Masaaki Hatsumi


In the martial arts there is an essence — a feeling which evades concrete explanation and is beyond mere technical skill. Performance at this intuitive level is beyond description. So how could a master martial artist teach this indescribable feeling? With art.


Masaaki Hatsumi was born in 1931 and raised in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. His teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, trained him and appointed him Sōke (head instructor) of nine martial schools.

34th Soke 戸隠流 Togakure Ryu
28th Soke 玉虎流 Gyokko Ryu
28th Soke 九鬼神伝流 Kuki Shinden Ryu
18th Soke 虎倒流 Koto Ryu
26th Soke 神伝不動流 Shinden Fudo Ryu
17th Soke 高木揚心流 Takagi Yoshin Ryu
15th Soke 義鑑流 Gikan Ryu
21st Soke 玉心流 Gyokushin Ryu
14th Soke 雲隠流 Kumogakure Ryu

Students travel to Japan from around the world to train with him at his dojo where he mentors them physically, verbally, and with brushwork. His challenging (and occasionally excruciatingly painful) lessons provide an opportunity to taste this essential feeling.



At the dojo, Sensei makes paintings for students as gifts. With these, he communicates directly — transcending linguistic and cultural barriers — exactly as he does with his physical arts.

Until recently, students had frequent opportunities to see Hatsumi Sensei's paintings, but the general public did not. Our publications are dedicated to sharing Sensei's paintings and calligraphy more widely.

For project updates, please watch our Facebook and Instagram pages:

Our mailing address is:
1897-106 Koya 948-1, Matsudo City, Chiba Ken  270-0017  Japan


"I see Hatsumi Sensei's heart and soul reaching out from these works. I am struck by his personality and his inexhaustible spirit. His soul finds bursts of expression through his martial and artistic actions, making these works and photos truly moving."

— Shunkei Yahagi, Artist of Japanese Calligraphy

Bruce Helander interviews Masaaki Hatsumi

In 2001, Masaaki Hatsumi traveled from Japan to Washington D.C. to teach a martial arts seminar.  While there, he met with Bruce Helander to discuss his art.

In this video we illustrate excerpts from the interview with photography from the book, Masaaki Hatsumi: Dojo Art. Join us to learn more about Masaaki Hatsumi’s art and his purpose.

More about Bruce Helander is on his site and on Huffington Post.


"Alive, thrilling and contemporary… These works are a direct dialogue with the recipient and are both didactic and inspirational. Each image conveys a narrative and a relationship with both the viewer and history."

— Paul Fisher, Owner of Paul Fisher Gallery

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