Masaaki Hatsumi is the founder of the Bujinkan Organization, the international martial arts organization known in relation to Ninjutsu. Masaaki Hatsumi calls himself the 34th Grandmaster of Ninjutsu. Masaaki was born on December 2, 1931 in Noda, the Chiba Prefecture, Japan. At the age of 13 he got engaged in martial arts and judo was first that attracted him.
As a child, Masaaki Hatsumi lived with the exacerbated sense of danger, since his father, the alcoholic, was always threatening with a knife to kill him when drunk. He had to hide or escape to be safe, otherwise his father could chase him to death. On the other hand, his life experience and honed sense of being in danger appeared useful when studying and perceiving Ninjutsu: ninja teach their children modeling various risky situations for them to survive. According to the Ninjutsu study no one can be in absolute safety.
After the school Masaaki Hatsumi becomes the student of the Meiji University, the Art History Faculty. In line with the art history Masaaki studies traditional and European medicine. After finishing his study he practiced medicine and as a 27-year old young doctor he headed the private clinics specializing in supporting-motor apparatus diseases.
While practicing martial arts on a daily basis Masaaki Hatsumi holded the following Dans by 1958 according to the Dan/Kyu system:
Ueno Ki Tesuy trained Masaaki Hatsumi in Kobu-Jutsu. He was the student to the well-known martial artist Toshitsugu Takamatsu also known as Moko no Tora. Ueno Ki Tesuy was the intermediate between the great martial art master and Hatsumi. The master lived in Kashiwabara, in the west of Iga. Seeking to be trained in authentic martial arts but not the sports combat Hatsumi came to his trainer first.
Masaaki Hatsumi was the student to Toshitsugu Takamatsu for about 15 years until the death of the master in 1972. Toshitsugu Takamatsu gave him the nickname Byakuryu meaning White Dragon.
Within these 15 years Hatsumi used to arrive from Kanashiwabara, Noda town which is the suburb in Tokyo for a couple of days to go back to his clinics to work. Takamatsu trainings were held in conditions close to real for Masaaki, using neither properties, nor artificialities.
Three years before he died in 1968, Toshitsugu Takamatsu announced Masaaki Hatsumi his follower. Masaaki inherited the title of Soke (Headmaster) from his trainer. As Hatsumi admits he was titled a little bit earlier than he sophisticated his martial arts technique. Toshitsugu Takamatsu formally delivered to Hatsumi the rolls (Densho) of 9 Bujutsu and Ninjutsu styles (ryu) and since then Masaaki Hatsumi is:
Masaaki Hatsumi is overwhelmed with the idea to introduce the world to the Nijutsy School after the death of his trainer in 1972. He founds his own school based on the of nine traditional ryu techniques in Ninjutsu and Bujutsu called later Bujinkan (Holy Warrior’s Palace) in honor to his teacher Toshitsugu Takamatsu.
The date of Bujinkan Dojo foundation is April 2, 1973 which is one year later since the death of his trainer Toshitsugu Takamatsu.
Bujinkan exists in the life of Masaaki Hatsumi so intimately and closely that his whole life activity is concentrated on everything related to this organization. Masaaki holds various workshops, he is the author of several books and he was the martial arts advisor to several educational films. He held workshops in Japan only and in USA since 1982 and globally he holds trainings since 1986.
Masaaki Hatsumi is the author of a dozen books, a plenty of articles about Ninja and Ninjutsu, he featured in various educational films and interviews related to Budo and Ninpo.
Currently Masaaki Hatsumi lives in Noda with his wife Mariko, a cat and two dogs. He has no children in marriage. In his leisure time he paints and does calligraphy works. He is the collector of ancient manuscripts and antique weapon.
In 1999 Masaaki Hatsumi was awarded the Supreme Order of Chrysanthemum (highest Imperial Award in Japan) for commitment to the Japanese cultural background.