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FounderSōma Shiro Yoshimoto (相馬 四郎 義元, fl. c.14th century)
Date founded1368
Period foundedNanboku-chō period (1336–1392)
Location foundedmodern day Nagano Prefecture
Current information
Current headmasterNone
Current headquartersNone
Arts taught
KenjutsuSword art
Ancestor schools
None identified
Descendant schools
Chujō-ryūToda-ryuIsshin-ryūIttō-ryūManiwa Nen-ryū

Nen-ryū (念流) is a traditional (koryū) school of Japanese martial arts founded in 1368 CE by the samurai Sōma Shiro Yoshimoto (c.14th century) in modern-day Nagano Prefecture, where Yoshimoto is said to have taught only fourteen students until his death.


The school taught primarily the art of using the katana (kenjutsu), and it is a root art of many other koryū schools of swordsmanship, including Shinkage-ryū, Chujō-ryū, and Ittō-ryū. It has been known as Maniwa Nen-ryū since 1591, when it was named as such by Higuchi Matashichiro.[citation needed]

Later history and legacy[edit]

Yoshimoto eventually joined the Jufuku-ji, taking the Buddhist name Nen Ami (念阿弥), Jion (慈恩), before traveling to teach in Okinawa. Today, many traditional schools of karate, including Shotokan, practice a kata named "Jion" after him. Yoshimoto is also frequently credited with founding the martial art of Isshin-ryū kusarigamajutsu, but this may not be literally true. Some historians believe that Tan Isshin (c.17th century), who may have studied Maniwa Nen-ryū with Yui Shōsetsu (1605–1651), was the true founder of Isshin-ryū kusarigamajutsu. They believe that he was inspired by Yoshimoto's teachings and chose to credit him as the founder of the art to honor him.[citation needed]