Bujinkan Founder Honored by Japanese Government

Masaaki Hatsumi, founder and grandmaster of the Bujinkan Dojo, has been awarded the International Culture Award by the Japanese government.  The award, the highest honor given for cultural exchange, was presented to Dr. Hatsumi by a member of the Imperial Household on November 22, 1999.

"This award is a great honor for the Bujinkan," stated Dr. Hatsumi at the presentation ceremony.  Dr. Hatsumi is the 92nd recipient of this prestigious honor to date.  Dr. Hatsumi was nominated for his cross-cultural leadership in martial arts instruction. 
Blackbelt magazine's 1986 Instructor of the Year, Dr. Hatsumi is best known for "opening the doors" to Ninjutsu to non-Japanese.  As grandmaster of the Bujinkan dojo, Dr. Hatsumi actively travels the world to share the teachings of Budo Taijutsu as passed to him by his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu.  Each year, Dr. Hatsumi holds two international Taikai (gatherings) for training, usually alternating between Europe and the United States.  Additionally, hundreds of eager students from scores of countries also converge on Japan for training with Dr. Hatsumi each year.

Dr. Hatsumi founded the Bujinkan, which means "Divine Warrior Hall," in honor of his teacher, Toshitugu Takamatsu.  The nine warrior schools of the Bujinkan hail from the ancient battlefields of Japan; six are old samurai schools, the remaining three are schools of the oft-misunderstood ninja.  These historical roots provide a mine of rich teachings that are equally applicable to modern situations, teaches Dr. Hatsumi.  Dr. Hatsumi preaches the importance of understanding the principles underlying techniques, not just the mechanics--things that will serve the greatest benefit in the flurry of a real fight.  This practicality is the Bujinkan's biggest draw for tens of thousands of practitioners around the world, many of whom are involved with law enforcement or personal security.

Dr. Hatsumi, a former bone-setter, has penned over a dozen books, and is the former chairman of the Writers Guild of Japan.  Among Dr. Hatsumi's other many honors are the title of Knighthood from Germany, Honorary Doctorate degrees in both Human Sciences and Philosophy, Honorary Texas Ranger, and numerous Honorable Citizenship awards from locales as close as Los Angeles, California to as far as Dublin, Ireland.  Dr. Hatsumi's work has also been recognized by numerous government and law enforcement officials, such as the FBI and the NSA.

Dr. Hatsumi holds black belts in several arts, including judo, karate, kendo, aikido and jojutsu, and has studied such western arts as boxing.  He is grandmaster of the following nine schools of the Bujinkan:

  • Togakure Ryū Ninpō Happō Hiken, 34th Grandmaster
  • Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu Happō Hiken, 28th Grandmaster
  • Kotō Ryū Koppojutsu Happō Hiken, 18th Grandmaster
  • Shinden Fudō Ryū Dakken Taijutsu Happō Hiken, 26th Grandmaster
  • Kukishinden Ryū Taijutsu Happō Hiken, 28th Grandmaster
  • Takagi Yōshin Ryū Jutaijutsu Happō Hiken, 17th Grandmaster
  • Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō Happō Hiken, 14th Grandmaster
  • Gyokushin Ryū Ninpō Happō Hiken, 21st Grandmaster
  • Gikan Ryū Koppōjutsu Happō Hiken, 15th Grandmaster

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