Again this is just a generic post to start off a new corner.
It may come as a surprise to discover that there were several hundred schools of 古式砲術 Koshiki Hojutsu (Ancient gunnery) by the end of the Edo Period.
Luckily we can trace their origins back to a very few well-known Masters and Schools which, once memorized, will stand one in good stead in any discussion of Hojutsu as a martial art (see separate thread).
The top schools were Tabuse, Inatomi (or 'Inadome' in the dialect at that time), Tazuke, Inoue, Ogino, Yo(Hayashi), Seki, Yonezawa (Kasumi), Namban(NittoTanzutsu), and the 'Sakai' sake school. (Photos follow below)
In order to remember these names, I have developed some mental tricks, being poorly equipped in the memory department.
*-1. Tabuse (pron like Taboo Say) are said to be older than the arrival of guns in Tanegashima in 1542-3. There is a rumour that the founder travelled to Britain and Europe six years before that (but there is no proof to support this.) See Ian Bottomley's pertinent comment further down this thread. To remember these guns, notice the fleur-de-lys tip to the lock plate, and the strange swan-neck (my word) S-shaped serpentine. See pics below. (We will put the drunken monk Sakai school at the end, but it is a branch of Tabuse. Not to be confused with Osaka, also known as Sakai or Settsu.)
*Minus one because maybe he got there before the first rush! ;D (Mostly to help with the memory bit.)
To tell you the truth, I have only seen and handled one Tabuse gun in the ten or more years I have been playing with Hinawa-Ju.
NB Since writing this I have managed to purchase that gun.
These other six/seven main schools come next in my mind.
Inatomi. Inatomi Ichimusai, the founder. Think very large, very long and very straight, with multiple sights. How long? Imagine needing two people to fire it, resting the barrel on the shoulder of the soldier in front of you. This school became many other schools, so all the examples I have seen were from the dark ages of Japanese gunnery, ie before or around the defining Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Many were packed in crates and shipped off for Hideyoshi's troops to use in the Korean expeditions. Sometimes these old guns are loosely called Keicho deppo. Keicho = 1596-1615
Inoue. Inoue-Ryu guns instantly recognizable by the smooth sweeping curve and rounded end of the butt, reminiscent of a persimmon seed or the orange half-moon crunchy cracker thing in packets of Japanese peanuts. The lock was a famous double inner and outer mechanism, called a Geki, so this Ryu is sometimes called Inoue-geki-Ryu.
I will add more pictures when I get opportunities to photograph further examples.
Tazuke (Pronounced roughly like 'tah zoo kay'). Again easily learnt and recognized as the buttend is cut flat at a slight inward angle. A flat heel. There are several other particular features to Tazuke guns, such as the walled or covered pan-lid, but I have rarely seen one with every single known attribute. Many had a round-headed Bisen breech screw, whereas most Japanese matchlocks have square heads.
The Tokugawa patronized Tazuke, I have heard, and also the gunsmithing area of Kunitomo, so the two often go together. (See my Tazuke gun thread)
Ogino Again, easy to learn as the shallow-curve butt is unusually long and tapering and ends in a kind of bum chin or as they say here the nose tip of an elephant's trunk. Fascinating to hold as the butt is almost as long as the barrel. (Right elbow high!) The lock plate tends to be rounded off at the rear end. Many have a third middle sight. I have owned one of these. It was made in Kunitomo as I believe many were.
Yo-Ryu or (Hayashi-Ryu) from the north of Kyushu, roundabout Fukuoka, specializes in shooting 棒火矢 Bo-bi-ya (Bo-hi-ya) fire arrows or fire bolts from big Kakae Ozutsu. Simple appearance, big fat rounded stock with short delicate waspy-waisted grip. Inner lockspring and two holes in the ama-ooi.
Seki Ryu (or Namban-Ryu) is so similar to the Kasumi-Ryu (also known as Tanegashima-Ryu) of Yonezawa that I am tempted to put them together here just for the sake of simplicity of learning. Immediately recognizable again, as they have a long exaggerated trigger guard, and metal bands to hold the plain tubular barrel to the stock (instead of the Mekugi pins that we normally associate with Hinawa Ju or Tanegashima guns).
Namban-Ryu or NittoTanzutsu-Ryu seems to have been an exotic school that liked to decorate their guns with the flavor/flavor of the south seas and far countries. Generally bizarrely shaped and decorated heavy-looking large bore cavalry pistols. (See Anthony's gun for comparison)
Sakai-Ryu which I lumped with Tabuse Ryu right at the top of the list, also contains strong elements of Tazuke. The guns look very similar to Tabuse, (swan neck serpentine, fleur-de-Lys lock plate) with the exception of the decoration, ie a drunk Shojo ladling sake out of a sake jar. The name Sakai 酒井 can be seen as a pictogram of a well of Sake.
Tabuse-Ryu Minus one, oldest school? ;D See the swan-necked serpentine and Fleur-de-Lys lock plate design. Close-up of butt. The pan lid was also enclosed like the Tazuke school.
In order to avoid copyright issues I am attempting to use my own photos whenever possible.
NB This is a Tabuse school gun, which was made in Bizen, ie it also has strong physical characteristics of Bizen manufactured guns, with typical use of iron and silver cappings for the lock mechanism instead of brass.
