Komei Jyuku Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu kanji

Komei Jyuku Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu Lineage

Notes on Lineage charts

Firstly it must be pointed out that the lineage of the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and related styles descended from Hayashizaki Jinsuke is neither straightforward nor is there any one correct version. Different contemporary branches calculate the lineage quite differently, and it cannot be said that any one is more right that another.

In contrast to most koryu, where there is a clear line of succession, calculation of lineage in the Jinsuke / Eishin styles has become a statement of identity. Many branches show a line of succession of one headmaster to the next, yet it will be noted that many of the names in such charts are different. Some groups consider Miura Hirefusa Sensei or Ikeda Takashi Sensei as headmasters, but we count Sekiguchi Komei Sensei as the 21st generation headmaster. Thus, the accompanying chart only shows Sekiguchi Sensei's lineage for the last few generations.

Not much is known for certain about the life of the founder Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (c 1546 1621?). He is said to have sought a method to avenge his father's murder and, at a shrine in Yamagata prefecture, received divine inspiration to invent a system of sword drawing. In 1616, in his 72nd year, he set off on a musa shugyo and was never returned. The techniques that he left us are the Okuden sets that we practice today.

The first two successors to the lineage founded ryu of their own, the Tamiya Ryu and Muraku Ryu, that have survived as separate entities to this day. Tamiya Heibei Shigimasa was instructor to the first three Tokugawa shoguns.

The seventh headmaster in the lineage, Hasagawa Eishin (b. 1700?), transformed the style to use the katana through the obi, and created the set that we now know as the chuden set. It is his name that appears in the name of the style. Hasagawa Eishin was also noted for grappling techniques.

One of Eishin's students, Omori Rokuzeamon was expelled for personal reasons, but continued his study of swordsmanship as well as Ogasawara Ryu etiquette, eventually inventing the set that we now know as shoden. He was eventually accepted back into the Eishin Ryu, and while never headmaster he was an instructor to both the ninth and eleventh headmasters.

After the time of the eleventh headmaster the lineage is contested and is divided into two major sections. It is said that the Shimomura-ha was more associated with high-class samurai, while the Tanimura-ha was more associated with rural goshi (farmer-samurai), and the while the former was more sophisticated the latter was more practical.

Eventually Oe Masamichi (1852 1957) succeeded as head of both branches. After experience fighting in the Clam Gate War, he radically reformed the style, renaming many of the techniques. Until the time of Oe Sensei there were many two person kata, which he combined into the two sets that we practice today by eliminating repeated techniques.

Oe Sensei also granted menkyo (certificates) to any of his students that he considered worthy, rather that appointing one successor, which is why today there are many branches of the ryu. In the chart I have only included our lineage from Oe Sensei's time since there would not be room to add all the main students of Oe Sensei's successors.

Yamanouchi Toyotake (? 1947) was the grandson of the last Daimyo of Tosa province, and taught in both Kyoto before moving to Tokyo. There appears to be a separate lineage descending from his Kyoto Students.

The 20th generation headmaster, Onoe Masayoshi, was also a teacher of Kendo and Taijutsu. Sekiguchi Sensei said "He was teaching several different martial arts, and was very busy. He had no free time. Now I have succeeded him, I have no free time."

Principal sources

Dreager, Donn, and Warner, Gordon, Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and Practice, Weatehrhill, 1982.

Tosa Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu, Technique of Shimomura-ha. Kendo Nippon Magazine, June 1992.

Personal communication with Sekiguchi Komei Sensei


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