TENOHA Milano presenta: Bulk Homme + Beauty Routine

TENOHA Milano reminds the importance of the Japanese Beauty Routine also to men with BULK HOMME! First of all, let's do a little reminder on what the Japanese Beauty Routine is.

TENOHA Milan and the Japanese Beauty routine

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Japanese Beauty Routine is a real statement for our body, a way to remind it every day that we must take care of it. The first declaration of love must be made to ourselves and to our well-being. You too, men! In the TENOHA &| SHOP space of TENOHA Milano, you can do it! Let's take a look at what this new chapter of the Japanese Beauty Routine is and talk about BULK HOMME!

TENOHA beauty

BULK HOMME was launched in Japan in 2013 since then its rise has been very fast especially in the D2C market directed to the consumer. Now, BULK HOMME includes 18 items with distribution throughout East Asia.
Special attention is also given to design, which is not only very elegant but also environmentally friendly, which is very important especially nowadays.

TENOHA beauty bulk homme

There are few products in life for which we can say: "I absolutely need it", with countless brands competing for our attention. But have you ever wondered what qualities are essential for you? BULK HOMME is a unique and refreshing experience that you will look forward to every day. You will see that every day skincare with BULK HOMME will become an essential appointment that you will never be able to do without again. Not only it will help you making that famous "declaration of love" to your body we were talking about earlier, but it will also be a moment of relaxation not only of the skin, but also of the whole body. Simple but exciting, the essence of everyday life that fascinates the senses. The skin-care solutions are effective, presented with style and elegance, and a pleasure to try. Treat yourself with a moment of pleasure just for yourself with BULK HOMME, the brand for men's skin-care.

TENOHA beauty TENOHA beauty

BULK HOMME reminds men the importance of a good skin-care with three phases: washing the face, using toner and lotion.
What makes BULK HOMME products unique is not only the special design and quality of the product itself, but also their texture. Usually we are used to products with a heavy, oily texture that eventually turns out to be unsuitable for our skin, we feel it very suffocating on our face. The texture of BULK HOMME products, instead, is also light thanks to the quality natural ingredients including willow, silk protein, Onsen moisturizing water rich in minerals, Yuzu extracts, green apple and green tea.

Bulk Homme

If you are a man you cannot miss this opportunity to try BULK HOMME products that directly from Japan you can find in TENOHA &| SHOP by TENOHA Milano! Fortunately now there is this corner of Japan that allows us to have the best products just a step away from us! In case you are not a man, but you are looking for a special and quality gift to give to a man, you will be sure to make a great impression with BULK HOMME products! It's definitely something that men will not be able to do without soon!

Would you like to try these wonderful products for free? Do you want to see them and touch them for real? BULK HOMME promotes its new products through a product testing in TENOHA & SHOP open to all customers!
Don't miss out, we are waiting for you!

when: 26 & 27 September | Morning > 11:00 - 13:00 | Afternoon > 15:00 - 19:00
where: TENOHA & | SHOP c/o TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano

CHAPTER #3 - SHIBUI | Facial treatment with Japanese products with the founder of Shibui Italia, Raffaella Grisa

"I treat the outside and I cure the inside" is the motto on which personal care is based according to Raffaella Grisa: it is important to take care of one's inner being in order to make the outer beauty appear. We will start with total relaxation by tasting an infusion created with the jetu leaf (an essential element of Ruhaku's cosmetics line) that will help us purifying the inside.

The real workshop will start with the specialist of J-beauty Lorena with a meditative moment thanks to HITO, a special fragrance that heals the soul and balances the chakras. Only after purifying the soul, we will move on to the care of external beauty.

Do you want to dedicate a moment of pure well-being, inside and outside, away from everything that weighs down your person? This workshop will allow you to do it! Do not miss this opportunity and treat yourself with a day just for you!

Of course, the products are also available in TENOHA &|SHOP.

when: 7 November
# 1 session 10:30 – 12:00
# 2 session 14:00 – 15:30
# 3 session 16:00 – 17:30 (only if there are other requests)

where: TENOHA & | WORK c/o TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Cost: 40€
Seats: 10 per session

CHAPTER #4 - DOTERRA | Treatment with essential oils with Marcella Mosci

Every day we are subjected to stress and hectic, due to work and personal problems. Don't you think it's time to stop for a moment to seek some peace and balance? . With essential oils we can do it easily and quickly! In this workshop we will create for you a bio beauty routine depending on your skin with creams and essential oils. The olfactory experience guided by essential oils, will teach us their recognition and the choice of the most suitable product for our skin.

But what exactly is DoTerra? Founded in 2008, DoTerra (from a Latin expression meaning "gift of the earth") was born with the mission to spread the benefits of essential oils with CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®) certification, which stand out for the highest standards of quality, purity and safety in the entire industry. Together with traditional and alternative medicine professionals, it encourages studies and applications of therapeutic grade essential oils in modern healthcare practices. DoTerra has also developed the Co-Impact Sourcing initiative, through the Healing Hands Foundation, which enables sustainable exploitation of resources for oil production, support of local communities and development of social responsibility projects.

when: 21 November
#1 session 10:30 – 12:00
#2 session 14:00 – 15:30

where: TENOHA & | WORK c/o TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Cost: 40€
Seats: 10 per session

What are you waiting for? The moment to dedicate to yourselves has arrived! We are waiting for you!

