Ever wonder why some Jodo practitioners say Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo and others say Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo? Still others have returned to the name Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu. 神道 夢想流 杖術1
Documents clearly show that Shimizu Sensei made a conscious effort after World War II to change the name “Jojutsu” to “Jodo” in order to capture the essence of training for self-improvement. The nuanced goals might’ve been amended but the actual martial system was not adjusted in any meaningful way as some would argue that the techniques were then watered down.
The Rembukan Dojo’s short decade long life was at an end due to a family tragedy of the owner of the property and friend of Shimizu Sensei. And although Shimizu Sensei had visited and approved of the Zoshyukan’s rented space, he never trained there succumbing to illness and death a short time later.
Shimizu Sensei did not pass away suddenly. Some of his five students that had received Menkyo Kaiden had come to visit him. He was cogent and alert. Here, stories and memories begin to defer but as best as this author can reasonably determine, this account seems to be the most agreed upon as of this writing; When asked who should take over the main duties of the dojo, Shimizu Sensei entrusted all of his Menkyo Kaiden to do the right thing.
However these relationships were already fractured with petty grievances. One junior teacher, not yet a Menkyo at the time opened a dojo that was not completely embraced by Shimizu Sensei. The Menkyo Kaiden were fighting over control of everything from the dojo Kan-ban (billboard) to the ancient scrolls and records. Mr. Kaminoda, the youngest of the group and the secretary for the group wound up with most of the scrolls.
When class at the Zoshyukan started, the other senior Menkyo Kaiden were met and turned away at the door and thus began a new era of loosely related groups practicing Jodo in the Tokyo area. Mr. Kaminoda then took steps to copyright the name “Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo”. In Japanese fashion, no one pursued this action, protesting legally but the copyright issue was not well received by the other senior students of Shimizu Sensei.
Though no evidence has come to light that actions have ever been taken to litigate the unwarranted use of the name Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo, this author is in possession of several documents where Mr. Kaminoda implied that he would do so. Some of the Menkyo Kaiden found solutions in changing the pronunciation of the name Shindo to Shinto which could be done without changing any meaning of the kanji for “shin” and “do”. Others found a solution in returning to the use of the word “Jojutsu” instead of “Jodo”
Adding to the controversies of the day, it was hoped that Mr. Otafuji of Kyushu, Shimizu Sensei’s friend, colleague and kohai (junior) would accept the “headmaster-ship” and steward Jodo into the future. The problem was in counting the “generations” which is vague and contradictory by Japanese custom. As both Shimizu and Otafuji had the same teacher Shiraishi Hanjiro who was the 24th linear descendant, Otafuji Sensei had a right to claim that he was the 25th descendant. The problem was that this then ostensibly would’ve written Shimizu Sensei out of the history books so to speak. It could never be agreed that Otofuji Sensei, respectfully accept being the 26 lineal descendant in order to solve this issue.
Today though the wider body of Jodo practitioners meet to conduct business, factionalism continues to exist. Additionally there are technical differences found in waza between what has informally come to be known as “Northern Jo” and “Southern Jo” between Honshu and Kyushu though these geographical boundaries are not definitive.
1 Note: There is an interesting passage in Matsui Kenji’s monograph “The History of Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu” presented to the International Hoplology Society about name changes in character (kanji) choices early on in the formation of the Ryu. Pp. 5-6 ©1993