Martial Artists of Ryūkyū – A Legacy by Motobu Choki

motobu_chokiBy Motobu Chōki (auth.), translated with commentary by Andreas Quast

Choki was born into the Motobu Udun – descendants of a royal prince – and raised as a traditional Okinawan bushi. After a long warrior pilgrimage, in which he put practical martial arts to the test whenever and with whomever possible, Choki became both the most celebrated and the most notorious Okinawan fighter ever.

In this text Choki, in vivid details, reports what he has had been bequeathed by the elders about the martial artists and their special skills of the royal capital of Shuri and elsewhere. What was martial art back in Okinawa? The answer might be right in front of you.

This short work originally appeared as a chapter in the book Watakushi no Karatejutsu (My Art and Skill of Karate) by Motobu Choki, 1932.

«Blaming a method is the same as asking for a duel. And so, Haebaru put on full dress and the two met in the hall of Oroku Castle, to settle the matter.»

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5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
54 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1542453462
ISBN-10: 1542453461
BISAC: Sports & Recreation / Martial Arts & Self-Defense

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Oni Oshiro

BookCoverPreviewIn the era of Old Ryukyu, a legendary warrior of Okinawan martial arts appeared on the center stage of the historical theatre. Due to his unique appearance and powerful physique—reminiscent of a wolf or a tiger—the people of that time called him Oni Ōshiro, or «Ōshiro the Demon.»

Also known as Uni Ufugushiku in the Okinawan pronunciation of his name, he had been variously described as the originator of the original Okinawan martial art «Ti» as well as the actual ancestor of a number of famous Okinawan karate masters, such as Mabuni Kenwa and others.

This is his narrative. Gleaned from the few primary sources available, which for the first time are presented here in the English language, the original heroic flavor of the source texts was kept intact.

«I invoke the Gods, To quake heaven and earth, To let the firmament resound, And to rescue the divine woman—Momoto Fumiagari.»

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5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
94 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533486219 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1533486212
BISAC: Sports & Recreation / Martial Arts & Self-Defense

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King Wu Once Buckled On His Armor: The Seven Virtues of Martial Arts

by Andreas Quast

King_Wu_Once_Buckled_Cover_for_KindleTHIS is the true story of the seven virtues of martial arts as described by Matsumura Sokon. Considered the primary source-text of old-style Okinawan martial arts, the “Seven Virtues” are admired for their straightforward advice. Handwritten in the late 19th century by Matsumura Sokon, the most celebrated ancestor of karate, they are considered the ethical fountain and technical key to understand what can’t be seen.

This book includes the extremely rare photography of the original handwritten scroll, approved by the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum as well as the owner of the scroll. It also shows the family crest of the Matsumura family, sporting the character of “Bu.”

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Matsumura himself pointed out that the “Seven Virtues of Martial Arts” were praised by a wise man in an ancient manuscript, a manuscript that has remained obscure ever since. Now the ultimate source of this wondrous composition has been discovered and verified. Presented and explained here for the first time, it is not only the source of Matsumura’s “Seven Virtues of Martial Arts”… In fact, it is the original meaning of martial arts per se.

5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
80 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1523685981 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1523685980
BISAC: Sports & Recreation / Martial Arts & Self-Defense

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A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History

A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History Paperback – May 15, 2015

by Andreas Quast (Author)

Paperback edition: available at Amazon US ($14.99), Amazon UK (£9.79), Amazon Germany (EUR 14.97), CreateSpace eStore ($14.99), and at online and offline bookstores and retailers, as well as via public libraries and libraries at other academic institutions.

Kindle edition also availableUSUKDEFRESITNLJPBRCAMXAUIN

Based on his acclaimed previous studies, the author here presents a synopsis of the development of Ryukyu martial arts. The events described herein are all real, that is, they are all historical. Strolling along the chronology of martial arts of Ryukyu provenance, a large number of verified events are not only detailed, but also decorated with dozens of precious illustrations. As such “A Stroll Along Ryukyu Martial Arts History” is for martial arts practitioners as much as it is for aficionados of history and Asia. It simply provides a pristine ground to stand on for the practitioner who wishes to understand the primordial origins of Ryukyu martial arts.

  • For those who read “Karate 1.0”: this new book here is a synopsis of Karate 1.0 plus the “chronology (Part VII)” without significant changes. It is an easier read without all the reasoning and footnotes, but instead with nearly 80 illustrations to make it more suitable for the general public, and not only academic people.

Among the unique information that cannot be found anywhere else are also some of the illustrations. For instance, there is only one picture scroll that shows the Chinese investiture envoys (sapposhi) and their military retinue. Here, for the first time you might see how famous Kusanku actually might have looked like.

Product Details (Paperback edition)

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1512229423
  • ISBN-13: 978-1512229424
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.4 x 9.7 inches
Cover

Cover

Available at Amazon US ($19.99), Amazon UK (£12.79), Amazon Germany (EUR 19,25 ), CreateSpace eStore ($19.99)

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Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art

The most comprehensive study on the parameters of primordial Karate, this work intrigues readers with rich detail and insights into these ancient combat traditions, the pride of Okinawa.

