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​Iai Shrine

Nippon Issha Hayashizaki Iai Shrine 

There is an iai shrine that is unique in Japan. In the old days, it was called Kumano Myojin, and in the past it was also called Hayashizaki Myojin. Jinsuke Hayashizaki, the founder of Iaido, has been enshrined here since the Muromachi period. Since the Edo period, there have been many visitors who practiced Iai swordsmanship, and there were many offerings such as swords, frames, and mirrors. In addition, there are many stone monuments erected in the old precincts, including that of Lord Jinsuke Shigenobu Hayashizaki.  

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dedication demonstration

Every year, a dedication demonstration centering on Iai is held in the shrine precincts. Many people from various schools and organizations participate from all over the country.  

In addition, the local elementary school has the only "Iaido club" in the country, and they show their strong demonstrations at the "National All-Ryu Iaido Cherry Blossom Tournament" held every June.  

About Murayama City and Iaido 

About Lord Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu, the Founder of Iaido 

Born in present-day Murayama City in 1542. When he was a child, his father was assassinated, and in order to avenge his father's death, he tried hard to practice swordsmanship, but his progress was slow. Nevertheless, he continued his training anyway, and in 1556, he attended Hayashizaki Myojin Shrine for 100 days and received the Shinden of drawing a sword. *It is said that he became possessed by a god.  

In 1559, after further training, he realized the magic of the sword, changed his name to Jinsuke Shigenobu Hayashizaki, and embarked on a journey to avenge his death. In 1561, at the age of 19, he was able to take revenge in Kyoto and return to his hometown. Here, he dedicates his beloved sword "Nobukuni" to Hayashizaki Myojin. "Shinkuni" is said to be 3 shaku 3 sun (99.99 cm). It was a fairly long sword, as it is usually about 2 shaku 4 sun (75.75 cm).

In 1562, his mother died of illness, and Shigenobu once again set out on a journey with his sword in his hand. After this, Lord Shigenobu traveled all over Japan, trained many disciples, and spread Iaijutsu widely.

Currently, he is enshrined at Kumano Iairyo Shrine (commonly known as Iai Shrine) in Murayama City, Yamagata Prefecture, where he was born and raised.  

What is Iaido? 

It is a martial art that was born more than 450 years ago, and all swordsmanship such as kendo, iaido, battojutsu, etc., which has been passed down to the present day, began with the battojutsu of Lord Jinsuke Minamoto Shigenobu Hayashizaki. The word ``iai'' is derived from the word ``iawasu,'' which is the opposite of ``tachiai.''

``Iai'' is ``a technique used when an enemy attacks you when you are not ready to fight''. It's about to attack. 

It is said that ``Iai'' came to be called ``Iai'' because ``while staying on the spot (ordinary/calm), when an enemy attacks, he will instantly draw his sword and defeat it.'' .

Origin of Kumano Shrine 

The origins of Kumano Shrine can be traced back to the year 807, when Kumano Gongen (now Kumano Shrine Okunoin) was enshrined in the Daimyojinzawa rock cave at Ishikidake in the east of the Hayashizaki district. Later, it was moved to the former Arashuku village near the Hayashizaki district and was enshrined as Kumano-do.

Kumano Gongen moved to its current location between the Eisho era (1046-1053) and Shoan 2nd year (1300), and came to be called Hayashizaki Myojin as a local village shrine.


Origin of Iai Daimyojin 

In the Edo period, when the sword-batting technique of Lord Jinsuke Shigenobu Hayashizaki, said to be the father of Iai, spread throughout the country, Hayashizaki Myojin became famous as a god of martial arts training and fulfillment of wishes, and was worshiped by warriors passing through the Ushu Kaido. increase. In Dewa Province (present-day Yamagata Prefecture), swordsmen from the Shinjo clan's Hayashizaki Shinmuso school and the Shonai clan's Hayashizaki Tamiya school visited Hayashizaki village, worshiped Hayashizaki Myojin, and offered ema.

Hachiro Kiyokawa, a patriot of Shonai at the end of the Edo period, wrote "Saiyuso", which describes the long-handled sword of "Nobukuni" and the worship of swordsmen.  

Later, when the villagers learned of Shigenobu's great deeds, Iai Daimyojin was enshrined in one corner of the precincts.  

In the Meiji era, it was enshrined together with Hayashizaki Myojin (Kumano Shrine), and in 1877 it was registered with the Shrine Agency, and the official name was "Kumano Iairyo Shrine".  


The Four Gods of Kumano Iairyo Shrine 

Izanagi no Mikoto 


Susanoo no Mikoto 

About Shigenobu Hayashizaki 

Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (1542~1617) 

Jinsuke Shigenobu Hayashizaki, the founder of Iai, was born in Hayashizaki Village, Dewa Province (now Hayashizaki, Murayama City) in the late Muromachi period, and his childhood name was Tamijimaru.

His father, Shigeharu Asano Kazuma, was a samurai who served Mitsuhide Tateoka, the 6th lord of Tateoka Castle.  

When Shigenobu visited Hayashizaki Myojin (Kumano Myojin) to pray for the 100 days to avenge his father's death, Shigenobu was taught the secrets of drawing swords by his guardian deity, opened his eyes to the Shinmuso Hayashizaki school, and brilliantly achieved his true desire for revenge. rice field. After that, Shigenobu, who built the basics of battōjutsu, traveled to Tohoku and Kanto for training, training many disciples. In his later years, after visiting his nephew, Kambei Takamatsu, who lived in Kawagoe, Mushu (currently Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture), he left for Oshu and disappeared.  

*There are various theories

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