Tag Archives: okinawa

島袋 龍夫

Over a century ago, in the small village of Chan, on a small island in the south pacific, a boy was born. One day he would become a Karate Master whose art would reach beyond the shores of Okinawa and spread across the globe.

“Dragon Man” of Isshin Ryu, Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei
(September 19, 1908 – May 30, 1975)

Happy Little New Year!

The ソグワチグワ Soguwachiguwa was a 3 day celebration beginning with the full moon in January.  Okinawans would pay tribute to 歳徳神 Toshitokujin, a Shinto Kami of agriculture, seeking good fortune for their crops in the coming year. When the Gregorian Calendar was adopted, January 15th became the day that Soguwachiguwa was observed.

In 1956 on the occasion of ソグワチグワ Soguwachiguwa (Okinawan dialect) / 小正月 Koshogatsu (Japanese), the Little New Year, Master Shimabuku called a special meeting at his home & dojo in Chan village to announce a new name for his unique style of Okinawan Karate. Previously, his style had been called as Chan Migwa Te (in the late 40s) and later Su Nu Su (early 50s).  He chose “Isshin Ryu” because “all things begin with one, and the heart is the most important part. Isshin Ryu is the One Heart Way/Method.

Traditionally, the Coming Of Age Day, Seijin-no-Hi, was also celebrated on January 15th. It’s the mark of entering adulthood. You could say that Master Shimabuku’s Karate entered its adulthood at this time and emerged as Isshin Ryu Karate.

Like an Okinawan Hibiscus, Master Shimabuku’s Karate bloomed as “Isshin Ryu” on that January day in 1956.  Seeds of Isshin Ryu have since been carried on the winds across the oceans and around the globe.  In January of 1972, Sensei Sutton planted one of those seeds at Penn State and established the Penn State Karate Club.  With help from Sensei Dorow & Sensei Liskai, PSKC developed strong roots.

October 25th is designated as “Karate Day” in Okinawa.

On this day in 1936, prominent Okinawan masters gathered in Naha and formally adopted the term Kara-Te 唐手 (empty hand). The masters present included Hanashiro Chomo (1869-1945), Kyan Chotoku (1870-1945), Motobu Choki (1871-1944), Miyagi Chojun (1888-1953), Kiyoda Juhatsu (1886-1967, Chibana Chosin (1885-1969), and Shinpan Shiroma (1890-1954).
*The three highlighted in bold text are Shimabuku Tatsuo’s teachers.

Large Karate demonstrations, like the following video, are held in Okinawa on October 25th to commemorate the Meeting Of The Masters and celebrate the Okinawan art of Karate.

The declaration of KARATE NO HI (空手の日) KARATE DAY


In October, Okinawa is full of big events with strong elements of Okinawan tradition and culture!

The Naha Great Tug-of-War Festival features the world’s biggest straw rope, recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Shurijo Castle Festival highlights the Ryukyu Dynasty Emaki Gyoretsu Parade by a total of approx. 700 people. On Karate Day, more than 2,000 Karate enthusiasts demonstrate together. Also, The Okinawa-no Sangyo Matsuri (Okinawa Industrial Festival), which puts made-in-Okinawa products on display all in one place, will be held in late October.
Do not miss these big events that represent Okinawa!

🔹The Naha Great Tug-of-War Festival
Saturday, October 12 to Monday, October 14, 2019
– Saturday, October 12: Shimin Engei Minzoku Dentou Geinou Parade (citizens’ entertainment and traditional folk arts parade) [Kokusai Street]
– Sunday, October 13: Naha Otsunahiki and Otsunahiki Gyoretsu (The Naha Great Tug-of-War and Great Tug-of-War Parade) [Kumoji crossing on Route 58]
– Saturday, October 12 to Monday, October 14: RBC Shimin (civic) Festival & Orion Beer Paradise [Onoyama General Athletic Park]

🔹Ryukyu Dynasty Emaki Gyoretsu Parade in Shurijo Castle Festival
12:30 to 14:30, Sunday, October 27, 2019 [Kokusai Street]

🔹Karate Day Anniversary Demonstration Festival
15:30 to 17:00, Sunday, October 27, 2019 [Kokusai Street]

🔹43rd Okinawa-no Sangyo Matsuri (Okinawa Industrial Festival)
10:00 to 19:00, Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27, 2019 [Okinawa Prefectural Budokan, Onoyama Park]

For information about events in Okinawa: