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Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) - A Southern China Opera God & Martial God of Goju-Ryu Karate

The reason of writing this article is because, folks who are practicing Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate, don't know much details about Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー).

The Southern Chinese Folk Taoists, especially the Hokkiens / Teochews Opera Troupes who are praying to Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅), don't know that the Goju-Ryu Karate practitioners are also venerating the same deity.

Much of the detailed information of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) / Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー) is available in Chinese Religious Texts and historical records, written in Chinese but is not translated into English or Japanese.

This will be the 1st and only only article in English for the Western Folks, expecially practitioners of Goju-Ryu Karate,  which  will get to know the history and legends about their belove Warrior God - Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー) - Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅), that were previously only written in Chinese.


Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) aka Marshal Tian Du (田都元帥) is also known as:
  • Tian Yuan Shuai (田元帅)
  • Tian Gong Yuan Shuai (田公元帅)
  • Tian Fu Yuan Shuai (田府元帅)
  • Xiang Gong Fo (相公佛)
  • Xiang Gong Ye (相公爷)
  • Song Jiang Ye (宋江爷)
  • Jiu Tian Feng Huo Yuan San Tian Du Yuan Shuai (九天风火院三田都元帅)
In Japan, Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) is called Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー). Busaganashi is an important Warrior God  (武神) venerated by Goju-Ryu Karate practitioners in Okinawa and some western countries.

There are many Chinese Temples in Taiwan and South East Asia that statues of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) can be seen, because majority of the Chinese are the Minnan (闽南) ( Hokkien / Fujian) people from Southern China and Tian Du Yuan Shuai is a god of the Min-nan(Hokkien / Fujian) People, especially the Hokkien Opera Troupes. There are also spirit medium worship of  Tian Du Yuan Shuai  at the temples, which provide consultation service to the public.

There are several folk tales about the origin of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅). Below will share the several popular ones:

Lei Hai Qing (雷海青)

The original name of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅)  /  Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー) is Lei Hai Qing (雷海青).

Lei Hai Qing (AD 716-755) was from Tianzhuang Village of Qingyuan County (now Tianzhuang Village, Dong Jiao Town, Putian Prefecture, Fujian Province (清源郡田庄村(今福建莆田东峤镇田庄村) 人氏). He was a famous court musician of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty.

Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) was born in a She Tribe (畲族) family of surnamed Lei (雷) in Sui-Yang (莆阳) of the Min (闽) Area, in the 9th day of the 4th month of the 4th year of Kai Yuan Period of Tang Dynasty (716) - 唐朝开元四年.

Because of the black skin around his mouth, his family thought it was ominous and placed on the side of the path of the farm. When there was a puppet troupe passing there, they spotted a baby in the field, crying. There was a hairy crab crawling over the lips and feeding him with foam. The hat worn on the head of the baby's head was embroidered with the word "雷" (Lei), therefore he was given the name "雷海青" - Lei Hai Qing. He was taken away and raised by the troupe.

Lei Hai Qing grew up in the troupe day by day. By the age of eighteen, he can play different roles and play a variety of musical instruments .  He was called to the court as a musician by Emperor Tang Xuanzong.

In the chaos of An Lu Shan Rebellion , the rebels attacked Chang'an, Lei Hai Qing was captured, and Anlushan ordered his performance, he disopeyed and he was killed.

Awarded Titles after his death

After the An Lu Shan Rebellion was settled, Tang Ming Huang (Emperor Xuan Zong) returned from the refuge in Sichuan and learned about the unyielding tragic deeds of Lei Haiqing. He was awarded the title of "Tang Zhong Lie Music Official" (唐忠烈乐官) and "Tian Xia Li Yuan General Manager" (天下梨园都总管). Tang Su Zong (唐肃宗) (son of emperor Xuan Zong) gave him the title "Tai Chang Si Qing"(太常寺卿), thereafter, he was worshipped by the people.

安史之乱平定以后,唐明皇(玄宗)从四川避难归来,获悉了雷海青忠贞不屈的悲壮事迹,颁旨追赠他为“唐忠烈乐官”、“天下梨园都总管”;唐肃宗时又加封为“太常寺卿”,受万民祀拜。

Interesting Note: Due to the legend of Lei Hai Qing was fed by a hairy crab with it's foam on his mouth, statues of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) in Chinese Temples are to be seen with image of crab on his forehead or on his mouth.

Interesting Legend:Legend has it that, when Guo Ziyi (郭子仪) led his troops to recover Chang-An Capital City, he fought against the enemy's bloody battles. Lei Haiqing led the Heavenly Soldiers to help the war, killing the rogue gangs in one fell swoop and regaining the Tang Dynasty.

