The history of Ryu-ha [ part1 ][ part2 ][ part3 ][ part4 ] [ part5 ] [ part6 ][part7 ]
Bojutsu Devoted to Mother


Yakushimaru qyushin, 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 follows


Sadness in the autumnal air
When I see Chigusa grass in the vast expanses of Musashi field
 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 in."


[ Notes ]
1 The martial arts handed down in the family was originally called Shinden Fujiwara Musouryu.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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."
6 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.
7 Musashino is the regions that stretchs over ten counties: Tama, Tachibana, Tsuzuki, Ebara, Toshima, Adachi, Niikura, Koma, Hiki, Irima.
8 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.



  'use strict';