Masaaki Hatsumi

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Masaaki Hatsumi ( Japanese 初見 良 昭 , Hatsumi Masaaki [ hatsɯmi masaːki ]; * December 2, 1931 in Noda , Japan as Hatsumi Yoshiaki ) has been the head of the Bujinkan - Dōjō since 1972 .

Youth and education

At the age of seven, Hatsumi began to learn Kendo from his father. In addition, he also trained Aikido , Judo and Karate . At school, Hatsumi practiced gymnastics and boxing and was the captain of the soccer team. He practiced dance, which helped him to learn budo . He kept boxing and judo in high school. He studied dramaturgy and theater studies .

Hatsumi made his exams in theater studies and seikotsu (German roughly osteopathy , a method of straightening bones) at Meiji University in Tokyo . Then he started a practice for seikotsu. While in college, he earned a 4th dan in judo, which was rare at his age. He was asked if he could practice judo with the American soldiers at the Yokota Army Base . Hatsumi doubted the effectiveness of judo if you as a smaller or weaker fighter couldn't win against bigger, stronger opponents.

Turning to the martial arts

He started looking for real martial arts and practiced the 'Kobujutsu Juhappan' fighting style with a Japanese teacher named Ueno. After three years he had mastered the style and his teacher Ueno said there was nothing more he could teach him. He advised Hatsumi to go to Nara and find a capable teacher.

When Hatsumi was 25 years old, he met Takamatsu Toshitsugu , from whom he learned Taijutsu . From then on, Hatsumi traveled ten hours a week across the island of Honshu to his teacher for 15 years . He left Noda on Friday night, stayed with his teacher over the weekend and trained with him. He left Takamatsu on Sunday night and made the long way back to reopen his practice on Monday morning.

Takamatsu gave Hatsumi a certificate in March 1958 that he was the 34th Sōke of Togakure Ryu and thus his heir.

At the age of 30 he married his wife Mariko.

The founding of the Bujinkan

Hatsumi decided because of the large extent of the nine traditions (ryuha) not to practice them separately, but as a unit and called his dojo "Bujinkan dojo". On September 9, 1987, the Bujinden (Hombu) Dōjō was opened. Until then, Hatsumi had alternately taught his students in the dojo.

The training under Hatsumi is said to have been very hard at first, but in 1988 he decided to adapt the Bujinkan to this aspect and softened the training. Since 1995 the martial art in Bujinkan Bujinkan Budō is called Taijutsu .


Hatsumi claims to be the legitimate successor to the following nine ryuha:

  • 34. Sōke - Togakure Ryu Ninpo
  • 28. Sōke - Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu
  • 28. Sōke - Kukishinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu
  • 21. Sōke - Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo
  • 18. Sōke - Koto Ryu Koppojutsu
  • 17. Sōke - Takagi Yohshin Ryu Jutaijutsu
  • 16. Sōke - Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu
  • 15. Sōke - Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu
  • 14. Sōke - Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo

Most of these schools (ryuha) are samurai schools. Three of the schools are the last ninja schools known to exist. See also ninjutsu .

In 2019, Hatsumi passed some of his titles on to his direct students.


Hatsumi has taught numerous students, both at home and abroad, who are now teachers themselves. A few of them were invited by Hatsumi to also teach in Bujinden (Honbu-Dōjō).

1990 until today

Due to health problems ( diabetes ) and to take care of his wife, Hatsumi now only stays in Japan. But he still trains in Bujinden (Honbu-Dōjō). He has received numerous military and public awards worldwide. He received two other doctorates, one in philosophy and one in science. 1986 was awarded the Black Belt's Instructor Of The Year Award. He is a scientist, impressionist painter, actor, musician, singer and author, has written countless columns in newspapers and magazines, has written many books on ninjutsu and published the Bujinkan magazine called "Sanmyaku". He has already shot more than 25 videos and participated in many films: "Shinobi no Mono", 50 episodes of the popular children's series "Jiraya" and "Suteki no Mama".


  1. Bo F. Munthe: Ninjutsu, German edition 1992. Page 23
  2. Masaaki Hatsumi: Tetsuzan. German edition 2001. Page 81
  3. Masaaki Hatsumi: Advanced Stickfighting, 2005. page 42

Web links


  • Masaaki Hatsumi: The Way of the Ninja - Secret Techniques. Verlag Dieter Born, Bonn, 2009, ISBN 978-3-922006-53-4
  • Wolfgang Ettig: Takamatsu Toshitsugu. The biography of a martial arts legend . 2004, ISBN 3-924862-11-7
  • Masaaki Hatsumi: Hanbôjutsu - Kukishin Ryû . 2006, ISBN 3-924862-05-2
  • Moshe Kastiel: Samurai and Ninja - Volume I: History and Tradition of Japanese Martial Arts . 2004, ISBN 3937947000