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Miyamoto Toramasa

Toramasa was born in Kai province to his parents Miyamoto Masahisa and Ayumi in 1543.  Masahisa was a scholar at the time of Toramasa’s birth. They lived in the Kai province in Isawa village.  Life was peaceful there until the forces of Oda Nobunga began their assault on the village and were forced to flee to Kyoto in 1550.

It was there that Toramasa began to take interest in the temples and of the warrior monks of Kyoto’s  Toji temple. The interest in the Sohei (warrior monks),of the Tendai sect of Buddhism , grew with is interest in Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu (a martial art that focuses on katana and naginata). At 14 years of age, he approached the monks and asked to join. At first, he was rebuffed because of his playful ways but after showing promise in arms, he was allowed to begin the serious training of the monks.  His training among the monks lasted until 1565 when the head master sent the monks out to the provinces to learn more about the Christians and their faith. Toramasa often found himself at odds with the new Christians and fought against them repeatedly in both words and martial prowess.  He continued to travel until the dreaded time of 1571 when Oda Nobunaga launched an all-out assault against the Sohei at Mount Hiei with the intent of wiping them out.  With the monestary burned to the ground.  Toramasa was now homeless. As he traveled he encountered the a woman called Aki  in 1573 on a visit to Kyoto . Aki would later become his wife in whom he married in 1577.

During the time of Toramasa’s travels, he joined various bands of the monks in their struggles against Oda Nobunaga’s forces.  He fought with the Ikki-Ikko brothers who besieged the castle of Oda Nobuoki  (Oda Nobunaga’s younger brother) in Nagashima  and were victorious in taking the castle and causing Oda Nobuoki to commit seppuku.  In 1574, he joined his bothers in arms and fought against Oda Nobunaga’s brother (Oda  Nobuhiro), uncle(Oda Nobutsugu), and nephew (Oda Hidenari) who were all beheaded after the monks were successful. 

Toramasa and Aki have settled in Kyoto and are trying to reflect on his life or war to that of peaceful reflection. 


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