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Thread: Is Togakure Ryu older than 1868? yes or no?

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    Default Is Togakure Ryu older than 1868? yes or no?

    Dear all,

    I apologize for asking this question in such a blunt way, but I have been totally frustrated with all the forum discussions I have read over the past few years on the question "Is Ninjutsu Koryu?"

    As I understand it, this means: Does Togakure Ryu date back before 1868 or not?

    So I have started this new thread trying to get an answer to this simple question.

    Koryu people: I don't want to hear about the negative image of ninja or about teaching methodology, organizational issues or umvelt. I don't want to hear about how silly black uniforms look or about how wrong it is to blend different Ryu. I'm not interested in whether Hatsumi-sensei is teaching in a koryu manner.

    All I want is an answer to the question above.

    X-kan people: I don't want to hear about why the koryu associations are not worth joining, or about how good Hatsumi-sensei is, or about how training has to evolve and be updated. I also don't want to hear about how Kukishin Ryu and Takagi Yoshin Ryu have traceable histories. I don't need to hear about how scrolls don't mean you can fight.

    And I definitely don't want to hear about how I should be training instead of asking about history.

    All I want is to know: Does Togakure Ryu date back beyond 1868 or not.

    Does anyone have either any historical evidence one way or the other? Or else is there anyone who can assess the waza in Togakure Ryu from an anthropological or hoplological point of view to say if they bear the hallmarks of being a Meiji era creation.

    By the waza, I mean things like Ukemi gata, Shinobi gaeshi gata, Bikenjutsu, Goton no jutsu etc.

    Thank you,
    Alec Courtney
    Last edited by siralec; 14th November 2005 at 19:33.

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    and I especially don't want to hear about a secret ryu being too secret or good ninja leaving no trace of their history. That's an old one.

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    Siralec

    I think your asking the wrong question.

    Impossible to prove a negative.

    The question should be worded "what proof exists for Togakure ninjutsu to be older than 1868."

    The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the person/people making the claim.
    As such, if the claim is made that it IS "older than 1868" then its whomever is making the claim's job to present evidence as to why it it is so.

    Then we look at what evidence is presented and decided what to think.

    Seriously sorry if I am coming across as being mean or harsh--not trying to be.
    Just trying to accurate.

    Chris Thomas

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    The one person who would know or who could prove it is Hatsumi Masaaki...And for his own reasons he won't.
    You could ask him...Or ask for our opinions here. But there is only one person who can answer entirely and he won't.
    Regards.
    Ben Sharples.
    智は知恵、仁は思いやり、勇は勇気と説いています。

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    What Ben said - ask Mr. Hatsumi.

    So far no evidence has been seen to indicate Togakure Ryu dates to before 1868.

    The only person who would have such evidence would be Mr. Hatsumi.

    For the above reasons, koryu folks say "we haven't seen any evidence (and it doesn't look like/isn't taught like koryu) - therefore it's not koryu."

    Bujinkan folks tend to say "Hatsumi Soke says the history goes back 34 generations - therefore it is koryu."

    Then there are the other various things which you summed up quite well.... which also greatly influence the positions of both groups:

    negative image of ninja or about teaching methodology, organizational issues or umvelt. I don't want to hear about how silly black uniforms look or about how wrong it is to blend different Ryu. I'm not interested in whether Hatsumi-sensei is teaching in a koryu manner.
    So.... make up your own mind, cos that's the most extensive answer you're going to get till Mr. Hatsumi decides to change the situation....

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    From the neighbouring thread, which is rapidly going off-topic:
    Quote Originally Posted by fifthchamber
    ..But they don't demo at the Koryu organisations
    taikai or enbu..And probably don't care about what they are labled as
    outside of their own groups...But then neither does Hatsumi..In
    general the only ones making a fuss about this are those in western
    countries...
    Just for the record, I could care less about being a member of the organizations or about how we are labeled. This is purely about the age of the school being as is claimed.

    The only reason I would want the Togakure Ryu to be “old” is because it is
    what we in the x-kans have been told. Not because old is better.

    I don't understand how people can NOT make a fuss or at least be concerned when it is proposed that they could be doing a made-up art with a fake history.

    All I want is to know that we have not been fed a enormous untruth about
    the origin of the Togakure Ryu.

    That’s not too much to ask is it?

