The Legendary Swordsmanship School “Chujo-ryu”01


The origin of a great school of swordsmanship.

In modern kendo, masters of various swordsmanship styles gathered and the technical system was created. However, it is said that “Itto-ryu” had the greatest influence among these schools. “Itto-ryu" was not only the swordsmanship used by many samurai throughout Japan, but was the school of swordsmanship adopted by the Shogun of the Edo. The origin of the “Itto-ryu" is the “Chujo-ryu" created by “Chujo Nagahide".

Chujyo Ngahide from Bugei Hyakunin Issyu. “Bugei Hyakunin Isshu" is a card of masters of swordsmanship made in the Edo period.

Meeting of two masters

The date of birth of “Chujyo Nagahide" is unknown, but he was born into a samurai family in the late 13th century. His family has long been a powerful samurai and passed down secret sword fighting techniques. His family played an active role in the Ashikaga shogunate’s battle to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate. After that, “Chujyo Nagahide" succeeded his father and became the lord of Koromo Castle in Mikawa (now Aichi Prefecture).

Legend has it that “Chujo Nagahide" became a disciple of “Nenami Jion", the founder of “Nenryu", and learned swordsmanship and Zen. However, given the ages of these two masters, this story leaves much to be desired. However, it seems certain that “Chujo Nagahide" interacted with the great master “Nenami Jion" and improved the swordsmanship of the “Chujo" family.

Sanage Shrine is located in Aichi Prefecture. A sword donated by the Chujyo family remains at this shrine.

Wish for peace

“Chujo Nagahide" named his improved swordsmanship “ChuJo-ryu Heiho". Normally, when writing “Heiho" in kanji, the character “Hei" is used to mean a soldier. But he used the letter “Hei", which means “flat and calm".

In the oldest document remaining in the Chujo-ryu, there are words written by “Chujo Nagahide".

“Spend your life peacefully. It’s best if nothing happens."  

“Chujo Nagahide" was a military commander and a first-class warrior who lived through the civil war. However , He thought that military power was not important, and that peace was the most precious thing. His wish was included in the name of the legendary school of swordsmanship.