The History of Bujinkan – Short Curriculum

Here’s a a short review on what has happened in Bujinkan so far. Some notes:

– I have not meant this to be a complete history, just a review to the most important phases especially concerning Finland. From this the reader can continue studying.

– I have not written titles for different persons (sôke, daishihan, shidôshi, dan grades, etc.); this is not because of lack of respect for them but because of wanting to keep the text clear. This also helps to get rid of the problem of remembering on which year some title was received by some person.

– The art is usually called simply “Bujinkan“, so I use that here so I don’t have to differentiate the terms used in the past.

– In the names of associations (etc.) I haven’t marked long vowels in the term “dôjô“, because that’s how they have been registered. For the same reason the Japanese terms in those names are not in italics.

– The accumulation of the Finnish shidôshi, jûdan and jûgodan have been marked as the first one achieved, full tens and by the present number.

– The sources are my bad memory and my notes, the original sources are somewhat not registered, probably partially mistakenly quoted and in any way too numerous to write here.

Please let me know about possible mistakes.

Jukka Nummenranta

“This art has a 2600 year history. It is hard to believe that it is still around and that it can be applied to modern weapons and modern situations.” – Hatsumi, “Understand? Good. Play!”, p.195

In 1957 Toshitsugu Takamatsu begins to teach Yoshiaki Hatsumi in the nine ryûha. Hatsumi travels to meet him 800 km b an overnight train for 15 years almost every weekend returning to open his honetzugi clinic (“bone setter”, osteopathic doctor) on monday morning.

In 1958 Takamatsu names Hatsumi as his successor, the next sôke of the Togakure-ryû.

Takamatsu gives Gikan-ryû menkyo kaiden to Fumio Akimoto, but he dies of an illness in 1962 and the style returns to Takamatsu.

In 1967 Quintin Chambers brings Danny Waxman to train with Hatsumi. Later Waxman brings to Hatsumi’s class Doron Navon, who is in Japan training Jûdô.

In 1968 Takamatsu names Hatsumi as his sole inheritor and sôke in the following styles:

Togakure-ryû Ninpô happô biken, 34th sôke, founded by Daisuke Togakure

Gyokko-ryû Kosshijutsu happô biken, 28th sôke, founded by Hakuunsai Tozawa

Kukishin-ryû Taijutsu happô biken, 28th sôke, founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru

Shinden Fudô-ryû Dakentaijutsu happô biken, 26th sôke, founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru

Gyokushin-ryû Ninpô happô biken, 21st sôke, founded by Sasaki Goeman Teruyori

Kotô-ryû Koppôjutsu happô biken, 18th sôke, founded by Sandayû Momochi

Takagi Yôshin-ryû Jûtaijutsu happô biken, 15th sôke, founded by Oriuemon Shigenobu Tagaki

Gikan-ryû Koppôjutsu happô biken, 15th sôke [18th according to some sources], founded by Sonyu Hangan Gikanbo, lord of Kawachi

Kumogakure-ryû Ninpô happô biken, 14th sôke, founded by Heinaizaemon Ienaga Iga, later called Kumogakure Hoshi

After receiving the title of sôke, Hatsumi changes his first name to Masaaki for good luck in his new mission.

2.4.1972 Takamatsu passes away in the age of 84 at his home in Nara.

Between 1972-1975 the basis of Bujinkan is formed.

In 1974 Doron Navon returns to Israel with a teaching licence and founds the first Bujinkan dôjô outside Japan.

In the Summer of 1975 Stephen K.Hayes trains in Japan and brings the art to United States.

In 1975 Moti Nativ begins to train Bujinkan with Doron Navon.

In the Autumn of 1975 one of Hatsumi’s original students, Tetsuji Ishizuka, arrives to Sweden for a week to teach after invited by Bo Munthe.

Between 1970’s and 1980’s Hatsumi is ill for five years. Following this training changes to softer style.