传说,郭子仪率兵收复长安都城时,与顽敌浴血战斗中,雷海青带领天兵天将,在空中助战,一举歼灭贼寇,夺回唐室江山。

Story in Southern Song Dynasty

At the end of the Southern Song Dynasty, while Emperor Wen Zong (端宗皇帝) was chased by the Yuan soldiers and was escaping from Haidao to Putian,  there was a sudden storm. When the situation was extremely critical, Lei Haiqing revealed his presence in the sky, with his heavenly military troupes to come for the rescue. The storm suddenly subcided, and the monarch and the minister were able to escape safely. After calming down, Emperor Wen Zhong  looked up,  saw the Heavenly Soldiers on the cloud, with a flag embroidered with the word of  "雷" - Lei. Because the  "雨" -Yu character was covered by the clouds, only the "田"- Tian word below was revealed. From then on, Lei Hai Qing were given the title "田公元帅" - Marshal Tian Gong, and statues of him were created  for incense offering.

南宋末年端宗皇帝被元兵追赶,从海道逃往莆田途中,突遇风暴袭击;万分危急之际,雷海青在天上显圣,带神兵解难,海面风浪立时平静,君臣得以安然脱险;端宗惊魂稍定后,翘首仰望,但见云端上有天兵、天将,帅旗上镶绣个“雷”字,因“雨”头被云雾遮蔽了,只隐约露出下边的“田”字,于是颁诏天下,大塑金身,赐名“田公元帅”,四时香火供祭。

Lei Hai Qing (雷海青) - Another Legend

Lei Haiqing's mother was a virgin woman. She was impregnate by a god of star, Yixiu xingjun (翼宿星君) . However, a woman yet married but pregnant was a shame in ancient society. He was born in the field in order to hide this secret. As a result, he was adoped by a farmer. When Lei Haiqing was a kid, he had talent on music and opera and got reputation. He was selected to the court to serve the royal house. It was in Tang Xuanzong (唐玄宗) reign. Then the An Shi Rebellion (安史之亂, 755-763) took place. Lei Haiqing was loyal to Tang court and did not want to serve for An Lushan. He got killed by the rebellion.

After the Tang court was recovered, the emperor decreeded the title Tian Xia Li Yuan Da Zong Guan (天下梨園大總管), the first chief of band and opera in China, to him. There is still one problem.

 After he was dead,  his spirit had been manifested when the Tang royal house met some crises. Once his spirit showed off, the character Lei (雷) on his flag was covered by cloud. Only the lower part was seen by the emperor. The emperor took Tian (田), the lower half of Lei (雷), as his surname. Then he was titled as "田都元帅" (Tian Du Yuan Shuai).

Base on the book - San Jiao Sou Shen Da Quan (三教搜神大全) - The records of the gods of 3 religions: 

It stated that  Lei Hai Qing (雷海青), was a person born during Tang Dynasty period, mother from Su Family (Surname Name: Su 苏氏).  One day, Yi Xiu Xing Jun (翼宿星君) (1 of the 28 constellations) entered her womb. She gave birth to a child before married.

Her father felt the situation was a shame to the family and discard the baby at the wild field. He was then picked up by a widower (鳏夫). One day, maternal grandfather passed by the widower’s house, saw the boy kept calling him grandfather, so he took him back and raised him.

Lei Hai Qing grew up to be handsome, good at melody, song and dance. He was called to the court as a musician by Tang Xuanzong. In the chaos of An Lu Shan Rebellion , the rebels attacked Chang'an, Haiqing was captured, and Anlushan ordered his performance, he disopeyed and he was killed.

When Emporer Xuanzong fled into Sichuan, Lei Haiqing had 3 times revealed his spirit, coming to his aid, fanning wind and ignited fire (煽风点火) to help defeat the rebels. While  Emporer Xuanzong look up, he saw the Military Flag only showed the word "田" (Tian) , as the word "Yu" (雨)  was covered by the cloud. The officers and men felt their efficacies and given him the title  "九天三田都元帅" (Jiu Tian San Tian Du Yuan Shuai) and also known as "会乐天尊" (Hui Le Tian Zun), "歌舞菩萨" (Singing and Dancing Bodhisattva); Jade Emperor conferred him the title "风火院元帅" - Marshal of the Wing and Fire Academy, helping Zhang Tian Shi to expel the ghosts of epidemic. Emperor Tang Xuanzong, gave him the title "梨园总管" - The chief of the Liyuan Garden Opera, Emperor Tang Su Zong  gave him the title "太常寺" (Tai Chang Si) , Emporer Song Gaozong gave him the title "大元帅" - The Grand Marshal; Liyuan Opera disciples respected him as "田都元帅" (Tian Du Yuan Shuai)- Marshal Tian Du.

