Dr. Chikatoshi Someya

Introduction to Meifu Shinkage-ryû

The founder of Meifu Shinkage-ryû, Dr. Chikatoshi Someya studied the skills of Katori Shinto-ryû. Someya-Sensei has always been particularly interested in the use of shuriken. After a few years of learning Katori Shinto-ryû, he started to learn skills using Bo-shuriken. During his training, Someya-Sensei made various improvements and modifications for using the shuriken-jutsu skills of Katori Shinto-ryû.

Besides a skilled user of Shuriken, Someya-Sensei was a shuriken researcher, having investigated various techniques and types of blades used in other Shuriken schools. Some of his research looked at how to make shuriken fly long distance without becoming unstable. He determined that the length of the Shuriken was related to a steady flight. Therefore, Someya-Sensei constructed Shuriken of different lengths, for which he recorded how they flew, the stability, as well as the distance.

Through his research, Someya-Sensei determined that certain lengths and widths were very effective. This information assisted him in constructing Bo-Shuriken as they are used in Meifu SHinkage-ryû today.

In the 1970’s, Someya-Sensei established Meifu Shinkage- ryû and started to teach his skills and research knowledge to others.  One of his students was Yasuyuki Otsuka. When Someya-Sensei passed away in June 1999, Yasuyuki Otsuka succeeded Someya as Grand Master of the school. Otsuka-Sensei had been a devoted student of Someya-Sensei since 1985, and continued to devote his life to the further development of Meifu Shinkage-ryû. In 2009, the Someya family granted Otsuka-Sensei the title of “Soke”, which means Head of the Family.

Yasuyuki Otsuka

Meifu Shinkage-ryu Shurikenjutsu Lecture

at the Royal Armouries, United Kingdom (2012)



How to Grip a Bo-Shuriken

This technique is common in Shuriken-jutsu. Each Shuriken school has developed a peculiar way to grip a Shuriken. The following two points are quite common:

  1. Sandwich the shuriken with your fingers. Usually, they are the middle finger, the fore finger, and the ring finger.
  2. Stop the tail part of Shuriken with the thumb.

Gripping the shuriken “point up” and throwing it the target is called Jiki-dahou or normal shot or direct shot. WHen a shuriken is gripped with the point downwards, the technique is called Hanten-dahou or reverse shot. In Meifu Shinkage-ryû, both techniques are practiced.

Learning Shurikenjutsu

Almost all shurikenjutsu students have difficulty with long-distance throwing. Shuriken fly by parabolic paths. That path curves steeply at longer distances. That is the action of gravitation of the Earth and is not avoidable. Inclination downward becomes so large that it goes to the point. Generally, if your throwing exceeds ni-ken, the point of Shuriken will turn to the bottom of the target. So, the shuriken moves in an arc to the target.

There is a technical difference in shuriken-jutsu for short distance and for the long distance. However, the technique for throwing shuriken is the same up to the distance from 5 to about 7m.  There is a secret for that in Shuriken-jutsu.

Flight course of Bo-Shuriken to Target

When you throw using short-range techniques, the shuriken will not stick in a long-range target.

The necessary safe distance

Flight course of Bo-Shuriken to Target

Shuriken is thrown by using the whole of your body.

Hand Control

Shuriken is grasped and an arm is swung down rapidly. With the centrifugal force, the shuriken in your hand tends to jump out. You stop and brake it with your thumb. Shuriken lies along the crevice that runs from your palm to your fingers. Holding a Shuriken this way gives you the ability to provide straight‐power to your shuriken. In addition, correct hip-movement is necessary for proper execution of the technique.

Throwing Distance

San‐ken (about 5.4m) to Yon‐ken (about 7.2m) is the most effective distance for Shuriken‐jutsu. A beginner trains in about 1 or 2m distance. If you make progress, the distance can gradually be extended.

  1. From long distance: When throwing from a long distance,  you are outside of the range of the enemy’s weapon. However, the power of Shuriken will be lost.
  2. From short distance: When throwing shuriken from a short distance, you are in danger of counterattack.  However, your shuriken will have high speed and power. It is very difficult to avoid.