Amatsu History

Masaaki Hatsumi

Masaaki Hatsumi is the 34th grandmaster of Togakure ryu and founder of the International Bujinkan Hombu Dojo. He was born on December 2, 1931 in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan where he graduated from Meiji University Literature Department, and later went on to receive his Doctor of Orthapedics degree from a medical school located in Yotsuya.

It is documented that throughout his childhood Masaaki Hatsumi studied several popular martial arts. It was after teaching these martial arts to United States’ soldiers stationed in Japan he noticed that the large, strong build of the Americans gave them a natural advantage in battles. This simple realisation inspired his search for a different type of martial art; where those with equal skill truly were equals, even when they were not of equal build or strength. His search lead to his discovery of the principles of ninjutsu, and a martial artist named Toshitsugu Takamatsu who was an expert in this field.

Dr Hatsumi then reportedly spent 15 years studying these Ninjutsu principles as an apprentice with his new teacher until Toshitsugu Takamatsu passed away in 1972. From Takamatsu he inherited the position of s_ke (headmaster) of nine ry_ (schools of martial arts.) Dr Hatsumi continues to teach these principles in his Dojo in Noda City, Japan. In addition to medicine and martial arts, Dr Hatsumi is an accomplished artist of brush and ink in the Nihonga style. His art work has been exhibited at the Nagai Gallery of Tokyo and in Paris, France.

Dr Hatsumi has written numerous books and articles on philosophy and martial arts that have been translated into many languages. An accomplished actor and director of both movies and television, he starred in the TV series Jiraiya for four seasons. He has also served as a martial arts advisor to various films and television productions, including the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

Dr Hatsumi focuses his training of the Bujinkan on the ‘feeling’ behind his techniques or what he terms the ‘feeling’ of real situations. While technical knowledge of an art is considered important, the direction of this feeling-based approach guides our practitioners. In addition it is said by many that the Bujinkan students do not participate in martial art tournaments because it is Hatsumi’s belief that martial arts are not about winning or losing but about surviving.

Some publications for your reference:

  • Masaaki Hatsumi, Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai (2008), Kodansha International, ISBN 978-4-7700-3059-7
  • Masaaki Hastumi, Ninpo: Wisdom for Life  ISBN: 0-9727738-0-0 © Copyright 1997
  • Masaaki Hatsumi, Japanese Sword Fighting (2006), Kodansha International, ISBN 978-4-7700-2198-4
  • Masaaki Hatsumi, Advanced Stick Fighting (2005), Kodansha International, ISBN 978-4-7700-2996-6
  • Masaaki Hatsumi, The Way of the Ninja (2004), Kodansha International, ISBN 978-4-7700-2805-1
  • Masaaki Hatsumi and Quintin Chambers, Stick Fighting (1981), Kodansha International, ISBN 978-0-87011-475-5
  • Wolfgang Ettig: Takamatsu Toshitsugu. The Last Shinobi. 2006, ISBN 3-924862-109

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