Category Archives: Unknown Ryukyu

The girls sold as prostitutes, and the boys as Buddhist priests…

Typically, most members of the karate community oppose or even forbid discussion of certain topics. For instance, the topic of the involvement of Okinawan karate people in Japanese imperialism, colonialism, and militarism until the surrender in 1945 is carefully and … Continue reading

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Sai Taitei’s Chinese Poetry and Red Light Districts in Ryūkyū

Sai Taitei was born in 1823 and he was from Kume Village. Later in life he succeeded his father’s post to become Ikei Pechin (an assistant estate-steward of Ikei Village belonging to Yonashiro District). It is presumed that he traveled … Continue reading

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Kuwae no Kon (a.k.a. Torisashi Umē no Kon)

Yesterday, I received note about a rare bō kata of Okinawa. It is almost unknown in both name and technique, let alone its history. Almost. Names The name of the kata is Kuwae no Kon, and it is also known … Continue reading

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Kunjan Sabakuyi 2

Here is another example of the “Kunjan Sabakuyi” performing art. Watch until the end to see a posture reminiscent of “Kusanku” of karate, or “Sakugawa no Kon” and several other kata of bojutsu. Just to be clear: I am not … Continue reading

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Kunjan Sabakuyi

For the Ryukyu royal government, the Yanbaru mountain forests in northern Okinawa were important resources for materials used in construction and shipbuilding, and as firewood and charcoal. Isn’t it said that Higaonna Kanryo transported “firewood” with a boat type referred … Continue reading

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The recontextualization of “Eisa”

Once limited to the Festival of the Dead within villages, by villagers, and in a religious context, in postwar Okinawa Eisa has been transformed to an all year festival entertainment performed everywhere and without any religious context. In short: Today’s … Continue reading

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The First Western Eyewitness Account of Okinawa

[This article was first published in: Quast, Andreas: Karate 1.0. 2013] The first Western eyewitness accounts of Okinawa originate from Richard Wickham and William Adams (1564–1620).[1] The latter was later provided an estate and samurai status by shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu, … Continue reading

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Offices and Craftsmen for Ryukyuan Weaponry

Recently, I have written about the Ming Dynasty’s need for sulfur and horses to produce gunpowder and to pull cannons to the battlefield. Ryūkyū was able to supply both (Takara 1996: 46). According to the Minshu (Book of Fujian), the … Continue reading

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Fifteenth Century: Chatan Nakiri

The Chatan Nakiri is one of the three treasured swords handed down within the royal family of Ryūkyū. It has an unsigned blade and its sword mountings include mother-of-pearl inlays, dust-coated sheat, pure gold fittings and hilt. Being an unsigned … Continue reading

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Sai, Tinbe and the “Expedition to the Southern Islands” 1893

As previously mentioned, in 2021, a list of “100 Footprints of Modern Karate” was published in the Okinawa Times. I have already written about Footprint No. 1 and Footprint No. 2 and today will turn to Footprint No. 3. Footprint … Continue reading

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