The Dai Nippon Butokukai Name Directory

About the Seirinsho 精錬証

The DNBTK was established on April 17, 1895, with Imperial Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito (1846–1903) as is president. From October 26 to 28, 1895, it held its 1st Butokusai Dai-enbukai 武徳祭大演武会. Nine hundred eighty-nine martial artists from all over the country participated. At this convention, particularly talented persons from each martial art were awarded the title called Seirensho. Chosen were 15 persons from Kenjutsu, 17 persons from Kyūjutsu, 6 persons from Jūjutsu, and 3 persons from Sōjutsu.

Until 1933 at each year’s Butokusai Dai-enbukai, the examiners would deliberate and issue Seirensho certificates after the end of the convention. In September 1914 the “Seirensho Juyorei” (精錬証授与例) were determined as criteria for selection. It should be noted that it had been determined to be awarded for any number of good fights at the convention, but in fact there was an unwritten law that no person shall be awarded a second time.

Until the enactment of the titles Hanshi 範士 and Kyōshi 教士 in 1902, the Seirensho was the highest award issued by the DNBTK. After the enactment of Hanshi and Kyōshi, with Kyōshi being a lower rank, the number of awards also increased, but all were treated the same treatment as if they had received the Seirensho.

Many members were of the opinion that Seirensho should become the official title, but in 1934 the Seirensho was abolished and the Renshi 錬士 title enacted.

After the establishment of the Renshi 錬士 title in 1934, the “Butokukai Name Directory” was published by the Budokai headquarters in the years 1935, 1937, and 1941. This “Butokukai Name Directory” may be considered to also show the results of the government-led encouragement of martial arts as one of the important pillars of nationalist education following the Manchurian Incident (1931).

There seem to have been no Renshi title in karatejutsu in the 1935 edition of the “Butokukai Name Directory.”

The first Renshi titel awarded in karatejutsu appears in the “Butokukai Name Directory” of 1937, listing the person Inagaki Torakichi (1905-?) from Tōkyō who was awarded Renshi title in May 1936.

武道範士教士錬士名鑑. 昭和12年. 大日本武徳会本部雑誌部, 昭和12 (1937). National Diet Library.

Inagaki Torakichi (稻垣虎吉, 1905-?) from Tōkyō, awarded Renshi title in May 1936. Source: 武道範士教士錬士名鑑. 昭和12年. 大日本武徳会本部雑誌部, 昭和12 (1937). National Diet Library.

The “Butokukai Name Directory” issued in 1941 listed 14th kinds of martial arts: kendō, jūdō, kyūdō, jūkendō, iai, naginata, and various jutsu (swimming, spear (sōjutsu), jōjutsu, bōjutsu, kusarigama, hojō (police-man’s rope), tessen (iron fan), and karate).

Each of the Hanshi 範士, Kyōshi 教士, and Renshi 錬士 are presented one by one, with date of award, address, and date of birth. There is also a list of deceased Hanshi title bearers.

Number of martial arts, titles, and persons as seen in the “Butokukai Name Directory” of 1941. The number of deceased Hanshi is given in brackets.

Kyōshi title holders in karatejutsu are Miyagi Chōjun (Gōjū-ryū), Konishi Yasuhiro (Shindō Jinen-ryū), and Ueshima Sannosuke (Kushin-ryū).

Renshi title holders are Ōtuska Hironori (Wadō-ryū), Funakoshi Gigo (Shōtōkan, Funakoshi Gichin (Shōtōkan), Mabuni Kenwa (Shitō-ryū), Shinzato Jin’an (Gōjū-ryū), Nagamine Shōshin (Matsubayashi-ryū), Higa Seikō (Gōjū-ryū), and Yamaguchi Jitsumi (later: Gōgen) (Gōjū-ryū), among others.

Note: I need to further look into this topic in the future and check more sources.


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