In 1978 Hatsumi starts to call the art Bujinkan and takes in to use the title shidôshi.

In 1982 Hatsumi travels to west for the first time: Ninja Festival (Dayton, Ohio, USA) organized by Stephen K.Hayes, Jack Hoban and Mark Hodel.

In October 1983 first international Bujinkan Gassuku / Taikai is organized in Yûmoa Mura, Japan.

In October 1983 while visiting Japan Doron Navon passes godan no shiken (sakki test) as the first gaikokujin.

At the latest in October 1983 the title shidôshi-ho is in use.

In 1985 one of Hatsumi’s original students, Tsunehisa Tanemura, resigns and forms Genbukan in 1988. Bujinkan practitioners are not allowed to practice with this organization.

In the Autumn of 1985 the owner of budô shop Kyu dan, Peter Schild, brings Bujinkan to Finland by inviting Bo Munthe to give a Ninjutsu seminar in Porvoo. Because the amount of interested people exceed the capacity of training facilities the seminar is split to two weekends. Some of the participants are Ari Julku, Mika Laitinen and Esa Koistinen. After the seminar training continues at least in Porvoo, Lappeenranta and Seinäjoki.

After Munthe’s seminar Peter Schild invites Günter Kunz from International Ninja Association Germany:stä (INAG, myös Incorporated Ninjutsu Association Germany) to teach on the following seminars. During London Taikai in August 1987 Hatsumi accepts INAG as part of Bujinkan.

In April 11th, 1987, at a meeting held in Porvoo’s Suistohalli is founded the first society for practicing Bujinkan in Finland – International Ninja Association Finland, INAF. Kristian Nyholm and Esa Koistinen take the lead on the association. Following the recommendation of Moshe Kastiel the name is later changed first to Bujinkan Dojo ry [ending meaning registered association… not miss-spelled “ryû”…], and in accordance with the accepted official registration in February 7th,1989, Bujinkan Dojo Finland.

In August 1987 the first Taikai is organized in Europe, in London, Great Britain. This is Hatsumi’s first visit to Europe.

In August 1987 public trainings begin in Lappeenranta led by Ari Julku and Mika Laitinen.

In January 1988 Elias Krzywacki teaches in a seminar in Seinäjoki.

In August 1988 Robin Ekebom begins to teach Bujinkan in Helsinki.

In october 1988 Bujinkan Dojo Finland begins co-operation with Moshe Kastiel.

In late 1988 Bujinkan Dojo Tuusula begins to operate, led by Lauri Jokinen.

Apparently in 1989 Hatsumi changes the name of the art from Togakure ryû Ninpô taijutsu to Bujinkan ninpô taijutsu.

In September 1989 Ari Julku and Mika Laitinen receive the first dan grades and shidôshi-ho -titles in Finland, therefore Bujinkan Dojo Lappeenranta becomes the country’s first official Bujinkan dôjô.

From 1991 to 1997 Hatsumi teaches different weapons as yearly themes.

In 1991 Hatsumi gives the first 10th dan grades: Four Japanese and Doron Navon.

From 1991 to 1999 Sveneric Bogsäter teaches yearly in Tampere, Lappeenranta or Helsinki.

In the July of 1992 first Finnish godan and shidôshi: Esa Koistinen, Bujinkan Dojo Finland.

From 1992 or 1993 to 1995 Bujinkan Dojo Finland is in co-operation with Moshe Zouler.

In early 1993 a Bujinkan Dojo Finland meeting rejects a plan proposed by an Israeli businessman “David” as too costly. Plan involved establishing a dôjô in Kamppi area of Helsinki with tatami imported from Japan. The planned dôjô operates for about a year led by some teachers that left Bujinkan Dojo Finland.

In spring 1993 Bujinkan Dojo Helsinki begins to operate, led by Ari Julku.

In 1995 Hatsumi changes the name of the art from Bujinkan ninpô taijutsu to Bujinkan budô taijutsu.

