|In reading the Kanji
for Kage Ryu readers will
observe it is the Kanji for Keshiki
meaning a view or scene.
This is the original name of the Ryu, and it has not been changed
since inception in the mid sixteenth century. There are many
Makimono (scrolls) and manuscripts and other evidence that
supports the Ryu. It's teachings and practices and tradition which
of course includes the verbal teachings that have been handed
down throughout the generations.
The founder of the Kage-ryu
was Yamamoto Hisaya Masakatsu of Akizuki Han.
is a part of present day Amagi-shi in Fukuoka. Next to this
is Kasuya-gun, the home of the first Lord Tachibana. Yamamoto
was a retainer of the clan. The second Lord Tachibana Muneshige
moved to the Yanagawa fief in 1590. He had received this land
from Hideyoshi Toyotomi, as he had fought with him leading Otomo
Bungos advanced guard. Naturally Yamamoto went with him
when he moved to his acquired fief. It stretched from the south
of Fukuoka right down to the border of the Hosokawa fief (Kumamoto
Ken). Old Yanagawa domain was a castle town up until the Meiji
restoration. It is in present day Yanagawa-shi (City). There
the Tachibana line remains unbroken to this day. Although the
castle is long gone the family still preserves many precious
treasures, documents and displays them in rotation in a hall
are also are many living traditions associated with the Tachibana
clan, Kageryu being one of these. They also maintain traditions
of the Hosokawa Clan as a present 17th generation second son
is married to the 17th generation descendant daughter of this
Found in a Tokyo art
shop is this print shown of Tachibana Muneshige with his Choken
The Tokugawa Shogunate
the size of swords in Japan to Jo-sun.
This is written as Tei-sun meaning designated
length. This was 2 shaku 3 sun (64.7 cms) [one shaku is just under a
foot], whereas one sun is just under one and a quarter inches. Shaku,
sun, bu, rin is a decimal system].
maintain control over the country the Shogun would arrange for his loyal
clans to keep an eye on those considered not to be so loyal. It was
for this reason that the neighboring Nabeshima clan paid visits to the
Tachibana Fief to ensure that the Tokugawa laws were being observed.
The Nabeshima fief, now Saga City is about a one hour horse ride from
Yanagawa. An interesting fact is as Yamamoto Tsunetomo dictated to his
scribe the aphorisms of the Hagakure Kikigaki, anecdotes lamenting the
failing ways of the samurai in the Nabeshima fief in the early 1700's.
Little did he know that at the same time Yamazaki Buzen the Shihan of
Kage-ryu was busy carrying on the tradition that Yamamoto thought was
Shown left :The Jingai
made from a Horagai shell (Triton shell )used to begin embu for the Kageryu and other ceremonies. It was
used by the Yamabushi to keep in contact with each other as they
traveled across the mountains from place to place. Like swordsmanship there are certain
fundamentals related to the Jingai.
word fuku (blow) is never used, but the sound is made to rise
(hora wo tatsu). The Jingai must never be placed with
shell mouth facing down. This is considered to be very impolite
upwards it is blown using the side of the mouth and there are
three rolling notes played in a flowing manner. They can be of
set melody for ceremonies in Shrine or Temple or a certain amount
of free expression can be used for unformal occasions.
are generally no hard and fast rules to the order of notes played with
the exception to ceremonies at shrines or temple where specific tunes
are played. This is unique in the respect that when it is done by the
Yamabushi it is one of the few times we see Buddhist ceremony at a Shinto
not to have the Ryu and it's weapons standardized, the Ryu practiced
in secret. It became an Otome Ryu
(that which flows but remains at home). Another term used to
describe a secret sword style is Mongai
Fushutsu, (not to be taught outside the gate).