Sanmyaku was a journal about the Bujinkan martial arts originally issued in 18 countries between around 1990 and 1995.

Dr Hatsumi described Sanmyaku as a Densho, a written transmission of the Bujinkan arts. For most people it's fine to understand it as a magazine, although it differs from ordinary magazines in that:

As translator I had to answer dozens of questions each issue from the various "branch heads" (let alone those from students once it was published!), and while translating it I actually asked Dr Hatsumi many more. It consists mainly of articles by Dr Hatsumi, and letters and articles by other Bujinkan members with replies from Dr Hatsumi. Sometimes there are pieces written by Dr Hatsumi's teacher, Takamatsu Toshitsugu, and/or newspaper reports. Here is a list of contents for Issues 1-11.

A few people said they would like it all to be written by Dr Hatsumi, but I think this was both impossible and undesirable. One reason was obviously that Dr Hatsumi had only limited time, and he had to allocate this to his various activities sensibly. Also, he finds it easier to react to people and situations than create them, and as many of the beliefs or questions which appear in letters to him are the same, this provided an ideal vehicle for him to respond to them while sharing a few insights on the martial artist's approach to life.

Some people were also confused at how often Sanmyaku appeared. The original plan was for a new edition to appear every two months, but given the economic situation in many of the countries where it was published it soon became apparent that they would just fall further and further behind. Eventually Dr Hatsumi ended up waiting for each issue to be ready in at least some of the overseas editions before bringing out a new one in Japan. Sanmyaku never had a so-called "last issue", but in practice nothing appeared after issue 11. Dr Hatsumi did later send me a few documents to consider for the next issue, which he was thinking of renaming "Bujin" (not to be confused with the magazine issued some years ago in America with the same name). However, many countries had been taking so long to produce Sanmyaku that he also seemed more inclined to produce only Japanese & English versions, directly from Japan. In the end, however, both Dr Hatsumi and I ended up so busy with other work that this idea too fell by the wayside.

However, there are now plans to revise the work and reissue it — watch this space!

This page produced by Ben Jones.