KARATE 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art. Düsseldorf 2013, by Andreas Quast.

cover (4)

Karate 1.0 front cover

  • Pages: xxvii, 502 pp.
  • Language: English.
  • Hardcover binding in green linen material with gold foil stamping, size 8.25″ x 10.75″ (20.95cm x 27.31cm).
  • Full-color dust jacket in matte finish.
  • Inside: black and white printing on cream archival paper (60# weight). White exterior paper (80# weight).
  • Forewords by Patrick McCarthy, Miguel Da Luz, Cezar Borkowski, Jesse Enkamp, Dr. Julian Braun, Soke Leif Hermansson, and Dr. phil. Heiko Bittmann.
  • All copies ship from the United States.
  • Price: $75.00.

Only the highest quality both in content and production: get it now from Lulu.com!

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Nakaima Kenkō on ‘dō’ and ‘jutsu’

In the Japanese martial arts there is a rough categorization into martial technique (jutsu) and martial sport (). The difference, in a nutshell, is that the -variants like kendō, judō, karatedō etc. serve an educational ideal. This might be seen as a modern interpretation of “filial piety”, i.e. supporting oneself, one’s parents, and one’s country. Jutsu, on the other hand, has zero value other than simple technical efficiancy – it is only about martial techniques.

Nakaima Kenko, 4th generation of Ryuei-ryu.

Nakaima Kenko, 4th generation of Ryu’ei-ryu.

In fact, during the develoment of modern Japanese martial arts, the refinement from a mere jutsu to a higher level of (and to a sport) was considered of utmost importance by the elites. In other words: Jutsu makes an individual stronger. makes a country stronger. Just ask the ministry of education.

Nakaima Kenkō (1911–1989) was an educator by profession. As the successor to the Ryūei-ryū, since his childhood he was strictly trained by his father and master Kenchū in this family martial art. At the age of 37 he received “Initiation into the mysterious principles of Ryūei-ryū” (Ryūei-ryū kaiden 劉衛流皆伝).

During his time at the Okinawa Teacher’s College – where in the early 20th century modern karate was born – he studied kendō with the masters Tomikawa Moritake 富川盛武 and Ishihara Hiroshi 石原弘 and later studied under Ishihara Masanao 石原昌直 (8. Dan Hanshi). His karate instructors at the Okinawa Teacher’s College were master Ōshiro Chōjo 大城朝恕 of Shuri-te – whose karate was of the Itosu system, while his bōjutsu was from Yamanni 山根 of Shuri Kanagusuku village – and master Yabu Kentsū, whose karate was of the Matsumura system.

The technical contents of Ryū’ei-ryū are quite extensive and include unarmed methods of Kenpō 拳法 (present day karate-dō), military methods of Heihō 兵法 (old Chinese weapons), the methods of healthcare (Yōjōhō 養生法), the method of boxing with a brave heart (Kenyūshin-hō 拳勇心法), as well as others, such as ninjutsu-ish actions.

According to Nakaima Kenkō himself, the empty handed kata of the style were the following (as of 1977):

  • 1) Sanchin, Sēsan. 2) Nisēshī. 3) Sansērū. 4) Sēyunchin. 5) Ōhan. 6) Pāchū. 7) Ānan. 8) Paikū. 9) Heikū. 10) Paihō.

In terms of modern-style ranks, Nakaima Kenkō was a hanshi of karate-dō, a hanshi of kobudō, and a kyōshi of kendō.

And by profession he was the principal of public elementary and middle school in Okinawa. His students Sakumoto Tsuguo and Kinjō Takeyuki also followed the modern martial sports philosophy of budō and were both ranked in karate-dō, in jūdō, and in kendō (BTW, you can tell that many of today’s karate champs do not get their excellent physique and good looks from karate training, but from all sorts of sports).

In accordance with the above, Nakaima Kenkō obviously fully supported the ideals of budō – probably as a sport and as an education – over those of jutsu. In his own words, Nakaima Kenkō raised the following rhetoric question:

“In the oldest character dictionary of Chinese writing, i.e. the Shuowen Jiezi 説文解字, the character jutsu 術 is defined as ‘a path within a village’ [術:邑中道也]. During the feudal era, the bujutsu 武術 or martial arts of Japan were referred to as jūjutsu 柔術, kenjutsu 剣術 and the like. After the Meiji era these martial arts came to be referred to as jūdō, kendō etc. and were considered budō 武道, or martial ways towards character formation. These martial arts were also implemented into school eduction in the form of budō 武道, or martial ways. However, in today’s world of karate, there are still people who use the word kobujutsu 古武術. Isn’t this like going backwards through the eras?”

ryuei


Biblio: Uechi Kanei: Seisetsu Okinawa Karate-dō: Sono Rekishi to Gihō. Uechi-ryū Karate-dō Kyōkai, Ginowan 1977. 上地完英(監修):精説 沖縄空手道。その歴史と技法。上地流空手道協会、宜野湾 1977。

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Bushi Matsumora – The Novel

Previously I wrote about Bushi Matsumora – The Movie. Today it is “Bushi Matsumora – The Novel”.

The heroic tales of Matsumora Kōsaku were written down in the novel “Bushi Matsumora” (武士松茂良) by Matsumora Kōnin 松茂良興仁 (pen-name Matsumura Takesaburō 松村竹三郎). When it was serialized in a number of short stories in the Ryūkyū Shinpō newspaper and published over the course of several months in 1938, the whole thing gained popularity.

