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Gikan-ryū Koppōjutsu (義鑑流骨法術) ("School of Truth, Loyalty, and Justice") is a medieval Japanese school of martial arts established in the 16th century by Uryu Hangan Gikanbo (瓜生判官義鑑坊). [1] Koppōjutsu means "attacks against bones." It is commonly considered a hard art in comparison to softer arts such as kosshijutsu (骨指術).

Gikan Ryu is said to contain many special skills unique to the ryu. These techniques have not been written down, but are passed on orally from sensei to student. [1][2]


Sōke dispute

It is disputed who the current sōke of Gikan Ryu. At this time, two people claim to be soke of Gikan Ryu. One is Shoto Tanemura, and the other is Masaaki Hatsumi

Shoto Tanemura received sokeship to the ryu through Sato Kinbei. Sato Kinbei received sokeship to the Ryu directly from Toshitsugu Takamatsu, who was the previous soke. Takamatsu gave sokeship to Fumio Akimoto. Akimoto died soon thereafter and the sokeship was secretly given to Sato. Tanemura's lineage shows no record of this link to the late Akimoto. However, Akimoto's son Akimoto Koki is good friends with Shoto Tanemura and has shown him all of Akimoto's scrolls. Yet, there exists records of Tanemura teaching classes in Gikan Ryu while still a student of Hatsumi, as well as claims by Tanemura of Akimoto having another lineage of Gikan Ryu received through Shoken Ryu. Thus exists the dispute.

This lineage was proven in a Japanese court. The rumour that the case was over a claim of questionable ownership of family martial art heirlooms against a close family relation is an entirely different case altogether. Hatsumi did in fact challenge Tanemura's Gikan-ryu sokeship and Tanemura provided his scrolls in Gikan Ryu as proof of his being a martial art student of Sato verifying that his claim was legitimate. The case was about the legitimacy in lineage. The Japanese courts ruled that Shoto Tanemura is in fact the Grandmaster of Gikan-Ryu and this ruling still holds today.

Hatsumi claims sokeship to the ryu, including the late Akimoto, who he also directly trained with. Takamatsu gave sokeship to Akimoto, who died shortly thereafter. Takamatsu then gave sokeship of the ryu to Hatsumi.

There is no question that Hatsumi was a direct student of Takamatsu and also trained with Akimoto.

Confusion arises as to why Akimoto Fumio is listed in the Bujinkan version of the Gikan Ryu lineage yet not in the Genbukan version. Both versions are completely different from the early listings, yet questions arise only from the ending listings.

Opponent's of Hatsumi state that he lacks a physical Gikan Ryu sokeship scroll, yet it is stated by witnesses that scrolls and Densho do exist although no one can actually verify this. It has been said that the Koto Ryu Koppojutsu scrolls in Hatsumi's possession contain anotated notes on Gikan Ryu as dictated by Takamatsu since (it has been stated) he never received his scrolls back from Akimoto upon his death. It has been said that these notes are the link to Hatsumi's claim from Takamatsu of Gikan Ryu.

Tanemura's Gikan-Ryu sokeship scrolls can be seen on the Genbukan homepage, whereas Hatsumi has never shown nor displayed his Gikan-Ryu scrolls (see above.) According to Japanese law, the correct soke for Gikan-Ryu is Shoto Tanemura. Masaaki Hatsumi at this time has yet to prove any connection to the ryu.

Genbukan Claimed Lineage

  • Uryu Hangan Gikanbo
  • Uryu Hangan Yoshichika
  • Uryu Kanzui
  • Uryu Nobuyoshi
  • Uryu Tenkaibo
  • Uryu Hidechika
  • Uryu Sokaibo
  • Uryu Shinkaibo
  • Uryu Gikaibo
  • Uryu Gikanbo
  • Ishitani Matsutaro
  • Takamatsu Toshitsugu
  • Sato Kinbei
  • Shoto Tanemura

Bujinkan Claimed Lineage

  • Sonyuhangan Gikanbo (Daimyo of Kawachi Castle)

He was also known as:

  • Uryu Hangan Gikanbo - Eiroku era, 1558-1570
  • Uryu Yoshimitsu - Tenshō era, 1573-1592
  • Uryu Yoshimori - Kan'ei era, 1624-1644
  • Uryu Yoshichika - Kambun era, 1661-1673
  • Uryu Yoshitaka - Genroku era, 1688-1704
  • Uryu Yoshihide - Horeki era, 1751-1764
  • Uryu Yoshimori - Kansei era, 1789-1801
  • Uryu Yoshiaki - Tenpo era, 1830-1844
  • Uryu Gikan - Keiō era, 1865-1868
  • Ishitani Takeoi Masatsugu - approx d. 1905
  • Ishitani Matsutaro Takekage - approx d. 1911
  • Toshitsugu Takamatsu - b.1887-d.1972
  • Akimoto Fumio - approx d. 1962
  • Masaaki Hatsumi




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