Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō-ryū

Chiba Prefecture Intangible Cultural Asset

Iizasa Chōisai Ienao, Founder of  the Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō-ryū

Iizasa Chōisai Ienao, Founder of the Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō-ryū


Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō-ryū was founded by Iizasa Choisai Ienaō during the mid Muromachi era (1336-1573) in the Katori region of Shimōsa province (present-day Katori city, Chiba prefecture), and is the source from which many Japanese martial arts have evolved. It maintains a extensive syllabus of martial training, strategic study, philosophy, and character development.

​At approximately sixty years of age, Iizasa undertook a thousand days of prayer and austere training devoted to the deity of the Katori Shrine, within its grounds. It is said that the deity then presented him with a divine scroll on the warrior arts. Since the art was received through divine transmission, Iizasa named it “Tenshinshō-den” (direct and authentic transmission from the deities) Katori Shintō-ryū. The tradition has been handed down to the present day.

The Shinbukan Dōjō's practice of Katori Shintō-ryū follows the teachings passed down from Hayashi Sakuichirō Shihan to Hayashi Yazaemon Shihan, who was then succeeded by Ōtake Risuke Shihan (Shinbukan Dōjō founder). Practice is currently led by Ōtake Nobutoshi Shihan, with instruction and supervision by Ōtake Risuke Shihan.

In 1960, through the efforts of Hayashi Yazaemon Shihan and Ōtake Risuke Shihan, Katori Shintō-ryu was awarded the status of Intangible Cultural Asset of Chiba Prefecture by the Chiba Prefecture Office of Education, Department for the Promotion of Education, Section for Cultural Assets*. The tradition was the first martial art in Japan to be designated as such. Both Ōtake Risuke Shihan and Ōtake Nobutoshi Shihan hold the official title of Guardian, as designated by the authority of the Chiba Prefecture Office of Education.

​The art is preserved and transmitted both domestically and internationally as a classical Japanese warrior tradition unique to the Katori region.

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