    Alec Courtney

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    "All I want is to know that we have not been fed a enormous untruth about
    the origin of the Togakure Ryu."

    It would seem that any untruth would date back before Hatsumi. I would actually just like a true history, koryu or not I don't care.
    Michael Kelly

    Ironically neither a Niten Ichi practitioner or in fact a ninja.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siralec
    All I want is to know that we have not been fed a enormous untruth about
    the origin of the Togakure Ryu.
    Alec,

    We will probably never know. Hatsumi Sensei did not make up this school. As I explained in the other thread, Takamatsu Sensei gave Togakure-ryu menkyo kaiden to two people; Hatsumi sensei and Fukumoto Yoshio sensei. Since Takamatsu Sensei is no longer alive, and the absence of historical records of Toda Shinryuken, we will have to rely on faith.
    George Kohler

    Genbukan Kusakage dojo
    Dojo-cho

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    What George said..
    Wanting the truth IS entirely fair...But it's not always easy to see, or if it is then it's a question in the right place away from you..The only man who could or would be able to answer the questions you have about the Togakure Ryu is Hatsumi Masaaki...No one here would know anything more than he has said..
    Sorry..But this is the only answer anyone here can give..If you feel that the truth hasn't been told then take that up with those you hold responsible.
    Regards.
    Ben Sharples.
    智は知恵、仁は思いやり、勇は勇気と説いています。

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    Perhaps even he doesn't know for certain.
    Michael Kelly

    Ironically neither a Niten Ichi practitioner or in fact a ninja.

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    Default ...Hard to say, really

    I've gone over this a couple of times in pm's with some bujinkers, but I tend to side with the koryu.com folks. I am partial, of course. I've had a few brewskis with Meik and Diane Skoss and I like 'em, like their research. And truth to tell, the veracity of the Bujinkan's claim to 34 generations doesn't hold more than but a slight passing interest to me, most of the time, unless someone pokes me with a stick. But in all fairness, if you are a Bujinkan person but truly want to go beyond faith (as George puts it) to know the truth, then about the only way you may get concrete proof one way or another would be through Hatsumi sensei, and as Ben says, it's entirely up to him. And, in some ways, if Bujinkan places itself so apart from other koryu (in terms of external ties, systematization and methodologies, etc.), why would you WANT to play in our sandbox when you got your own (as fellow TR monjin Ben puts it)?

    Watatani and Yamada, in the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten (okay, people have said this book itself is not complete or infallible, but it's the best we have in terms of a compendium of Japanese koryu), holds the view that the problem is that the keizu (lineage) Watatani saw of Togakure-ryu appears to be at least partially fabricated. There's very little corroborating evidence for some of the listing of names, although it gets clear that, according to Takamatsu, he learned it from Toda Shinryuken (who died in Meiji 41 (that would be 1905?) at the age of 90 (do the math...how old was Takamatsu at that time?) ) and passed on the lineage to Hatsumi sensei. Watatani writes that the lineage is based on the oral tradition of Shinryuken. Supposedly it goes back 34 generations, yes, but a lot of the names on the list are hard to verify; they may really be historical figures but there's little corroborating evidence that some of them actually did do a codified ninjutsu ryu; and that if it is to be believed, then the Togakure-ryu masters were responsible for the birth of the Iga and Koga traditions; there's some masters who actually are fictional characters out of pulp novels prevalant at the time; and so on. Some of the masters supposedly include Ise Saburo Yoshimori, a legendary follower of Minamoto Yoshitsune, Minamoto Hachiman Shichiro (both, BTW, are buke during the 1100s so the notion that ninja were downtrodden anti-samurai freedom fighters is kind of silly), Koga Taroubei Kozuna, Katayama Hoki No Kami Hisayasu (red flag: he's the founder of the Hoki-ryu iaijutsu and MAYBE related to Takeuchi Hisamori of the Takeuchi-ryu. I'm still not so sure of that possibility, however...), Momochi Sandayu and his children, Natori Heinai (or Hei-uchi?) and his children, and finally the Toda family. --At least, that's the lineage that was being put forth in public by Shinryuken.

    If the public keizu was in error, deliberately or not, and if Takamatsu passed on a real lineage chart to Hatsumi s., then most of us outsiders haven't been privy to it, which is why many people are somewhat unconvinced of Togakure-ryu's provenance, and as Ben says, maybe out of all the people alive, only Hatsumi s. really knows for sure.

