Nagamine Shoshin and the apparently two first postwar articles written on Karate/Kobudo

In the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shinpō, in 1950 an article appeared on Funakoshi, titled:

“Karate – Funakoshi Gichin Okina – Defeating a cow: secret training under cover of night.”

In the post-war era in Okinawa itself it also took a while until the first articles on Karate were published again. So let’ ask a simple question:

When exactly did publishing restart on Okinawa itself?

Looking up various sources prepared in the academic field by Takamiyagi Shigeru and other top-karateka and -academics, the first article on Karate/Kobudō in an Okinawa newspaper or magazin is said to have appeared in 1953, titled

“Three decades of Karate footprints: Funakoshi (Gichin) Okina’s Biography and achievements.”

Actually, in 1953, a total of twelve articles on Karate/Kobudō were verified in Okinawan newspapers or magazins.

I want to add two articles here, which hitherto had not been identified. In addition, they are not just some random articles. Rather, they appear to be the two first postwar articles written on Karate/Kobudō and published in Okinawan newspapers or magazins.

The first one is from 1950. It was written by Nagamine Shōshin, founder of Matsubayashi-ryū and is titled:

“Is Karate-jutsu a superhuman skill?”

The second one is from 1952 and also written by Nagamine Shōshin, founder of Matsubayashi-ryū and is titled:

“Matsumura Sōkon: The Restorer of Ryūkyū Kenpō (Karate)”

The apparently two earliest articles on Karate/Kobudō published in post-war Okinawa, written by Nagamine Shōshin of Matsubayashi-ryū (photo and articles: from the archive of the author).

The apparently two earliest articles on Karate/Kobudō published in post-war Okinawa, written by Nagamine Shōshin of Matsubayashi-ryū (photo and articles: from the archive of the author).

In this article, Nagamine first published his pre-war research on Matsumura, his visits to the family, the boddhisatva he found in the family alcove, the original Matsumura family genealogy, a letter to Matsumura written by Ijūin Yashichirō, a samurai from the Satsuma fief, expert of the Jigen-ryū of sword fencing, who also granted Matsumura a menkyo kaiden (certificate of full initiation into the art) in this sword style after only half a year of practice.

In many respects this 1952 article – with its personal interviews, original field research, and oral traditions handed down – is still a gold standard on Matsumura Sōkon. Whoever may attempt to update, expand, or rewrite the history of Matsumura is doomed to fail if not counting in this article of Nagamine.

You’re welcome.

© 2015, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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