Anshu Christa Jacobson – Bansenshukai – 萬川集海
HISTORICAL NINJUTSU – BANSENSHUKAI – 萬川集海
In 1676, Fujibayashi Yasutake in Higashi-yufune edited the Bansenshukai for the fear of losing the value of Ninjutsu (Ninja’s skills and techniques). It those days, the Bansenshukai remained to be like the Bible among all of Ninjas. So, having the Banseshukai was permitted for the top class of Ninjas. the Bansenshukai was strictly forbidden to be shared.
The Banseshukai meaning is 10.000 rivers gathering into 1 sea. That is to say, the 10.000 rivers are compared to all kinds of Ninjutsu in Iga and Koga, and the 1 sea was Fujibayashi Yasutake’s Ninjutsu. The Bansenshukai was a written transmission of philosophy, military strategy tactics, astrology and weapons that were identified specifically with Ninjutsu, Fujibayashi Yasutake was influenced by Chinese thought, and even indicates a connection to Chinese military traditions in its writings. He presented the material as the ultimate accumulation and perfection of Ninjutsu knowledge.
As the name, “the Bansenshukai” itself suggested it’s collection includes one volume of introduction, a question and answer section, and a table of contents; 2 volumes on thought and philosophy, 4 volumes on leadership, 3 volumes on “Yo Ninjutsu; “5 volumes on “In Ninjutsu,” 2 volumes on astrology and 5 volumes on weapons. The Iga version has 22 chapters bound in 12 volumes with an additional 4 chapters in 4 volumes. The Koga Version has twenty-two chapters bound in ten volumes, with an additional one volume attached to it.
In the Bansenshukai there were writing about the 11 most wonderful Iga Ninjas: in Iga area, Nomura-no-Magodayu; Shindo-no-Kotaro; Tateoka-no-Dojun; Shimotsuge-no-Kizaru and Kozaru; in Ueno area, Ueno-no-Hidari; Kanbe-no-Konan; Takayama-no-Taroshiro and Tarozaemon; in Oyamada area, Yamada-no-Hachiuemon; In Ayama area, Otowa-no-Kido. It was from Tateoka-no -Dojun that Dojun school started and later expanded into the 49 known Iga schools. That is to say, Iga Ninjutsu had 49 schools.
“The Bansenshukai,” even at the end of Edo period were much worth. Around 1940 Nakano Military School for the special military in Japan, used the Bansenshukai as a text of tactics and psychology in battle.
Kobayashi Sensei told me (when training in the Tomo Ryu methods of ninjutsu) that the Bansenshukai was the backbone of all ninjutsu and outside of the makimono of the ryu, I was to refer to the bansenshukai. All black belt students of the Budo Ryu Ninjutsu Dojo get a translated copy of the bansenshukai to aid in their training.
I hope that this helps better your understanding of Historical Ninjutsu! Take Care, Be Safe and Good luck in your Journey of Budo!