Toshitsugu Takamatsu: Wikis


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Takamatsu with a Rokushaku Bo

Toshitsugu Takamatsu (高松 寿嗣 Takamatsu Toshitsugu ?) was born on 10 March 1889 (the 23rd year of Meiji) in Akashi, Hyogo province, Japan and died on 2 April 1972.[1] He was a martial artist who taught and formed many next generation Grandmasters of various martial art traditions.



Toshitsugu (Chosui) Takamatsu, also known as Moko no Tora (Mongolian Tiger), was a Sensei, a teacher, of martial arts. Recognized as the last practicing ninja, he was employed as such by the emperors of both Japan and China.

Born in 1887 into a family of samurai lineage, he was taught by his uncle, Masamitsu Toda, a phenomenal warrior, from whom Takamatsu Sensei inherited the martial art systems of Shinden Fudo Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, Togakure Ryu, and Koto Ryu.

When he was 13 years old, Takamatsu was given Menkyo Kaiden (full mastership) of Shinden Fudo Ryu. About that time he was attacked by a gang of youths, one of whom was armed with a sword. He defeated them all, one after another, but when the police arrived, Takamatsu was the one who was arrested. Only when it was over did he realize that he had beaten 60 people all by himself. His grandfather Toda came to bail him out of the Kobe Kiryubashi police station, and the event was headlined in the Kobe newspaper as "13 Year Old Judo Expert Easily Flung Away 60 Gangsters." Several sumo schools tried to recruit young Takamatsu, but his father prevented his joining.

Soon after, Takamatsu entered the dojo of the Takagi Yoshin Ryu, where he learned jutaijutsu from its master, Mizuta Yoshitaro. He mastered it and went on to inherit this school as well.

When he was about 17, an old master came to work at his father's match factory as security. This old man was Ishitani Matsutaro, possibly the greatest of Takamatsu's teachers. Toda warned his nephew not to challenge this new master to a sword duel, for he said that his style of Kukishin Ryu was stronger. Ishitani Sensei passed on to Takamatsu the systems of Kukishinden Happo Hiken. Takamatsu Sensei taught for many years at the Kukishin Ryu Dojo in the early 20th Century, under the auspices of the Soke Kuki Takuhara.

In his late 20's, Takamatsu left for China to test his training and work for the various warlords that fought over the provinces. This was a very dangerous time, and traveling on the open road between villages was perilous. He was involved in many fights, and several times he was charged with murder. He was always found not guilty by reason of self defense. His diary stated that he had fought 12 fights to the death as the result of challenges. By defeating every opponent without a single loss, he became the senior student at the school that trained the Emperor's bodyguards, and there he taught to over a thousand students.

He returned to Japan, and the name of Moko no Tora became legendary. Near the end of his life, he said that he thought he had killed more than one hundred men. Despite this, he was a very spiritual man, and became a Buddhist priest (although he later abandoned this after concluding that it was of little value). He was also the president of the Nippon Minkoku Seinen Botoku-kai (the Association of Japanese Youth Martial Arts).

Takamatsu Sensei had many students, and at the end of his life, he knew that he had faithfully transmitted the lineages that were in his custody, and assured himself a place in history.

Martial names

Toshitsugu Takamatsu (高松 寿嗣 Takamatsu Toshitsugu ?)'s real first name was Hisatsugu but he changed it later to Toshitsugu using the same Kanji but different pronunciation. He was also known under different martial arts names and nicknames : Jutaro, Chosui (Pure Water), Uoh (Winged Lord), Nakimiso (Cry-baby), Kotengu (Little Goblin), Moko no Tora (Mongolian Tiger), Kikaku (Demon Horns), Yokuoh (Running In The Sky Old Man), Kotaro (Young Tiger), Shojuken, Garakutabujin (Enjoy Sketching Martial Artist),Yakissoba(Noodles), Kozan and Kyosha. His posthumous name is Junshokakuju Zenjomon. His house (a motel/tea-inn) was in front of Kashihara Shrine, in Kashihara City (Nara Prefecture).

Personal life

He was married to Uno Tane who was born on 28 June 1897 and who died on 4 February 1991. They adopted a girl named Yoshiko. His father (Takamatsu Gishin Yasaburo) owned a match-factory and received Dai-Ajari (Master) title in Kumano Shugendo (a type of Shingon Buddhism). His Dojo was named "Sakushin" (Cultivating Spirit). He had a cat (Jiro) and enjoyed painting very much.