In 1996 one of Hatsumi’s original students, Fumio Manaka, resigns and forms Jinenkan. Bujinkan practitioners are not allowed to practice with this organization.

In 1997 Bujinkan‘s main training place, Bujinden (Hombu dôjô), is ready in Noda-shi.

In 1997 Bujinkan Dojo Finland begins co-operation with Moti Nativ.

In 1998 Bujinkan Dojo Helsinki proposed joining with Bujinkan Dojo Finland. The proposition is rejected by the board led by president of the time, Jukka Nummenranta.

From 1998 to 2002 Hatsumi teaches the different ryûha of Bujinkan as yearly themes.

In 2000 in the Bujinkan 1000th person receives the title shidôshi.

In 2000 Bujinkan Dojo Tuusula and some students from Bujinkan Dojo Finland found Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland, led by Lauri Jokinen. The new dôjô co-operates with Moti Nativ.

In 2001 10th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

In 2001 at Madrid taikai some jûdan perform godan no shiken for the first time?

In autumn 2001 Bujinkan Huovi Dojo begins to operate in Säkylä.

In 2002 14th dan persons start to perform godan no shiken after first strike by Hatsumi.

From 2003 Hatsumi teaches juppô sesshô as yearly themes.

In August 2003 Hatsumi gives the last Taikai outside Japan: New Jersey, USA.

Apparently in 2004 in the Bujinkan 2000th person receives the title shidôshi.

In spring of 2004 a Taikai is organized in Japan to honor 33 years since the passing of Takamatsu. After this the Daikomyôsai celebrating Hatsumi’s birthday is the only regular Taikai. (As time goes on the word taikai is taken to mean also other seminars than those taught by Hatsumi.)

In 2004 first jûgodan grades are given in the Bujinkan.

In the Autumn of 2004 first Finnish jûdan: Lauri Jokinen, Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland.

Beginning in Autumn 2004 Hatsumi occasionally lets the jûgodan to perform godan no shiken without giving the first strike.

In 2005 20th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

From early December 2005 to beginning of 2006 Hatsumi takes a brake from regular teaching.

In 2008 30th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

In late 2009 first Finnish person receives the grade of jûgodan: Lauri Jokinen, Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland.

In 2010 in the Bujinkan 3000th person receives the title shidôshi.

In 2010 40th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

In 2011 Hatsumi gives first shin gi tai bufû ikkan menkyo.

In 2011 the first godan no shiken are performed in Finland.

In 2012 50th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

The 2012 Daikômyôsai will remain the last at least for the time being. Hatsumi’s birthday celebrations continue in the Hombu Dôjô.

In 2013 in the Bujinkan 3300th person receives the title shidôshi.

In March 2013 a Kunoichi Taikai is organized in Japan led by Hatsumi.

In October 2013 Hatsumi announces there wil be no more Daikômyôsai.

In 2013 60th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

By 2014 10th Finnish person receives jûdan.

In 2014 first Finnish person receives the shin gi tai bufû ikkan menkyo: Lauri Jokinen, Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland.

In July 2014 Hatsumi gives first dai shihan menkyo, to Nagato and Noguchi.

In July 2014 Hatsumi gives the first yûshû shihan menkyo.

In 2014 70th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

In February 2015 Hombu dôjô is moved to another building built close by.

In 2015 first Finnish person receives the yûshû shihan menkyo: Lauri Jokinen, Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland.

In April 2016 the second 42 year cycle begins in Bujinkan.

In 2016 20th Finnish person receives jûdan.

By 2016 80th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

In September 2017 first Finnish person receives the dai shihan menkyo: Lauri Jokinen, Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland.

In 2017 90th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.

In the beginning of 2018 daishihan was defined as an administrative title above shidôshi.

By 2019 26th Finnish person receives jûdan.

By 2019 8th Finnish person receives jûgodan.

By 2019 4th Finnish person receives daishihan menkyo.

In 2019 98th Finnish person passes godan no shiken.



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