The year of the rooster - Tori-doshi in Japanese - promises to be a great one for Okinawa with especially the Okinawa Karate Kaikan opening March 4th.
In the past, this zodiac year brought some auspicious and less lucky events… In this way, the unification of Ryukyu by King Sho Hashi and the relative peace that followed, and the invasion of the kingdom by the Satsuma clan occurred respectively in 1429 and 1609, two years of the rooster.
While the years of the cock 1897 and 1917 gave respectively birth to kobudo master Taira Shinken 120 years ago and Goju-ryu master Toguchi Seikichi 100 years ago, 1945, another year of the rooster, took away many legendary figures of karate like Kyan Chotoku, Hanashiro Chomo, Shinzato Jinan, etc.
Looking at past Tori-doshi, it also seems that some Okinawan masters are more “cock” than others...
Uechi Kanbun sensei was born in Motobu in the north of Okinawa 140 years ago in 1877, not a year of the cock. However, 1897 when he traveled to China learning what would later become Uechi-ryu and 1909, the year he came back to Okinawa are both years of the cock! A monument in memory of the master is in preparation and should be raised this year in Motobu Town.
Chibana Choshin sensei was born in 1885 and passed away in 1969, two years of the cock! He named his style “Shorin-ryu” in 1933, also a year of the rooster.
Nagamine Shoshin sensei wasn’t born under the rooster sign, however 2017 will definitely be a year during which the master should be remembered and commemorated. Indeed, he was born 110 years ago in 1907, named his style “Matsubayashi-ryu” 70 years in 1947 and passed away 20 years ago in 1997. Hopefully, we can expect a commemorative event in 2017 gathering his followers from around the globe.
As for the bureau last year, we helped and supported 220 people in regards to Okinawa karate and kobudo. With the numbers for previous years being 21 (2012), 78 (2013), 134 (2014), and 168 (2015), that’s a total of 621 people in 5 years of activities.
Looking closely at the Kaikan’s development, we will act accordingly to furthermore support Okinawa karate and its many worldwide enthusiasts.