Imperial Shinobi of Izumo – The Hachiya

Izomo's Shinobi known as the Hachiya

Hachiya Ya no Saburo, 鉢屋 弥之三郎 (year of birth unknown) was a ninja during the Sengoku period. One of the leading members of the “Hachiya-Shu” (鉢屋衆) and a vassal to the Amago clan (尼子氏). (1A)

The Hachiya were an entertainment group in Izumo no Kuni that performed during festivals and at New Years’ time. They also served as soldiers and shinobi. Along with the Hachiya Party (鉢屋党)(1B), they originally were part of the rebelling army of Taira no Masakado during his rebellion against the royal court. After the rebellion failed and Taira no Masakado was beheaded the Hachiya warriors scattered throughout the country. (1C)

In 1484, Izumo country’s guardian, Amago Tsunehisa, was expelled by his master, Kyogoku Masatsune. After Tsunihisa had been a Ronin, or master-less samurai, for some time he met Ya no Saburo. Tsunehisa devised a plan to recapture his castle, Gassan Toda Castle (月山富田城), and asked Ya no Saburo for his assistance. (2A)

They decided to surprise attack at the time of the castle’s annual celebration. A time when the soldiers would be relaxing and not prepared for battle.

At 3:00 AM, New Year’s Day morning, 1486 CE, a group of about seventy drummers and flutists for the castle’s celebration performance passed through the main gate of the castle. Ya no Saburo and his men concealed their weapons and armor under their clothes and straw hats and discreetly slipped inside the castle together with performers. Inside the castle, warriors and children had gathered to see a dance performance. When the drums began to play Amago’s men along with Ya no Saburo’s Hachiya shinobi set fires at various places throughout the castle. (2B) At the same moment, those who had been hiding their weapons under their clothes started to attack and killed many men. The Lord of the castle, Enya Kamon no Suke (塩冶 掃部介) quickly turned his blade on himself and committed “Seppuku” ritual suicide. (2C)

So just as planned, Ya no Saburo and his “Hachiya-Shu” shinobi helped Amago Tsunehisa retake his family’s castle in no time.

From that time on, Ya no Saburo became a retained shinobi, loyal to the Amago family and fought in many battles for them. His descendants, until the end of the Bakumatsu Period, continued to serve as shinobi of the Amago clan.

Now for the interesting part…

Toda Hisajiro, the man thought to be the true identity of Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu, was a direct descendant of the same Toda clan that built Gassan Toda castle. Hisajiro’s 11 x’s Great- Grandfather, Toda Hisasuke Sadakichi, is recorded as having taught falconry to Matsudaira Naomasa in Izumo and at Matsumoto. The same document also mentions that Hisasuke is from this branch of the Toda family who originally wrote the name Toda with the characters 富田 rather than 戸田 like we see today. (3A) This was particular to the Toda family that were a branch of the Sasaki family. The family that originally lorded over the castle before passing it to the Toda family. Keep in mind, according to Takamatsu Sensei, the Sasaki family are blood relatives to the Sakanoue clan and inheritors of the Gyokko Ryu traditions. (3B) Their branch of the Gyokkyo Ryu was known as Gyokushin Ryu Koppojutsu. It developed approximately the same time as the Koto Ryu of Koppojutsu.

This Toda family was an Izumo Genji branch of the Uda-Genji Izumo Sasaki Clan and used the “Hanawachigai” as their family crest, a symbol that looks very similar to the shape of the Togakure Ryu “shaken” throwing star.

The search for the Hidden Lineage continues…


Sean Askew – 導冬 “Dōtō”

Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo



Sources and References:

(1A) 雲陽軍実記、 静楽軒河本八大隆政、1924、 P.6

(1B) 戦略で読み解く日本合戦史、 2019 株式会社PHP研究所、P. 71

(1C) 雲陽軍実記、 静楽軒河本八大隆政、1924、 P.9

(2A) Wikipedia, Hachiya Ya no Saburo,

(2B) 物語日本の歴史 15: 戦国乱世の群像 (1992) Japan木耳社、 P. 89

(2C) 戰國百人 (1973)  Japan 平凡社、P.39

(3A) 島根県立大学短期大学部、松江キャンパス研究紀要、ISSN 1822-6768、松江藩松平直政時代の鷹書と鷹匠-宮内庁書陵部所蔵の鷹書・鷹詞の研究-三保サト子、P. 31

(3B) See attached lineage chart for the Gyokko Ryu, by Takamatsu Toshitsugu


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