The Karate and Kobudō Performers and Performances of 1939

Recently I revealed that Nagamine Shōshin (1907-1997) evidently performed Chatan Yara no Kūsankū in 1939. This is the earliest instance the name of this kata appeared like this in writing.

This information is based on an unpublished program of the demonstrations that took place in the following context:

On Saturday, 17 June 1939, the former Prime Minister of Japan and current president of the Great Japan Martial Virtues Society (DNBK), General Hayashi Senjūrō, and invited persons attended the opening ceremony of the Butokuden of the Okinawa District Committee of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, where Judō, Kendō and Karate performances were held for two days on the 17th and 18th.

The program appeared on the internet shortly, but the site has been taken down. However, it is an extremely valuable source since it shows important experts and techniques of that time.

First of all, there were three categories of demonstrations:

  1. Karate demonstrations by various secondary schools (apparently, group performances)
  2. Solo demonstrations of Karate Kata
  3. Kobudō demonstration

The solo demonstrations were performed in order of ascending age. Among the 22 karate performers, the last and oldest one was Kyan Chōtoku (69 years old at the time), who performed Chintō.

Here now follows the list. It speaks for itself. I’d like to thank Brian Arthur here for his valuable and successful commitment in almost single-handedly transcribing and the difficult-to-decipher characters on the low resolution photo, and in idenifiying the lion’s share of the persons in the list.

Karate Kata List of the Commemorative Demonstration held during the Opening Ceremony of the Okinawa District Committee of the Dai Nippon Butokukai (DNBK|ODC)

Kata of Karate-dō

Karate Demonstrations by Various Secondary Schools

  1. Naha City Commercial School
  2. Okinawa Prefectural Technical School (in Shuri Tōnokura)
  3. Okinawa Prefectural Agriculture and Forestry School (in Kadena)
  4. Dai Ni Chūgakkō (2nd Middle School in Naha Sobe)
  5. Dai Ichi Chūgakkō (1st Middle School in Shuri)
  6. Prefectural Teachers‘ College (the Normal School in Shuri)

Solo Demonstrations (of Karate Kata)

(in order of age)

(Name of Kata: Performer; confirmed names of performers in bold letters)

  • Sē(iun)nchin: Kamisato ????
  • Pinan Shodan: Miyahira ????
  • Wandaun: Yara Chōshō or Chōsei??
  • Shisōchin: Fukuchi Seikō (1919-1975)
  • Wansū: Yara Chōi??? (1914, see here and here
  • Passai: ?? Shinzen
  • Gojūshiho: Uchima???
  • Passai: Gusukuma???
  • Passai: Maeshiro Chōtoku (1909-1979)
  • Saifa: Takamine Chōboku (1908-2006)
  • Chatan Yara no Kūsankū: Nagamine Shōshin (1907-1997)
  • Nēpai: Iraha Chōkō (1901-1986)
  • Sēsan: Shinzato Jin’an (1901-1945)
  • Kūsankū Dai: Nakama Chōsō (1899-1982)
  • Sēsan: Higa Seikō (1898 1966)
  • Matsumura no Kūsankū Dai: Kaneshima Shinsuke??? (1897-1990), Shiroma Shinpan??? (1891-1957)
  • Tenshō: Miyagi Chōjun (1888-1953)
  • Sūparinpē: Kyoda Jūhatsu (1887-1968)
  • Chintō: Chibana Chōshin (1885-1969)
  • Hakutsuru: Go Kenki (1886-1940)
  • Passai Dai: Soeishi Ryō?
  • Chintō: Kyan Chōtoku (1870-1945)

Kata of Kobudō

  • Sai: Kyan Shin’ei (1912-1997)
  • Toifa: Matayoshi Shinkō (1888-1947)
  • Nunchaku: Ishikawa Hōei (1911-2007)
  • Sai: Nakaima Kenkō (1911-1989)
  • Bōjutsu: Matayoshi Shinkō (1888-1947)
  • Bōjutsu: Soeishi Ryō?

© 2019 – 2020, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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