In the distant old times, about 700 years ago, karate was born in this region of Okinawa. Our ancestors created the world-class traditional culture called karate in symbiosis with Okinawa’s rich nature and geographical features. It was initially called “ti” (手).
On the other hand, as announced on the “Bridge to all Nations Bell,” our ancestors rushed about numerous countries throughout the world by ship, including China and Southeast Asia. They actively interacted with foreigners and brought the world’s culture and wealth to this land to build peace and prosperity.
Along with this cultural exchange, Chinese martial arts were imported from around 1400 to 1500. Karate, which until then had walked its own path, proactively adopted and integrated the strenghts of Chinese martial arts, whereby it flourished magnificently. That is the karate that has been handed down to the present day.
On October 25, 1936, several leading karate practitioners officially decided on the notation “karate” (空手, empty hand), which is now familiar to karate practitioners and many other people around the world. Therefore, it is meaningful to perpetuate it as a “special day” in history.
As is well known, the number of karate practitioners worldwide is estimated at around 50 million. Karate spread across national borders and languages, religions, constitutions and racial barriers to 150 countries around the world. Thanks to its immeasurable charm and splendor, karate spread to all corners of the world with unbridled power in less than half a century in the period after the Second World War.
Needless to say, no other culture in Okinawa is so widespread and influential and familiar to people all over the world.
In addition, karate is a “martial arts of peace” (heiwa no bu) based on the magnificent philosophical principle of “no first attack in karate” (karate ni sente nashi) and the foundational ideal of cherishing life as “life is the treasure” (nuchidu takara), which are needed more and more in today’s global community and we are confident that karate will expand its contribution to this cause.
With this in mind, and in the hope that the traditional Karate of Okinawa will develop more and more in the future and contribute to world peace and the well-being of all people, we, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, announce October 25th to be “Karate Day.”
Enacted as described above.
March 29, 2005
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
Source: Okinawa Karate Kobudō Jiten, 2008, p. 7, translated by Andreas Quast.
© 2020, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.