Japan History: Saitō Hajime

Saitō Hajime (Yamaguchi Hajime, February 18, 1844 – September 28, 1915) was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period, who served as the captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi. He was one of the few core members who survived the numerous wars of the Bakumatsu period. He was later known as Fujita Gorō and worked as a police officer in Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration.

Saitō Hajime of the third unit of the Shinsengumi

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Saitō Hajime

photo credits: wikipedia.org

He was born in Edo, Musashi Province (now Tokyo) as Yamaguchi Hajime and he had an older brother named Hiroaki and an older sister named Katsu. According to the published records of his family, Saitō left Edo in 1862, after accidentally killing a hatamoto (a samurai in the direct service of the Tokugawa shogunate of feudal Japan).

He went to Kyoto and taught in the dōjō of a man named Yoshida who had relied on Saitō's father Yūsuke in the past. His style of swordsmanship is not clear. According to a tradition of his descendants, his style comes from Ittō-ryū and to be a Mugai Ryū that originates from Yamaguchi Ittō-ryū. He is also considered to have learned Tsuda Ichi-den-ryū and Sekiguchi-ryū.

He adherently lived by the Shinsengumi code "Aku Soku Zan" ( literally: "Slay Evil Immediately", but more poetically rendered as "Swift Death to Evil"), though he never has shown much regard for human life, at some points even letting on that he likes to kill. He was rather arrogant, but none of these flaws prevent him from being a superb investigator and fighter. He expected those involved in the military, whether Shinsengumi swordsmen or Meiji era policemen, to carry out their duties without letting their personal feelings interfere.

He believed in peace and order, even in the society created by his former enemies. Throughout the series, to uphold this new peace, Saitō has often been shown as the foil of Himura Kenshin who walks and carries out his duties in the shadows of society in his own way; following his lifelong code of purpose with devotion, Saitō was the man who did the dirty work, killing off the bad persons. Anyone he considered to be corrupt or despotic was a target for elimination, in the honor of his country and his fallen men.

Even if he was normally serious, Saitō had a slight sense of humor that is also a lot sadistic, shown as he used his sword to casually attempt to stab Sanosuke Sagara in the butt through the roof of the horse carriage they were riding with Himura Kenshin.

During the Kyoto Arc, Saitō joined forces with Himura Kenshin to fight against Shishio Makoto. However, he considered Kenshin to be more of an adversary rather than an ally. Later, after acknowledging Himura Kenshin’s vow to never kill again, Saitō decided to put an end to their rivalry.

Saitō was an able observer and a quick analyst (working as a spy for the Meiji government). In addition to being a skilled swordsman, he is revealed to possess immense physical strength when he punched the herculean Sagara Sanosuke in a hand-to-hand fistfight. He considered Sanosuke to be a dimwitted amateur with mild potential, due mostly to Sano's lack of insight.

Saitō was highly recognizable by his narrow eyes, "spider-like" strands of hair in front of his forehead (he was also said to resemble a wolf), his propensity for smoking and the katana on his left side.

Shinsengumi Period

As a member of the Shinsengumi, Saitō was said to be an introvert and a mysterious person; a common description of his personality says he " he was not a man predisposed to small talk" but unusually tall 180 cm. He was also noted to be very dignified, especially in his later years, he always made sure that his obi was tied properly and when he walked he was careful not to drag his feet and he always sat in the formal position, called seiza. He also was very alert so that he could react instantly to any situations that might occur.

He was known to be very intimidating when he wanted to be. Along with his duties as Captain of the Third Squad in the Shinsengumi, he was also responsible for weeding out any potential spies within the Shinsengumi ranks.

His original position within the Shinsengumi was assistant vice commander. During the Ikedaya incident on July 8, 1864, Saitō was with Hijikata Toshizō's group that arrived later at the Ikedaya Inn.

In August 20, 1864, Saitō and the rest of the Shinsengumi took part in the Kinmon incident against the Chōshū rebels. In the reorganization of the ranks in November 1864, he was first assigned as the fourth unit's captain and would later receive an award from the shogunate for his part in the Kinmon incident.

At the Shinsengumi new headquarters at Nishi Hongan-ji in April 1865, he was assigned as the third unit's captain. Saitō was considered to be on the same level of swordsmanship as the first troop captain Okita Sōji and the second troop captain Nagakura Shinpachi. In fact, it seems that Okita feared his sword skill.

Despite prior connections to Aizu, his descendants dispute that he served as a spy. His controversial reputation comes from accounts that he executed several corrupt members of the Shinsengumi; however, rumors vary as to his role in the deaths of Tani Sanjūrō in 1866 and Takeda Kanryūsai in 1867. His role as an internal spy for the Shinsengumi is also questionable; he is said to have been instructed to join Itō Kashitarō's splinter group Goryō Eji Kōdai-ji faction, to spy on them, which eventually led to the Aburanokōji incident in December 13, 1867.