据《三教搜神大全》记载:雷海青,唐代人,其母苏氏,一日感天上翼宿入怀,未婚生子,父认为有辱门风,怒弃婴于野地,被一鳏夫抱养,有一日外祖父路经鳏夫家门,见小孩直呼外公,于是领回扶养;雷海青少年俊秀,擅长音律歌舞,被唐玄宗召入宫廷当乐师;安史之乱,叛军攻入长安,海青被俘,安禄山命其献艺,不从,被凌迟处死。玄宗逃入四川时,雷海青曾三次显灵护驾,煽风点火助阵大败叛军,其雷部神将大旗当时被云遮住只看见“田”字,官兵感其灵验,称为“九天三田都元帅”,也称“会乐天尊”、“歌舞菩萨”;玉帝封为风火院元帅,助张天师驱除疫鬼。唐玄宗封梨园总管,唐肃宗封太常寺,宋高宗封大元帅;梨园弟子尊奉为“田都元帅”。

Base on the book "Fujian Province Folklore" (福建省志·民俗志):

It stated that Marshal Tiandu was originally named Lei Haiqing, and according to legend, he was from the  She nationality (She Tribe) - 畲族. He was a native of the 17th Dukou Township of Luodong, Nan'an City, Quanzhou (泉州南安市罗东十七都坑口乡). He was adopted by the old artists of the pipa troupe and learned to perform and play various musical instruments. During the Anshi Rebellion, Lei Haiqing did not want to perform for the rebel, and was killed by slamming An Lushan. The bones were transported back to Nan'an for burial. The book also said, Emporer Tang Xuanzong conferred Lei Haiqing as "唐忠烈乐官" - Tang Zhong Lie Yue Guan  and  "天下梨园总管" - Tian Xia Li Yuan Zhong Guan, in recognition of his loyalty. Emporer Tang Suzong, conferred him as 'Tian Du Yuan Shuai'(田都元帅), 'Tai Pu Si Qing' (太仆寺卿).

田都元帅原名雷海青,相传为畲族,是泉州南安市罗东十七都坑口乡人氏,从小被傀儡戏班老艺人收养,学会表演及演奏各种乐器,名重一时。安史之乱时,雷海青不愿为贼献艺,以琵琶击打安禄山而被杀,尸骨被同乡辗转运回南安原籍埋葬。该书还说,“唐玄宗追赠雷海青为‘唐忠烈乐官’、‘天下梨园总管’,以表彰他的忠贞气节。唐肃宗时,加封为‘田都元帅’、‘太仆寺卿’。”

坑口宫 (Keng Kou Gong) - Original Temple Of Lei Hai Qing (雷海青) Worship
Address: Nan'an, Quanzhou, Fujian China 362322

Keng Kou Gong (坑口宫) is the head temple of worhsipping Lei Hai Qing (雷海青) - Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅). The spreading of urn ashes (ashes taken from urn of original temple) were spread to Quan Zhou, Zhang Zhou and Chao Shan area. With the immigration of the Minnan People, they spread the worshipping of Lei Hai Qing (雷海青) to Hong Kong, Taiwan and South East Asia. Every year, thousands of worshippers return here to pay respect to Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅).

南安 相公墓 (Nan-An Xiang Gong Tomb)

About 50 meters from Keng Kou Gong (坑口宫), there is an ancient tomb carved on the tablet with 3 characters "相公墓" (Xiang Gong Mu). It is believed to be the burial place of Lei Hai Qing.

坑口宫对面50多米处有一古墓,碑刻“相公墓”三字,系明·万历二十八年庚子(1600年)所立。据传为雷海青葬处。其墓现由南安市文管部门立碑保护。

Why Goju Ryu Karate practitioners venerate Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) - Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー)?


In the 1900's when Miyagi Sensei travelled to Fukien Province in China to conduct research into the roots of Goju Ryu, he learned and explored the history of the beloved warrior - Busaganashi.

The Warrior's Childhood (Okinawa Version) - Miyagi Sensei first learned that the Busaganashi was a child born out of wedlock. Both the mother and grandparents felt a great deal of shame and took the baby to the forest and abandoned him. After three long days the grandparents were struck with remorse and guilt and they went back to retrieve the baby. They were shocked to find that the baby had been taken care of by the creatures in the forest. They knew immediately that this child was indeed very special and they took the baby home to be loved and cared for.

At a young age the child did not speak but often demonstrated signs of internal verbal power through breathing. He grew up to be an athletic and highly intelligent person. When he reached the age of twenty he was recognized in his village as an outstanding musician and Kempo practitioner.

During this time the Emperor of China was seeking a few extraordinary individuals who would serve the Emperor. Notices were posted throughout China in search of these select few individuals. Young Busaganashi tried out for one of the positions and scored the highest both academically and athletically. He was invited by the Emperor to live in his Imperial Palace as a palace guard.