Due to this popularity the story was made into a stage play.

Dramatization for stage was carried out by Tomoyose Teruhiko 友寄英彦, a dentist.

Karate instruction for the stage play was provided by no less than Nagamine Shōshin 長嶺将真, founder of the Matsubayashi-ryū and one mainstay of Tomari-te, the regional martial art largely based on Matsumora’s traditions.

“Bushi Matsumora” was performed as a stage play by the Sangoza 珊瑚座 theater troupe led by Majikina Yūkō. The stage play received praise not only from the Karate world, but also by the general public.

Above all, the Karate performance by Shimabuku Kōyū 島袋光裕 portraying Matsumora Kōsaku is said to have been a vivid reminder of master Matsumora during the days gone by. Among the spectators fascinated by Shimabuku’s realistic performance even seem to have been persons betting that “He’s not an actor, but a substitute who knows Karate!

There is another episode to this: After a play of “Bushi Matsumora” had ended, on his return trip to his home in Tsuji, Shimabuku Kōyū was surrounded by a few young people, one of which challenged him to a fight, saying

“So, you say you know Karate, huh!?!?”

Shimabuku (40 years old at that time) narrowly escaped danger, answering,

“I am an actor who does not know Karate. That performance is a stage play, so please stop bullying older people.”

Illustration from the sequel "Bushi Matsumora". Source: 琉文21.

Illustration from the sequel “Bushi Matsumora”. Source: 琉文21.

Biblio: Matsumura Kōshō (former family name: Matsumora): Bushi Matsumora Kōsaku Ryakuden: Karate (Tomari-te) Chūkō no So. Naha 1970.

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1960 – Okinawa Kenpō

The following text is the translation of an Okinawan newspaper article from 1960. This article is about the establishment of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF).

In the article it is clearly stated that — until that time — Okinawa Karatedo itself was centered on Kata. However, this group initially aimed to change this and to reform Okinawa Karatedo itself.


“The Establishment of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF)!”

“On [date] from noon, at the Shimabukuro dōjō (dōjō director, Shimabukuro Zenryō) in Jagaru in Chatan village, about 38 dōjō instructors from all over the island gathered and performed the establishment [of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF)].”

“Tamotsu Isamu, director of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF) who is currently on the island, was dispatched by that same federation to help in the formation of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters.”

“The Special Officers of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters are as follows:”

“Here and from now on, the Okinawa Regional Headquarters will be the only gateway to introduce real Okinawa Karatedo technique into Japan, and as Karatedo with armor, we are working on the modernization of Karatedo.”

“Given the tradition and fundaments of the Karate of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF), and at the same time that of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters, from now on, we will study Karatedo with armor, and embark towards a reform of Okinawa Karatedo itself, which hitherto was centered on Kata, and for the first time since the beginning of history, we enter in the exchange and assimilation of Japanese-Ryukyuan Karatedo.”


For their service, Nakamura Shigeru, Shimabukuro Zenryō, and Kaneshima Shinsuke were awarded a 10 Dan by the JKF. The other Sensei of this association each were awarded the 7 dan, such as Tsuha Kōmei 7. Dan, Ōmura Motozen (Kizen) 7. Dan, and Tōma Seikan 7. Dan.

It is clearly said that the Okinawa Regional Headquarters was were Okinawa Kenpō actually started:

“Nakamura (Shigeru) felt how strong Japanese karate organization was at the competition and worried about the future of Okinawa karate…”

The various schools that participated in Okinawa Kenpō were organized in – or recruited from – the “Okinawa Regional Headquarters (JKF)” (est. 1960) and from the “Okinawa Kobudō Kyōkai” (est. 1961), two progressive and innovative groups of that era.

The Okinawa Regional Headquarters was formed under the major objective of uniting the whole of Japan in a competition using protective gear. While this was achieved by others, namely the various Bōgu-tsuki Karate associations, Okinawa Kenpō in various interpretations became a hit in the US.

okikenpo

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8. Generation Gima Pēchin Shinji 儀間親雲上眞時

Names and DOB

  • Childhood name: Shinshi眞市
  • Chinese-style name: Ma Sagen 麻作愿
  • Born: as the firstborn son, 1612 (?) -01-05

Family

  • Father: Shinshi 眞之
  • Mother: Magami 眞龜 of the Kin-clan 金氏
  • Wife: Mamichi 眞滿, daughter of Kuniyoshi Pēchin Shinshun 國吉親雲上眞春 of the Sa-clan 査氏 (Died 1652-02-27. Posthumous name: Kogatsu 湖月)
  • Oldest daughter: Umigami 思龜 (born 1626-12-21, married Yonaha Pēchin Sōshin 我那覇親雲上宗信 of the Go-clan 呉氏, date of death unknown)
  • Oldest son: Shindai 眞代 (different genealogy)
  • Second son: Shinshū 眞周
  • Third son: Shinsei 眞成
  • Fourth son: 眞辰 (different genealogy)
  • Second daughter: Manabi 眞鍋 (born 1638-05-15, married Maezato Pēchin Chochoku 前里親雲上朝直 of the Princely Shō-clan 向氏. Died 1702-08-16. Posthumous name: Gesshin 月心)
  • Fifth son: Shinshū 眞秋
  • Second wife: Umitu 思戸, daughter of Gushikawa Chikudun Pēchin 具志川筑登之親雲上 from Kanera village, Tomigusuku district 豊見城間切金良村
  • Third daughter: Umitu 思戸 (born 1644-11-08, married Sakihama Pēchin Seiwa 崎濱親雲上盛和 of the Mō-clan 毛氏. Died 1695-10-25. Posthumous name: Baigan 梅巖)
  • Fourth daughter: Maguji 眞呉勢 (born 1650-01-23, married Uchima Pēchin Bushi 内間親雲上武之 of the Chi-clan智氏. Died 1723-08-17. Posthumous name: Bairin 梅林)
  • Sixth son: Shin’ō 眞往 (different genealogy)
  • Seventh son: Shinbun 眞文 (different genealogy)
  • Fifth daughter: Majiru 眞鶴 (born 1667-11-05, married Shigema Chikudun Pēchin Genmei 志慶間筑登之親雲上元命 of the Yō-clan 姚氏. Died 1690-08-04. Posthumous name: Jikaku 自覺)