Together with the rest of the Shinsengumi, he became a hatamoto in 1867. In late December 1867, Saitō and a group of six members of the Shinsengumi were charged with protecting Miura Kyūtarō, who was one of the main suspects in the murder of Sakamoto Ryōma. On January 1, 1868, they fought against sixteen assassins who tried to kill Miura in revenge at the Tenmaya Inn for what was known as the Tenmaya incident.

After the outbreak of the Boshin war from January 27, 1868 onwards, Saitō, under the name of Yamaguchi Jirō, participated in the Shinsengumi's fight during the battle of Toba-Fushimi and the battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma, before retiring with the surviving members in Edo and later in the domain of Aizu.

Saitō became commander of the Aizu Shinsengumi around May 26, 1868 and continued in the battle of Shirakawa. After the battle of Bonari Pass, when Hijikata decided to withdraw from Aizu, Saitō and a small group of 20 members separated from Hijikata and the rest of the surviving Shinsengumi, continued to fight alongside the Aizu army against the imperial army until the end of the battle of Aizu. This separation was recorded in the diary of the conservative Kuwana Taniguchi Shirōbei, where it was recorded as an event that also involved Ōtori Keisuke, who Hijikata asked to take command of the Shinsengumi; therefore the aforementioned clash was not with Hijikata.

Saitō, together with the few remaining men of the Shinsengumi who went with him, fought against the imperial army at Nyorai-dō), where they were severely outnumbered. It was during the battle of Nyorai-dō that Saitō was thought to have been killed in action; however, he managed to return to the lines of Aizu and joined the army of Aizu's domain as a member of the Suzakutai. After the fall of the Aizuwakamatsu castle, Saitō and the five surviving members joined a group of former Aizu services who traveled southwest to the Takada domain in Echigo province, where they were held as prisoners of war. In the registers listing the Aizu men detained in Takada, Saitō is registered as Ichinose Denpachi.

Meiji Restoration

Saitō, under the new name of Fujita Gorō, went to Tonami, the new domain of the Matsudaira clan of Aizu. He settled with Kurasawa Heijiemon, the karō of Aizu who was an old friend of his from Kyoto. Kurasawa was involved in the migration of Aizu samurai to Tonami and the construction of settlements in Tonami, particularly in the village of Gonohe. In Tonami, Fujita met Shinoda Yaso, daughter of an Aizu believer. The two met through Kurasawa, who then lived with Ueda Shichirō. Kurasawa sponsored the marriage of Fujita and Yaso on August 25, 1871. It was also during this period that Fujita may have been associated with the Police Office. Fujita and Yaso moved out of the Kurasawa house on February 10. When he left Tonami for Tokyo on June 10, 1874, Yaso moved to Tokyo with Kurasawa and the last registration of the Kurasawa family dates back to 1876. It is not known what happened after that. It was during this period that Fujita Gorō started working as a police officer in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

In 1874 Fujita married Takagi Tokio, the daughter of Takagi Kojūrō, a servant of the Aizu domain. Her original name was Sada; she served for a time as a companion of Matsudaira Teru. Fujita and Tokio had three children: Tsutomu (1876-1956); Tsuyoshi (1879-1946); and Tatsuo (1886-1945). Tsutomu and his wife Nishino Midori had seven children; the Fujita family continues to this day through Tarō and Naoko Fujita, the children of Tsutomu's second son, Makoto. Fujita's third son, Tatsuo, was adopted by the Numazawa family, maternal relatives of Tokyo whose family had been almost annihilated during the Boshin war.

Saitō Hajime

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Fujita fought on the Meiji government's side during Saigō Takamori's Satsuma rebellion, as a member of the police forces sent to support the Imperial Japanese Army.

During his lifetime, Fujita Gorō shared some of his Shinsengumi experiences with a select few, but he didn’t write anything about his activity in the Shinsengumi as Nagakura Shinpachi did. During his life in the Meiji period, Fujita was the only one who was authorized by the government to carry a katana despite the collapse of the Tokugawa rule. In 1875, Fujita assisted Nagakura Shinpachi (as Sugimura Yoshie) and Matsumoto Ryōjun in setting up a memorial monument known as Grave of Shinsengumi in honor of Kondō Isami, Hijikata Toshizō, and other deceased Shinsengumi members at Itabashi, Tokyo.

Following his retirement from Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department in 1890, Fujita worked as a guard for Tokyo National Museum, and later as a clerk and accountant for Tokyo Women's Normal School from 1899.

Saitō Hajime

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Fujita's heavy drinking was believed to have contributed to his death from a stomach ulcer. He died in 1915 at age 72, sitting in seiza in his living room. Upon his will, he was buried at Amidaji, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan.


Another appointment not to be missed at TENOHA Milano, which returns to propose the Kintsugi workshop, after the great success of the previous edition!

