Nagamine Shoshin performed Chatan Yara no Kusanku in 1969

On October 10, 1969, a National Special Invitational Kata Demonstration was presented at the Nippon Budōkan in Tōkyō. There, a number of Okinawan karate masters were invited to present Okinawa karate kata in front of a nationwide audience. The occasion was the “1st All Japan Karate-dō Championships” held by the Japan Karate Federation (JKF). This was the first nationswide competition within the development that lead to the current form of competition karate under the World Karate Federation (WKF).

On September 25, prior to that performance at the Nippon Budōkan, the invited Okinawan master demonstrated their kata of choice at the Okinawa Times Hall in Naha, which was covered in the newspaper. At that time, the following masters presented Okinawa karate:

  • Kaneshima Shinsuke (Tōzan-ryū)
  • Nagamine Shōshin (Matsubayashi-ryū)
  • Kushi Jokei (Matsubayashi-ryū [Shōrin-ryū])
  • Shimabukuro Zenryō (Sukunai-hayashi-ryū [Shōrin-ryū])
  • Higa Yūchoku (Kobayashi-ryū [Shōrin-ryū])
  • Yagi Meitoku (Gōjū-ryū)

At that time, Nagamine Shōshin performed “Kūsankū”, i.e. the version today more commonly known as “Chatan Yara Kūsankū”. This was covered by the Okinawa Times under the headline of “Performance of the correct form of Kūsankū”. The essence of the article is this:

Passai, Chintō, and Kūsankū are three of Nagamine Hanshi’s special techniques, but at the Nippon Budōkan, he will perform Kūsankū. […] According to Nagamine Hanshi, “Because match-centered karate has become popular on the mainland, this kata Kūsankū is also spreading in a chaotic way. Using the ideal opportunity at the Nippon Budōkan, I would like to reveal the correct kata there.”

Newspaper from author’s archive. For a translation of the complete article, see Okinawa Karate Information center.

BTW, Nagamine Sensei performed Chatan Yara no Kūsankū already in 1939, at the opening ceremony of the Dai Nippon Butokukai Okinawa Branch Butokuden. This was also the first known instance in history in which the unique designation “Chatan Yara no Kūsankū” has been used in a written record. At this occasion, Kyan Chōtoku (1870-1945), from whom Nagamine Sensei had learned this kata, was still alive and he was also present during this performance.

© 2020, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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