The Meeting of Okinawan Karate Masters in 1936
Remarks: This is a part of the meeting records. It appears as an appendix in the book, "Karatedo Dai Hokan" written by Kanken Toyama. Pages 377-392 (Tsuru Shobo, 1960).
The Meeting of Okinawan Karate Masters in 1936
Date and Time: October 25, 1936 (= 11th year of Showa Era) at 4:00 p.m.
Location: Showa Kaikan Hall, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
The Organizers: Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company
Genwa Nakasone, Karate Kenkyusha (affiliated with Shudokan of Kanken Toyama)
Koichi Sato, Manager of Educational Affairs Department
Zenpatsu Shimabukuro, Director of Okinawa Prefectural Library
Kitsuma Fukushima, Regimental Headquarters Adjutant
Eizo Kita, Chief of Okinawa Prefectural Police Affairs Section
Chosho Goeku, Chief of Okinawa Prefetural Security Section
Gizaburo Furukawa, Supervisor of Physical Education of Okinawa Prefecture
Sei Ando, a writer
Choshiki Ota, President of Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company
Kowa Matayoshi, Chief Editor of Ryukyu Shimpo
Zensoku Yamaguchi, Director of Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company
Tamashiro, a reporter of Ryukyu Shimpo
Nakasone: When karate was first introduced in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, "karate" was written in Kanji (= Chinese character) as "Chinese Hand". This name sounded exotic, and gradually accepted among people in
Chomo Hanashiro: In the old days, we, Okinawan people, used to call it "Toodii" or "Tode", not "Karate." We also called it just "Tii" or "Te." It means fighting with hands and fists.
Pronunciation for the Kanji written as "Chinese Hand" has two ways:
1) Toodii or Tode (Okinawan dialect)
Pronunciation for the Kanji written as "Empty Hand" has only one:
Ota: We, too, called it "Toodii" or "Tode."
Shimabukuro: Mr. Nakasone, I hear nowadays people call "Karate-Do" for karate. Does this mean people added the word "Do" (= literally means the Way) to the name "Karate" for emphasizing the importance of spiritual training like Judo and Kendo?
Nakasone: They use the word "Karate-Do" in the meaning of cultivation of the mind.
Ota: Mr. Miyagi, do you use the word "Chinese Hand" for karate?
Chojun Miyagi: Yes, I use the Kanji "Chinese Hand" as most people do so. It has minor meaning. Those who want to learn karate from me come to my home and say "Please teach me Tii or Te." So I think people used to call "Tii" or "Te" for karate. I think "Karate" is good in the meaning of the word. As Mr. Shimabukuro said, the name "Jujutsu" was changed to "Judo." In
Oroku: Mr. Miyagi, did you go all the way to
Chojun Miyagi: At the beginning I had no plan to practice kungfu in
Oroku: Have there been our own "Te" here in our prefecture,
Chojun Miyagi: There have been "Te" in
Kyoda Juhatsu: I agree to Mr. Nakasone's opinion. However, I am opposed to making a formal decision right now at this meeting. Most Okinawan people still use the word "Chinese Hand" for karate, so we should listen to karate practitioners and karate researchers in
Chojun Miyagi: We do not make a decision immediately at this meeting.
Matayoshi: Please express your opinion honestly.
Chomo Hanashiro: In my old notebooks, I found using the kanji (= Chinese character), "Empty Hand" for karate. Since August 1905, I have been using the kanji "Empty Hand" for karate, such as "Karate Kumite."
Goeku: I would like to make a comment, as I have a relation with
Ota: Mr. Chomo Hanashiro is the first person who used the kanji "Empty Hand" for karate in 1905. If something become popular in
Nakasone: So far the speakers are those who have been living in
Sato: I have almost no knowledge about karate, but I think the word "Empty Hand" is good, as the word "Chinese Hand" is groundless according to the researchers.
Furukawa: The kanji written as "Empty Hand" is attractive for us who came from outside
Nakasone: This time, I would like to have a comment from Mr. Fukushima, the Regimental Headquarters Adjutant.
Ota: There is no one who do not like the word "Empty Hand" for karate, but there are people who do not like the word "Chinese Hand" for karate.
Chojun Miyagi: Well, when I visited
Shimabukuro: Here in
Nakasone: I think we have almost made clear about the name of karate. Now we would like to discuss about the promotion of karate. It is regrettable that karate is no popular in
Furukawa: There are a lot of Ryu or styles in karate now. I think we have to unify them at any cost. I hear there are small differences between Shuri style karate and
Chojun Miyagi: I agree to your opinion. With regard to Kata of karate, I ever submitted the opinion with explanation to the headquarters of Dai Nippon Butokukai (= national fighting arts association), when its
Ota: How many karate organizations are there in
Chojun Miyagi: There are Okinawa Branch of Dai Nippon Butokukai, Physical Education Association of Okinawa Prefecture and Physical Education Association of Shuri City.
Ota: Mr. Chibana, how many students do you have now at your karate dojo?
Choshin Chibana: I have about 40 students at my karate dojo.
Chojun Miyagi: There is an opinion insisting that there are two Ryu or styles in karate, namely, Shorin-Ryu and Shorei-Ryu. I think such an opinion is wrong or false, as there is no evidence at all. However, if we have two styles in karate, we can categorize them by their teaching methods. In one style, they do not even differentiate between Fundamental Kata (= Kata such as Sanchin, Tensho and Naifanchi) and Kaishu Kata (= Kata other than Sanchin, Tensho and Naifanchi). They teach karate unsystematically and unmethodically. In the other style, they differentiate between Fundamental Kata and Kaishu Kata clearly. They teach karate systematically and methodically. My teacher (= Master Kanryo Higaonna) taught me karate in the way of the latter.
Ota: Karate masters we know did not go to
Choshin Chibana: Our teacher taught us Naifanchi as a Fundamental Kata.
Ota: Mr. Motobu, who taught you karate?
Choki Motobu: I learned karate from Master Itosu, Master Sakuma and Master Matsumora of Tomari village.
Ota: I thought you created your own karate on your own without learning from karate masters.
Choki Motobu: (laughing) No, I did not create my karate on my own.
Nakasone: Now we know every karate masters have agreed to the plan to establish a karate promotion association. As Mr. Furukawa told us the necessity of founding a karate promotion association, we think the other people also seem to agree to this plan. So we would like the members to start the preparation for establishing it.
Labels: Chojun Miyagi, Genwa Nakasone, Juhatsu Kyoda, Kanken Toyama, MEETING OF OKINAWAN KARATE MASTERS IN 1936