1960 – Okinawa Kenpō

The following text is the translation of an Okinawan newspaper article from 1960. This article is about the establishment of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF).

In the article it is clearly stated that — until that time — Okinawa Karatedo itself was centered on Kata. However, this group initially aimed to change this and to reform Okinawa Karatedo itself.

“The Establishment of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF)!”

“On [date] from noon, at the Shimabukuro dōjō (dōjō director, Shimabukuro Zenryō) in Jagaru in Chatan village, about 38 dōjō instructors from all over the island gathered and performed the establishment [of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF)].”

“Tamotsu Isamu, director of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF) who is currently on the island, was dispatched by that same federation to help in the formation of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters.”

“The Special Officers of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters are as follows:”

“Here and from now on, the Okinawa Regional Headquarters will be the only gateway to introduce real Okinawa Karatedo technique into Japan, and as Karatedo with armor, we are working on the modernization of Karatedo.”

“Given the tradition and fundaments of the Karate of the Zen Nihon Karate-dō Renmei (JKF), and at the same time that of the Okinawa Regional Headquarters, from now on, we will study Karatedo with armor, and embark towards a reform of Okinawa Karatedo itself, which hitherto was centered on Kata, and for the first time since the beginning of history, we enter in the exchange and assimilation of Japanese-Ryukyuan Karatedo.”

For their service, Nakamura Shigeru, Shimabukuro Zenryō, and Kaneshima Shinsuke were awarded a 10 Dan by the JKF. The other Sensei of this association each were awarded the 7 dan, such as Tsuha Kōmei 7. Dan, Ōmura Motozen (Kizen) 7. Dan, and Tōma Seikan 7. Dan.

It is clearly said that the Okinawa Regional Headquarters was were Okinawa Kenpō actually started:

“Nakamura (Shigeru) felt how strong Japanese karate organization was at the competition and worried about the future of Okinawa karate…”

The various schools that participated in Okinawa Kenpō were organized in – or recruited from – the “Okinawa Regional Headquarters (JKF)” (est. 1960) and from the “Okinawa Kobudō Kyōkai” (est. 1961), two progressive and innovative groups of that era.

The Okinawa Regional Headquarters was formed under the major objective of uniting the whole of Japan in a competition using protective gear. While this was achieved by others, namely the various Bōgu-tsuki Karate associations, Okinawa Kenpō in various interpretations became a hit in the US.


© 2017, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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