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Masaaki Hatsumi  |  Photo Archive  |  Links  |  Shodo

Masaaki Hatsumi is the founder of the Bujinkan Dojo, with its Hombu Dojo located in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Dr. Hatsumi inherited the nine schools that comprise the Bujinkan from the late Toshitsugu Takamatsu Soke shortly before Takamatsu's passing in 1972. Hatsumi named his organization Bujinkan (Devine Warrior Training Hall) in honor of Takamatsu, whom he considered a Devine Warrior.

The information on this page was compiled from various sources, among which is the book "An Introductory History To The Schools Of The Bujinkan" by Paul Richardson and Richard Van Donk. The book can be purchased from the American Bujinkan Headquarters. (See the Links page.)


Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi was born on December 2, 1931. His warrior names are Yoshiaki, Tetzusan, and Hisamune.

Hatsumi Soke began study of the martial arts at an early age. He achieved teaching ranks in Judo, Kendo, Karate and Aikido. By the time he was twenty Hatsumi obtained the rank of 4th degree black belt in Judo. He was invited to teach Judo at an American military base after the war. He was impressed by the skills of the Americans, and noticed they had great physical power to back up their throws of the Judo he taught them. It wasn't long before the Americans had developed a powerful style, and many of them were easily able to throw their Japanese seniors with ease.

Hatsumi began to wonder if the martial arts were comprised only of strength and athletic ability. He wondered how a person who was small in stature might be able to defend himself. Hatsumi then turned to traditional Kobudo arts. One of his Kobudo masters told him of master Toshitsugu Takamatsu. The Kobudo master suggested that he seek Takamatsu as a teacher, because he had already learned all he could from the Kobudo master.

Takamatsu lived in Kashiwabara, on the far side of Japan. The trip to Kashiwabara took Hatsumi 15 hours by train. He would leave Noda Friday night, train with Takamatsu all weekend, leave Sunday night, and be back to Noda in time to open his bone clinic Monday morning. He trained this way for 15 years.

It was through Takamatsu that Hatsumi learned the arts of Taijutsu. This was what Hatsumi had been looking for. Here was a method of movement and distance that allowed an individual to defeat opponents who were much larger and stronger. This is the essence of the true Bujutsu arts.

Hatsumi Soke is the author of over a dozen books and more than 25 video tapes on Ninjutsu. He has also authored countless magazine and newspaper articles on Ninpo. He wrote, directed and acted in 50 episodes of a Japanese television series called Jiraya which was the number one watched kid's show. He chose to stop the series because he said it took too much out of his responsibilities to his martial art.


The Essence of Ninjutsu

I believe that Ninpo, the higher order of ninjutsu, should be offered to the world as a guiding influence for all martial artists. The physical and spiritual survival methods eventually immortalized by Japan's ninja were in fact one of the sources of Japanese martial arts. Without complete and total training in all aspects of the combative arts, today's martial artist cannot hope to progress any further than mere proficiency in the limited set of muscular skills that make up his or her training system. Personal enlightenment can only come about through total immersion in the martial tradition as a way of living. By experiencing the confrontation of danger, the transcendence of fear or injury or death, and a working knowledge of individual personal powers and limitations, the practitioner of ninjutsu can gain the strength and invincibility that permit enjoyment of the flowers moving in the wind, appreciation of the love of others, and contentment with the presence of peace in society.

The attainment of this enlightenment is characterized by the development of the jihi no kokoro, or "benevolent heart". Stronger than love itself, the benevolent heart is capable of encompassing all that constitutes universal justice and all that finds expression in the unfolding of the universal scheme. Born of the insight attained from repeated exposure to the very brink between life and death, ninpo's benevolent heart is the key to finding harmony and understanding in the realms of the spiritual and the nautural material worlds.

After so many generations of obscurity in the shadowy recesses of history, the life philosophy of the ninja is now once again emerging, because once again, it is the time in human destiny in which ninpo is needed. May peace prevail so that mankind may continue to grow and evolve into the next great plateau.

Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, Soke
34th Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu

Below is a list of the nine schools that were passed on to Hatsumi from Takamatsu.

The nine schools of the Bujinkan
  1. 34th Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu
  2. 28th Grandmaster of Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu
  3. 26th Grandmaster of Kukishinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu
  4. 26th Grandmaster of Shindenfudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu
  5. 21st Grandmaster of Gyokushin Ryu Ninjutsu
  6. 18th Grandmaster of Koto Ryu Koppojutsu
  7. 17th Grandmaster of Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu
  8. 15th Grandmaster of Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu
  9. 14th Grandmaster of Kumogakure Ryu Ninjutsu