Kamon (Crest)

The family crest (Kamon) is an integral part of many traditional japanese arts. That’s not different in the Hokushin Ittō-ryū.

Tsuki ni Hoshi (Gesseimon)

The Kamon which has the most significance in Hokushin Ittō-ryū is the „Tsuki ni Hoshi“ or so called “Gesseimon” crest (moon and star crest) from the Chiba clan which uses it since around one thousand years. The legend says, that they adopted this Kamon after they fought a battle they couldn’t possibly win but then a meteor fell from the sky and shattered the enemy army. This was considered a sign of Myōken-Bosatsu (buddhist deity). This deity is represented by the north pole star (Polaris). After this support by Myōken-Bosatsu the Chiba clan adopted the „Tsuki ni Hoshi“ crest as their family crest. From this time on Myōken-Bosatsu was also considered as the protective deity of the Chiba-clan and their retainers.

The word Hokushin is an older term for Hokkyokusei (north pole star), which is the circle between the two ends of the crescent moon in the Kamon.

Hokuto Shichisei

Hokuto Shichisei

Chiba Tsunetane, Daimyō of the clan during the Genpei war (1180 – 1185) founded his own school (ryūha), the Hokushin-ryū. It’s teachings were transmitted in the Chiba clan up to Chiba Shūsaku Narimasa who in turn combined his family teachings with the Ittō-ryū teachings and founded the Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō. The Hokushin-ryū does not exist anymore but it’s teachings are still alive in the Hokushin Ittō-ryū.

In the Makimono (scrolls) of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū many teachings and techniques have a direct connection to the Hokkyokusei and the Hokuto Shichisei (big dipper). Both represent Myōken-Bosatsu and the Hokushin Ittō-Ryū. Another representation is also the „ Maru ni Nanatsu Boshi“ crest (the seven stars of the big dipper).

Maru ni Nanatsuboshi

Maru ni Nanatsuboshi

The highest technique of the Hokushin Ittō-ryū, the Seiōken (星王剣) what literally means “king of stars” also refers to the Hokkyokusei. The old slogan of the Chiba clan: „Warera wa Hokushin no hito!“ (we are the people of the north pole star) is still the motto of the students of Hokushin Ittō-ryū and refers to the protection of Myōken-Bosatsu and to the loyality to the ryūha.

In the Hokushin Ittō-ryū, only the highest Shihan and the Sōke family are allowed to use the Tsuki ni Hoshi Kamon. Higher students may are allowed to use the Nanatsu Boshi Kamon, for example in absence of an own family crest.