College, IN (Hontai Yoshin Ryu US Representative)
    2. Deleted on 10/29; incorrect information provided.

    Morinaga-ha:
    Unknown

    If you have further questions, please visit my web site (below); if you still have questions after that, then ask and I'll attempt some answers.

    Regards,
    Guy


    [Edited by ghp on 10-30-2000 at 12:30 AM]
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

  15. #15
    shinja Guest

    Talking

    Guy,

    Thanks for the info! I must confess to complete ignorance when it comes to Japanese sword arts.

    I have recently taken up study in Hakko Ryu jujutsu and thought that training in kenjutsu would make for a well rounded martial education.

    My question concerning an abreviated fencing was from a lack of understanding. Does the term iaijutsu strictly refer to fast draw and cutting? And does the term kenjutsu refer to sword against sword fencing?

    I took a look at your website. Very informative.


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