In reading the kanji
for Kage Ryu readers will
observe it is the Kanji for Keishiki meaning a view/scene or indistinct 影流.
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 kanji should not be confuse with 陰流. This is the name of the ryu founded by Aizu Hyūga-no-Kami Iko later to be renamed as the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu.
Since this page was first posted online I was given the densho of the Shihan Yamazaki Buzen rewritten around 1862 This densho points to fact that this particular kanji is used by the founder Yamamoto refers to the indistinct shadow of a monkey he observed. The previous Shihan Takamuku Mioji relates to the shadow of a monkey reaching out with a stick to obtain an object thus extending his capabilities.
The founder of the Kage-ryu
was Yamamoto Hisaya Masakatsu of Akizuki Han.
Akizuki 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
aquired fief. It stretched from the South of Fukuoka right down
to the border of the Hosokawa fief (Kumamoto Ken).The location
of the 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
of history although we are independant the patronage and links to the family adds credibilty to Kageryu as a living tradition.
There are also are many living
traditions associated with the Tachibana clan, Kageryu was
one of these. The Tachibana family also maintain traditions of the Hosokawa
Clan as a present 17th generation second son is married to the
17th generation descendant of this clan.
Found in a Tokyo art
shop is this print shown of Tachibana Muneshige with his Choken (long sword)
||The original name of Tachibana was given by the Empress Gemmei in 708 the family moved to the Yanagawa domain in the Edo period. Tachibana Muneshige had been rewarded this fief by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. They were disspossesed by the Tokugawa shogunate after the battle of Sekigahara. Links are still made with the Toyotomi family through the Nakazawa line.
The Tokugawa Shogunate standardised
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.
To 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 neighbouring
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 But he was not aware that the Kageryu was in Yanagawa busy carrying on the tradition that Yamamoto thought was disappearing.
Determined not to have the Ryu
and it's weapons standardised, the Ryu practised 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).nowadays the ryu is taught outside Yanagawa. Like most ryu there is no hereditory succession. The title given to a current leader of the ryu is Shihan. The title Sohke has never been used. Anyone purporting to be Soke of the ryu would be a phoney.
Shown left :The Jingai 法螺貝 made from a Horagai (Triton shell ) used to begin embu for the Kageryu and other ceremonies. Used by the Yamabushi 山伏 to keep in contact with each other as they
travelled across the mountains from place to place and in ceremonies at temples and shrines. Like swordsmanship there are certain
fundamentals related to the Jingai. The 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 and unlucky.
Elevated 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 normal occasions.
There are generally no hard and fast
rules to the order of notes played with the exception to ceremonies
at shrines or temple. With the Yamabushi 山伏 it is one of the few times we see a Buddhist
ceremony held at a Shinto Shrine.
||Performing Kairoken or Sakigakenotsuyuken at Mihashira Jinja