As many are aware, Soke has made comments this year regarding the desire to erect a new Honbu that will actually act as more than a training hall, but more of a museum of heritage to the Bujinkan for the present and the future. Soke has created many relics of the Bujinkan heritage in the past several years including several monuments of the Ryuha and those to Takamatsu Sensei. Many of these are located at his second home outside of Noda and a few of the recent additions are actually located in front of his private training hall next to his house in Noda.
These monuments have been entirely produced by a combination of personal funds from Soke and donations from members of the Bujinkan. These are very much assets of the Bujinkan and large part of our heritage. Soke therefore sees this new Hombu as a monument of training community as well as a place to house the artifacts of his legacy.
Now, many have jumped to conclusions regarding the recent words that Soke has used regarding the structure of this project and many unninja have drawn conclusions as well as ran with the rumors that are building. Soke mentioned last night regarding the theme of the rope and how one must realize that you can be pulled in and tied up by various things if you are not aware. Taking space and pausing on reaction is a good lesson to learn for any Bugeisha.
Everyone knows that Soke does not have an heir and due to this his assets are exposed to liquidation by the Japanese tax authorities upon his passing. Knowing a little about Japanese inheritance law will help to alleviate any misconceptions or assumptions based on ones local environment. Roughly, Japanese inheritance tax is close to 70% of value of the estate. This is a large amount for anyone these days and even more so when you learn that a number of the older residences in Tokyo that the elderly occupy are very old and therefore have a far greater amount of land than standard. So, if a father or mother were to pass away then the value of that asset, in this case property, would be outrageous, and somewhere in the millions. So, these old residences are often sold off to pay the inheritance tax and then subdivided with apartments or small houses destroying the open space and the heritage of Japan. Now, this is just one example of the impact of things and the following is an old article but things have not really changed http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_50/b3659199.htm
This can happen to Soke’s assets which would include the Hombu Dojo and all the artifacts that are housed there. Also, remember that Soke has one of the most abundant antique scroll and weapons collections in Japan. So it is easy to imagine that this would be confiscated and liquidated at the time of Soke’s passing. However, there is one way to avoid this and preserve this heritage under Japanese law and that is to create a spiritual organization that protects assets, structures and places of heritage.
All of the temples in Japan are housed under this structure as well if they are not already world or national heritage points. This allows for the ability and structure to preserve something of history and spiritual development. Remember that in history, the development of martial arts has come from the temples as well as often been the place of practice. Kyudo, Kendo, Judo, Karate etc all often use temple facilities for their training. In China the birth of Kung-Fu comes from Shaolin and to this day if you intend to study Shaolin, you do so at the temple in China. Japan’s oldest ryuha Katori Shinto Ryu is practiced at the Katori Shrine. Our demo last Sept was done at a shrine. These grounds, structures provide for a place of practice and preservation of heritage and spirituality, not necessary religion. And the list goes on.
Discussions regarding the plans for the new Honbu are ongoing and things will change as they develop. However, the options for preserving our Bujinkan heritage are limited and currently the best option is to protect under the structure of a broad spiritual organization.
That should not be too hard to accept as Soke’s intentions are to preserve the heritage of the Bujinkan for the future.