Chronology

During the Era of King Shō Hō 尚豊王

  • 1622-0918: Serves as an apprentice (Ko-akukabe 小赤頭)
  • 1626-09: He tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1627-02-22: Serves as a squire (Hana-atari 花當)
  • 1634-08-08: Serves as an adjudant (Chikudun) of the Seiyaritomi 勢遣冨筑登之.
  • 1637–38: Sailed on a tribute ship to Fujian, and afterwards to Satsuma. 1637-09-29 they set sails in Naha, went to Fujian, and in the following year 1638-01-08 they arrived in Kagoshima and completed business. On 1638-02-05 they returned home to Okinawa. On 02-07 Gima Shinji was conferred to the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki (黄冠), i.e. the Pēchin rank.
  • 1639-08-06: Assuming head of family, he is appointed eatste steward (Jitō) of Gima in Mawashi district 眞和地間切儀間地頭

During the Era of King Shō Shitsu 尚質王

  • 1654-02-02: Appointed Magistrate of Sugar Production (Satō Bugyō 砂糖奉行)
  • 1659-12-27: Conferred to the court rank of Zashiki (rank 4 minor) 座敷
  • 1660: Toured the island for inspections as an inspector (代廻檢者), together with the Assistant Superintendent (Ginmiyaku 吟味役) of the Omono Bugyō 御物奉行, Miyagi Pēchin Kensen 宮城親雲上賢宣 of the Ka-clan 夏氏, and the Liaison Police Inspector (Yamato Yokome 大和横目) Kobashigawa Pēchin Yūsei 小橋川親雲上由政 of the Sai-clan 蔡氏. They procceeded to the islands of Ie, Iheya, Kume, Kerama, Aguni, and Tonaki. After completion of official business, they returned to the capital [Shuri].
  • 1671-01-05: Died at the age of 63. Posthumous name: Jōseki 常寂

Additional Info

In the entry for 1634-08-08 we can see one very important thing: He served as an adjudant (Chikudun) of the Seiyaritomi 勢遣冨筑登之. In other words: The HIKI organization of old Ryukyu — which included the military — has not been abolished after the Satsuma invasion of 1609. How the whole organization was transformed to fit the new circumstances is described in detail in my Karate 1.0.


 

Sources

  • 沖縄の歴史情報 第5巻。画像と全文テキストデータベース (Ⅰ)。 (6)「琉球家譜」の情報化。①首里系家譜。麻姓家譜 (田名家).
  • Naha-shi Shi. Shiryō-hen, Dai Ni Maki, Chū no 7. Naha no Minzoku. 那覇市史。資料篇 第2巻,中の7。那覇の民俗。
  • Others
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7. Generation Gima Satonushi Pēchin Shinshi 儀間里之子親雲上眞之

Names and DOB

  • Childhood name: Masanrā 眞三良
  • Chinese-style name: Ma Kyōyo 麻擧要
  • Born: as the firstborn son, 1585

Family

  • Father: Shinjō 眞常
  • Mother: Manabi 眞鍋 of the Mō-clan 毛氏
  • Wife: Magami 眞龜, daughter of Tomoyose Pēchin (Kin Shireki) 友寄親雲上 (金仕歴)(she died 1662-02-18. Posthumous name: Kyūsan 久山)
  • Oldest daughter: Manabi 眞鍋 (born 1604. Married Nagamine Chikudun Kōkō 長峯筑登之孝效 of the Ki-clan 冀氏. Died 1677-08-18. Posthumous name: Tessen 哲仙)
  • Second daughter: Makatu 眞加戸 (born 1607. Married Tōmei Chikudun Pēchin Sō’en 當銘筑登之親雲上宗演 of the Sō-clan 莊氏. Died 1669-12-29. Posthumous name: Bairin 梅林)
  • Oldest son: Shinji 眞時
  • Second son: Shinshō 眞韶 (different genealogy) [here the Ishimine House branches off 麻姓 (石嶺家)]
  • Third daughter: Umitu 思戸 (born 1615-12-25. Married Nakijin Satonushi Pēchin Seiko 今歸仁里之子親雲上盛古 of the Mō-clan 毛氏. Died 1667-08-20. Posthumous name: Haku’an 栢庵)
  • Third son: Shinsei 眞清 (different genealogy) [here the Tawada House branches off 麻姓 (多和田)]

