Funakoshi and Nagamine

When Nagamine was in third grade, eight elementary schools would jointly hold an autumn athletic meet at Onoyama Park on November 13, 1916. The state of the joint athletic meet was also reported in the Ryūkyū Shinpō newspaper the following day. The karate perfomers were boys from Tomari Elementary School, among them young Nagamine Shōshin, who reminisced:

“When I was in the third grade of Tomari Elementary School, the Naha Ward Elementary Schools Joint Athletic Meet was held at Onoyama Park. At that time, [Funakoshi] Gichin Sensei was teaching at Tomari Elementary School and we schoolboys of 3rd grade and up were taught Naihanchi and Pinan and had a martial arts group performance with more than 200 people. I remember it as if it was yesterday.

About 40 years later, when the “Okinawa Exhibition” was held in Tokyo in August 1955, Nagamine and other Matsubayashi-ryū instructors went to Tokyo to perform karate every day. Funakoshi Gichin also showed up at the venue and Nagamine revived the old relationship. As a result of the above, the need for a unified Okinawa karate organization came to be advocated.

It can be said that the conceptualization of this unified organization originated in Nagamine’s school. In fact, the discussions for the launch were based in Nagamine dōjō, where the organization was officially formed on May 19th. Chibana Chōshin, the founder of theKobayashi-ryū, was appointed as the first chairman, and Nagamine supported him as vice-chairman.

The story surrounding this is that Miyagi Chōjun of Gōjū-ryū, who has been at the center of the Okinawan karate world since the early postwar period, died suddenly at the age of 65 due to a heart attack in October 1953. Therefore, he was replaced by Chibana Chōshin, who was a karateka of the same generation and central for the Okinawan karate world. This first karate organization that tied together the postwar Okinawa karate world was established at the Matsubayashi-ryū Nagamine dōjō.

© 2023, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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