THE YOSHIOKA SCHOOL

[of the 8 Kyoto styles] in Kyoto, Japan

Takezō duels and kills 5 swordsmen (Takashina, Chihara, Nimura, Hasuzawa, Kaji) from the Yoshioka school before encountering the senior disciples

  • Yoshioka Kempō: A distinguished swordsman during the Sengoku period (1482-1558) and founder of the renowned Yoshioka school of sword-fighting. Yoshioka Kempō mastered the Kyohachi style of swordsmanship and then modified it to form the Yoshioka style. He became a military instructor to the Shogunate family. Defeated only by Shinmen Munisai. Titled “Unrivaled Throughout The Land.” Only won one bout against Shinmen Munisai while Munisai won the next consecutive two. In the context as presented by Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond and Eiji Yoshikawas Musashi, both Yoshioka Seijūrō and Denshichirō are Kempō’s sons who are historically believed to have dueled with Miyamoto Musashi on numerous occasions.
  • Yoshioka Seijūrō: Yoshioka Kempō’s oldest son and current head of the school, considered a playboy due to spending most of his time visiting the pleasure quarters, with Akemi as his woman. Follows his instincts, both in and outside of combat, carefree and easygoing, with a seemingly haphazard approach to life. He was killed by Musashi in the duel of Rendaiji Field one year after their first meeting.
  • Yoshioka Denshichirō: Seijūrō’s younger brother, dedicated to his swordmanship. Went on a warrior’s pilgrimage after his father’s death, eventually meeting Kojiro and Ito. Upset that his father never praised him. Blames the school’s dwindling reputation on Seijūrō’s cavorting. He leaves Kyoto after Yoshioka school burns down, requesting time and again a training spar with master Sekishūsai of the Yagyū dojo, but to no avail. His duel with Musashi at Rengeoin temple leads to his death.
  • Ueda Ryōhei: One of the Yoshioka’s senior disciples, equally skilled with Seijūrō and Denshichirō, and a prodigy disciple of Yoshioka Kempō. Realized the rumor of becoming head of the school for a short time, before succumbing to mortal wounds inflicted by Musashi at the end of the school’s group assault.
  • Gion Tōji: One of the senior disciples who appears to be Yoshioka Seijūrō’s right-hand man or at least, follows him around. Arrogant. Vowed to hunt down Musashi as a self-proclaimed assassin for the Yoshioka school. Considered to have a refined bloodthirst by Agon of Hōzōin. Visits the Hōzōin temple and cuts off the arms of one of the priests. After witnessing the battle between Musashi and Inshun, he leaves momentarily realizing his own weakness. Later shows up to challenge Yagyū Sekishūsai Muneyoshi, thinking to end his life fighting a great swordsman. From here on , his exact whereabouts are unknown. Until he reappears suddenly in Kyoto, one year since his take of leave, and attempts to take Miyamoto Musashi’s life in a street fight, only to have his throat slashed open.

HŌZŌIN TEMPLE

  • Agon: A formidable opponent in the Hōzōin art of spearmanship. Defeated by Musashi.
  • Inshun: Originally named “Shinnosuke Mitsuda,” he witnessed the death of his father and mother Saya at the hands of a bandit at an early age. He was renamed to Inshun by In’ei. A child prodigy in spearmanship, Inshun withdrew within himself desiring to become stronger. By 15 he was the strongest at the temple. Realized the potential of Seijūrō at a young age when Yoshioka Kempō came to the Hōzōin temple. The second-generation master of the Hōzōin spear technique. Stops the fight between Musashi and Gion Tōji. Self-proclaimed to be stronger than In’ei. Considers Seijūrō as his equal. His first fight against Musashi causes the titular character to perform a “tactical retreat”. Whereas Inshun excels in his refined spearmanship through consistent training, he lacks the experience of actual mortal combat. Other monks feel that Inshun is aloof and detached and that his remoteness fosters fear and jealousy in others… many disciples have grown discontent ever since Inshun battled Musashi. Lost to Musashi during their second duel.
  • Myoei: Suspicious of Inshun’s abilities ever since the Musashi fight. Believes he ought to rightfully be the “second generation master of the Hōzōin spear technique.”
  • Hozoin Kakuzenbo In-ei : Revered as the Great Hōzōin In’ei. Feels he has only passed down the “mechanical aspects” of the Hōzōin spear technique to Inshun.