Kintsugi workshop with Mariangela Zabatino and Raffaella Nobili

Author: SaiKaiAngel


Another appointment not to be missed at TENOHA Milano, which returns to propose the Kintsugi workshop, after the great success of the previous edition! Mariangela Zabatino from Anima Mundi, with the collaboration of Raffaella Nobili from Japanese Paraventi, will bring you to the calm and the right concentration that only the Kintsugi technique can give.

To refresh your mind, here is what this technique is about: The kintsugi (金継ぎ), or kintsukuroi (金繕い), literally "repair with gold", is a Japanese practice that consists in using gold, liquid silver or lacquer with gold powder for the repair of ceramic objects. The technique allows to obtain precious objects especially from an artistic point of view. The idea is to demonstrate that from imperfection and a wound can arise an even greater form of aesthetic and inner perfection. From every fragment, from every wound something important is born, from every imperfection can arise a new perfection and a new way of living. We must always learn from mistakes and fractures, so that they can never happen again. The art of kintsugi is often used as a symbol and metaphor of resilience.

Kintsugi is an essential experience for body and mind. Do not miss this opportunity and come to understand the true meaning of "rebirth", obviously always here at TENOHA Milano, the real corner of Japan in Italy! 

Click the following link to book your seat!


When: October 4, 2020
10:30 -10:50 start of the course and introductory notes on Kintsugi through slide projection
10:50 -12:30 am -12:30 pm course with the repair of two ceramics

TENOHA MILANO - Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milan

Cost: 75€ per pax

Pax: Minimum No. 7, Maximum No. 13

Click here for more info:

Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck @ TENOHA Milano

TENOHA Milano is proud to present Memories from the Ordinary, the first exhibition in Milan of Johanna Tagada, French artist who lives and works between London and the Alsatian countryside.


Author: SaiKaiAngel

Johanna Tagada Johanna Tagada

Memories from the Ordinary, curated by Giulia Giazzoli and Joel Valabrega, will be at your disposal in the pop-up spaces of TENOHA Milano. The works range from painting to drawing, and from the collage to textile design and… listen!! In the preview, Johanna Tagada will also exhibit two unpublished works from his series Gestures of Love! An appointment not to be missed.

Gestures of Love

According to the artist, life resides in moments of simplicity, of positivity, in a society that never stops to enjoy these beauties.
His work has a great recognizability: the meticulous choice of color palette carefully studied, the selection of materials and textures that often precedes the work. The soft colors, soft shapes and sustainable materials and we are talking about organic cotton fibers, recycled paper and natural colors. Johanna Tagada's idea of ecology finds its foundation in the deep ecology of Arne Naess, Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer who first used the term ecosophy.

Johanna Tagada


Let's take a few examples: in the Tea Vessels series, Johanna Tagada depicts objects related to tea culture in a maximum of twenty minutes, exactly the time of a cup of tea. This is an example of how everyday life can be complemented by meditation, which we carry out in all our daily gestures. The theme of memory emerges strongly in the installation Le Refuge (2016). La Refuge is a large cotton tent inside which Johanna Tagada hand embroidered sentences collected from visitors during her project Épistolaire Imaginaire (2014-2017).

Johanna Tagada

Le Refuge

We are talking about a very lively and prolific artist and she has already had a series of solo exhibitions in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Strasbourg, in particular:
Strasbourg - Épistolaire Imaginaire - Merci alla Galerie Jean-Francois Kaiser by
Nidi Gallery Tokyo - Take Care - きをつけて.
In 2014 Johanna founded the positive and collaborative cultural project Poetic Pastel. Her continuous research for art also resulted in publishing: in 2018 she co-founded the independent magazine "Journal du Thè" and since 2014 she has been creating "positive and participatory" cultural projects with Poetic Pastel Press. Some of her incredible publications will be on sale in the TENOHA store.

Johanna Tagada Johanna Tagada

To marry everyday life with art, to respect the artist's feelings and to spoil visitors as always, organic teas and infusions will be offered during the exhibition in collaboration with Wilden Herbals Tea.
You cannot miss this opportunity and this unique and sensory experience!


Where: TENOHA MILANO – Pop-up space, Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
When: Dal 9 al 18 settembre 2020 dalle ore 15 alle 21

In collaboration with: TENOHA MILAN
Technical sponsor: Wilden Herbals Tea

Giulia Giazzoli giazzoligiulia@gmail.com
Joel Valabrega joel.valabrega@gmail.com

Movie week @ TENOHA Milano

The great events of TENOHA Milano are back with the STUDIO GHIBLI movie marathon in the MOVIE WEEK! What could be better than these wonderful movies together with the only aperitifs of TENOHA Milano? But let's take a closer look at what Studio Ghibli is.

Marathon Studio Ghibli in TENOHA Milano

Author: SaiKaiAngel


Studio Ghibli, Inc. is a Japanese animated film studio. Its anime is known and appreciated throughout the world.