Chronology

During the Era of King Shō Nei 尚寧王

  • 1598-03-15: Serves as an apprentice (Ko-akukabe 小赤頭)
  • 1600-02: He tied up his topknot (coming of age)
  • 1600-05-09: Serves as a squire (Hana-atari 花當)
  • 1605-02-09: Conferred to the court rank of Waka-satonushi (若里之子)
  • 1612-06-05: Conferred to the court rank of Yellow Hachimaki (黄冠), i.e. the rank of Satonushi Pēchin

During the Era of King Shō Hō 尚豊王

  • 1628-04-28: Appointed “Magistrate for Managing the Annual Tribute to Satsuma”  (Shinobose Bugyō 仕上世奉行).
  • 1631-12-25: Inherits the fief of his father, worth 30 Koku
  • 1633-06-09: Died at the age of 50 and before his own father. Posthumous name: Kaioku 槐屋

Additional Info

His 2nd and 3rd sons established the first branch houses (支流) of the Ma-clan: The 2nd son established the Ishimine House, the 3rd son established the Tawada House.

These lineages are interesting because both Ishimine and Tawada are names connected to old-style Karate and Kobudō of the latter half of the 19th century.


Sources

  • 沖縄の歴史情報 第5巻。画像と全文テキストデータベース (Ⅰ)。 (6)「琉球家譜」の情報化。①首里系家譜。麻姓家譜 (田名家).
  • Naha-shi Shi. Shiryō-hen, Dai Ni Maki, Chū no 7. Naha no Minzoku. 那覇市史。資料篇 第2巻,中の7。那覇の民俗。
  • Others
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6. Generation Gima Uēkata Shinjō 儀間親方眞常

Names and DOB

  • Childhood name: Shinshi 眞市
  • Chinese-style name: Ma Heikō 麻平衡
  • Born: as the thirdborn son, 1557.

Family

  • Father: Shinmei 眞命
  • Mother: Manabi 眞鍋 of the Sō-clan 莊氏
  • Wife: Manabi 眞鍋, daughter of Ahagon Shī Sei’i 阿波根子盛懿 of the Mō-clan 毛氏 (she died 1633-06-09. Posthumous name: Rinshun 林春)
  • Oldest son: Shinshi 眞之
  • Oldest daughter: Maushi 眞牛 (date of birth and death unknown, married Goeku Niya 越來爾也)

Chronology

During the Era of King Shō Gen 尚元王

  • During the Longqing years (1567–1572): Served as Ko-akukabe 小赤頭

During the Era of King Shō Ei 尚永王

  • During the reign of the Wanli emperor (1572–1620): served as squire (Hana-atari 花當), conferred to the court rank of Waka-satonushi (若里之子), conferred to a Yellow Hachimaki (黄冠), i.e. he was promoted to Pēchin status.

During the Era of King Shō Nei 尚寧王

  • 1593-05-06: Assuming the family headship from his father, he is appointed Estate steward (Jitō 地頭) of Gima in Mawashi district 眞和志儀間地頭
  • 1596-06-05: Served as commander (Seitō) of the Oshiaketomi 押明富勢頭
  • 1605, Noguni Sōkan 野國總管 brought sweet potatoes plants from Fujian, China. When Shinjō 眞常 heard about his, he asked to study potato cultivation. Noguni explained to him: “To cultivate [the potato], fold it into a strip of hemp cloth of about 30cm length and place it in the field. When the time has come, pull up the cloth strip and so pull out the potato from the hole.” By planting potatoes in the whole country, supplementing the five crops, Gima Shinjō 眞常 planned to counteract food shortages and huge famines, which happened frequently. For 15 years Gima Shinjō instructed the cultivation of potatoes in Ryūkyū. Additionally, he was also active in the cultivation of various other crops and grains.
  • 1606-08-11: Appointed Seitō of the Jakunitomi (castle guard commander) 謝國富勢頭
  • 1609-04: When King Sho Nei 尚寧王 was taken to Satsuma (Sasshū 薩州), Gima Shinjō accompanied him in the role of a guard (Seitō) (勢頭役). The ship set sails in Naha on 1609-05-17. He returned to Ryūkyū on 1611-09-13. On 1611-12-01 he was conferred to the court rank of Zashiki (rank 4 minor) 座敷. From Satsuma, Gima Shinjō had brought back cotton seeds for weaving cotton cloths. Gima Shinjō told two Japanese women (named Umechiyo 梅千代 and Michiyo 實千代) who lived in Izumisaki village to begin to manufacture cloth by weaving, and this was the beginning of cotton cloth weaving in Ryūkyū.
  • Although in olden times this country had its own sugar cane, it was unknown how to manufacture brown sugar. Consequently, in 1623, at the time when the tribute ship sailed to Fujian, Gima Shinjō ordered some villagers of Gima to accompany the tribute ship and to study the method of sugar refinement. First this method of sugar refinement was done at Gima Shinjō’s house, and later spread in the whole country.
  • Gima Shinjō was also appointed Magistrate of Farmland (Tenchi Bugyō 田地奉行 )

During the Era of King Shō Hō 尚豊王

  • 1624-01-15: Conferred to the court rank of purple Hachimaki 紫冠, i.e. the rank of Uēkata
  • 1624-05-04: In this country [of Ryūkyū], since ancient times until now dragon boat races have been performed as magnificent spectacles. So, Gima Shinjō 眞常 was requested to make preparations in connection with dragon boat races. In this connection, his Majesty the King Shō Hō 尚豊 honored Gima Shinjō with his presence at the latter’s residence.
  • 1627-06-22: Receives a fief income of 30 Koku
  • 1644-10-14: Died after a long life of 88 years. Posthumous name: Juryō 授了

Additional Info

Although Gima Shinjō was only the thirdborn son, he succeeded the head of household.