Takamatsu O'sensei and the Yakuza

Takamatsu Sensei was once in a shop, when several Yakuza gangsters came in and demanded protection money from the frightened owner. Takamatsu grabbed one of them, and locked him in the shop. The others he sent back to their boss, telling them to say that "Jutaro" (a name he used in his youth) was in town. The boss sent a message back saying the shop would be left alone. It is not known if the Yakuza boss was a friend of Takamatsu, or if he was beaten in a fight by Takamatsu as a child.

About the time that he was 65 years old, while he was out walking, he came across several youths taunting an old man and his young daughter. The thugs had been harassing the man for protection money, which was something he could not afford. Takamatsu stepped forward, and told them to leave the man alone. The gang of youths were not afraid of Takamatsu, until he called their leader 'Bozo' (head shaved boy). Calling their leader Bozo was an insult that few would dare to say.

Takamatsu again said that they should leave the man and his daughter alone, and then he told them to go back to their boss and tell him that Moko no Tora (Mongolian Tiger) said that they should leave these people alone. Bozo sent one of his men to their gang leader, who had inherited the gang of over 15,000 members from his father. He immediately rushed to the scene to see Takamatsu. He said that he thought that Moko no Tora was dead. At once he agreed to leave the family alone, out of fear of Takamatsu. The leader then sent bundles of flowers to the family in apology.

Takamatsu O'sensei and the Karate Teacher Challenge

In the late 60's, Takamatsu Sensei wrote a series of articles in the Japan Times. All of these articles spoke of Ninjutsu, and the other Budo/Bujutsu. In one of the articles, Takamatsu wrote that when fighting in true martial arts, you must most of all be prepared to kill your attacker, or to kill the person you are attacking.

In response to this, a very high ranking Japanese Karate teacher went on Japanese television and said that what Takamatsu had written was wrong, that those days were long gone and no longer existed, nor did they need to exist any more in this present age. He also stated that he thought Takamatsu was an 'old has-been', being over 80 years old, and long past it.

Takamatsu Sensei stated in another interview that he was far from 'past it', and saw the Karate teacher's comments as a challenge that he wished to accept. He gave the Karate teacher three days to publicly retract his statements. If not, Takamatsu Sensei intended to fight him and kill him, with his hands tied behind his back.

Three days later, the statement made by the Karate teacher was retracted.

Martial arts training

Takamatsu's grandfather (on his mother's side), Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu, was a well known martial arts instructor who owned a dojo and bone-setting (sekkotsu) clinic in their home town. At the age of nine the weak and shy Takamatsu, often called a cry-baby by his peers, was sent to his grandfather to Kobe to strengthen up. The training was efficient, and by the age of 13 he had become a master that no longer had a peer in Kobe. From his grandfather he learned several martial arts, including ninjutsu, and inherited the position of Soke for the following Ryu (school):

From the martial artist Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadafusa he became Grandmaster in Hontai

(age 17) and from the martial artist Ishitani Matsutaro Takakage he became Grandmaster in

He traveled through Mongolia to China at the age of 21, taught martial arts and delivered many battles on life or death. [2]He taught martial arts at an English school in China and had over 1000 students. He was the bodyguard of the last Chinese Emperor Puyi. He became Tendai Buddhist priest in 1919. In 1921 he was permitted to copy the Kukishinden Ryu scrolls (+ Amatsu Tatara scrolls) of the Kuki family. He was also a good friend of Jigoro Kano (Kodokan Judo) and took care of his younger brother. They both lived in the same region.

During the Second World War (1945) the original scrolls were destroyed and lost. In 1949 he presented new scrolls to the Kuki family which he had rewritten based on his copies and memory. He was deaf on one ear also due to one of his fights. He said that a Shaolin fighter and a shorinji boxer were the most dangerous enemies he ever met. He was buried on Kumedra cemetery in Nara. He used to write articles for the Tokyo Times newspaper. He was well known in Japan as a Grandmaster of Ju-Jutsu and Bojutsu.

In May 1950, Toshitsugu Takamatsu established Kashihara Shobukai in Nara prefecture. In the post-War era Takamatsu spent his time developing successors to his martial tradition. At the same time, he often sponsored Magokuro-kai-musubi tsudoi meeting and lectures about Amatsu Tatara, especially Izumo Shinpo, and reared many martial artists and religious leaders.

Notable students

He taught and formed many next generation Grandmasters such as Fumio Akimoto (considered the senior student of Takamatsu), Kimura Masaji (It is possible that no other student of Takamatsu has had more training with the Grandmaster), Sato Kinbei[2] (introduced Ueno Takashi to Takamatsu), Takashi Ueno and others, Tanemura Soke, Masaaki Hatsumi


  1. ^ Shinken Taijutsu web site article
  2. ^ 武神館DVDシリーズSpecial 最後の実戦忍者 高松寿嗣 [1]

External links

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