    By several contemporaneous magazine and newspaper accounts, Takamatsu s. was quite an eccentric. He certainly knew SOMETHING and what he knew he passed on to Hatsumi s. Discussions with someone (who I hold in high regard) who knew Hatsumi s. before the big ninjer boom also gave me the impression that Hatsumi s. himself was very, very good at what he does. A Hontai Yoshin-ryu person noted to me that the elements of Boojie that claim to be derived from HYR and Kukishinden-ryu are, in fact, recognizable as HYR and KR kata, and the Eda Koppo stuff from Hatsumi/Chambers' book...well, I've experienced and legitimately trained in some of it and it hurts like the Dickens, so it does have viability as martial techniques. So, IMHO, what Hatsumi gathered from other koryu via Takamatsu has roots in recognizable koryu. What has been subsumed as Togakure-ryu, however, may be questionable in terms of historical accuracy, and...I can only judge hoplologically (poorly, at best) from videotapes of mostly American and foreign practitioners, seem to NOT be as old as 34 gens, give or take a century or so (tilt of head; take that last statement with a grain of salt). But that's just me. I do feel that Hatsumi is a gifted and talented martial arts person who knows SOMETHING (I don't meant that facetiously.) What that something is, however, in terms of historical lineage, is hard to tell.

    One could say, "Oh, who cares, it WORKS so let the proof be in the pudding!" But that's not what you want, is it, Alec? Unfortunately, if there is doubt to what seems to be a matter of faith among some boojies, then you may already be infected with a sense of unease that sets you outside the legions of the truly faithful. O ye of little faith. ;-)

    My advice (for what little it's worth) is if you want to continue in Bujinkan with your doubts, just absorb your questions, continue to seek answers when you can, and train, a bit humbler and more self-effacing, and if anybody asks, tell them what you feel. I.e., "...This is what they SAY of the lineage, but here's the problem...and I haven't figured it out myself, but anyways, that's why we don't know." and then continue to train. Absolutism is a matter of faith. Once you start poking and probing, and basing your understanding on what you can test...well, that's a different kind of acceptance. Faith is based on accepting everything at face value, sort of like a lot of religions. Guarded opinions with some doubts based on accumulated study and research is more like science. You takes your pick on how you want to approach your martial arts study, I guess.

    I won't comment on the nature or worth of your training itself, so you can still take it or leave it as it is, but if you continue, you certainly can do so and still have some questions still up in the air as currently unanswerable until such a time when people who know more than us will decide to clear the air out. (I would have told my journalism students that if they had written the preceeding sentence, it was too long and very badly written, but what the heck. I can't think of another way to say it.) Then again, those people who know may not even care to talk about it, for whatever reason they see fit.

    --Wayne Muromoto

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmuromoto
    Watatani and Yamada, in the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten (okay, people have said this book itself is not complete or infallible, but it's the best we have in terms of a compendium of Japanese koryu), holds the view that the problem is that the keizu (lineage) Watatani saw of Togakure-ryu appears to be at least partially fabricated. There's very little corroborating evidence for some of the listing of names, although it gets clear that, according to Takamatsu, he learned it from Toda Shinryuken (who died in Meiji 41 (that would be 1905?) at the age of 90 (do the math...how old was Takamatsu at that time?) ) and passed on the lineage to Hatsumi sensei.
    If Watatani meant that the other branches listed in the keizu are being part of Togakure-ryű I can see his point that it's fabricated. But its not just a Togakure keizu, included are pieces of Kukishinden Happô Biken, Iga-ryű, Gyokko-ryű, Hakuun-ryű, Shinden Fudô-ryű , Kotô-ryű and Natori-ke. Togakure-ryű comes from Hakuun-ryű and Gyokko-ryű, almost all Iga-ryű styles listed in the BRHDJT say they came from Hakuun-ryű. The Togakure-ryű keizu is confusing as hell but if you translate it and turn it on its side it makes full sense. I cracked this "di-vinci code" with the help of Tanemura's chart in his 2 books.

