Regarding the roots of Togakushi Shrine and Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu

Recently I have had some email and messages come in asking me to provide evidence that I have information supporting that the Togakure Ryu had any connection with the Matsumoto Castle in Nagano as I have stated here on Facebook. So here we go….

For generation after generation the Chief Priests of the Togakushi Shrine have been members of the Inukai family. In fact, the area where you begin to make your climb up Togakushi Mountain used to be called “Inukai no Sato” or “the village of Inukai” in the old days.

And when talking about Togakushi the first thing that comes to many minds is that it was the birthplace and epicenter of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu.

So, this leads me to think, ok yes, it is usual to have Inukai family living here in Togakushi, but were they associated with the Togakure Ryu? What kind of clan were the Inukai?

The three points I want to explore when exploring the roots of this family are “name”, “Transition of place names” and the “worshipped gods”.

In this case the name is Inukai 『犬飼』but the family changed the character to 『犬養』around the 1800’s. Some branches of the family even use the characters 『犬甘』, They are still pronounced the same but the 2nd character is different.

The transition of place names is also important. Togakushi Mountain is in what we today call Nagano「長野」, in old times this region was and sometimes still is referred to as Shinano 「信濃」. The ancient way of writing Shinano was 「科野(シナノ)」.

But, in ancient times they did not read 「科野」as “Shinano”, it was read correctly as “Kaya”.

Further in 「科野(Kaya)」the main tribe controlling the region was the「伽耶(Kaya)」 tribe.

Therefore, it would not be strange for there to be an Inukai Clan of the Kaya tribe.

Lastly, “the worshipped gods”, when looking at the rituals and rites of the Togakushi Shrine, the middle shrine houses “Omoikane” (思兼命), the deity of wisdom and intelligence. The Inner Shrine houses “Amenotajikarao no Mikoto” (天手力雄命), the deity of sports and physical power. The same deity that Fujibayashi Nagato no Kami (the man who taught Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu to Yamamoto Kansuke) brought from Togakushi to Iga with him when the family relocated there.

Now, in Japanese Shintoism, “Amenotajikarao no Mikoto” (天手力雄命) is the child of “Omoikane” (思兼命) and has another official name called “Aju Taido” (阿居太都), among a few other.

Now here is the kicker….The descendants of Aju Taido are the Agata Inukai Clan!!!

So, it can be said that the strain of Shugendo and Ninpo that evolved into the ninjutsu of Togakushi was from the Agata Inukai clan.

With just a little digging and Googling I am sure you can understand what a powerful clan the Inukai people were.

Inukai Tsuyoshi even made it to the office of Prime Minister of Japan in modern times and was friends with Toyama Mitsuru and Chiang Kai-shek. For those who do not know, Toyama Mitsuru has been known to be called the Shadow Shogun and started two infamous secret societies in the early 1900’s that scouted Korea and China for pre-invasion purposes. He held supreme control over most politicians and Yakuza groups. Sounds like a real ninja to me…

Another interesting tidbit is that Charlie Chaplin and Inukai Tsuyoshi were friends and it almost cost Charlie his life as there was an attempt on his life while he was visiting Japan to see him. At the time he was with Tsuyoshi’s brother and it was a good thing too because Tsuyoshi was killed in the main attack.
Here is a link in English about the incident:…/to-be-s…/no-laughing-matter/…\

The Inukai family even had their own mountain fortress that supported Togakushi Shrine and the Matsumoto Castle government.

The evidence for what I say is very long and all in Japanese but if you are persistent and can speak Japanese we can keep peeling back the layers of this onion together.

Here is a link explaining the historical connection between the Inukai Clan, Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu and Matsumoto Castle.

Maybe someone with more time could translate it for everyone. I already know what it says but I have so many other things I want to work on. LOL

The important passage on this page is “many of the Inukai family became local samurai in this rural area but some of them formed specialized units that utilized wolf-dogs and engaged in intelligence activities. Actually, Togakure Shugen’s central shrine of worship, the Togakushi Shrine, and in other words Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, came from the chief priests, the Inukai Clan.

I’ll leave the rest up to you …..
Enjoy the search for our roots!

Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo


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