|Yakushimaru āqyushin, founder of Kukishin Ryu,
was born to Shirouhougan Douyu, who was the then Kumano-betto, at Hongu in
Wakayama prefecture on January 1, 1318. The family was a descendant of
Fujiwara clan which served for generations as Betto, the position for
supervising shrines in Kumano. The family was also one of the most
influential clans in Kumano, and they entered the Taira-Minamoto War,
taking the command of Navy called Kumano Suigun. His mother was
Chigusa-hime, whose brother was Hino Dainagon Suketomo. Because
Chigusa-hime had difficulty in conceiving, she made a pilgrimage to
Enryakuji temple at Mt.Hiei, where she prayed to
Bhaisajyaguru-Vaiduryaprabha, or Yakushi Buddha for help in becoming
pregnant; she gave birth to an adorable baby, which was named Yakushimaru
after the deity.
|Ryushin learned martial arts 1
and military science handed down in the family from his grandfather
Doujitsu and Shingu-Betto Ariie. After having learned Syugen-dou
(mountaineering asceticism) from his father Douyu, Ryushin went to Kyoto,
where he learned esoteric Buddhism from a Buddhist monk Joukai at
Sanmakuin temple. He also put himself in martial arts training at Mt.
Kurama. He is said to be master of Kuji-hihou and Onmyo-do.
|In 1335, when Ryushin cerebrated his coming of age, he was
ordered to participate in a war on the Northern Court side by Ashikaga
Takauji. He and his men hence fought against the Southern Court. In June,
1336, when warriors of the Northern Court attacked Mt.Hiei, where the fort
of the Southern Court located, Ryushin and his men lead the van, and the
fort fell eventually. The treatment of the Southern Court Emperor Godaigo
and his loyal vassals by Takauji was excruciatingly atrocious. Having seen
this, Ryushin was quoted as saying "It would be possible to lose the
emperor from the harsh treatment he gets. I would like to plot his
rescue." With other plotters Ooe Gyoubu Daiyu Kageshige, Bessyo
Saburou Takanori(Kojima Takanori), Hiyoshi Iga Nyudou and Kissuin
Soushin Hougen 2, Ryushin stole into the former palace of
ex-emperor Kazanin, where Emperor Godaigo was confined, and got away from
there to Yoshino with the emperor.
|Tadayoshi, younger brother of Takauji, noticed this, and sent
as many as ten thousand pursuers. Having been caught up with pursuers at Kuragari-Touge
3, a mountain pass situated at the border of Osaka and Nara
prefecture, they put up a fight against them, each taking a weapon they
liked. Kageshige took a sword, Takatoku a bow and arrow, and Ryushin a Naginata
4 (a halberd-like weapon). As warriors on the enemy's side
outnumbered them completely, it was a very hard fight for them;
eventually, the spearhead of Ryushin's Naginata was cut off. So Ryushin
used the bar left in his hand, knocking down enemies near him, and putting
enemies far away under control by drawing a special symbol, or yantra
called Kuji in the air with the bar. Bojutsu in Kukishin Ryu is based on
the techniques Ryushin used on this occasion and devised later.
