In 1998, the English translation of Nagamine Shōshin’s second book is published

In 1986, Nagamine Shōshin published his second book, “A biography of Okinawan karate and sumō masters based on historical facts and oral traditions.” A few years afterwards, plans for an English translation were being made by Tuttle Publishing and Patrick McCarthy, who is a famous researcher of karate, an inventor of practices related to it, and the director of the International Ryukyu Karatejutsu Research Society (IRKRS).

His works and translations have shaped the English-language karate world for decades, and he set and defined the direction in which karate developed outside of Okinawa Prefecture and Japan, including and especially in the area of applied or practical karate, i.e., the practical implementation of traditional practices. Moreover, he has created a vast text corpus of translations otherwise unavailable. Briefly, based on references to Japanese language karate literature and personal traditions, he has identified, described, and developed or even redeveloped karate and its related practices, and made these practices available to the members of his IRKRS and to the general karate community worldwide. Many of those practices and underlying theories were subsequently adopted by the international karate community and were in turn individually redefined, a process in which the reference to Okinawa karate was then often dismissed and considered unnecessary or even undesirable. Therefore, today there are numerous practices and terms that are common knowledge and in use among karate people of all factions, yet without the original reference to Okinawa karate or Patrick McCarthy. One such practice is that related to the term tegumi, and this is based in the translation of Nagamine Sensei’s 1986 book.

As regards the translation process, it started thirty years ago, during the mid-1990s. As Patrick McCarthy mentioned in a martial arts magazine in 1995,

“Last year, Tuttle Publications asked me to translate Shoshin Nagamine’s second book, ‘Okinawa no Karate Sumo Meijin Den’ … I have spoken to Nagamine Sensei about this now many times and as soon as the financial arrangmets can be agreed upon I will be getting under way with that project.”

Terry O’Neill’s Fighting Arts International, No. 88, 1995. page 39.

The following chronology can be derived from this and other facts:

  • 1994: Tuttle Publishing asks if McCarthy can translate the Nagamine book
  • 1994-95: Patrick McCarthy speaks several times with Nagamine Shōshin about the translation
  • 1995: Patrick McCarthy mentions the plans to translate Nagamine Shōshin’s book in an article in Terry O’Neill’s Fighting Arts International, No. 88, 1995, page 39.
  • 1997: Patrick McCarthy publishes a DVD on “Tegumi.”
  • 1998, Spring: Patrick McCarthy publishes the article “Tegumi. Part 1”in the magazine Bugeisha: Traditional Martial Artist. Spring 1998, Issue #5. Pp. 36-40.
  • 1998: Tuttle and Patrick McCarthy release the English translation of Nagamine Shōshin’s 1986 book. For the first time, detailed information about Okinawan karate and sumō masters reaches a large international audience.

Since that time, this book is one of the most important works about Okinawa karate, and Okinawa sumo.

© 2022, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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