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In'ei watching the reflection of the moon.
In'ei watching the reflection of the moon.
FounderHōzōin Kakuzenbō In'ei (宝蔵院 覚禅房 胤栄, 1521–1607)
Date foundedc.1560
Period foundedSengoku period (mid-15th century–mid-17th century)
Location foundedNara, Yamato Province
Current information
Current headmasterIchiya Junzō
Current headquartersNara, Nara
Arts taught
SōjutsuSpear art
Descendant schools
Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsuShindō Yōshin-ryū

Hōzōin-ryū (宝蔵院流) is a traditional school (koryū) of Japanese martial arts that specializes in the art of spearmanship (sōjutsu). Hōzōin-ryū was founded by Hōzōin Kakuzenbō In'ei (宝蔵院 覚禅房 胤栄, 1521–1607) in c. 1560. In'ei was a Buddhist monk of Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara, Japan. He adored martial arts and trained in the art of swordsmanship. At the same time, he was coached and mentored by Daizendayū Moritada (大膳太夫盛忠), a master of the spear. Under this master's guidance, In'ei honed his spearmanship.

It is said that one evening, on seeing the reflection of the crescent moon shining on Sarusawa pond, he was inspired to create a spear with a cross-shaped spearhead. He imagined this style of spear would be more effective in fighting. With this new type of spear (known as jumonji-yari 十文字槍), he founded the Hōzōin-ryū.

Later, the teachings Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu were passed down to Nakamura Naomasa and then Takada Matabei Yoshitsugu. The three best disciples of Takada went to Edo, present day Tokyo, to promote the art. Its reputation spread nationwide and the number of disciples increased. As martial art of Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu was passed down from generation to generation, various new techniques as well as new dojo were created.

At the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, (around the middle of the 19th century) there were many masters of Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu employed at the shogunate's martial arts training center.

Eventually in 1976, Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu returned to Nara. In 1991 Kagita Chubei was appointed the 20th headmaster and has been leading the Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu school since then.

An ancient Japanese poem expresses the spear of Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu:

"It can be a spear to thrust. It can be a naginata to cleave. It can be a Kama to slash. In any case, it never fails to hit the target."

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