Founded in 1985 by the famous director Hayao Miyazaki together with his colleague Isao Takahata, it was originally founded in 1983 with the beginning of Nausicaä in the Wind Valley (1984), previously serialized in 1982 as a manga by Tokuma Shoten.
"Ghibli" is the name of a hot wind used by Italian pilots in North Africa in World War II and their reconnaissance airplanes. Hayao Miyazaki, who has always had a passion for old aircraft, decided to use this word as a name for the new studio with the phrase: "Let's blow a hot wind in the world of Japanese animation!”

Movie Schedule

Howl's Moving Castle


• 18 September 2020 - The Wandering Castle of Howl - ハウルの動く城 (2004)
Young Sophie, 18, works tirelessly in the hat boutique that belonged to her father. During one of her rare outings in the city, she met Howl the Magician. Misunderstanding their relationship, a witch casts a terrible curse on Sophie and turns her into a 90-year-old woman. Prostrate, Sophie flees and wanders the wastelands. By pure chance, she enters Howl's Wandering Castle and, hiding her true identity, gets hired as a cleaning lady. This "old lady", as mysterious as she is dynamic, will soon manage to give new life to the old dwelling inhabited only by a young apprentice, Markl, and the one who runs the Castle, Calcifer, the fire demon. More energetic than ever, Sophie performs miracles. What fabulous fate awaits her? What will happen between her and Howl?

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi


• 19 September 2020 - The Enchanted City - 千と千尋の神隠し (2001)
Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl, and her parents are moving when the girl's father takes the wrong road. Thinking he has found an abandoned amusement park, the father enters the complex to visit it, followed by his wife and, reluctantly, Chihiro. The three of them cross the bed of a dry river and find themselves in a city composed entirely of restaurants and clubs, and on a counter they find a rich buffet. Parents sit down and start eating, thinking they will pay when someone shows up. Chihiro meanwhile explores the area and finds a large spa complex. A young boy, Haku, orders her to leave, but on her way back she discovers that her parents have become pigs and that she can't cross the flooded river.

Kaze no tani no Naushika

Studio Ghibli

• 20 September 2020 - Nausicaä in the Wind Valley - 風の谷のナウシカ
Following a cataclysm that devastated the entire planet, a toxic forest covered most of the Earth's surface. In this apocalyptic scenario, where a new war is about to explode, the kingdom of the Wind Valley - ruled by Jihl, father of the brave Princess Nausicaä - is one of the few areas still populated. Nausicaä has two gifts: being able to ride the wind flying like birds and being able to communicate with the Ohm, the giant insect guardians of the forest. Thanks to her skills and the love and esteem of her people, Princess Nausicaä will undertake a courageous challenge to restore peace and reconcile humanity with the Earth.


When: September 18 - 19 - 20
Aperitif from 18:00 to 20:00
Screening from 18:00

Where: & | DISCOVER, TENOHA MILANO via Vigevano 18, 20144 Italia
Cost: special aperitif € 12 + free entry to the cinema
Seats: 20 Max (subject to availability)

Japan History: Yamaoka Tesshu

Ono Tetsutaro, better known as Yamaoka Tesshu, was born in Tokyo on June 10, 1836. His father was Ono Asaemon, of the Tokugawa court, and her mother Iso was the daughter of a monk of the Kashima temple. At the age of 9 he began the practice of Jikishinkage ryu and a few years later the Hono ha Itto ryu, while at the age of 17 he started the study of the spear with the master Yamaoka Seizan, who died prematurely two years later. Tetsutaro was adopted into the master's family, and married his sister, taking the name Yamaoka Tesshu.

Yamaoka Tesshu and his history

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Yamaoka Tesshu

photo credits: musubi.it

Although he had a not negligible physicality, considering his 185 cm height and his weight of 110 kg, he was able to assert himself only with his incredible personality and sensitivity. However many times he was not able to stop himself, even to the point of denying the existence of Buddha, sentient beings and realization. Nothing to give and nothing to receive.
At that point, Master Dokuon struck him with his pipe and said: "If nothing exists, then where does this anger come from?”

From the world of the sword, he received many teachings. In one of the meetings with master Sasakibara Kenkichi, he stood still for 40 minutes together with his opponent, facing each other in their respective guards until both rested their weapons. At the age of 28, Tesshu was unexpectedly defeated by the 40-year-old Asari Gimei, master of the Nakanishi Ha Itto-ryu school. From that moment on, he could no longer give peace to the idea of defeat against an older man, of whom he had become a disciple but failed to understand his teaching. Asari, without hitting him, forced him to step back out of the dojo by closing the door in his face.

Tesshu's introspective study lasted 16 years, without being able to understand what was wrong with his technique, his lifestyle, despite the training and Zen teachings. On March 30, 1880, Tesshu during a zazen session went to Asari and asked him for a new fight. Asari declined, justifying himself with these few words, "Now you have arrived". From that moment he left teaching and his school to Tesshu who succeeded in developing a method called Muto ryu (school without sword) different from the Itto ryu especially in teaching, still practised but by a very small group of people. He died on July 19, 1888, at fifty-three years of age due to stomach cancer. Before dying, he wrote his Jisei no ku (poem of death), closed his eyes and, even in death, did not abandon his style assuming the formal posture of zazen, as can be seen from the drawing of his disciple Tanaka Seiji.

