Higo Shinkage Ryu

Higo Shinkage Ryu is Shinkage-Ryu from Hosokawa-clan (Higo, Kumamoto pref.)

Higo Shinkage Ryu was established  Hikita Bungoro (疋田豊五郎).

Hikita Bungoro was the best disciple of Shinkage Ryu founder Kamiizumi Ise no kami.

Higo Shinkage Ryu was transmitted in the Hosokawa clan (Higo clan) by Hikita Bungoro Kagetomo in the year 1580 to 1601(Including six years of the his Musha shugyo of his in the meantime.). At that time, Ueno Soumanosuke learned Shinkage-Ryu from Hikita Bungoro.

Hikita Bungoro Kagetomo (1537 – 1606) was a nephew and student of Shinkage-ryu founder and master swordsman Kamiizumi Ise no Kami Nobutsuna. With his uncle and the swordsman Jingo Muneharu and perhaps accompanied also by one of Nobutsuna’s sons, Bungoro traveled around Japan on a martial pilgrimage (musha shugyo) during the 1560′s.

At Hozoin temple  it was Bungoro who used only a bamboo sword (fukuro shinai) defeated Yagyu Muneyoshi in a duel with a bokken. Bungoro is sometimes credited with the invention of the fukuro shinai, which was at that time called ‘hikihada shinai’, literally ‘toad skin-covered bamboo sword’.

But it was actually most likely invented by Kamiizumi. Bungoro later founded his own current of swordsmanship known as the ‘Higo (Hikita) Kage-ryu’ (or ‘Higo or Hikita-ha Shinkage-ryu’). An incredibly gifted warrior, he served as a retainer and sword instructor for several notable figures, including Hosokawa Fujitaka and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Shinkage-ryu was one of the major traditional schools of swordsmanship in the Sengoku period founded by Kamiizumi Musashi-no-kami Nobutsuna. He was a samurai commander as well as a strategist who studied and synthesized Shinto-ryu, Nen-ryu and Kage-ryu the base of Shinkage-ryu.

Nobutsuna had many pupils and one of his outstanding pupil was Hikita Bungoro Kagetomo, some says Nobutsuna’s nephew. He was a samurai commander and distinguished himself in various battle with Nobutsuna since he was young. Bungoro has mastered the essence of Shinkage-ryu and worked for the feudal Hosokawa in Higo (Kumamoto prefecture) in later years. He introduced Shinkage ryu to retainers of Higo clan and this Shinkage ryu has been continuously transmitted from generation to generation until today. There was also another outstanding pupil Yagyu Sesshusai who worked under Shogun family and has also introduced Shinkage ryu but has different indication and impression.

After Hikita Bungoro has left the Higo clan, Ueno Soumanosuke became Shinkage Ryu official teacher in Higo clan. His descendants had been Kenjutsu Shihan until the middle of the Edo period from generation to generation.

When Ueno family waned, leading disciples of Ueno family became shihans of Shinkage-Ryu in Higo clan and started to lead Higo Shinkage Ryu school for many generations.

Leading disciples of Ueno family.
Wada (和田), Hayami(速水or 早水), Yokota(横田), Hayashi(林), Tonami or Toba(戸波)
They were referred to as “Shinkage-goke (新陰五家)”.

Shinkage-Ryu (Hikita-Lineage) in Higo clan was the most influential Ryuha in Higo (Kumamoto) from the early Edo period to Meiji era.

“Higo Shinkage-Ryu” is Wada line and the official name of Higo-Shinkage-Ryu is “Shinkage Ryu”, simply.
But it might be confused with the other Shinkage-Ryu such Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. So that´s why at 1963 ~1970, Manabu Aikawa, the 16th generation, named our school “Higo Shinkage-Ryu” in the sense that “Shinkage Ryu” were transmitted in the Higo clan.

In early 80s at Ise at Gokashoura in Mie prefecture at the birthplace of Aisu Ikôsai Hisatada who was the founder of Aisu Kage ryû was enbu where Aikawa Manabu Sensei demonstrated Higo Shinkage ryû. After that, Aikawa Sensei started to teach Shinkage ryu to the people at the Gokashoura and Higo Shinkage ryû Mie branch has started. From that day, the person who learned Shinkage Ryu from Aikawa Sensei and Shiki Taichiro Sensei (16th of Noda-ha Niten Ichi ryu and brother disciple of Aikawa Sensei) until they died was Yamamoto Atsushi Sensei.
Takara Takanashi started to practice with Yamamoto Sensei many years ago and become one of the best his student of Higo Shinkage Ryu. So that´s why Yamamoto Sensei decided to give him official teacher licence to spread this uniques style to other students.

Higo Shinkage-Ryu have 23 Katas.
Sangaku (4 katas), Kumitachi (6 katas), Kodachi (4 katas), Metsuke (1 kata), Kuraidome  (5 katas), Chugokui (3 katas).
Kumitachi use bokuto and other name of kumitachi is “Empi (猿飛)”.
Other katas use Fukuro-shinai.

Our ryuha has no Odachi waza and Bokuto and Shinai are the length of less than 1m. Also bokuto is thin.

Genealogy of Higo Shinkage Ryu
1. Aisu Ikôsai
2. Aisu Koshichirô
3. Kamiizumi Musashinokami Nobutsuna
4, Hikita Bungorô Kagetomo Nyûdô Seiunsai
5. Ueno Sômanosuke Kagemochi
6. Ueno Kizauemon Kagesue Musei
7. Ueno Kizauemon Kagemoto Nyûdô Jinsai
8. Ueno Jingoemon Kageaki
9. Wada Denbê Sadataka
10. Wada Kinemon Nobutaka
11. Wada Denbê Takanori
12. Wada Heiya Kôtoku
13. Noda Chôzaburô (son of 12th Wada)
14. Koga Hidenobu (and Noda-ha Niten Ichi Ryu Shihan)
15. Koga Noritaka (and Noda-ha Niten Ichi-Ryu Shihan)
16. Aikawa Manabu
17. Yamamoto Atsushi

Takara Takanashi is one of the best student of Yamamoto Atsushi Sensei and as one of the few has official teaching licence of Higo Shinkage Ryu from him.

If you are interested in trainings of this unique martial art do not hesitate to contact Filip Bartos – filip@bujin.cz or +420 736 534 469 who regularly studying Higo Shinkage Ryu under the direction of Takara Takanashi.