Discussion in 'Koryu Bujutsu' started by GaryWado, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Can anyone shed any light on the origins and reasoning behind why it is common practice amongst senior Japanese martial artists to assume alternative names.

    I have known for a while now that the founder of my style of karate (Otsuka Sensei), was not born with the name Hironori, but it wasn't until I started studying Daito Ryu (with the Hakuho-ryu branch) that the "nickname" thing was explained.

    I understood that the founder of the group was Shogen Okabayashi, but it wasn't until my instructor explained that "Shogen" was an adopted name that I made the connection with Otsuka and "Hironori".

    Is this process a Japanese thing or is it specific to Budo or both.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  2. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    It's an old Japanese tradition and is still practiced in some koryu that a teacher gives his student a martial sounding name, or that when the student is of a high enough skill level, the student chooses his/her own martial name.

    can be what is called a Bugo (武号 ) which is an abstract name, but contains a very strong martial connotation. A bugo can be given to you by your teacher or you can elect a name by yourself.

    For example, one of the Menkyo Kaiden holders of Isezaki Kiraku-ryu jujutsu, Mr. Iwai Tsukuo's (岩井作夫 ) Bugo is Kohaku (虎伯 ) which means "Old Tiger".

    There is also another tradition, relating to Japanese religious superstition. If a male child is given a name and the child is sickly or weak, then the way in which that name is pronounced can be changed to make it phonologically stronger sounding.
  3. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Many thanks Kogusoku that makes sense.

    From the "Bugo" aspect thats exactly as my instructor explained how Okabayashi Shogen came to his name, but the sickly child thing raises another thought in my mind.

    It seems that in common with many other martial artists of this time, Otsuka was a "sickly" child and so therefore it was thought that a good ma training would fortify him.

    Perhaps the name change was part of this procedure?
  4. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Thinking about what you said though, "Kuo" and "Hironori" aren't in the slightest bit "phonologically" similar!

    So I guess that rules out that possibility.
  5. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    What's the kanji for his name?

    There are usually several readings of the same kanji. More for forming individual's names.
  6. ScottUK

    ScottUK More human than human...

    Is 'bugo' the same as 'bumei'...?
  7. Kogusoku

    Kogusoku 髭また伸びた! Supporter

    Same meaning, different terminology mate.

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