Monthly Archives: May 2022

Urasoe no Kon (Oki.: Urashī nu Kun)

Urasoe no Kon is one of the higher kata in Okinawan Taira-lineage and learned for the 7th or 8th dan or so. It is rarely seen for several reasons, one being that it takes a long time until students get … Continue reading

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Fly the Flag – Did Ryukyu Adopt the Banner of Sea Adventurers and Pirates?

The military equipment during the 1st Dynasty of Ryūkyū included armor, helmets, bows and arrows, spears, shields, and there were also many short, regular, and long swords decorated with gold and silver, which were imported from Japan. There were also … Continue reading

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Warfare and Deception – How Shō Hashi Established the 1st Ryukyu Dynasty

King Shō Hashi, described as the “Hometown Hero” for Okinawans, is the main character of the musical named after him. “For Okinawans, King Sho Hashi was the first historical figure to have a truly positive impact on the country. I want … Continue reading

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Sulphur and Horses – The Military Origin of Okinawa’s Tribute Trade with China

Last year, under participation of ten grand masters of Okinawa karate and kobudō, a museum and memorial monument related to Ryūkyū horses have been erected in Naha City. The topic is embedded within the peace theory of Okinawa and the … Continue reading

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Karate as an Intangible Cultural Property

Below is a translation of “Mukei bunkazai to shite no karate“, published in “Okinawa Karate Kobudō Jiten,” 2008. A quarter century after the first designation, Okinawa Prefecture works on having karate designated an intangible cultural heritage with the UNESCO. Yes, … Continue reading

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Jiganemaru @50th anniversary of the return of Okinawa

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the return of Okinawa, the special exhibition “Ryukyu”, which reveals the history and culture of Ryukyu with more than 700 exhibit items, has opened at the Tokyo National Museum. The exhibition runs from May … Continue reading

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Control the opponent without causing injury. Kyan Shinei (1912-97). Sai. Bringing attention to Okinawa’s platonic ideal of peace.

Sai, which are used as weapons in ancient martial arts (kobudō), has been studied by warriors (bujin) since the Ryukyu Kingdom era. Originally used by the Buddhist monks of the Shaolin Temple in China, it is said that the tip … Continue reading

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