During Tesshu's funeral at the Zensho-an temple the monk Tekisui composed these verses:

Sword and brush balanced between Absolute and Relative
His loyal courage and noble strength pierced Paradise.
A dream of fifty-three years,
Wrapped by the pure fragrance of the flourishing lotus in the middle of the roaring fire.

Again, Katsu Kaishu, a great swordmaster, wrote the following words next to a portrait of Tesshu:

Valiant and wise, this virile man accomplishes great things
His sword was incomparably sublime
Its illumination embraced everything
Will future generations ever see the same?

Explanation of Mute Ryu

Yamaoka Tesshu

photo credits: wikipedia.org

The goal of Muto Ryu is "no enemy". Everything depends on the mind. If we imagine a very skilful opponent, our sword stays still, if we imagine a weak opponent, the mind opens and the sword is free. This is proof that nothing exists except the mind. Taken by agitation, a warrior would move the sword without thinking and confusedly without hitting the opponent. From this idea was born the school of non-sword (Muto ryu). Out of mind there is no sword, this means: not sword corresponds to not mind; not mind means a mind that is stable everywhere. If the mind stops, the opponent appears; if the mind keeps moving there is no enemy. Continuous and intense training leads to the stage of no enemy.

Tesshu's method required intensive and incessant training focused mainly on basic principles. The first 3 years were dedicated to the study of the 5 basic kata of Muto ryu and it was forbidden to follow in that period the teachings of other schools. Three levels of seigan were foreseen for advanced students, who were admitted only after having passed a trial period consisting of 1000 consecutive days of training. In order to pass the first seigan level, 200 sword fights had to be fought in a single day; the second level provided for 3 days with 600 fights and the third, 7 days with 1400 fights.

The name of Yamaoka Tesshu's dojo, Shumpukan, comes from a poem by Chinese monk Bukko Kokushi:

In heaven and on earth there are no points to hide
Joy belongs to those who recognize that things
They are empty and man is also nothing.
Splendid indeed the long Mongolian swords
Blasting the spring wind like a flash of light

The shumpu, the spring wind, gave the name to the dojo.

The writings of Yamaoka Tesshu

Below we have some writings by Tesshu that better describe his strong personality:

Return to the Beginner's Mind, August 1882

If the wonders of swordplay elude you, it returns to the beginner's mind. The beginner's mind is not just any kind of mentality: striking as the only intention without thinking about the movement of the body and moving forward with force is proof that you have forgotten yourself. Technicians are hindered by analytical thoughts. When the obstacle of a discursive approach is overcome, the wonders of the art of the sword can be appreciated. In the beginning, it is necessary to practice with well-tempered swordsmen in order to discern one's own inadequacies. Pursue your study to the end, awaken your irresistible strength, practice tirelessly until your heart is immovable, and then you will understand. Practice until no doubt remains. Surely the time will come to discover the wonders.

From Itto shoden Muto Ryu Kanaji Mokuroku: Suigetsu (the moon in the water), April 10, 1884.

Even when the water from a puddle is moved in the ladle, the moon is reflected in it. The moon's reflection is not lost when the water moves from ladle to ladle. When you are disturbed, then there is no reconnaissance; the moon does not appear in the agitated water. If your mind is calm and the ladle is still, the moon's reflection is maintained.

Do not concentrate
When hitting your opponent
Move naturally
Like moonbeams penetrating
In a homeless hut

You may be unhappy with a roofless hut, but the same moon that illuminates the skies naturally fills it with its light. So, you can attack your opponent and win. Regardless of keeping your little self, charge towards your opponent. If you are confused or nervous you will surely lose.

Other Famous Phrases

As a samurai, I must strengthen my character; as a human being I must perfect my spirit

Thirst for victory leads to defeat; not tiring of defeat leads to victory.

If you want to obtain the secrets of such wonderful techniques, drill yourself, harden yourself, undergo severe training, abandoned body and mind; follow this course for years and you will naturally reach the most profound levels. To know if the water is hot or cold you must taste it yourself.

Zen is like soap. First, you wash with it, and then you wash off the soap.

Do not think that this is all there is. More and more wonderful teachings exist.
The world is wide, full of happenings. Keep this in mind and never believe 'I'm the only one who knows.'

The moon does not think to be reflected, nor does the water think to reflect, in the Hirosawa Pond.

Unfortunately, many of his writings are apocryphal, but that does not make them less profound and important for life than anyone who has read them. We think that they can be a help even nowadays in many situations.

Political and Social Life

Yamaoka Tesshu

photo credits: wiki.samurai-archives.com

Tesshu also had an active political and social life as a negotiator. He was first in the service of the shogun, so at the end of the war Boshin in 1869 treated the surrender in front of the siege of the imperial forces commanded by Saigo Takamori.

His success was the fact that he focused on establishing contact with the enemy forces, with linear but provocative conduct: he intimidated the enemy of the emperor to let him pass without fear.