On one dark evening, part of the Emperor's Palace caught fire. All attempts to put the fire out failed and the people living nearby were very frightened. The Busaganashi went to where the fire was raging, took a deep inhale, and blew out the fire. Because of this act of bravery he was promoted to General of the Emperor's Army.

Return to Okinawa - When Miyagi Sensei returned to Okinawa he was excited to share his discovery of the traditions and roots he had gained from Fukien China. Along with his wonderful discoveries, he also brought home the first scroll of the Busaganashi and hung it in his Dojo.

World War II Era - It was in the early 1940's, during the second world war, that Miyagi Sensei lost everything including his Dojo and all of its contents including his beloved son. Then, in the late 1940's, a student of Miyagi Sensei by the name of Keiyo Madanbashi was traveling to Manila in the Philippines. During his visit he heard from his business friends about an artist that specialized in handcrafted art. Keiyo decided to pay a visit to this artist. He was highly impressed with this artist's work and presented him with a copy of the scroll of the Busaganashi. Keiyo asked the artist to hand carve a sculpture of the Busaganashi. After completion, Keiyo returned to Okinawa and presented the hand carved sculpture to Miyagi Sensei. Miyagi Sensei was overcome with joy and displayed the Busaganashi in his home Dojo.

In the late 1940's sensing his teachers sadness, Keiyo Madanbashi, one of his students, who had previously made a sketch of the Busaganashi, journeyed to the Philippines to have a three dimensional statue made of the Busaganashi. The student (Keiyo Madanbashi) then presented the statue to Miyagi. Apparently, the gesture was so overwhelming that it brought the karate master to tears.

The hand crarved 15" tall statue now rests in the Jundokan Dojo in Okinawa.

The Busaganashi is found in the Okinawa Bubishi (琉球武備志 - Wu Bei Zhi) which is the most influential martial arts book in Okinawa. The Bubishi is a Ching (1644-1911) dynasty White Crane and Lohan Kung-Fu manual (琉球武備志-白鶴、羅漢、田都元帥).

Busaganashi means "my dear respected kung-fu warrior" but the formal name of the deity is the: "Grand Marshall of Wind and Fire." also known as "Marshall Tian Du of the Palace of Wind and Fire in the Nine Heavens" or known as "General of the Emperor's Army.

Manifestation Day / Celebration Festival of Tian Du Yuan Shuai aka Marshal Tian Du (田都元帥) is on the 11th Day of 6th Lunar Month of Chinese Lunar Calendar.

Videos of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅)

Magic Incantation of Tian Gong Yuan Shuai (田公元帅咒):

(This chant is normally used for invitation of Tian Gong Yuan Shuai (田公元帅咒) for spirit medium possession)

敬请田公九元帅,显赫威灵镇乾坤
原始玉皇三弟子,亲身下降度人间
风火儿童随左右,连芽大将护身边
前向舟池三及第,宫华玉酒醉云烟
宫妃彩笔画颜容,活沙流池宫造化
高崇无雨堂和唱,风火院中第一仙
头戴七星云兴灵,七星宝剑斩妖精
符令功劳行神通,行云致雨点世界
飞符成化化其身,赦赐符水救万民
弟子浲香行拜请,田公元帅降来临

Minor Ritual Version - Magic Incantation of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥 小法咒)

(This incantation is normally used in Taiwan to be chanted at the background, while spiritual activating statues of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) )

拜請田都相公爺 玉敕九天風火院
南天翼宿來投胎 癸丑降下田園內
雷家扶養成英才 高超樂器傳四海
絲竹曲譜尚精通 霓裳羽衣通天界
吾身顯化救聖駕 騰雲駕霧到壇前
唐賜御前大都尉 統領梨園眾子弟
宋代誥封大元帥 田都旗號傳天下
奉請相公文武館 毫光萬丈鬼神驚
弟子一心專拜請 田都元帥降臨來
神 兵 火 急 如 律 令


Mantra (Praise Of Deity) of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥 宝诰):

(Normally chanted by Taoist priest during ritual for paying respect to Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) )

志心皈命礼。乐延三部,乔挺十莲。点音律而红梅破绽,演法曲而彩凤翺翔。寓三昧於游戏,摄伏魔精;回七皈以疗屙,祛除灾役。玉律金科司法录两仪八卦布令旗。奉使巡行玉皇殿前膺宠命,秉权赏罚紫霞宫裏赞立功。贯正气于云霄,回元精於翼宿。佛号歌舞菩萨,道称会乐天尊。掌管百万儿郎,斗中和合圣众,大悲大愿化俊化英,九天纠察使,提点昭烈侯,风火院田都元帅。


(Article to be continued - not yet complete)
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