On a Third Alleged Itosu Photo

Recently, I wrote about a first and a second photo allegedly showing a man considered to be Itosu Ankō (1831–1915), the father of modern Karate.

Some weeks ago my colleague Thomas Feldmann of Hoploblog dug out another photo which we believe shows the same man. The following description and photo are provided by the Digital Museum of the Naha City Museum of History:

Persons / Personnel of the Kadena Police Station?

Date of photography: During the war.

Reference: Photograph Collection of the Naha City Historical Materials Room / During the war / Back row, 4th person from the left: Inamine Seiryō (around 1940).

The man considered to be Itosu Ankō, the father of modern Karate.

The man considered to be Itosu Ankō, the father of modern Karate.

As can be seen in the “Reference”, the photo has been dated to “during the war” and “around 1940”. If this were correct, the man in the photo cannot be Itosu Ankō. However, as shown in study about the second photo, the dates given for such old photos may be incorrect.

There is another hint, that is the person Inamine Seiryō. However, this person is unknown and there is no possibility for a comparison of his life dates, his looks etc.

However, the one thing that we can investigate from the photo to properly establish a date are the uniforms. Since the photo shows personell of a police station (whether it is in fact Kadena or another station is irrelevant here), we checked other photos of police stations and compared the uniforms. We were able to verify a very similar type of uniforms for the year 1922, see here.

If this is correct, then the date for the 3rd alleged Itosu photo (“around 1940”) would be incorrect, because the uniforms changed over time. Furthermore, it would allow the uniforms to be of an older type, which could have been worn already during Itosu’s lifetime (1831–1915).

In other words: The next best chance to figure out the date of this 3rd alleged Itosu photograph is to study police uniforms of Okinawa prefecture over time. Unfortunately, I do not have the time right now. Therefore, any help in the study of the uniforms would  be appreciated, especially also by Karate men and women in Okinawa, since they have easier access to archives etc.

Anyway, in 2019, it was clarified that the person in the photo is actually not Itosu Ankō, but Miyake Sangō. I will write about the verification of this at a future time.

The person considered to be Itosu Anko.

The person considered to be Itosu Anko.

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