Monthly Archives: May 2016

Article on the website of the “Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau”

An article of mine is featured on the prestigious “Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau” website. It is about a photo which probably shows the important karate teacher Hanashiro Chōmo at a relatively young age, in the year 1904. Check it out and read the … Continue reading

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Oni Oshiro

In 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 … Continue reading

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Terminology as regards Cultural Properties in Japan

There are various levels and designations of cultural properties of Japan. They may be designated by institutions on municipal, prefectural, and national level, and in a multitude of fields: there are “Tangible Cultural Properties”, “Intangible Cultural Property”, “Folk Cultural Properties”, … Continue reading

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Southern Islands Discourse Meeting, 1927

Members of Yanagita Kunio’s “Southern Islands Discourse Meeting” in 1927. The photo shows three “fathers of…,” namely the father of Japanese native folkloristics, the father of Okinawaology, and the father of modern karate. Moreover, it also shows someone who might be termed the … Continue reading

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005 – The Description of The Ryūkyūan Crew Members (III)

Well, this year [1762] the tribute ship (kaisen) betook to Satsuma in order to carry out Ryūkyū’s annul tribute payment to Satsuma, the preparations for next years tribute payment, as well as this and that. This is the reason why Shiohira … Continue reading

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Know a thousand, but master one thoroughly

What is the most important point in studying kata? Wrong question. Because there are at least two. As for one, in karate [I always include kobudō when using this word] as well as in other Japanese bujutsu, since olden times … Continue reading

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Yonegawa no Kon and the Western bayonet rifle

It would be a mere rethorical question to ask if historical Ryūkyūan combative methods were influenced by the outside world. Notwithstanding, somehow this seems to be a weird question. One of the persistent beliefs making Ryūkyūan combative methods so likable … Continue reading

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Outline of Ryūkyūan Genealogy, by Dana Masayuki (Okinawa International University)

The following is based on “Outline of Ryūkyūan Genealogy,” by Dana Masayuki (Okinawa International University). Introduction Kafu 家譜 (genealogies) are family trees prepared by the Ryūkyūan gentry since the latter part of 17th century. It is believed that almost 3,000 … Continue reading

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Shūshi no Kun (Bojutsu Kata Series) — History

Anyone who ever started Okinawa kobudō will inevitably get to know Shūshi no Kon 周氏の棍. Often the first kata taught in bōjutsu, it is found in many kobudō styles. Shūshi 周氏 means “Mr. Shū”, and kon 棍 refers to techniques of fencing … Continue reading

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The impression Ryūkyūans got from Western visitors, 19th century

Chapter 14 of the “Jixiao Xinshu” (1560-61) described a kata made of 32 “gestures”, all of which had their applications. The work was translated and reprinted in the following centuries, including in Korea and Japan. In the introduction, the author … Continue reading

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