Taisha-ryū Historical Research Group



!!! NEW ISSUE IS OUT !!! The 2024 THRG Annual Bulletin

Dear friends of Hyōhō Taisha-ryū and the history of koryū! We are delighted, for a second year in a row, to be able to publish for you the Annual of the Bulletin Taisha-ryū Historical Research Group ! In this second issue we focus on one of the more famous (but lesser known) students of Taisha-ryū founder Marume Kurando – the lord of the Yanagawa Domain (柳川藩) – Tachibana Muneshige (立花宗茂; 1567 – 1643), and Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s 1592-1598 campaign in Korea, in which Muneshige displayed his strategic military prowess. Readers will also encounter interesting and hard-to-get information about the swordsmanship history of Yanagawa and the styles which evolved out of Taisha-ryū, coming to dominate the kenjutsu landscape of the domain for about two centuries. Schools descendents of Taisha-ryū such as Shinnuki-ryū (心貫流) and Ōishi Shinkage-ryū (大石新影流) flourished in Yanagawa and even had a significant influence on the history of the development of modern kendō, and its equipment especially. As a treat, this year we’ve also included a multilingual map of the first Korean campaign and a poster of Tachibana Muneshige! We wish to thank everyone who supported our efforts in 2023 and look forward to your continued support for our research

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In January 2024 an unexpected stroke of luck occurred – the THRG succeeded in acquiring for its collection a cash of documents which probably belonged to the 10th shihanke of the Taku Taisha-ryū line of Hizen province (modern-day Saga prefecture) – Nabeshima Ōsumi (鍋島大隅; 1764-1848) – a senior statesman of the Nabeshima domain. The most wonderful discovery was that among the documents, there was also an extremely rare original manuscript of the Taisha-ryū Kaichū (タイ捨流解紐) – only the second one in existence (the other being in the Nabeshima collection of the Saga Prefectural Library). The manuscript is 2/3 complete and has suffered some insect and structural damage, but it ranks as one of the most important pieces in the collection of Hyōhō Taisha-ryū. The collection also includes a full copy of the initiation vow of Yamamoto Tsunetomo into Taisha-ryū, dated to 1680, of which only the contents of the latter half were known to date. Among the other documents are certificates and transmission papers of the Anegawa-ryū school of spearmanship and the Heki-ryū school of archery, beside others. G.K.

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In September 2023 a member of our team visited Saga City in Saga Prefecture, Northern Kyushu. The first stop was Kukusō-ji Temple (國相寺) in Saga City. The temple is recorded in the Yamaryō Family Tree as the last resting place of Nakano Shūmei, the author of the Taisha-ryū Kaichū (タイ捨流解紐) and 5th shihanke of the Taku Line of Taisha-ryū. Unfortunately, none of the graves listed in the temple registry, including those of Nakano Shūmei and his wife, could be found in the graveyard. This was followed by many hours of scanning documents at the Saga Prefectural Library with the kind assistance of Mr. Ishibashi Michihide. The more than 500 pages of material on masters and students of Taisha-ryū in the Nabeshima domain will likely take many sleepless nights to process and analyse. On the next morning, another field trip to the Suigetsu Zen-ji Temple (水月禅寺) in Yokamachi, Saga city, proved more fruitful. Reverend Itahashi Hakudō – head priest of the temple, besides being a wonderful conversationalist, it turns out, also happened to know the current generation of the Yamaryō Family and was quite happy that someone was interested in history. He was kind enough to say: “Come over for tea

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