He passed through a typical career within the government organization of old Ryūkyū. This included positions in the HIKI (see here for a short overview).

Starting as an apprentice (Ko-akukabe 小赤頭),  at around 40 he became commander (Seitō) of the Oshiaketomi regiment. Around 50 years of age, he was appointed commander of the castle guards (Seitō of the Jakunitomi).

Not surprisingly, when a few years later – in 1609 – the Shimazu Clan conquered the Ryūkyū Kingdom and took King Sho Nei to Satsuma, Gima Shinjō accompanied him in the role of a guard (Seitō).

Actually, there is the tradition of the Bo of Gima Shinjo.


Sources

  • 沖縄の歴史情報 第5巻。画像と全文テキストデータベース (Ⅰ)。 (6)「琉球家譜」の情報化。①首里系家譜。麻姓家譜 (田名家).
  • Naha-shi Shi. Shiryō-hen, Dai Ni Maki, Chū no 7. Naha no Minzoku. 那覇市史。資料篇 第2巻,中の7。那覇の民俗。
  • others
Placque at Gima Shinjo' tomb, located at the Hijigaabira-maai.

Placque at Gima Shinjo’ tomb, located at the Hijigaabira-maai.

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5. Generation Gima Pēchin Shinmei 儀間親雲上眞命

Names and DOB

  • Childhood name: Masanrā 眞三郎
  • Chinese-style name: Ma Jishō 麻時嘗
  • Born: as the firstborn son, 1513

Family

  • Father: Shinmō 眞孟
  • Mother: A person from Izumisaki village
  • Wife: Manabi 眞鍋, daughter of Oroku Pēchin Sōshin 小禄親雲上宗親 of the Sō-clan 莊氏 (she died 1613-08-14. Posthumous name: Getsuho 月蒲)
  • Oldest son: Ōmine Pēchin 大嶺親雲上
  • Second son: Gima Niya 儀間爾也
  • Oldest daughter: Umitama 思玉 (date of birth and death unknown, married Heianzan Pēchin Yūmei 平安山親雲上重明 of the Tsu-clan 兪氏)
  • Third son Shinjō 眞常

Chronology

During the Era of King Shō Sei 尚清王

  • 1546-08-10: Served as adjudant (Chikudun) of the Sejiaratomi 勢治荒富筑登之, sailing towards the countries of South-East-Asia (nanban 南蠻)

Note:  Nanban 南蠻 or “Southern Barbarians” usually refers to the Europeans – Spaniards and Portuguese – who came to Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries via Southeast Asia. However, from the Muromachi‑ (1336–) to the early Edo-era (1603–) it referred to the countries of South-East-Asia.

  • 1550-10-08: At the time when tribute chief-envoy Mai Shishi 邁志刺 sailed to Fujian 閩, he served as a warehouse manager (Kansha 官舎). After his return to Ryūkyū he was appointed Estate steward (Jitō 地頭) of Sesoko in Nakijin district 今歸仁間切瀬底, and appointed commander (Seitō) of the Sejiaratomi 勢治荒富勢頭
  • 1555-01-10: He accompanied the envoys Ryō Ken 梁顯 and Ba Chushō 馬忠章 to Fujian to present tribute to the Chinese Emperor

During the Era of King Shō Gen 尚元王

  • 1560-08-08: Transferred to the office of Estate steward (Jitō 地頭) of Ōmine in Tomigusuku district 豊見城間切大嶺
  • 1562-02-25: Together with the “To-tsūji” Ryō San梁燦, he sailed to Fujian to inquire about the return of the “ship of the heavenly envoys” (=Sappōshi) to China

Note: To-tsūji 都通事: mainly, but not limited to, senior interpreter-clerks who handled tributary and other public affairs

  • 1562-12-05: Appointed commander (Seitō) of the Fusaitomi 相應富勢頭
  • 1563-11-05: Again appointed commander (Seitō) of the Sejiaratomi 勢治荒富勢頭. Afterwards, as a reward for his loyalty during various trips, he was conferred to the court rank of Zashiki (rank 4 minor) 座敷. Finally he succeeded his father as the head of household and assumed office as Estate steward (Jitō 地頭) of Gima in Mawashi district 眞和志儀間
  • 1595-10-09: Died after a long life of 83 years. Posthumous name: Shō’ō 松翁

Additional Info

The Nature of the Hiki

Each Hiki was referred to by a unique name, for instance Fusaitomi, Sejiaratomi, Seiyaritomi etc. As we can see from the genealogy above, Gima Pēchin Shinmei was first appointed Chikudun (adjudant), and later promoted to Seitō (commander) of a Hiki.

