110 YEARS AGO: THE MODERN CHARACTERS FOR KARATE ARE USED FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!

Hanashiro Chōmo (1869–1945) was an Okinawan soldier (infantry) and a physical education and Karate teacher at the Middle School in Shuri. In 1905 he created the basic text book called “Karate Kumite” as a manual for teaching Karate at school. Here for the first time in history the modern notation of Karate 空手 in its meaning as “empty handed martial art” was used.

Only the title page and one page of the Kumite description has been preserved.

I translated this text and reconstructed the Kumite, and I think this was done for the first time, at least in the Western world. Also fragmentary, this is the oldest form of Kumite EVER found described in any written source of modern KARATE!

Some questions remain which I hope to be able to solve in the near future. Otherwise the description is straightforward.

The picture below shows an excerpt of the study. It also includes Hanashiro’s complete genealogy, translated from the official Shuri genealogies. The photos of Hanashiro and the handwritings used here are from an original 1938 copy of the “Karatedo Taikan”…

After some further consultations, I think at some point in time there might even be a video explaining everything.

"Karate Kumite", Hanashiro Chomo 1905

“Karate Kumite”, Hanashiro Chomo 1905

© 2015, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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