Genbukan Kancho Tanemura sensei established Genbukan in 1984 to maintain, preserve and teach ancient Japanese martial traditions of Ninpo, Ninjutsu, and Jujutsu. The organization was small at first with few Japanese and non-Japanese students practicing at the honbu dojo in Matsubushi town, Japan. At the time there was only one branch dojo (shibu dojo) in Los Angeles, but within a few years the organization grew as the quality of the teachings became apparent to many martial artists around the world. Genbukan is now a true international organization with dojos worldwide.


The character gen means dark or mysterious. Since the ancient period the character was used for Buddhist monks names. For example, Genshin, Genbo etc. It therefore carries a positive religious connotation, which suggest working for enlightenment while being in the shadow. The character bu is a common character that literally means "martial." And the character kan means "hall." The combination of these characters means the place of mysterious martial tradition and techniques. Another interpretation is a place in the dark where enlightenment will be attained through developing martial skills. Finally, it is possible to interpret the name as the place of enlightened martial tradition.


The logo of Genbukan is the eight-spoke Dharma Wheel (Jp., Horin, Sk., Chakra) or the Wheel of the Buddhist Law. While the wheel represents the Buddhist Law, the eight spikes are meant to defend the Law against its enemies. In the center is the lotus flower, a symbol of enlightenment, and in it is a mirror and the character nin. The mirror is a symbol of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu one of the most important deities of the Shinto pantheon, and the mythological originator of the Japanese imperial lineage.

Although the Buddhist Wheel is often associated with the Buddhist Law, it is originally a projectile weapon used by the Indians. Because of its use as a weapon it was taken later as a Buddhist symbol of defending the Buddhist Law.

To learn more on Genbukan please visit the Genbukan/KJJR Homepage.