Shisenin Kosen (司箭院興仙)

Shisenin Kosen (year of birth and death unknown) was busho (Japanese military commander), yamabushi (a mountain priest) and Buddhist monk in the Sengoku period (the period of warring states.)
His real name was Ietoshi SHISHIDO and he was from a family of the Aki-Shishido clan. His father was the first Motoie SHISHIDO in the later years of the Shishido clan and his son was Genjiro SHISHIDO. He was a grand-uncle of Takaie SHISHIDO who played an active role as a family of the Mori clan.


Much of his history was unclear, but he was born in a family of the Aki-Shishido clan. After he was adopted by his older brother Takakane FUKASE, he was asked to take care of Iwaya-jo and Fukase-jo castles, but Ietoshi devoted himself to being yamabushi and spent a whole day practicing, and used to live in Bicchu Province for a period of time. At the end of his practice, Masatoshi YURI disclosed to him, a certain method from his family tradition, which had been handed down to MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune, and Ietoshi acquired the skill to fly freely through believing the Atago-shinko faith and was thought to have skills causing superhuman feat.

After a man called Kurahashi heard about Kosen who went to Kyoto and was performing the 'Tengu Method' at Kurama-dera Temple in 1494, he visited Kurama-dera Temple together with Buddhist monks of Tofuku-ji Temple to confirm what Kosen was like and found that Masamoto HOSOKAWA had gotten accommodations at Kosen. There is a story in the diary of a certain court noble that while drinking with Masamoto and Karahashi in the evening, Kosen told them that 'I can't talk about the secrets of the method with words' and wrote '張良化現大天魔源義経神' on tanzaku (a long, narrow card on which Japanese poems are usually written vertically), and the monks fled out of fear. He is thought to have served for Masamoto HOSOKAWA of the Hosokawa-keicho family. It is well known that Masamoto HOSOKAWA was really into Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts,) and that's why Shisenin Kosen was invited because of his talent.

It is described in '後慈眼院殿御記' that Kosen went to Kyoto and taught Masamoto the art of warfare. There is a description in 'Kazunaga Kyo Ki' (the Diary of Kazunaga Higashibojo) that when a big fire broke out in Kyoto in 1500, the house of the most important vassal of Masamoto HOSOKAWA was burnt down too and the name of Kosen was seen in it.

According to 'Sanetaka koki' (Sanetaka's diary) written by Sanetaka SANJONISHI, Sanetaka asked Masamoto HOSOKAWA for a speedy lawsuit concerning Sanjonishi family's territories in Yamashiro Province through Kosen in 1507. This incident tells us that Kosen seemed to have a significant power as Masamoto's close adviser.

When Masamoto HOSOKAWA was in power and was bathing, he was attacked and killed by Magoshichi TAKEDA, Motonaga KOZAI and Nagatada YAKUSHIJI as close advisers who were deceived by the Sumimoto HOSOKAWA group (Eisho no Sakuran (assassination of Masamoto HOSOKAWA). Meanwhile, Kosen seemed to enter into priesthood, and Sanetaka's diary of the year 1509 states Kosen became a priest. Kosen is thought to have flown in the air from Iwaya, Aki Province on May 18, 1570, and decided to live on Mt. Atago in Kyoto.

Afterward, Kosen is believed to have handed down the secret art to Michiaki KAWANO.

He showed the ability not only in the art of warfare and magic art, but also swordplay, the art of the spearman ship and naginata (Japanese halberd), and his swordplay and naginata were called Kanshin school and Shisen School, respectively. His martial art was handed down to Okura Michiaki KAWANO, and afterward, 築山通護 (former family name was Kawano) who worked for Hiroshima Domain, taught the martial art and it was a main martial art in Hiroshima Domain.

The Shisen Shrine still exists that worships Shisenin Kosen in Goryo-jo Castle, as the base of the Aki-Shishido clan.

Although the year of death is unknown, he seems to have been younger by around fifteen years than his older brother and as old as or slightly younger than Masamoto HOSOKAWA, judging from the year of birth of his father Motoie (1432-1509) and the incident about him being adopted by his older brother Takakane FUKASE. Therefore, when he entered Mt. Atago in 1570, he was thought to have been over the age of a hundred years. According to a certain tradition, he was born in 1486, but this has been denied because of his father's age and a background that actually he was only nine years old when he was serving Masamoto HOSOKAWA.

[Original Japanese]