|In the mean time came reinforcements from
Yoshino, and they could safely took the Emperor Godaigo to a small
temple-like hut at Mt.Kinpusen. Ryushin succeeded in getting back the real
Three Treasures of the Imperial House he had concealed in a scripture
house at Yokawa in Mt. Hiei, to which the emperor most grateful. The
Emperor Godaigo praised his dedication over again and asked about his
secret techniques. In answer to the question, Ryushin said, "It is a
secret technique passed on in the family. The secret art of Kuji, it
is." The emperor made an announcement as follows: "God
knows your loyalty. You change your surname Fujiwara to Kuki." 5
The stupa dedicated to Yakushimaru Ryushin
|The "Ku" of Kuki stands for "Ku"(number
nine in Japanese) of Kuji. "Ki" can be pronounced "Kami"
if the Chinese character is pronounced in the Japanese way, meaning "Oni-gami"(holly
spirits) as opposed to just "Oni"(evil spirits). "Ku-ki"
should therefore be officially called "Ku-kami." However, it
has been customarily called Kuki since the Edo period. 6
|In the aftermath of the war Ryushin's mother Hino
Chigusa, whose family belonged to the Southern Court, lamented over the
fact that Ryushin first took the side of the Northern Court. She went down
to Musashi 7, which is now called Hino
city 8 in Tokyo, where the Hinos had some relations; she passed
away in despondent there. After his mother's death, Ryushin devoted
himself to protecting the Emperor Godaigo, and he crystallized his love
for mother and regret for what he had done into the form of a Bojutsu
technique. This is the secret called "Juji-Roppou-Kujidome."
The beginning of Kongo Hiho Hen
The base of the stupa
There is a short poem concerning the secret technique that goes as
|Sadness in the autumnal air
|When I see Chigusa grass in the vast expanses of
| I put into this one.
"Chigusa" is a pun in which "Chi-gusa"
means both "thousand-grass" and Ryushin's mother "Chigusa."
"This one" suggests "Juji-Roppou-Kujidome." It was in
autumn when Chigusa passed away, around which season we could see the vast
expanses of grassy field of Musashi tinged with autumn colors --- just as
depicted in an old poem as "getting out of grass only to get
|[ Notes ]
||The martial arts handed down in the family was originally
called Shinden Fujiwara Musouryu.
||According to a document "Ryuko-no-maki"(A
scroll of Dragon and Tiger) the Bessho family owns, Vaisravans or the god
of treasure appeared in Ryushin's dream, saying "You save the emperor
Gotoba from his predicament." He kowtowed to Kami nine times and
decided to save the emperor.
||The path in Mt. Ikoma, which is situated on the border between
Osaka and Nara prefectures. It was known as important part of
transportation network between Osaka and Nara. There is a stone path as it
was in old days. The path is designated as one of the hundred roads with
scenic beauties in Japan.
||Both Kongou-hihouhen, one of the ancient
Kuki documents and the Bessho family's "Ryuko-no-maki" say it
was a spear. "Kuki-bojutu-hihouhen-nomaki," which is part of
Amatsutatara-hibun-kaidoku-hen handed down in the Chosui line, mentions it
was a Naginata.
||The 13th volume of Amatsutatara-hibun-kaidoku-hen "Kuki-bojtsu-hihounhen-nomaki"
transcribed by Takamatsu Chosui has a different story: "the emperor
saw in Ryushin's techniques ever-changing responses. Ever-changing state
of things is best described by the number nine. And the way you [Ryushin]
fought against enemies is just like Ki-shin, or Oni-gami. With the number
nine and Oni put together, I will confer the name Kuki upon you."
||In Edo period, the Kuki family governed Ayabe han. They
submitted documents concerning family line without the origins of the
family. They even eliminated the name of Yakushimaru Ryushin from the
family line. This is attributable to the fact that the Tokugawa family,
the head of the Shogunate government, belonged to the Northern Court, and
the Kuki family needed to strictly conceal the fact that they had belonged
to the Southern Court. It must have been a unavoidable measure to survive
as a feudal lord.
||Musashino is the regions that stretchs over ten counties:
Tama, Tachibana, Tsuzuki, Ebara, Toshima, Adachi, Niikura, Koma, Hiki,
||In Hino city in Tokyo, there are a descendant of the Hino
family. The head of the family at present being Hino Yoshito. There is a
shrine called Hinomiya Shrine related to the Hinos. It is assumed that the
history of the Hino family started when Kunai Suketada moved to the place
in 1425; however, the place name Hino is thought to have existed before
his settlement in the place. It can therefore be inferred that the Hinos
had some relatives in the place in 1336 when Chigusa-hime moved there.