1 - History of the traditions
Negishi-ryû shurikenjutsu originates in Ganritsu-ryû tradition. This one was founded by Matsubayashi Samanotsuke Nagayoshi, nicknamed "Henyasai" (the bat). He was a warrior of the Sendai lord land, Katori Shinkon-ryû shihan,an offspring of Katori Shintô-ryû in Sendai domain, as indicated by the change of shintô (divine way) in shinkon (divine soul). He created Ganritsu-ryû in 1644, also named Gan-ryû or Katôno-ryû (because it was taught in the Katôno family).
This sôgô bujutsu (comprehensive martial tradition) included iaijustu, tachi-jutsu (sword combat method), kodachi, jô, naginata, kumi-uchi (wrestling) and shurikenjutsu study.
Shurikenjutsu was taught to the women of the Sendai lord's house as a self-defense technique. Takako, daughter of the Mito domain's daimyô, Mito Rekkô (1800-1860)1, married Date Yoshikuni, feudal lord of the Sendai domain, and passed to her father informations and practice concerning Ganritsu-ryû shuriken. Mito Rekkô ordered Kaiho Hanpei, Hokushin Ittô-ryû (Mito domain martial tradition) shihan, to master the thus revealed Ganritsu-ryû shuriken art. Passed on to the Mito domain, Ganritsu-ryû shuriken was there transmitted.
|Son of Negishi Sentoku, a master of Araki-ryû style (Annaka domain, now Gunma prefecture), Negishi Shôrei was born in the Tempô era, in 1833. After receiving Ganritsu-ryû transmission from Kaiho Hanpei2, Negishi Shôrei created new shapes of shuriken adapted fromthe thick needle-shaped (hari) shuriken of Ganritsu-ryû. He changed it's shape, weight, thickness and filed it to give the shuriken an octagonal cross section. In the 4th year of the Ansei era (1857), returning from traveling the provinces seeking adventures (musha shugyô), he came back to the seignorial domain and became 4th generation headmaster (4th Dai) of Araki-ryû kenjutsu, taking over from his father. He thus taught Negishi-ryû (his own making), Araki-ryû (inherited from his father) and Hokushin Ittô-ryû (learned from Kaiho Hanpei) altogether. Very skilled at throwing shuriken with both hands, he was forbidden to engage into duels by the local daimyô and was nicknamed "Little Tengu of Jôshû (chinese name of the Kôzukê province, now Gunma prefecture).|
Direct transmission lineage of Negishi-ryû tradition :
Naruse Kanji (1888- 1948)
Shirakami Eizô (1921-2002) - Saitô Satoshi (born in 1922) - Maeda Isamu (1902-1988)
Shirai-ryû tradition was created at the end of Edo period by Shirai Tôru Yoshikane (1783-1843), 5th sôke of Tenshin Ittô-ryû and Hokushin Ittô-ryû, disciple of Nakanishi Chûta Shikei 3, Nakanishi-ha Ittô-ryû 4shodaime5, exponent of several martial traditions (Shin Musô Muraku-ryû iaijutsu // Shin Musô Ittô-ryû kenjutsu // Inagami Shinmyô-ryû jûjutsu // Shizuka-ryû naginatajutsu that became Anazawa-ryû naginatajutsu // Hôzôin-ryû Takada sôjutsu // Shirai-ryû tebôjutsu // Shirai-ryû shurikenjutsu // kusarigamajutsu // harifuki 6 ). After Kurokouchi Dengorô, because of the WWII (bombings, fire), lineage documents (denshô) went missing and it was possible neither to trace direct lineage nor to find the missing link between Kurokouchi Dengorô and Miyawaki Tôru7, Chuya-ha Ittô-ryû shihan, considered as the 4th generation sôke of Shirai-ryû : Miyawaki Torû's house had burnt and himself had disappeared in 1946.
Present Negishi-ryû shurikenjutsu sôke is Saitô Satoshi sensei. In 1941, age 19, he becomes student of Naruse Kanji (1888-1948), 3rd generation sôke of Negishi-ryû, and practices Negishi-ryû and Shirai-ryû shurikenjutsu under his guidance. As for the folkloric record, Naruse Kanji rebuilt Shirai-ryû shurikenjutsu forms from documents and taught it, a teaching that beneficed to three of his most prominent students: Maeda Isamu, Shirakami Eizô et Saitô Satoshi. At this period, the last one is practicing Kuwana-handen Yamamoto-ryû iaijutsu with Naruse Kanji. In 1945, young officer on duty at Hamamtsu, he goes to Miyawaki Tôru, 4h sôke of Shirai-ryû, with a letter of recommendation from Naruse Kanji, and receives his teaching. In 1959, he receives the sokê title for Negisi-ryû Kuwana-handen Yamamoto-ryû iaijutsu from Maeda Isamu, 4rth sôke, and thus becomes the 5th Negishi-ryû sôke. After the war he studies Shigetsu-ryû shurikenjutsu with Fujita Seiko, 14th successor of Koga-ryû ninjutsu. In 2002, with the passing of Shirakami Eizô, Naruse Kanji's student specialized in Shirai-ryû (as reconstructed by Naruse Kanji), the defunct's sister gives to Saitô sensei the documents belonging to her brother, thus making Saitô sensei the only official Shirai-ryû representative.
His future successor for both traditions, appointed since 1985, is Tomabechi Yoshimi, Daitô-ryû aikijutsu shihan.
Saitô sensei is permanent member and Chairman of the Japan Traditional Martial Arts Association (Nihon Kôbudô Shinkôkai).
2 - Practice
The learning process of the throw goes through three basic methods, the kihon kata, encompassing different throwing rythms.
Moreover must be considered, depending on the shuriken trajectory :
Jikidahô, when the trajectory is straight
hantendahô, when the shuriken does a half flip.
Once the practitioner mastered those different throwing techniques, he goes through the shikake kata learning, or "sento kata" combat throwing method. Depending on combat situation, different methods can be used :
Kôsô, when facing the opponent
Ubu, while moving
Inyôsô, for rapid throws on front and back targets
Shichi, the four wisdoms
There are also methods for throwing while sitting or lying, combined with a sword , in the dark, hiding methods, close combat methods.
Below, picture of one display of Saitô sensei's collection, taken by Pierre SIMON. this picture is taken from the article "Shugendô, bouddhisme et arts martiaux traditionnels" that you may find on the blog.
1- Descended from the eldest Tokugawa branch settled in Mito domain, Tokugawa Nariaki (1800-1860), also named Mito Rekkô, had an important role in the imperial restoration.
2- Died in 1863, aged 41.
3- Died 1824 (8th year of the Bunsei era: 1818-1830), aged 81.
4- Ittô-ryô branches are parts of many traditions such as, Tôgun-ryû, Ittô-ryû, Toda-ryû, offspring of the ancient family tradition Chûjô-ryû Heihô.
5- Died in 1868, at the age of 64. He made seppuku at the end of the Bôshin civil war between shôgun followers, who lost, and imperial restoration enthusiasts.
6- Needle throwing technique (ninjutsu)
7- Miyawaki Tôru, who died in 1946 at the age of 64/65, lived in Hamamatsu (Shizuoka prefecture).