The original nature of the Hiki is connected to the eulogistic suffix ~tomi. This suffix is a shortened form of its original meaning, that is: to become famous or renowned, to achieve fame. In old Ryūkyū it was used as a eulogistic suffix for large seagoing vessels: All the Hiki names bear such ship names and the eulogistic suffix, too. That is why it is said in the above genealogy that Gima Pēchin Shinmei “served as Chikudun of the Sejiaratomi, sailing towards the countries of South-East-Asia.” This can also be seen in the oldest known written appointment of royal office (jireisho 辞令書) in existence, dated 1523-08-28:

“The statement below is an order of the king. Shiotarumoi, who belongs to the Seiyaritomi Hiki, is appointed to the post of warehouse manager aboard the Takara-maru, which will soon set sail for China. This writ of appointment is given from the king to the above-mentioned Shiotarumoi.”

The suffix ~tomi designating a ship-name also often appears in the collection of ancient prose called Omoro-sōshi, for example in the Kakuratoyotega-bushi from Omoro-sōshi Vol. 3. In this Omoro appear the terms Yohikitomi, Sejiaratomi, Yotsugitomi, Kumokotomi, Amaetomi, and Oshiaketomi, which were all names of Ryūkyūan seagoing vessels.

Maritime-based and Land-based Hiki

The Hiki as an organic combination of various government functions. By Andreas Quast.

The Hiki as an organic combination of various government functions. By Andreas Quast.

Iha Fuyū stated, “Because foreign trade voyages were at the center of the activities of the people of Old Ryūkyū, we realize that the Sentō (captains) steering these vessels were diverted from their original intended use.” Indeed, the designations of seagoing vessels and their associated official posts coincide with that of the land-based Hiki. Consequently, the land-based Hiki had the same standardized office organization as the organization of the sea-going vessels. From that, Takara formulated the question that, perhaps, the Hiki were “land-based maritime vessels” (Chijō no kaisen 地上の海船),  and the vessels were “Hiki floating on the sea” (Umi ni ukanda Hiki  海に浮んだヒキ). Just as sea-going vessels would sail in a fleet comprising of several ships, the Hiki were also organized in groups consisting of a number of Hiki. And just as the ship with the chief tribute envoy as its commander was the flagship of a fleet, the Hiki with its Hikigashira as commander was the “flagship” in each of the Three Guards.

The Hiki as a maritime and land-based organization. By Andreas Quast.

The Hiki as a maritime and land-based organization. By Andreas Quast.

At the time this system emerged, the king was on top of the country’s official overseas trade, which was solely managed by the royal government, and therefore, the envoys’ ships were government-owned ships. All posts in this official overseas traffic were also issued in the name of the king, as is clearly shown in the kingdom’s written appointments (jireisho), and thus all crew members were employees of the royal government. In this way, all activities in the country of destination were government businesses, too. And so, regardless of being sailing voyages or land-based duties, any of the activities the Hiki were involved in were government businesses. This was the state of affairs, and it was this framework that the system of the Hiki originated in.

Yarazamori-gusuku. Photo by Andreas Quast. Excerpt from a picture painted by Tomoyose Chikudun Pechin Kikō 友寄筑登之親雲喜恒, 116.5 x 56.5 cm. From the possession of the Okinawa-kenritsu Zushokan Higaonna Bunko 東恩納文庫.

Yarazamori-gusuku. Photo by Andreas Quast. Excerpt from a picture painted by Tomoyose Chikudun Pechin Kikō 友寄筑登之親雲喜恒, 116.5 x 56.5 cm. From the possession of the Okinawa-kenritsu Zushokan Higaonna Bunko 東恩納文庫.


Sources

  • 沖縄の歴史情報 第5巻。画像と全文テキストデータベース (Ⅰ)。 (6)「琉球家譜」の情報化。①首里系家譜。麻姓家譜 (田名家).
  • Naha-shi Shi. Shiryō-hen, Dai Ni Maki, Chū no 7. Naha no Minzoku. 那覇市史。資料篇 第2巻,中の7。那覇の民俗。
  • Takara Kurayoshi, 1993
  • Ryūkyū-kuni Yuraiki, 1713
  • Iha Fuyū, 1975
  • Okamoto, in: Acta Asiatica 2008
  • Quast, Andreas: Karate 1.0 (2013)
  • Others
Posted in The Genealogies of the Various Houses of the Ma-clan | Comments Off on 5. Generation Gima Pēchin Shinmei 儀間親雲上眞命

Yarazamori

Yarazamori-gusuku was built in 1554 at the far end of Madama-michi, a military access road originating at Shuri Castle. Together with Miegusuku, the fortress was crucial in guarding Naha harbor against foreign invasion.

Yarazamori-gusuku. Photo by Andreas Quast. Excerpt from a picture painted by Tomoyose Chikudun Pechin Kikō 友寄筑登之親雲喜恒, 116.5 x 56.5 cm. From the possession of the Okinawa-kenritsu Zushokan Higaonna Bunko 東恩納文庫.

Yarazamori-gusuku. Photo by Andreas Quast. Excerpt from a picture painted by Tomoyose Chikudun Pechin Kikō 友寄筑登之親雲喜恒, 116.5 x 56.5 cm. From the possession of the Okinawa-kenritsu Zushokan Higaonna Bunko 東恩納文庫.

