Seki-ryu Hojutsu (Gunnery of Seki school) (関流砲術)
Gunnery of Seki school is one of the schools of gunnery.
The school was founded by Yukinobu SEKI (Hachizaemon SEKI), a former vassal of Uesugi clan. Seki studied under Moritsugu MARUTA (Kyuzaemon MARUTA)serving for the same family and after mastering the secrets of arts of gunnery of Kasumi school, he was permitted to call his school Seki. The school is also called Nanban. During the Kanei era, Seki served for the domain of Kururi in Kazusa Province. After the Kaieki (forfeit rank of Samurai and properties) in the domain of Kururi, he moved to the domain of Tsuchiura, headed by the same Tsuchiya family, who was the lord of the domain of Kururi. Thus, the gunnery was introduced to the domain before the Meiji Restoration. The second-generation Gunbe family had been in charge of teaching the gunnery in the domain of Tsuchiura over generations. Kuranosuke family taught gunnery at the Edo residence of the same domain to feudal retainers not only of the domain of Tsuchiura but also of the other domains. Admission to school was only granted to those who are in the samurai class or above, while among disciples were included daimyos (Japanese feudal lord) from all over Japan and feudal retainers of domains.
As the gun used by this school has unique specifications, special orders were placed with Kunitomo Tanba and the gun smiths who learned the techniques. The gun is a superb work with a unique shape. It is characterized with its thin barrel and a long trigger guard called saru watari (crossing for monkeys).
The school focuses on the skill of shooting the gun with a large diameter of the mouth of the guns, such as mochi zutsu (guns provided with their own money) held by those at the samurai class or above, ozutsu (Japanese artillery), and so on.
The school is currently active in Tsuchiura City in Ibaraki Prefecture. The school holds public displays either in December or in March in Tsuchiura City, organized mainly by the current iemoto (the head family of a school) (family head of Kuranosuke family). Their arts are often demonstrated at 'Performance Convention of The Old-Fashioned Martial Arts' held some time around February, organized by the Nippon Budokan. (Displays in November 2005, February 2006, display in Tsuchiura on November 5, 2006) Many of the members belong to Muzzle Loaders' Shooting Association of Japan. Among them are medalists at the All Japanese Championships of Muzzle Loader's Shooting, which is a matchlock game organized by National Rifle Association of Japan and the medalist of International competition (world championship and Pan-Pacific Championship) of muzzle loader.