Masaaki Hatsumi

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Masaaki Hatsumi
Born (1931-12-02) December 2, 1931 (age 82)
Residence Noda, Chiba, Japan
Style Ninjutsu[1]
Teacher(s) Toshitsugu Takamatsu
Rank Sōke

Masaaki Hatsumi (初見良昭 Hatsumi Masaaki, born December 2, 1931), formerly Yoshiaki Hatsumi, is the founder of the Bujinkan Organization and claims to be the current Togakure-ryū Soke (Grandmaster).[2] He currently resides and teaches in Noda, Chiba, Japan.[3]

Biography[edit]

Hatsumi was born in Noda, Chiba on December 2, 1931. He heavily participated in sports during his school years, along with martial arts and theater, including becoming "captain of the football team". While attending the Meiji University,[citation needed] he continued learning judo and eventually rose to Yudansha or Dan rank. He also began teaching Judo during his time at the university to American soldiers at the nearby Yokota Air Base. After graduating, Hatsumi began to search for a teacher to further his study of martial arts and when he was 26 he met Toshitsugu Takamatsu, known as "the Tiger of Mongolia". Hatsumi was accepted as Takamatsu's student and spent fifteen years on Honshu Island learning various ninjutsu styles from Takamatsu and other members of the Takamatsu family, also he continued to learn judo, Shito Ryu karate, aikido, and kobudo.[4]

Takamatsu died in Nara, Japan in 1972 after advancing Hatsumi from student and bestowing on him "all the art of the nine schools", three of which he indicated were ancient ninja schools and six samurai jujutsu schools of martial arts. Hatsumi went on to found the Bujinkan Dojo in Noda, Japan to teach the nine schools to other students.[4][5] His first trip to the United States was in 1982 and he has since continued to participate in yearly ninjutsu Tai Kai (gathering) around the world.[6]

Hatsumi also worked as a Seikotsu-in (整骨院) bonesetter after his graduation and was chairman of the Writers Guild of Japan at one point in time.[7] He was the writer of a martial arts magazine Tetsuzan, which was "distributed in 18 countries."[6]

Schools[edit]

Masaaki Hatsumi claims to have inherited the position of sōke (headmaster) of nine ryū (schools of martial arts):[8][9]

  • Togakure-ryū (戸隠流)
  • Gyokko-ryū Kosshi jutsu (玉虎流骨指術)
  • Kuki Shinden Happō Biken jutsu (九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術)
  • Kotō-ryū Koppō jutsu (虎倒流骨法術)
  • Shinden Fudō-ryū Dakentai jutsu (神伝不動流打拳体術)
  • Takagi Yōshin-ryū Jūtai jutsu (高木揚心流柔体術)
  • Gikan-ryū Koppō jutsu (義鑑流骨法術)
  • Gyokushin-ryū Ninpō (玉心流忍法)
  • Kumogakure-ryū Ninpō (雲隠流忍法)

Teachings[edit]

Masaaki Hatsumi focuses the training of the Bujinkan on the "feeling" of technique or what he terms the feeling of real situations. Hatsumi has a non-standoffish teaching approach, leading Black Belt magazine to call him "wild, funny, unpredictable, and a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Obi-Wan Kenobi."[10]

Hatsumi focuses on teaching taijutsu to his students, as the other ninja arts have no need to be practiced in modern times, besides for "historical study".[11]

Films[edit]

He has also served as a martial arts advisor to various films and television productions, including the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice,[12] and in the first film from the highly popular Japanese series Shinobi no Mono. He also appeared in and was the stunt coordinator for the Japanese tokusatsu television series Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya as the titular hero's mentor and father figure, Tetsuzan Yamaji.[13]

Ninjutsu lineage[edit]

Hatsumi claims that ninjutsu was developed by Japanese mountain clans, using "esoteric skills and philosophies" brought to Japan by Tang Dynasty exiles.[14]

The Iga-ryū Ninja Museum of Japan lists the only legitimate inheritor of authentic Ninjutsu as Jinichi Kawakami.[15] This may be a biased opinion as Jinichi Kawakami is also the honorary director of the Iga-ryū Ninja Museum a commercial enterprise and tourist attraction.[15]

The 1978 edition of the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten includes the full sōke lists for Masaaki Hatsumi's ryūha.[9]

According to Donn Draeger: "The late Fujita Seiko was the last of the living ninja, having served in assignments for the Imperial Government during the Taisho and Showa eras. No ninja exist today. Modern authorities such as T. Hatsumi are responsible for most research being done on ninjutsu."[16]

Awards[edit]

  • 1986 - Instructor of the Year, Black Belt magazine[7]
  • 1994 - Hatsumi claims to have received the title of a "Knight", from the German government;[7][17] however, the concept of nobility has been abolished in Germany in 1919, and there is no such title given out by the German government.
  • 2000 - International Culture Award, Japan Cultural Promoting Association (physically issued by the Japanese Imperial Family)[7][18]
  • 2001 - Lifetime Achievement Award, USMA International Hall of Fame.[19]
  • 2013 - Inducted into the CBME's Dutch National Hall of Fame

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Welzenbach, Michael (April 30, 1988). "Japan's Hatsumi Will Highlight Burbank Martial-Arts Event". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 28, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Lethal weapon: Hanging with the world's last living ninja". CNN. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Bujinkan Hombu Dojo Contact Information". Honbu Dojo. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Staff writer (May 5, 2006). "Masaaki Hatsumi, el culto al último maestro ninja". El Mercurio. Retrieved July 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ Green, Thomas A. (2001). Martial arts of the world: an encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 732. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Sandra E. Kessler (November 1994). "Ninja in the 20th Century/The Man Behind the Ninja Mask". Black Belt (Active Interest Media) 32 (11): 38–43. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Staff writer (August 2000). "Top Ninja Honored In Japan". Black Belt (Active Interest Media) 38 (8): 10. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Hino, Akira. "Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi". Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Watatani Kiyoshi and Yamada Tadashi (1978). Bugei Ryuha Daijiten. Various. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Groak, William (August 1986). "Black Belt Times: Ninja Leader Hatsumi Returns to U.S.". Black Belt Magazine. p. 16. 
  11. ^ Ollhoff, Jim (2008). Ninja. ABDO. pp. 28–29. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  12. ^ Masaaki Hatsumi at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Sekai ninja sen Jiraiya at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ Phelan, Stephen (12 October 2011). "Lethal weapon: Hanging with the world's last living ninja". CNN. 
  15. ^ a b "FAQ". Iga-ryū Ninja Museum. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  16. ^ Draeger, Donn F.; Smith, Robert W. (1969). Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha International Ltd. pp. 130–131. 
  17. ^ Staff interviewer (July 1994). "Ask Ninja About Ninja Things!!". B-Club (Bandai) 104. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Dr Masaaki Hatsumi Ph.D., Soke Bujinkan 34th Grandmaster Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu". Ninpo Properties cc. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "USMA International Hall of Fame: 2001 Inductees". United States Martial Arts Association. 2008. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 

External links[edit]