One of my major goals of the Hidden Lineage project is to locate the grave of Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu (Toda Hisajiro). This has been an enigma for the Bujinkan for decades. Hatsumi Soke told me that if I was able to find it, to let him know and then he would decide if he wants to make the location public or not. He has to take into consideration the feelings of any remaining family members having throngs of non-Japanese showing up to the grave every year. Especially since ninjutsu is generally looked down upon by families of importance like the Toda, they may want to have nothing to do with it.
Needless to say, other than absolutely ridiculous rumors about people finding the grave and keeping it a secret, nothing has surfaced as to its location. The rumors were also dispelled by Soke himself and they faded away. To this day nobody has been able to find it.
But, I may have found a clue that could possibly lead us in the right direction…
In Hatsumi Sensei’s book titled “Essence of Ninjutsu” there is an interview between Hatsumi Sensei and Takamatsu Sensei starting on page 17. On page 19 Takamatsu sensei says to the young Hatsumi, “I hear that my family line comes from a clan in the woods of Takao (高尾) in Iga province. Grandfather would often tell me stories.”
So, there it is, in his own words. The Toda family of the Togakure Ryu once resided in the mountainous forests of Takao, Iga, just immediately east of Nabari (名張), the homeland of the Momochi family. This makes sense as the Togakure Ryu in the Sengoku Period was headed up by the Momochi family just before being passed on to the Toda clan in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Another interesting point about Takao is that is also the location of the legendary ruins of the castle of Fujiwara no Chikata, a Heian period sorcerer who tried to overthrow the Japanese imperial family. During the Heian period, Fujiwara no Chikata, revolted against and harassed the imperial court by using his four demons (Golden Demon, Wind Demon, Water Demon and Hidden Demon), but these four demons were defeated in accordance with the poem by Kinotomo-o, who was sent to destroy Fujiwara no Chikata. These four demons are said to be the prototype of the shinobi no mono.
Chikata Myojin was built in 1760 CE and enshrines Fujiwara no Chikata and Wakamiya Myojin.
The lineage chart made by Takamatsu Sensei in the middle of the 1900’s shows the following line of transmission:
Ikai 異海 (Top) – Gamon Doshi牙門道士 (Fujiwara Chikata, Red Box) – Garyu Doshi牙竜道士 (Orange Box) – Hachiryu Nyudo八竜入道 (Green Box) – Tozawa Hakuunsai戸澤白雲斎 (Purple Box)……..and so on.
So, in a sense, he is an ancestor to the Togakure, Gyokko and Koto Ryu lineages as he was an ancestor of Tozawa Hakuunsai.
At Takao, Fujiwara Chikata is rumored to have thrown the heads of his dead enemies into a natural well shaped hole in the riverbank of the Tonami River that runs through Iga. Legends say that when the heads were taken out of the well, they had turned into smooth round stones. One of these stones is now enshrined at Tanao shrine (種生神社) and people go there to touch it and pray for rain. Chikata must have been one hell of a master magician…
So, now we have a place to start a new search for Toda’s grave. The mountainous woodlands of Takao Iga. If we do not find Shinryuken’s grave there we may at least find clues about his family and find graves of Toda members further back in the lineage.
The search continues…
Sean Askew – Dōtō 導冬
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
August 28, 2020