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       江戸の隠密 武蔵一族
The Musashi Clan Ninja Warriors
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        Musashi-ryu Ninpo 

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[Shinobi Order]

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Shitaba Sadataro
photo taken in Russia

Petersburg, Russia
柴田貞太郎 Ninja Master
Shibata Sadataro Takenaka,
外国奉行 大阪・神戸奉行

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Jidai Acadmy
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                      The History of our Clan
The Musashi clan has worked under the leadership of the Shibata family.

The most famous of the Shibatas was Shibata Katsuie who was the retainer of Oda Nobunaga, who, after Nobunaga's death,  fought against Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583. Katsuie was defeated and committed seppuku. His sons died too, but his grandson Katsushige was only four years old. When Katsushige grew up, he chose to work for his grandfather's emeny's rival, Ieyasu Tokugawa, and became his retainer.

According to old documents, the Shibatas were already employing the Iga ninjas in 1570's. Those ninjas turned out to be excellent retainers for the Shibatas. And because of those excellent shinobis, the Shibatas could serve the Tokugawa Shogunate for 246 years.

The ninpo taijutusu was assimilated into the family martial arts. It's unique that our ancestors were the samurai, and ninja clan leaders at the same time. Hattori Hanzo had a similar position but the third generarion Hanzo disappeared during the battle of Osaka and his heir had to leave from Edo.

We can see that ninjas had a lot to do in the 19th century, under Shibata Sadataro Takenaka, the lord of Hyuga who was the commissioner of foreign affairs in the Tokugawa shogunate. His people worked to check foreign ships and diplomats.

In 1862, he and his team were despatched to Europe to negotiate for delaying the opening of some ports in the country, and to collect information about the western world. Then in 1867 he and his relative Nakagawa Tadamichi, the lord of Bicchu were sent to Paris to meet with Napoleon III. Their main objectives were to contract an agreement to build an iron foundary and to introduce western military training, here in Japan.

Shibata Sadataro Takenaka in the center (seated)  Picture taken in Paris

In 1867, Takenaka was appointed to be magistrate of Osaka and Kobe, and made efforts to open the port of Kobe, when the country was divided and the shugunate was losing its political power. He had 12 onmitsu (shinobi) working for him. In a sense, we owe his team that, Japan could avoid battles against those western countries, as Japan could keep promises with them to open up her ports.

The day after he exchanged the documents with the British, American, French, Italian and Prussian ambasadors, the shogunate government collapsed in 1868.

Takenaka resigned from his position and decided to retire, declining the offer from the Meiji government to work for them, but he agreed to give executive council as needed.
He died at the age of 55, chosing to remain as a samurai warrior of the shogun.

The Shibatas continued to assume the leading role of the Shinobi folks in Tokyo, until about 80 years ago, when Sadataro's son Shibata Sen' ichi Tatsunojo became Christian, and then an officer of the Salvation Army. Till then,  he and his team were engaged in the types of work that the ninja warriors in the Sengoku period  undertook. Thus, all concerned kept quiet, except for the people who hired them, and those who felt their lives were at stake.

Their family martial arts have been handed down from father to son. The present head of the family, the master weaponsmith of the clan, also trained himself under Kenpu Matsuo, the grand-master of Kuroda-ryu Ninjutsu. Nawa Yumio sensei was a very good friend of him.

The family tradition has been passed down to the Tohmoku of our clan, Kazuchika.

Kazuchika started his training under Sato Kimbei-sensei in his teens and at his sensei's death he came to train with Jin ichiro Shibata, besides learining other arts, such as Aikijutsu ,Yagyu-shingan-ryu, Itto-ryu, etc.