If we think of Tesshu's impetuous character, never willing to give in to compromises, it is really strange to see him as a great negotiator. In his short and adventurous life he was also the emperor's bodyguard, with his readiness of reflexes and decisions.

Genji's Tale

Murasaki Shikibu is the name behind the Japanese woman who wrote what is called the world's first novel, The Genji monogatari (源氏物語 lett. "The Genji Tale").

Genji's Tale, The World's First Novel

Author: SaiKaiAngel | Source: Tokyo Weekender


photo credits: tokyoweekender.com

Every work of contemporary art is the result of centuries of cultural history. In the case of Japanese literature, we are talking about 1,000 years of written prose and poetry. It all began in the Heian period (794-1185) with Murasaki Shikibu, a companion and member of a minor branch of the powerful Fujiwara clan. Murasaki was the author of one of the most important literary works in the world, The Tale of Genji, published in the early 11th century. By way of comparison, it is thought that the first novel in modern European history is Cervantes' Don Quixote, first published in 1605.

Heian aristocracy

While Shikibu was undoubtedly a pioneer of fiction in Japan, not much is known about her, not even her first name. At that time, the maiden names of elite women were not registered. The name Murasaki Shikibu would have been created based on one of the characters in The Tale of Genji and on his father's status (Shikibu, which means "Ministry of Ceremonies" in Japanese), although historians still dispute this theory.

Like many women of her status, she lived relatively comfortably, although the aristocratic lifestyle had some restrictions. The elite of the Heian period favoured high education and culture, and often the most powerful individuals were also the most educated.

Men learned everything from poetry and languages to law and politics. Women, on the other hand, were limited to the arts because this was what was considered attractive at the time. Chinese was an important language to know for those directly involved with the court and to participate in literary circles, but women usually could not study it.


photo credits: wikipedia.org

This has not prevented aristocratic women from investing in the creative field, using hiragana and contributing significantly to the genre of the poetic diary. Lady Murasaki's Diary together with Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book are the main representatives of the genre to date.

Through fragments of Shikibu's diary and narrative work, historians have been able to learn about the unique aristocracy of classical Japan. At the time, poetry and prose were written based on the lives of their authors, but Shikibu's was distinct from the masses in that it was clearly a work of fiction - although many claim that the stories in The Tale of Genji were inspired by real events.

Genji's Tale

Genji's Tale is thought to be the world's first written work of fiction. It’s not certain whether Shikibu wrote the complex story in a couple of years or decades, but what is certain is that this complete literary work is a portrait of the Heian aristocracy in all its complicated hierarchies.

What is even more impressive is that, despite the long list of characters and appearances throughout the book, the story still surrounds only what at the time was less than 1% of the population, the highest elite.

Reading the chapters gives you a vivid idea of what it was like to be a man or a woman in the Heian period, with the corresponding expectations. The protagonist, Genji, is the archetype of a hero of the period, the perfect man. Son of an ancient emperor, his right to the throne was taken away from him and he was demoted to populan when he changed his name to Morimoto.

The Story of Genji Monogatari

The work tells of one of the sons of the Japanese emperor of the Heian era, known by the name of Genji or rather Hikaru Genji (Genji Splendente). Genji, however, is just a different way to read the kanji of the Minamoto clan (the reading On of Minamoto is in fact 源 Gen, the same kanji present in the word Genji), a family that really existed and to which the author wanted to allude. Born from the emperor's relationship with one of his concubines, and therefore unable to be part of the main branch of the imperial family or aspire to the throne, Genji is adopted by the court which allows him to climb the high ranks starting from the position of simple court official.

The whole story then revolves around Genji's love life and his various relationships, thus showing the customs of the court society of the time. Despite his numerous relationships and the different wives he will have during his life, as a libertine Genji still shows his particular loyalty and bond with all the women in his life by not abandoning any of his wives or concubines, especially at a time when for a concubine or wife to be left by her protector meant abandonment of society and marginalization.

Among them, however, one woman was a particular presence in the life of the young Genji: Fujitsubo. The premature death of his mother left in Genji a void that the young man tried to fill throughout his life, always looking for a mother figure in all the women with whom the young man fell in love. He thought he would find the mother figure in Fujitsubo, a concubine of the Emperor, his father.
In the woman, Genji saw not only the sweetness of the mother but also beauty and gentleness, and although he was reciprocated by the woman, the two were forced to repress their feelings because she "belonged", as concubine and then bride, to the Emperor, and Genji had recently joined the Emperor in marriage with Princess Aoi.

The story continued telling the intertwined stories of all the characters whose lives were intertwined and united until the end of the novel, with the conclusion that saw Genji in old age, reflecting in solitude on the meaning of life and the transience of things and their fleeting beauty. However, there are other chapters, known as Uji's Chapters, which, like the rest of the work, continue to recount events even after Genji's death and have as their protagonists Genji's son and a friend struggling with their love affairs.

However, the story ends abruptly, almost in the middle, leaving the various foreign scholars and authors who have translated the English version to imagine that the work has not been completed by the author. In fact, it seems that Murasaki didn't plan any end for the novel but simply continued to write it as long as he wanted or could leave it incomplete.

