Fujita Seiko (1899-1966)

One of the most intruiging persons in the more recent history of Japanese martial arts. After having immatriculated himself into Waseda and Meiji Universities, where he dropped out of, he worked for a Newspaper company. Afterwards he started his career as a professional Ninja.

Opinions are divided if he was a real Ninja or a mere Budô researcher. For certain reasons the world of academics refrains from using his works for scientific research in fear of being dismissed from the academical world, as Fujita is thought to have been a highly unethical person. The reason for this is his work for the Japanese Imperial Army and his supposed real-life testing of Atemi waza.

In his life he taught at the following institutes or functions:

  • Kokumin Seishin Bunka Kenkyûsho (Cultural Institute of National Spirit)
  • Kôbô Kinmu-in Jôseisho
  • Training Facilities for Secret Soldiers of the Japanese Army AKA Nakano Gakkô
  • Tôyama Academy of the Japanese Army
  • Military Officers Akademy (Rikugun Shikan Gakkô)
  • Educational Facilities of the Japanese Navy (exististed from 1888-1945)
  • Teachers instructor of Budô
  • Bujutsu instructor at the Headquarters of the Regiment of Military Policemen in Tôkyô
  • Instructor of police Bujutsu

Fujita Seiko was a Bujutsuka and heir of the Kôga-ryû Ninjutsu. Born in Tôkyô as Fujita Isamu, he called himself the „14th generation master of Kôga-ryû Ninjutsu“, bearing the nickname „the last Ninja“ (Saigo no Ninja). Fujita himself wrote:

Not everybody can become a Ninja, as one would need to possess the neccesary qualities. Unfortunately, I haven’t met such a person. That’s why I am the last Ninja of Kôga-ryû.

As nowadays there is a living tradition of Ninjutsu taught by Kawakami Jinichi, Hatsumi Masaaki and others, it is questionable if Fujita Seiko actually was the „last Ninja“ in the strict sense of the word. But one may say that this is just a kind of a slogan pointing to the fact that he was the last Ninja person officially affiliated to government institutions.

And in Japan, Fujita Seiko is the most famous of all Ninja.

Apart from being the 14th generation headmaster of Kôga-ryû Ninjutsu, he was also the heir of Taien-ryû Jôjutsu, Shingetsu-ryû Shuriken-jutsu, Ichiden-ryû Torite-jutsu as well as Nanban Sattô-ryû Kenpô. The latter consisted of:

  1. Nanban Satto-ryu Kenpo no Jutsu
  2. Nanban Satto Taijutsu und Irimi
  3. Nanban Kenpo Toshin Sakkatsu-ho
  4. Nanban Satto Sogo Bujutsu (Kenpo, Jujutsu, Kenjutsu, Shuriken-jutsu, Hojojutsu etc.)

Additionally he acted as managing director of the prestigious Nihon Kobudô Shinkôkai and as an advisor to the Nihon Karate-dô Kai, and he also run the so called Shûrei Tanshin-kai, which consisted of the „Fujita-style psychotherapy medical treatment method“ and „Fujita-style soul and body training method“.


During the War in the Pacific (1941-45) he conducted training in Nanban Sattô-ryû Kenpô in the Army Academy of Nakano (Rikugun Nakano Gakkô).

After the war he taught Mabuni Kenwa (founder of Shitô-ryû) and moreover various teachers of Shitô-ryû in his Nanban Sattô-ryû Kenpô. Among these it was Iwata Manzô who – except for Kôga-ryû Ninjutsu – became heir to Fujita’s styles.

Fujita established a collection of classical literature on the traditional martial arts of Japan. This extensive collection of materials he bequeathed to the city of Odawara, where it is stored today in the municipal library (Odawara Shiritsu Toshokan) as the “Fujita Seiko Bunko”. This „Fujita Seiko Library“ is used today by researchers of Budô history.

While Iwata Manzô of Shitô-ryû became 4th generation heir of Nanban Sattô-ryû and Taien-ryû Jôjutsu, among Fujita’s other students were Inoue Motokatsu (1st kaichô of Ryûkyû Kobujutsu Hozon Shinkôkai and Yuishin-ryû), Fujitani Masatoshi (2nd headmaster of the Bujutsu Kenkyûsho, the actor Wakayama Tomisaburô (Shingetsu-ryû Shurikenjutsu), and others.

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