It is thought that the Koto Ryu came from China via Korea, brought by Chan Busho, a Chinese warrior, in the form similar to koshijutsu. Yet it would be many hundreds of years before the style was shaped into Koto Ryu koppojutsu. The exact origin of the style is not known, but the techniques of this Ryu were organized and formulated into a proper Ryuha by Sakagami Taro Kunishige in 1542. He was also a Soke of Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu. The two systems share many similarities, including the Sanpo Gassho (Gassho Kuji Kiri in Gyokko Ryu).
There were a large amount of ninja, and some samurai, who were trained in the methods of the Koto Ryu. Momochi Sandayu is one of the most famous of all ninja (after Hattori Hanzo), and he taught ninjutsu to Ishikawa Goemon, the infamous ninja who spent most of his life as a criminal. Momochi always denied that Goemon was a member/ex-member of his school. Goemon was thought to have attempted an assasination on Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but this was in fact attempted by Hideyoshi's general, Akechi. Goemon, the 'ninja Robin Hood', was eventually caught and boiled to death in a cauldron of oil. Some historians, including Toshitsugu Takamatsu, believe that he was not caught, and the Shogunate was too shamed to admit it. In some cases, history handed down through generations can be more reliable that the written word.
Koto Ryu contains one of the complete Kyusho (pressure point) scrolls of the Bujinkan System- the other coming from the Takagi Yoshin Ryu.
Koto Ryu had a unique and unorthodox method of kenjutsu, handling the sword in a way that gave the observer the impression that the swordsman was unskilled, changing the gripping method and stance at will. They also have a kamae, unique to the Koto Ryu, called 'Mangetsu no Kamae', in which the sword is held above the head and the blade is used to reflect sunlight into the eyes of the opponent. Alternately, if it was raining, the blood groove (hi) was used to catch the rain water, which was then flicked at the eyes of the enemy.
Lineage of Koto Ryu
1. Sakagami, Taro Kunishige -Tembun era (1532)
2. Sakagami, (Bando) Minamoto Masahide -Tembun era (1532)
3. Sogyokkan, Ritsushi -Tembun era (1532)
4. Toda, Sakyo Ishinsai -Tembun era (1532)
5. Momochi, Sandayu I -Tembun era (1532) (died 1581)
6. Momochi, Sandayu II -Tensho era (1573)
7. Momochi, Tanba Yasumitsu -Bunroku era (1595)
8. Momochi, Taro Saemon -Genna era (1615)
9. Toda, Seiryu Nobutsuna -Kwanyei era (1624)
10. Toda, Fudo Nobuchika -Manji era (1658)
11. Toda, Kangoro Nobuyasu -Tenna era (1681)
12. Toda, Eisaburo Nobumasa -Hoyei era (1704)
13. Toda, Shingoro Masayoshi -Shotoku era (1711)
14. Toda, Daigoro Masayoshi -Gembun era(1736)
15. Toda, Daisaburo Chikashige -Bunkwa era (1804)
16. Toda, Shinryuken Masamitsu (Kobe) 1824-1908
17. Takamatsu, Toshitsugu Uoh (Nara) Taisho (1909) 1887-1972
18. Hatsumi, Masaaki (Noda) Showa (1968) 1931-