Structure of the Genji Monogatari

Genji monogatari

photo credits: rugrabbit.com

The story that tells the life of Prince Genji, tells about the young prince's youth, his rise to success, his worldliness and loves until his fall and then rise again. A plot in which there are bewitching and beautiful female figures as a frame. As for the language, it is very complex and not easy for modern readers: being from the Heian period and moreover in a court environment, Murasaki's language has a very complex grammar.

Each character is almost never called by name but by their honorary title or according to their class. For women, instead, typical colour of their clothing is indicated, different for each female character, or alludes to a woman using the rank of a male relative of the first order to which she belongs.

Another difficulty of the novel is the presence of poetry and conversations written in verse. This often served the characters to communicate subtle and veiled allusions in a court environment: poetry is classic Tanka poetry. Like most writings of the Heian period, the Genji was most likely written all, or almost all, in kana, and not using Chinese characters as it is written by a woman for a female audience.

It is well known that in the Heian era writing in Chinese characters was something purely masculine, but women were forbidden.

Besides many suggestions of a society dominated by men, the novel was proof of something that could be even more crucial: women had undeniably played a great role in the propagation of the arts. In fact, while the Heian period saw many failed attempts to revolutionize Japanese government policies, what's left is a rich attachment to the culture that Japanese society still clings to today.

The prose and poems written in hiragana by the women of the court ensured that the lower classes could also enjoy them. In other words, the Heian period is seen as a time when the art world in Japan was born. Not only Shibiku is an important historical figure for its legacy in Eastern and international literature, but she is a symbol of an era in Japan when women were successful in ways never seen before.

Murasaki Shikibu in popular culture

Shikibu is one of the most significant historical figures in East Asian cultural history and, over the next millennia, has remained a staple in Japanese high schools and colleges, just like Shakespeare in Europe and North America.

There have been many important translations and interpretations, as well as a fair amount of criticism. In Japan, Genji's tale is commemorated on the rare 2,000 yen note and Murasaki Shikibu is the name of the Japanese berry plant.

Like the story of the 47 ronin, Genji's Tale has been adapted for the big screen several times, and the latest is the feature film Genji monogatari: Sennen no nazo (2011). In recent years, Murasaki Shikibu herself has appeared in mobile games such as Fate/Grand Order and Monster Strike, where the characters are inspired by her work.

Japan History: Eugène Collache

Eugène Collache (29 January 1847 Perpignan - 25 October 1883 Paris) was an officer in the French Navy of the 19th century. He left the Minerva ship in the port of Yokohama with Henri Nicol to rally other French officers, led by Jules Brunet, who had embraced the Bakufu cause in the Boshin war. On November 29, 1868, Eugène Collache and Nicol left Yokohama aboard a commercial ship, the Sophie-Hélène, chartered by a Swiss businessman.

Eugène Collache, between France and Japan

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Eugène Collache

photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Eugène Collache and Boshin's war in Japan

Eugène Collache and Henri Nicol first reached Samenoura bay in Nanbu province (modern Miyagi prefecture), when imperial forces had subdued the daimyō of Northern Japan and that those in favour of the shōgun had fled to the island of Hokkaidō. In Aomori, they were warmly welcomed by Tsugaru's daimyō. An American ship warned them of an arrest warrant against them and Eugène Collache, always with his friend Henri Nicol, decided to board that American ship to reach Hokkaidō.

During the winter of 1868-1869, Eugène Collache was commissioned to establish fortifications in the volcanic mountain range to protect Hakodate.
The surprise attack on the Imperial Navy, in which Collache participated in the battle of Miyako, occurred on May 18. Collache was on the ship Takao, while the other two ships were the Kaiten and the Banryū. The ships encountered bad weather, so the Takao reported engine problems and the Banryu returned to Hokkaido, without joining the battle.

photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Kaiten instead planned to enter the port of Miyako with an American flag. Due to engine problems, Takao was sailing after him and at that moment Kaiten joined the battle for the first time by raising the Bakufu flag a few seconds before boarding the imperial warship Kōtetsu. The Kōtetsu managed to repel the attack with a Gatling gun and the Kaiten came out of Miyako bay just as Takao entered it. Eventually, Kaiten fled to Hokkaidō, but Takao was unable to leave the pursuers and was destroyed

At that point, Collache tried to escape with the favor of the mountain, but surrendered after a few days together with his troops to the Japanese authorities. They were taken to Edo for arrest. Collache was judged and sentenced to death, but eventually pardoned and transferred to Yokohama aboard the French Navy frigate Coëtlogon, where he joined the French rebel officers led by Jules Brunet.

Eugène Collache

photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Return to France

Returning to France, he was discharged from the military and called a deserter, but the sentence was light and he was allowed to return to the list for the Franco-Prussian war together with his friend Nicol.

Eugène Collache

photo credits: wikipedia.org 


The experience in Japan was very important, so Eugène Collache wrote "An Adventure in Japan 1868-1869" ("Une aventure au Japon 1868-1869"), which was published in 1874.