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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) - Marshal Tian Du / 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, who will get to know the Chinese version of 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) was a real person existed during the reign of Emperor Xuan Zong of Tang Dynasty.

The legends of Marshal Tian Du is a verbal culture that varies greatly in circulation. Below are the popular myths / legends...

Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) aka Marshal Tian Du 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.


Interesting Points to take 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.
  • The temple helpers of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) spirit medium worship, would refrain themselves from eating crab and duck meat, if not they would be scolded or punished by Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) (while in trance of a spirit medium).
  • Chicken and Dog were the close companions of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) during his childhood days in the village. When he reached deity status, his chicken and dog followed him. You would see figurines of chicken and dog at the side of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) Statue. There is a Chinese Saying:"一人得道,鸡犬升天" - When a person gains The Tao, his chicken and dogs rise up to the sky together". The meaning is "Once one man gets into a government position, all his cronies get in too".

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.


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.


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.


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).

Picture of 'Lei Hai Qing' stone tablet on an old ruin site of Surname 'Lei' (雷) Community of the 'She' Ethnic Group (畲族).


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.


The Institution of Wind and Fire in the Ninth Heaven - 九天风火院 (Jiu Tian Feng Huo Yuan)

The Institution of Wind and Fire in the Ninth Heaven (九天风火院) is the residential place of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅). He is the head of in-charge of 九天风火院 (Jiu Tian Feng Huo Yuan).

From the Taoist Ritual Book of Shang Qing Ling Bao Da Fa (上清靈寶大法), it is recorded that:" On the station of Wind and Fire, there is an institution, named 'Huo Yuan' (火院), incharged by a magistrate. The institution controls the left and right of Wind Station and Fire Station. The left side focus on the transmission of talismanic orders for southern institution. The right side focus on the transmission of the talismanic orders for northern institution, such as dispatching imperal orders of formal written documents.

《風火驛》 风火驿者有一院,号曰火院。有一判官主之,院辖左右风驿火驿。左者专一传递南院符命赦书文檄,右者专一传递北院符敕文檄。所谓判官,即主管南北二院文书。风火院判官马胜,青面,三目,簇金罗帽,朱袍、金甲,绿靴,赤髮,仗剑,或变身三头九目。管下两驿之中,各有判官十员,驿吏三百人,应所告敕书符录简章,皆经由主者逐一检授,或有讹舛,皆积在此驿,不得上达,各付所属狱罪也。凡建斋,又先具公文申告,乞为改正。仍以此符差驿吏,即为传达,必获彰感。今符法后,众称风火驿传,正谓此也。

To have an easier understanding, imagine a post office on the left side and a court office on the right side in a building.

From the Taoist Ritual Book of Dao Fa Hui Yuan (道法會元), there is a Relationship Harmony Ritual, which seek the help of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) - 沖(九)天風火院田相公. The ritual will 1st invites Deity Zhao Gong Ming(趙公明) to come forward together with his heavenly soldiers (天將神祇), then follow by inviting Wang Sun Yuan Shuai (王孫元帥). Lastly, the 'Comical' Deity - Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅) will be invited to come and work on the Harmony Ritual.

One of the important secret chant used during Relationship Harmony Ritual:


An expert in Opera (Music / Acting) and Martial Art

Base on the records of Fujian and Taiwan folks, Marshal Tian Du was an expert in both Martial Art and Music Entertainment (Opera). In Fujian, the Southern Martial art of crane style , such as Yong Chun Crane Boxing (詠春鶴拳), Eating Crane Boxing (食鶴拳), Calling Crane Style (嗚鶴拳), they not only worship the founder of Fujian Crane Style - Fang Qi Niang, they also worship Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅). In Taiwan, the Martial Art competition of Song Jiang Array (宋江陣),they have to pray to Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅).

It is thus clear that in Southern China, not only was he worshipped as a God Of Opera, he was also worshipped as a Martial God.

Since Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate was influenced by Fujian Martial Art, therefore it can be understood why the found of Goju Ryu Karate also venerate Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー) - Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帅).

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

Below is an article copied from the internet:

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.

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)


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) )


Festival Of Marshal Tian Du (田都元帥)

Manifestation Day / Celebration Festival of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) is on the 11th Day of 6th Lunar Month of Chinese Lunar Calendar. Take Note: - Certain areas of Chinese communities may have different Celebration Day of Tian Du Yuan Shuai. You may check with Your local Chinese Folks who are worshipping Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) about the day of celebration.

How can masters and practitioners of Goju-Ryu Karate pray to Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー)?

Practitioners of Goju-Ryu Karate, who are living in South East Asian Countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, which have communities of Southern Chinese, shall be able to visit the Chinese Temples that worship Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥). Some Chinese Temples provide consultation service by Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) (while in trance by a spirit medium) and You can personally communicate and pay respect directly to Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) .

Folks who are living in Western Countries, or any folks who wish to put a Statue of Busaganashi (ブザーガナシー) at home altar, or on the Dojo Altar, may want to own a Spiritually-Activated version of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) Statue, which will able to protect and guide You in Your martial art journey. The mantras (chants) of Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) are already shared above.

Extra Info: If You are interested to order a spiritually activated Tian Du Yuan Shuai (田都元帥) Statue, can seek help from a Temple in Taiwan or Malaysia, if not You may seek help from me - Taoist Sorcery Master (Email:

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