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Who is Miura Soshi?
Miura Takeyuki Hidefusa Soshi is the founder and chairman of the Nippon Kobudo Jikishin-Kai, whose hombu (headquarters) dojo is in Osaka, Japan.
Miura Soshi was born in 1922 in Shimane-Ken, Japan. In 1933, at the age of 11, he entered the Budo Senmon Gakko, a martial arts training academy, where he began his study of samurai swordsmanship with the sport of kendo. In 1959, he began his training in Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu under Narise Sakahiro, who later became the 19th grandmaster of the style. He also trained directly under Masaoka Kazumi, who was the grandmaster of Eishin-Ryu at that time. In 1960 he began his study of Shindo Muso-Ryu Jojutsu with Nakajima Asakichi, who was the most senior disciple of Shimizu Takatsugu, the 25th grandmaster of Shindo Muso-Ryu (under whom he also trained).
His training in the martial arts of the samurai, which are customarily called Nippon kobudo (ancient weapons of Japan), has also included Kukishin-Ryu Bojutsu, and Koryu Kakushu Bujutsu -- a variety of traditional samurai weapons. At kyudan (9th degree black belt), Miura Soshi is the highest-ranking living member of the prestigious Dai Nippon Butoku-Kai ("Greater Japan Martial Virtues Association"), from which he also holds the title of Hanshi (grandmaster) and the position of iincho (executive director) for kobudo shinsa (rank testing in weapons). In April, 1985 Miura Soshi was voted Yushusho ("Most Valuable Member") of the Butoku-Kai, and he has served on its board of directors since 1990. He has also held the highly coveted title of Hanshi for over 20 years, and is considered the Soshi of Eishin-Ryu.
Soshi translates best into English as "Leader of a Movement." In Miura Soshi's lifetime, and in great part due to his tireless efforts, Eishin-Ryu has spread from a small following limited chiefly to Japan to a growing worldwide interest. It is now likely that there are more Eishin-Ryu practitioners living outside Japan than within Japan, and this has largely been due to Miura Soshi's leadership. Accordingly, it is felt that the most appropriate title to recognize his global influence is Soshi.
Miura Soshi also holds hachidan (8th degree black belt) rank in Koryu Kukushu Bujutsu from the Zen Nippon Kobudo Sogo Renmei ("All Japan Ancient Weapons Research Association")., and has been recognized for his civic contributions by being named Honorary Mayor of Kyoto City in 1988 and Honorary Governor of Kyoto-Fu in 1993. More recently, he has been nominated for Japan's highest honor: that of Living National Treasure (Ningen Kokuho).
If one were to ask Miura Soshi to express the one principle that has most significantly guided his life, he would probably answer, "Shisei." Shisei means sincerity in Japanese. He has found that, when sincerity is the goal for a person's prevailing attitude, it infuses every word and action. Sincerity by itself tends to prioritize and focus a person's life, because it is so difficult to pursue wholeheartedly any course of action about which a person is not completely sincere in his or her dedication and commitment.
© 2003 Leonard J. Pellman
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