The discovery of a photo of Zhou Zhihe as described in “Recent Contacts of Martial Arts Between Fuzhou And Okinawa” (1988)

Note: The following is is from a 1988 paper that recorded the early exchange between Okinawa and Fuzhou.

Recent Contacts of Martial Arts Between Fuzhou And Okinawa (1988)

To promote the friendship and cultural exchanges between China and Japan, the Wushu circles of Fuzhou and Okinawa have been in frequent contact in recent years. Both of them have made efforts to develop and popularize Wushu. In 1981, an Okinawan Wushu delegation came to Fuzhou to seek the origin. They brought with them a friendly letter by the mayor of Ginowan, Mr. Ashitomi Seishin (1930-2011). After that, the Wushu circles in Fuzhou and Okinawa have been in closer contact. In March 1981, headed by Mr. Tomoyose Ryūkō, Mr. Higa Toshio, and Mr. Uechi Kanmei, a Wushu delegation from Japan Okinawa Uechi-ryū Karate Association came to pay a friendly visit to Fuzhou. The delegation leader Mr. Tomoyose Ryūkō said,

“We have come on purpose to visit our relatives and friends. Fuzhou is the place of origin of our Karate. Mr. Zhou Chihuo was our originator. When Uechi-ryū Karate takes part in the Japanese national Wushu contests, we always tell others that we are disciples of Mr. Zhou Chihuo.”

He expressed the wish to find the evidence of Mr. Zhou Chihuo [Zhou Zhihe]. In searching for it, the school later sent its members to pay friendly visit to Fuzhou and made some performances. In order to sing high praise for the traditional Sino-Japanese friendship, Fuzhou sent the ascertained materials about Mr. Zhou Chihuo to the Japanese friends. After that, Uechi-ryū Karate Association came once again all the way to Fuzhou. Before coming, president of the association Mr. Uechi Kanei, wrote a letter, in which he said,

“I’m glad to learn that you have accertained the life and deeds of my Chinese grandfather, and the master of Uechi Kanbun. We are more assured that Fuzhou is the birthplace of our Uechi-ryū Karate. We will go once again to pay homage to your city. Fuzhou is the second hometown of my father, so on this trip I will bring with me not only my wife, my brothers and sisters and my sons, but my disciple Tomoyose Ryūkō, and his disciples as well.”

How emotional his words are! Fuzhou, Okinawa! Okinawa, Fuzhou! At the same time, North American Uechi-ryū Karate Association in the U.S.A. also received a notice from its headquarter in Japan and came to Fuzhou, too. One leader of our municipal Wushu Association presented a picture of Mr. Zhou Chihuo to Mr. Uechi Kanei. Mr. Tomoyose Ryūkō composed a poem impromtu. And George Mattson sent a copy of the “The Tang Hand“ (Karate)” written by himself to the Fuzhou Wushu Association. Mr. Tomoyose Ryūkō even suggested exchanging Wushu delegations among the cities of Fuzhou, Naha, and Boston, which aroused great interest.

© 2023, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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