Soke Masaaki Hatsumi

Hatsumi Yoshiaki was born December 2, 1931 in Noda, Chiba Prefecture. He later changed his name to Masaaki. Yoshiaki’s father introduced him to the martial arts (kendo) when he was only seven years old. In high school he was a soccer player, a gymnast, a boxer, and also studied social dancing, as well as judo. In his college years he continued to study boxing and judo while he earned his major in theater arts. Medical school came next, during which he earned his 4th dan in judo, and was asked to train personnel at the nearby Yokota US Army base. What seemed to take the Japanese years to learn, the larger and physically fit Americans picked up in months. This disillusioned Dr. Hatsumi, and he began to search for an art that could not be defeated so readily by mere speed and strength … a warrior art. When he was 26 years old, this search led Dr. Hatsumi to Soke Takamatsu Toshisugu in Kashiwabara City, west of the Iga region in Japan. Takamatsu-sensei agreed to teach him this still secretive art. As often as possible, Dr. Hatsumi made the trip to Soke’s house that took over half a day, one-way. Soke Takamatsu Toshisugu of the nine schools that now make up Budo Taijutsu, after fifteen years of mentoring, granted Dr. Hatsumi the license and authority of Soke shortly before his death on April 2, 1972.

The Nine Schools

  • Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, 34th Soke, originally founded by Daisuke Togakure
  • Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, 28th Soke, founded by Hakuunsai Tozawa
  • Kukishin Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu, 28th Soke, founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru
  • Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, 26th Soke, founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru
  • Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo, 21st Soke
  • Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, 18th Soke, founded by Sandayu Momochi
  • Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, 17th Soke, founded by Oriuemon Shigenobu Takagi
  • Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu, 15th Soke, founded by Sonyu Hangan Gikanbo, lord of Kawachi
  • Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo, 14th Soke, founded by Heinaizaemon Ienaga Iga
Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, Ph.D.

Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi is a highly accomplished martial artist, doctor and healer, writer, actor, and artist. Dr. Hatsumi is most noted as the 34th Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu and founder of the Bujinkan Dojo. Budo Taijutsu encompasses nine ancient martial art traditions of feudal Japan, and integrates physical, intellectual, and spiritual elements for personal growth and development. It is practiced by thousands of students around the world. Dr. Hatsumi was born in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, on December 2, 1931. He graduated from Meiji University of Medicine in Tokyo as a Hone-tsugi (Orthopedic Doctor). He is respected as an accomplished practitioner of the ancient Japanese medical techniques of Seikotsu (natural healing methods). In addition to medicine, Dr. Hatsumi is an accomplished artist of brush and ink in the Nohonga style. His art work has been exhibited at the Nagai Gallery of Tokyo, in Paris, France, and also for the Smithsonian Museum during the 2001 Washington DC Taikai. Dr. Hatsumi has written numerous books and articles on philosophy and martial arts that have been translated into many languages. He writes a weekly column for a local Chiba prefecture newspaper, and is a recurring subject of the major Japanese martial arts magazine, Hiden. An accomplished actor and director of both movies and television, he starred in the TV series Jiraiya for four seasons. He also coached and directed notable martial arts film stars, Sonny Chiba, and Toshiro Mifune. For his efforts to spread the art of the Bujinkan throughout the world, Dr. Hatsumi continues to be recognized by many governments, private organizations, and distinguished individuals. Some of his most notable accomplishments and accolades are as follows:

International Awards and Recognition:
  • Apostolic Blessing awarded by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the Vatican, April 2001
  • World Cultural Grand Prize: Martial Arts Division for 2000, World Peace and Culture Association
  • Social Cultural Distinguished Service Award for 1999, Japanese Culture Promotion Society
  • Chairman of the International Department, Japan Literary Artists’ Club, 1990-1994
  • Professor of Natural Sciences (USA), Trinity College
  • Cross and Sun Medal, presented by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos
  • Blackbelt Magazine’s Instructor of the Year award for 1986
  • Awards from the Spanish Secretary of State for the Intelligence Agency, from London Metropolitan Police Headquarters
  • Letters of Thanks from Prince Charles’ Secretary, the London Secretary of State for the Environment, the London Ambassador’s Secretary, and the Mayor of London
  • Letter of Appreciation from the Premier of South Australia, John Bannon
  • Letters of Appreciation from the Director of the National Security Agency and the FBI Academy, USA
  • Letters of Appreciation and Birthday greetings from US Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton
  • Honorary Member of the Texas Rangers
  • Letters of Thanks from the US State Governors of Texas, Georgia, Maryland, California, New Jersey and Tennessee
  • Honorary Citizen of the State of Texas and the cities of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Gatlinburg, USA; Dublin, Ireland;
  • Jordan Valley, Israel and many others
Bujinkan Dojo Hombu:
  • Togakure-ryu, Ninpo, 34th generation Grandmaster
  • Gyokko-ryu, Kosshijutsu, 28th generation Grandmaster
  • Koto-ryu, Koppojutsu, 18th generation Grandmaster
  • Shidenfudo-ryu, Dakentaijutsu, 26th generation Grandmaster
  • Kukishin-ryu, Taijutsu, 28th generation Grandmaster
  • Takagiyoshin-ryu, Jutaijutsu, 17th generation Grandmaster
  • Kumogakure-ryu, Ninpo, 14th generation Grandmaster
  • Gyokushin-ryu, Ninpo, 21st generation Grandmaster
  • Gikan-ryu, Koppojutsu, 15th generation Grandmaster
Martial Arts Actor, Advisor, Director:
  • Acted as “Yamaji Tetsuzan” on Asahi TV series, Jiraiya
  • Advisor on Shinobi no Mono (The Ninja, starring Ichikawa Raizo), Chokugeki Jigokuken (Direct Hit, Fist from Hell, starring Sony Chiba)
  • Advised or Directed the following TV shows: Yagyu Ichizoku no Inbo (The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy), Kage no Gundan (Shadow Corps, with Sonny Chiba), Kaze no Fujimaru (Fujimaru of the Wind), Onmitsu Kenshi (Spy Swordsman)
  • Advised or directed the following stage and theater productions: Shinobi no Mono, Jinshin no Ran (The Jinshin Rebellion), Akahige (Redbeard), Kuroda Sodo (the Kuroda Disturbances), Sengoku Meimeiden (Tales of the Warring States)
Author* (Books in English):
  • Stick Fighting
  • Ninjutsu History and Tradition
  • The GrandmasterÕs Book of Ninja Training
  • Essence of Ninjutsu: The Nine Traditions
  • The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques
  • Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai
  • Advanced Stick Fighting
  • Ninpo Wisdom for Life
  • Japanese Sword Fighting: Secrets of the Samurai

* Dr. Hatsumi has written more than a dozen other books in Japanese