    Takamatsu was about 21 years old when Toda-sensei died if the math is correct. And no one please bring up the age argument that Takamatsu wasn't old enough, several other ryűha being taught to kids from their grandfathers and being giving kaiden at 16 or 20, etc. Takagi-ryű being one and others.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmuromoto
    Watatani writes that the lineage is based on the oral tradition of Shinryuken. Supposedly it goes back 34 generations, yes, but a lot of the names on the list are hard to verify; they may really be historical figures but there's little corroborating evidence that some of them actually did do a codified ninjutsu ryu; and that if it is to be believed, then the Togakure-ryu masters were responsible for the birth of the Iga and Koga traditions; there's some masters who actually are fictional characters out of pulp novels prevalant at the time; and so on. Some of the masters supposedly include Ise Saburo Yoshimori, a legendary follower of Minamoto Yoshitsune, Minamoto Hachiman Shichiro (both, BTW, are buke during the 1100s so the notion that ninja were downtrodden anti-samurai freedom fighters is kind of silly), Koga Taroubei Kozuna, Katayama Hoki No Kami Hisayasu (red flag: he's the founder of the Hoki-ryu iaijutsu and MAYBE related to Takeuchi Hisamori of the Takeuchi-ryu. I'm still not so sure of that possibility, however...), Momochi Sandayu and his children, Natori Heinai (or Hei-uchi?) and his children, and finally the Toda family. --At least, that's the lineage that was being put forth in public by Shinryuken.
    34 generations is a lot to believe yes, early half is probably mostly legend as are other koryű but also since its ninjutsu not much documentation to go on either. Person believed responsible for the birth of Iga-ryű was Iga Heinaibei Yasukiyo around 1096 in the Eichô period. Person believed responsible for the birth of Kôga-ryű was Kôga Ômi-no-kami Kaneie (Mochizuki Saburô Kaneie) around 939. The Kôga founding isn't as clear as the Iga. This is also listed in BRHDJT and other sources including from Hatsumi-seseni and Tanemura and others.

    The anti-samurai counter culture nonsense has been discussed to death and proven wrong years ago, why Hayes started that or put that in his books is a mystery to all of us. But we do know those who practiced the arts of ninjutsu were not in high regard and looked down on, although a high commodity.

    Ise Saburô has ties to ninjutsu and is discussed in all the historical books on ninjutsu that I have. I see his name pop-up a lot but I haven't looked into him more then that.

    Katayama Hôki-no-kami is listed in the Shinden Fudô-ryű portion of the keizu, again the keizu lists other connected ryűha which connections are before the founding of Togakure. One has to read the chart carefully to see this. Shinden Fudô-ryű being a bushi art, not ninjutsu.

    Natori Heinai is part of the Natori-ke from the Kishű-han and is a branch responsible for saving the art from dying out according to Hatsumi-sensei.

    In a previous thread quote from a old rec.maritalarts post where Ellis Amdur finds it hard to believe why Kumogakure-ryű is only in its 14th generation is funny since it was founded in the 1500's and not the 1100's as I assume he thought it was. If one researched the history (listed with Iga-ryű right in the BRHDJT under the Kôga-ryű section) one would see it comes from 17 previous generations of Iga-ryű as Hatsumi-sensei and Tanemura have also wrote about.

    I think more research needs to be done before everyone goes off finalizing opions and claiming to be the "end all be all" on the topic.
    Last edited by Shinobi; 17th November 2005 at 04:44.
    Eric Weil
    "Kuji first, Taijutsu last"

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    Just a question. I read here referrences to Iga and Koga ryu. Doesn't Fumon Tanaka claim to be the head of both Iga and Koga ryu?
    David Kemlo

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    Default Tanaka Fumon claims

    Quote Originally Posted by Hattori
    Just a question. I read here referrences to Iga and Koga ryu. Doesn't Fumon Tanaka claim to be the head of both Iga and Koga ryu?
    Seems to be the head of some old densho on it

    http://members.shaw.ca/shugendo/tanaka.html

    "He is also the successor and holder of several old documents on the ninjutsu of Iga and Koga. Since the summer 2002, he is the technical person in charge, in the place of Nawa sensei, for the ninja museum of Koga."
    Eric Weil
    "Kuji first, Taijutsu last"

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    I think you confirmed everything I'd thought Wmuromoto.

    Has anyone ever seen a transcript of the an interview I'm sure I read somewhere, where Takamatsu said effectively that making up lineages did take place as a means to make your ryu look more impressive. Please don't tell me I just imagined it... can't find it again though...
    Michael Kelly

    Ironically neither a Niten Ichi practitioner or in fact a ninja.

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