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4. Generation Gima Pēchin Shinmō 儀間親雲上眞孟

Names and DOB

  • Childhood name: Shutarūgani 小樽兼
  • Chinese-style name: Ju Tatsuro 壽達魯
  • Born: as the firstborn son, 1494

Family

  • Father: Shinpuku 眞福
  • Mother: Taira Ōamushirare 平良大阿母志良禮
  • Wife: a person from Izumisaki village 泉崎村 (died 1578-09-10. Posthumous name: Shūkei 秋桂)
  • Oldest son: Shinmei 眞命
  • Second son: Gima Chikudun Pēchin 儀間筑登之親雲上
  • Oldest daughter: Manabi 眞鍋 (date of birth unknown. Married Sanabe Uēkata Kōjō 佐邊親方厚上 of the Fu-clan 傅氏. Died 1603-12-07. Posthumous name: Dōsen 道泉)
  • Second daughter: Umitu 思戸 (date of birth and death unknown, married Oroku Pēchin Seiyō 小祿親雲上清乘 of the Hyō-clan 馮氏)

Chronology

During the Era of King Shō Shin 尚眞王

  • 1523-08-26: At the time when chief-envoy Tei Jō 鄭縄 and vice-envoy Kin Ryō 金良 proceeded to China to bring tribute, he served as a of the royal treasure ship (takara-maru 寳丸) and reached Fujian

During the Era of King Shō Sei 尚清王

  • 1536-05-13: Appointed Jitō (estate steward) of Ameku in Nishihara district 西原間切天久地頭
  • 1537-08-09: Conferred to the court rank of Zashiki (rank 4 minor) 座敷
  • 1537-08-20: At the time when chief-envoy Chin Fu 陳賦 and vice-envoy Sai Teibi 蔡廷美proceeded to China to bring tribute, he served as an emissary (shisha 使者) of the royal ship Yotsuzutomi世續富 and reached Fujian
  • 1541-09-07: Served as emissary (shisha 使者) for bringing tribute to China, together with vice-envoy Sai Teibi 蔡廷美 they reached Fujian
  • 1545-11-06: transferred and appointed Jitō (estate steward) of Kanagusuku in Gima, Mawashi district 眞和志儀間金城地頭
  • 1551-04-13: Transferred and appointed Jitō (estate steward) of Gima in Mawashi district 眞和志儀間地頭
  • 1552-06: When the construction of the dike fort Yarazamori 牙浪沙森 (=屋良座森城) in Naha harbor was completed, a monument was erected with an inscription describing the ancient military organization of Ryūkyū and mentioning Gima Pēchin Shinmō as a military commander (Seitō). Two years later in 1554, the Ryūkyūan troops received marching orders, with three regiments gathered at their designated places, and repelled attacking pirates. While there is no document to proof so, it may be assumed that Gima Pēchin Shinmō took part in this mission as a military commander, too.
  • 1577-04-16: He died after a long life of 84 years. Posthumous name: Gekka 月花

Additional Info

The Hiki of old Ryukyu were an organic combination of various government functions: military , overseas trade, ceremony, politics, and religion.

The Hiki of old Ryukyu were an organic combination of various government functions: military , overseas trade, ceremony, politics, and religion.

I have described the formation and organization of the ancient military organization of Ryūkyū in detail in my book Karate 1.0, including important parts of the text of the Yarazamori monument. This description is valuable and indispensable to understand the circumstances in which ancient martial arts of Ryūkyū were implemented.

As Takara Kurayoshi put it, “the Hiki were networks into which the Ryūkyūan upper classes were incorporated for the purposes of military, police, and guard service and other duties.”

Here follows one part of the Yarazamori inscription, first translated in a Western language in my book Karate 1.0 (2013), and here for the first time online:

“On occasion of Chinese envoys delivering the imperial decree of investiture for King Shō Sei in 1534, the armored Seitō and Chikudun regiments (hiki) arrived with their military equipment, and the soldiers (Kerai akukabe) all gathered at Miegusuku fortress. Serving the Council of State, the Chikusaji regiment commanders with their commoners from Tomigusuku and Oroku districts all gathered at Yarazamori fortress. Serving the Council of State, the Jitō (Estate Steward) of Gima set out controlling the watercourse to the left and right of the harbor with two small boats, and welcomed the Chinese envoys. And at the time of the Imperial investiture, Gima wore imperial clothes and imperial cap and attendants covered him with a long-handled parasol, to welcome the Chinese Imperial ships outside the harbor.”

SeitōChikudun, Kerai akukabe, and Chikusaji are some of the important designations of warriors of old Ryūkyū.

Sources

  • 沖縄の歴史情報 第5巻。画像と全文テキストデータベース (Ⅰ)。 (6)「琉球家譜」の情報化。①首里系家譜。麻姓家譜 (田名家).
  • Naha-shi Shi. Shiryō-hen, Dai Ni Maki, Chū no 7. Naha no Minzoku. 那覇市史。資料篇 第2巻,中の7。那覇の民俗。
  • Takara Kurayoshi: King and Priestess. Spiritual and Political Power in Ancient Ryukyu. In: The Ryukyuanist. The International Society for Ryukyuan Studies. Newsletter No. 27. Winter 1994-95: 3.
  • Quast, Andreas: Karate 1.0. Düsseldorf, 2013.
  • Others.
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