THE YAGYU CLAN

  • Yagyu Sekishusai Muniyoshi : (1527-1606). The founder of the famed Yagyu Shinkage Ryu school of sword fighting. His son Yagyu Munenory (1571-1646) was one of  Tokugawa’s key generals at the Battle of Sekigahara. Munenori was appointed as the official fencing instructor of the Tokugawa Clan and in 1632 the Yagyū were appointed as the ometsuke — responsible for the surveillance of the daimyo. Although the Yagyū clan has been depicted in Kazuo Koike’s “Lone Wolf and Cub” as plotters of the downfall of Itto Ogami, the general Japanese popular culture take on the Yagyū Clan is more positive. More specifically, Yagyū Munenori’s son, Yagyu Jubei (1607-1650), is viewed as a wandering hero protecting the people from evil-doers.
  • Kamiizumi Ise no Kami Hidetsuna : (1508-1577?). The son of Kamiizumi Ise no Kami Hidetsugu, the lord of Kamiizumi Castle in present-day Gunma Prefecture. Hidetsuna founded the Yagyū Shinkage Ryū of sword fighting and was such an accomplished swordsman and military strategist that he once was recruited by the famed Takeda Shingen. Hidetsuna, however, declined the post, stating that he preferred to travel throughout the land so that he might perfect his swordsmanship. Many notable fighters studied under Hidetsuna including the esteemed Yagyū Munenori and Hōzōin Kakuzenbō Hōin In-ei, founder of the Hozoin-ryū style of spearmanship.

Places

(as pertaining to and mentioned in the manga)

  • Sakushū: Province also known as Mimasaka and currently, the area of the northern region of the Okayama Prefecture.
  • Higo: One of the old Province of Japan located in present-day Kumamoto Prefecture.
  • Owari: One of the old Provinces of Japan located in present-day Nagoya and its surrounding region.
  • Kaga: One of the old Provinces of Japan located in the present-day Ishikawa Prefecture.
  • Echizen: One of the old Province of Japan and is currently the northern portion of the Fukui Prefecture.
  • Sangen’in Temple: One of many sub-temples of the Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto. It was a place where Japanese swordsmen came to meditate and even outnumbered the resident monks. Some claim that thoughts of rebellion originated from these grounds.
  • Hozo-in Temple: One of many sub-temples featured on the grounds of Kofuku-ji in Nara and next to the Kasuga Mountains. Its name reverberates with fearless monks and their infamous spear techniques.
  • Himeji Castle: Additional troops are dispatched to help the hunt for Takezō (boyhood name for Miyamoto Musashi) after his return from the Battle of Sekigahara in the surrounding are of Miyamoto village.
  • Yagyū Territory: Region of an old forest of trees surrounding Kyoto, Osaka, and Owari.
  • Yagyū Castle: An estate of the formidable and famous Yagyu clan. One of its highlights is the Shinkagedō Hall.
  • Wataya Inn: Close to the Yagyū dojo, this is where Musashi unsuspectingly meets Yagyū Sekishūsai and where Jōtarō brings Otsū to deliver a letter to Denshichirō from Yagyū Tajima no Kami Muneyoshi.
  • Rengeōin Temple: Located in eastern Kyoto, Rengeōin is more commonly referred to as Sanjusangen-do. The main hall of Rengeoin features an amazing display of 1001 Kannon Buddhist statues.

Items / Things

  • Hōzōin Spear Technique: Created by the Buddhist mong Kakuzenbo Hōzōin In’ei (1521-1607) of Hōzōin Temple, which was a sub-temple of Kofuku-ji in Nara. This Spear technique is typified by quick dexterous movements rather than the use of brute force.
  • Eiroku: Name of the Japanese era from 1558 to 1569.
  • Sottaku: A Zen term used to describe a disciple and his master in perfect sync when the time is right for the disciple to awaken to enlightenment.

Kutipan : Novel Musashi

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