5th Soke

Chiba Hiroshi Taira no Masatane

Chiba Hiroshi Taira no Masatane is the 5th Sōke of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō.

He is also the current head of the Chiba family and the direct descendant of Chiba Sadakichi (1st Sōke), who, together with his older brother Chiba Shūsaku (Kaiso) founded the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō in the early 1820s.

The Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō was handed down through the Chiba family for over 190 years since its foundation, until Chiba Hiroshi decided in 2013 to hand the responsibility of passing down the school as Sōke over to the Ōtsuka family. The Ōtsuka family was up to that point one of the three existing Shihan lines of the school, as the Chiba family was since the Showa period no longer actively involved in teaching and training. The three still existing Shihan lines were the Shinmeikai-Dōjō of the Ōtsuka family, the Tobukan of the Ozawa family and the Otaru-Genbukan of the Konishi family. Out of those three Shihan lines, Chiba Hiroshi chose Ōtsuka Yōichirō, head of the Shinmeikai-Dōjō as sole successor of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō and named him the 6th Sōke of the school on the 1st of July 2013. At that point they also reopened his family Dōjō, the famous Chiba-Dōjō, which was founded in Okemachi, Edo (nowadays Tōkyō) in 1848/1849. Next to the appointment of Ōtsuka Yōichirō to the position of 6th Sōke of the Hokushin Ittō-Ryū Hyōhō, he was also named Kanchō of the Chiba-Dōjō. Since then, the Hokushin Ittō-Ryū Hyōhō and the Chiba-Dōjō are led by the Ōtsuka family as the official Sōke family.

Chiba Hiroshi still supports the school in his position as the 5th Sōke, together with his family, in Japan and abroad. In the beginning of 2016, together with his niece Inaoka Mai, who acts as marketing supporter of the school, Chiba Hiroshi actively supported the 6th Sōke Ōtsuka Yōichirō in organizing the appointment ceremony of his successor and foster son, Ōtsuka Ryūnosuke to the position of 7th Sōke of the Hokushin Ittō-Ryū Hyōhō. The appointment ceremony was then held on the 26th of March 2016 at the Nakano Sunplaza Hotel in Tōkyō in the presence of the 5th Sōke Chiba Hiroshi, high ranking masters and practitioners from several other koryū and modern kendō, as well as Edo period historians and descendants of several important Bakumatsu period samurai families.