The History and Contents of Matayoshi Kobudo as of 1977

  • Chairman: Matayoshi Shinpō (hanshi)
  • Registered domicile: 2-16-6 Kumoji, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Present address: 323 Yogi, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Date of birth: January 16, 1922
  • Occupation: commerce

Martial Record

  • 1930: Studied under Kyan Chōtoku (karate training) (8 years old)
  • 1934: Studied under Makoto Shinkō (biological father) (kobudō training) (12 years old)
  • 1935: Studied under Go Kenki (Wu Xiangui) (Chinese Shaolin Crane Boxing [Chūgoku shōrin-ha tsuru-ken]) (Age 13)
  • 1945–1960: Instructed Okinawan kobudō in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • 1960: After returning to Okinawa, he became a kobudō instructor (shihan).
  • 1969: Established the “Kōdōkan
  • 1970: Established the Ryūkyū Kobudō Renmei and assumed the post of chairman
  • 1972: With permission to establish a (public) corporation, he changed the name to Shadan Hōjin Zen Okinawa Kobudō Renmei ((Public) Corporation All-Okinawa Kobudō League), and has been active as the chairman of the association, which he continues to this day.

History of the (Public) Corporation Zen Okinawa Kobudō Renmei (All-Okinawa Kobudō League)

Venerable Matayoshi Shinkō was born in 1888 in Kakinohana Town, Naha City and grew up in Senbaru, Chatan Village. From an early age, venerable [Matayoshi Shinkō] studied under venerable Higa (commonly known as Gushicha [Gushikawa] Tēra-gwā) in Gushikawa Village, training in bōjutsu, kai (iēku)-jutsu, kama-jutsu, and sai-jutsu. Furthermore, in Nosato, Chatan Village, he also learned tounkuwā-jutsu, nunchakukun-jutsu from venerable Irei (commonly known as Jitodē-mōshī-gwā).

From the end of the Meiji period (1868–1912), by way of Hokkaidō venerable [Matayoshi Shinkō] traveled to Sakhalin, Manchuria, Shanghai, Fuzhou, and Annam, and devoted himself to a knight errantry (musha shūgyō).

Especially in Manchuria, he lived with mounted bandits [esp. in north-east China from the end of the Qing dynasty {see: Honghuzi}] and mastered horsemanship, shuriken-jutsu, and the art of lasso throwing. In Shanghai, he trained under a certain teacher (there is a theory that his name is Kingai) in the techniques of tinbē-jutsu, suruchin-jutsu, and nunti-jutsu, and also learned Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and moxibustion. In Fuzhou, he studied the techniques of Shaolin boxing [Shōrin-ken] and returned to Okinawa in 1934.

During that time, when he temporarily returned to Okinawa, there was a celebratory martial arts demonstration in Tōkyō in 1915 in commemoration of the [Taishō] Tennō’s accession to the throne, where karate was performed by Funakoshi Gichin, and the ancient martial arts of tounkuwā-jutsu and kama-jutsu were performed by venerable Matayoshi [Shinkō]. In 1921, when the present emperor [Hirohito], who was the crown prince at the time, visited Okinawa, a martial arts demonstration of karate and kobujutsu was held as part of the celebratory event, in which Miyagi Chōjun performed Gōjū-ryū and venerable Matayoshi [Shinkō] performed kobudō.

After returning to Okinawa, he moved his residence to Naha, interacted with the warriors (bujin) of the time, and devoted himself to joint study.

Known as “Kama-no-te Matēshi” or “Senbaru Matēshi,” he took the world by storm and was highly regarded in society as a warrior (bujin), but he passed away in 1947 at the age of 59.

After the end of the war, Master Matayoshi Shinpō, the senior disciple and biological son of venerable Matayoshi [Shinkō], taught Okinawan kobudō in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, but returned to Okinawa in 1960, and as an instructor (shihan) of kobudō, he taught kobudō in various places, mainly at the dōjō of Higa Seikō of Gōjū-ryū. The teacher [Matayoshi Shinpō], thought that today, where karate-dō is developing as a budō in the world/society, Okinawan kobudō is still not popular and there are only few highly skilled instructors, and so he established the “Kōdōkan,” with [the syllable] “kō” from his father’s name “Shinkō.” After that, he connected with disciples from all over the prefecture as well as outside the prefecture, and led by Master Matayoshi [Shinpō], they investigated and handed down the essence of Okinawan kobudō, and forged the minds and bodies of the youth [young men and boys] through the great intangible cultural assets of Okinawa left by our predecessors. In 1970, the “Ryūkyū Kobudō League” (Ryūkyū Kobudō Renmei) was established with the aim of developing socially competent human resources and promoting the spread and development of legitimate kobudō.

After the establishment [of the Ryūkyū Kobudō League], starting with the first martial arts demonstration meet in 1971, the meet was held regularly each year, and this year is the 7th meet, and in addition to the meet, [Matayoshi Shinkō] visited each facility and gave martial arts condolence demonstrations in each region.

He participated in Okinawa’s Return to Japan Commemorative Martial Arts Demonstration Meet (in Kagoshima Prefecture), performed kobudō at the Return to Japan Commemorative National Athletic Meet (Okinawa Special National Athletic Meet, Wakanatsu Kokutai [1973]), gave special master’s martial arts demonstration at the Amami Ōshima Karatedō Federation Martial Arts Demonstration Meet, and at the Okinawa International Ocean Exposition in 1975. In the process of performing martial arts at the historic opening ceremony, with the permission received to establish a (public) corporation in 1972, the Ryūkyū Kobudō Renmei was renamed to Shadan Hōjin Ryūkyū Kobudō Renmei*1 as a (public) corporation. In 1973, Master Matayoshi Shinpō traveled all over Europe and further to the United States, where he devoted himself to the spread and development of Okinawan kobudō, and still today he continues to energetically appeal to society for the essence of Ryūkyū Kobudō. Master Matayoshi’s devotion to social enlightenment of the idea of Ryūkyū Kobudō is precious. The Shadan Hōjin Ryūkyū Kobudō Renmei*1 is a budō organization with limitless potential for development based on the harmony of human minds and the joint study of kobujutsu.

*1 In the martial record, it is said he changed the name to Shadan Hōjin Zen Okinawa Kobudō Renmei

Types of Kobudō

  • (1) Bōjutsu (sanjaku [ca. 90 cm], shishaku [ca. 121 cm], rokushaku [ca. 182 cm], hasshaku [ca. 242 cm]).
  • (2) Saijutsu (2 Sai [nichō sai], 3 Sai [sanchō sai]).
  • (3) Nunchakukun (aka nunchaku).
  • (4) Sanchakukun
  • (5) Tounkuwā-jutsu (also called tunfā, tuifā)
  • (6) Nunti-jutsu
  • (7) Suruchin-jutsu
  • (8) Tinbē-jutsu
  • (9) Kama-jutsu (Nichōgama no te) [techniques of two sickles]
  • (10) Kaijutsu (Iēku-dī) [techniques of the paddle]
  • (11) Tetchū (tetchū, techū)
  • (12) Tekkō (tekkō, tekkō)
  • (13) Kuwa-jutsu (Kue no te) [techniques of the hoe]

(The above is based on materials provided by Matayoshi Shinpō.)

Source: Uechi Kan’ei et al.: Seisetsu Okinawa Karate-do: Sono Rekishi to Giho, 1977, pp. 766-771.

© 2022, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in kobudo, Matayoshi Karate Kobudo - Written sources translated, Matayoshi Kobudo, Postwar Okinawa Karate, Prewar Okinawa Karate, Translations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.