Eishin Ryu Iaido History
The Iaido | What is Iaido | History of Iaido | Origins of Iaido | Principles and Concepts | Iaido and Katana | Techniques and Training Methods | Eishin Ryu Iaido History | Iaido and The Japanese Sword | Iaido Points | Iaido Etiquette
The full name of the style of Iaido that is the most widely practiced in central Japan today is muso jikiden eishin ryu, meaning â€œpeerless, direct transmission, true-faith style of eishin.â€ Eishin Ryu claims a lineage about 450 years long, making it the second oldest existant martial art form in Japan.
The founder of eishin ryu was Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu, who lived between 1546 and 1621 in present-day Kanagawa prefecture. Many of the historical details of Hayashizaki’s life are suspect, since, like most famous martial artists in Japan, his story has been widely fictionalized, but it seams clear that he grew up during a time of constant warfare in Japan, and was exposed to various sword fighting methods from an early age.
It is said that he went to Yamagata prefecture to pray for guidance and receive divine inspiration for a new way of drawing the sword.Whatever the circumstances, at some point he established his own style of swordsmanship and called it shimmei muso ryu, â€œdivinely inspired, unparalleled styleâ€.
Hayashizaki’s ia×Ÿ-do has had many names since then. It is considered the foundation for the two major styles of ia×Ÿ-do practised today: eishin ryu and muso shinden ryu. In each generation a headmaster, or soke, has been appointed to guide the practice of the art, and each soke has had his own influence on the development of iaido.
Eishin ryu claims an unbroken line of transmission from Hayashizaki Jinsuke through twenty two generations to the present-day soke, Ikeda Takashi Seiko, who was appointed by his predecessor Fukui Tarao soke.
The names of all the headmasters from the founders time are as follows:
- Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu
- Tamiya Heibei Narimasa
- Nagano Muraku Nyudo Kinrosai
- Momo Gumbei Mitsushige
- Arikawa Shozaemon Munetsugu
- Banno Dan-Uemon-no-J×¤ Nobusada
- Hasegawa Chikaranosuke E×Ÿshin
- Arai Seitetsu Seishin
- Hayashi Rokudayu Morimasa
- Hayashi Yasudayu Seisho
- Oguro Motoemon Kiyokatsu
- Hayashi Masu-no-J×¤ Masanari
- Yoda Manzo Takakatsu
- Hayashi Yadayu Masataka
- Tanimura Kame-no-J×¤ Takakatsu
- Goto Masasuke Magobei
- Oe Masamichi Roshu
- Hokiyama Namio
- Fukui Harumasa Tekkotsu
- Kono Minoru Hyakuren
- Fukui Torao
Current soke is Ikeda Takashi Seiko 22nd Generation.Â Most ia×Ÿ-do historians agree that the inspiration for the name eishin ryu came from the name of the seventh generation headmaster, Hasegawa Chikaranosuke Eishin. Certainly the characters used in his name are the same as those used in the name of the style.
After the eleventh generation, the lineage split into two separate lines: one leading to Saito Iamau, the eighteenth generation soke of the muso shinden ryu, and the other to Ikeda Takashi Seiko, as shown above. There are a number of others, less widely practiced forms of Ia×Ÿ-do that grew out of Hayashizaki Jinsukeâ€™s art.
Today, eishin ryu is practiced by two or three thousand people in Japan, and has exponents around the world. The administration of the system is primarily handled by the Eishin Ryu Traditions Association, led by the soke, and by the all Japan Ia×Ÿ-do Federation, which oversees competitions and promotions in many different Iaido styles.You might also like: