Since its foundation in the Edo period there exist two main lines of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō. The first one was established by Chiba Shūsaku Narimasa, the founder of the school and his Genbukan. The other one was founded by Chiba Sadakichi Masamichi, Chiba Shūsaku’s younger brother, equal in swordsmanship and his Chiba-Dōjō. While the exact date is unknown today, the Genbukan was closed sometime between the 20th and 30th year of the Meiji period (1868-1912) and doesn’t exist anymore. Roughly 10 years after the Genbukan, the Chiba-Dōjō was also closed by its headmaster the 4th sōke, Chiba Tsukane. Fortunately, the family line and written transmission of the school survived up to the present day. However over two generations there was no teaching held at the Chiba-Dōjō. Both Chiba Tsurutarō and Chiba Akira, learned the techniques of Hokushin Ittō-ryū, but did not take on any pupils and only acted as sōke-dairi (nominal sōke). For this reason neither of them is listed as sōke in the linage chart. The teachings and techniques of the school survived through shihan (master) branch lines until the present day. At the 1st of July 2013, Chiba Hiroshi Masatane, the 5th sōke of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō, present head of the Chiba family and direct descendant of the school’s founder, appointed the menkyo-kaiden Ōtsuka Yōichirō Masanori as 6th sōke in order to unify the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō under one active sōke again. Together they reopened the Chiba-Dōjō.
In the past Ōtsuka Yōichirō learned and mastered the Noda-ha Hokushin Ittō-ryū under Konishi Shigejirō, by whom he was also granted permission to open the Shinmeikai-Dōjō of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū, which he led personally for a period of around 10 years in Tōkyō. He appointed his dōjō-yōshi (foster-son) Ōtsuka Ryūnosuke as his successor and the official appointment ceremony took place at the Nakano Sunplaza Hotel in Tōkyō on 26th of March 2016. Since this date Ōtsuka Ryūnosuke leads the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō officially as the 7th sōke.
Due to its size in the Edo period and the number of issued teaching licenses, different lines of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū have been established which, in time, became independent from each other and also do not share any associations in present day. These branches can be thought of as independent schools and are called ‘***-ha Hokushin Ittō-ryū’, where *** is replaced by the family name of the side branches founder (e.g. Noda-ha Hokushin Ittō-ryū, already mentioned above). The headmasters of these branches are seen as shihanke (head of a side line) of their associated line and are not part of the main branch of the school.
While each side branch can have its own legitimate shihanke, the sōke title of Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō is only allowed to be officially used by the head of the main branch and is currently held by Ōtsuka Ryūnosuke, the 7th sōke of the school. Furthermore the name ‘Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō’ is a registered trademark in Japan and Europe and its use without written consent of the current Sōke is not permitted and considered illegal by law.
Since the Hokushin Ittō-ryū is quite famous there sadly existed and exist individuals who try to appear as members or representatives of ‘Hokushin Ittō-ryū’ without having mastered or even received training in the school. Any ‘dōjō’ or ‘teacher’ that is not listed on the genealogy chart above on this site is neither associated, affiliated or has received teaching licenses of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū. The lineage chart above shows all active and officially recognized branches of Hokushin Ittō-ryū.