Shikiyanaka no Kon (Oki.: Shichanunāka nu Kun)

According to Nakazato Jōen’s tradition, the fifth-generation ancestor from Chinen village Shikiya, Nakazato Hitohisa who had was called “Shikiya no Naka” (yagō=a name to identify individuals otherwise difficult to identify), was widely known as a master of bōjutsu. Even today, his skill of “Shikiyanaka no Kon” is highly evaluated by people who are enthusiastic about this field of study.

Shikiyanaka is said to have had a liking for martial arts (bugei) since his childhood, and he constantly trained and studied, and sometimes he spent a dozen or so days secluding himself in the mountains praying to God and eating rice and studying bōjutsu. As a result of such rigorous training, he created his own stick technique, the so-called ” Shikiyanaka no Kon.” His stick art is characterized by its flexibility, freedom and variety, by “nukite,” “tsuki-te,” and “ura-uchi,” and an emnbusen reminiscent of a single path of a thin rice field ridge.

Recognized for his excellent martial arts and his mild-mannered personality, he served in government service at the Sueyoshi Dunchi. Known not to be arrogant, he was respected by his peers. He was especially favored by his master, whom he always accompanied when he was dispatched to China and Japan as an ambassador of the royal government of Ryūkyū, and it is said that he was assigned as a bodyguard and successfully fulfilled his duties. In addition, it is said that he taught bōjutsu to his master while serving the Sueyoshi Dunchi.

Inspired by him, bōjutsu became popular in the Shikiyanaka hamlet, and before the WWII it boasted of unique martial arts tradition such as the four-man “Danna bō,” the two-man “Kumi bō,” “Yari no Te,” “Shaku no Te,” and each year during Yōkabī festival on August 11th, a lot of village people gathered with bō at the “dono (palace)” of god of fire is enshrined, praised the achievements of “Shikiyanaka Bushi” and listened to the story of the elders. The fact that the “Shikiyanaka no Kon” is now popularized by the Shikiyanaka Preservation Society is significant from the viewpoint of protecting cultural properties.

© 2020, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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