Ogino-Ryu, my own 6 Monme Gun-yo-zutsu army gun. Notice the extra middle sight. Plain, no decoration, but in near-new condition. Made in Kunitomo.
(Sadly no longer with me. Interestingly I sold this gun for 200,000 JPY, or about 2,000 USD. Several months later I was at a dealer's shop and he offered me a very special gun, inviting me to take off the cover. Lo and behold! There it was, "for only 700,000 JPY", he smiled. I nodded politely, keeping my thoughts to myself.)
Piers, Your comment about the founder of the Tabuse school having possibly travelled to Europe is more than interesting. To my knowledge no Japanese reached Europe before the Tensho Mission that sailed in 1582. Had he travelled in the 1530's, he would have ended up in the England of Henry VIII, Philip I of Portugal and Charles I of Spain. Since there is no record of such a happening, I think it far more likely that he travelled to SE Asia or even India where he could have met with the Portuguese and their guns. Since the Portuguese did not establish their base in Macau (Macao) until later , he is unlikely to have gone there. The shape of the tail of the lockplate is interesting as is the serpentine. The guns that came out of Goa had the tail of the lockplate shaped into a disc with ornate tendrils issuing from the end. This disc was pierced for a large dome-headed nut which the rear lock retaining screw, entered from the back of the stock, engaged with. Plates of this shape are illustrated by the Chinese and exist on the two guns in Nagoya. I have recently seen images of a very early gun in a private American collection that came from SE Asia (said to be Java) that has the same sights as the Nagoya guns and suspect that is where they came from rather than from Goa itself. These two guns were made under Portuguese influence since one has a Madonna and child on the barrel. The shape of the serpentine of the Tabuse gun is almost identical with the flint holding arm of various primitive flintlocks drawn by Leonardo da Vinci. I have never been convince he invented these locks, but simply made sketches of what was being tried at the time. No doubt the makers of these proto flintlocks were regular gunmakers used to making matchlocks and they just adopted their normal serpentine to their experiments. Since no guns from Goa seem to survive, I wonder if this shape came from that source. Ian Bottomley
Ah, Ian, you keep me honest. Very interesting. Yes, I did say it was a rumour, but this ghost of a rumour refuses to die, even if it has little credence. South-East Asia makes more sense, as you point out.
The exact date of six years before Tanegashima is mentioned in the literature in roughly these words, "In Tenbun 6 Tabuse Tadamune travelled to Namban (Barbaria) and learned Hojutsu".
Seki Ryu. (sub name Namban-Ryu)Thanks to Eric for the picture. This is a Tanzutsu. It looks at first glance like a Kasumi/Yonezawa gun as this school grew out of Kasumi. Bonus points for anyone drawing up a list of the small differences. I have not seen enough to be sure of all of them, but I have read about a few! (The Wasoku Ana lanyard hole is one defining feature, though.) Notice the long trigger guard, the brass droplet trigger, and the bands holding the simple pipe-shaped barrel to the stock.
Kasumi (Tanegashima)Ryu, used exclusively by the Yonezawa Teppo Tai. The one area where geographical and school style coincided? (Just to confuse everyone, a photo for comparison and solely for educational purposes, borrowed from Sawada Taira's book, of two Kasumi guns.)
Final (?) comment before this thread gets thrown open for everyone to show their examples.
The Tokugawa might order a gun from Kunitomo of a particular Monme caliber/caliber, and in the style of the Tazuke Ryu School. In my area of the country, Okayama/Bizen, the Ikeda Daimyo or Tonosama used to order their guns from Osaka/Settsu?Sakai, and they favoured the style of the Inatomi School, expecially a sub-branch called Fujioka-Ryu. Many Bizen guns have Fujioka features. You can thus imagine each area Lord maintaining a particular style/school of gunnery.
Many guns showed no evidence of belonging to any school. Gunyo-zutsu (army guns) tended to be plain, perhaps ordered in quantity for example by Tokugawa before Osaka-no-Jin. No time to add school refinements. Some showed partial signs, but these may be mixed or not clear. Not to worry if your gun does not fit any of these patterns.
Also beware of Sakai-Ryu, the drunken school. Their flat cut butts and panlids may look like Tazuke, and their lock plate and serpentine may look like Tabuse, but they are Sake sellers and DRUNK! (Look for the drunken Shojo mark.)
I really like this thread. A very good reference source. Find myself coming back to it time after time.
Reading a book about Ii Naosuke. His father Ii Naonaka was an avid fan of the matchlock. Even founded a gunnery school called "Ikkan-ryu". Haven't been able to find any info about this specific school. Would love any little pieces of breadcrums
Recently I met a Mr Shimazu in Tokyo, a complete eccentric, who is of the old Honshu Shimazu line. He is researching the Morishige School of gunnery, founded when Ukita Hideie's father Naoie was in Numa Jo before moving to Okayama, sometime in the 14 years between 1558 and 1572. He (Shimazu San) expressed a wish to come and visit Numa Castle (also called Kameyama Jo as it looks like a tortoise/turtle from a distance), so recently some of us went to check it out before he actually decides to visit.
My uncertain translation is, "Naonaka himself excelled in both literary and martial arts, and having investigated/questioned/ refined the deeper techniques of the Yonemura-Ryu, he was able to start a new school called the 'Ikkan-Ryu'."