Kuki Takaharu

In the nineteenth century, the 24th soke Kuki Takahiro endeavored to put a halt to the demise of the Kuki clan of the previous one-and-a-half century. In order to boost the revenue of trade and agriculture, he modernized Ayabe-han and he worked hard to safeguard its cultural heritage.

He also practiced kobudo. Being versed in Yamaga-ryû (山鹿流), he demonstrated his skill with horse and spear in front of the emperor in 1844. In the latter days of the Tokugawa shogunate, his successor, 25th soke Takatomo, sided with the forces loyal to the emperor and in 1863 he served on guard duty at the imperial palace in Kyoto. From

Oguchi Izuminokami he learned the line of Kukishin-ryû that had been passed on within the Oguchi family. In order to make the dangerous Kukishin training better suited for beginners, Takatomo devised a set of nine kata called Kihon kata and in his turn demonstrated these in front of the emperor in 1864.

It was the 26th soke Kuki Takaharu however, who was most successful in recovering the Kuki heritage. In order to reestablish the traditions of Shinto and martial arts within the family, in 1921 he founded the organisation Kodo Senyokai Shobukyoku (皇道宣揚会尚武局).


At the time, Kukishin-ryu was taught in several dojos in the Osaka area, of which the most important one was Iwami Nangaku’s (岩見

南学) Ryûbukan Dojo (隆武館), situated at the west gate of Shitennôji temple. The leading figures of the ryû had already organised themselves earlier, in 1919, in the Shobukyoku (尚武局), headed by Shigematsu Matsutaro (重松又太郎). Other members of the board were Iwami Nangaku, Takamatsu


Chôsui (高松澄水) and Akimoto Fumio (秋元

文雄). After Takamatsu Chôsui left the organisation (see Footnote 1), Nangaku, as the successor of Shigatsu, became the driving force behind Shobukyoku and the introduction of Kukishin-ryu to the general public. (For his-torical photos of this period, see Footnote 2.)

In 1931 a group of eleven persons (among whom Matsubara Kahei (松原嘉平) and Kiba Koshirô (木葉幸四郎)) was certified by soke Takaharu and this group contributed to the  preservation of Kukishin-ryû until after the second world war. In 1934 Matsubara Kahei became the third head of Shobukyoku, after Nangaku had died from a decease. In 1935 Nangaku’s students did succeed in realizing the Shobukyoku Honbu Dojo.

As the fourth head of Shobukyoku, Kiba Koshirô

played an important role in Kukishin-ryu after the second world war. Under his guidance, the organization was renamed Nihon Taiiku Kyoku (日本体育局). In 1936 he published a book on  Kukishin-ryû bojutsu, which helped to spread the name of the school. After his death, he was succeeded by his most important student Tatsuta Yasuichirô (辰田安一郎), who guided the ryû through the difficult post war years. Tatsuta sensei not only trained under Kiba Koshirô, but also under Takamatsu Chôsui. he made headlines by doing a bojutsu demonstration for the American army in 1946, just one year after the ceasing of hostilities. In the end he broke with the Kuki family. From this moment onward Fujita Yoshio (藤田義夫), who had trained under Kiba and Tatsuta, took over the task of preserving

Kukishin-ryû. In turn he was succeeded by the current (20th) shihanke, Takatsuka Eichoku.

Iwami Nangaku




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