Maeshiro Morinobu

(Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karatedo Kyokai)

 Shimabukuro Zenpo

(International Okinawan Shorin-ryu

Seibukan Karate-do Association)

Nakazato Joen

(Shorinji-ryu Founder)
(photo@Okinawa Media Planning)


Shorinji-ryuShorin-ryu (Kobayashi-ryu)

Shorin-ryu (Sukunai-hayashi-ryu)



Shorin-ryu (Kobayashi-ryu)

The tradition of the Shurite system passed on from Todee Sakugawa (1762-1843) to Matsumura Sokon (1809-1899) to Itosu Anko (1831-1915) was inherited by Choshin Chibana (1885-1969). He named it Shorin-ryu in 1933. Chibana established the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karatedo Kyokai in January 1956 and became the association’s first president.

When asked about the characteristics of Shorin-ryu, Miyahira Katsuya (1918-2010) answered as follow. “The technical characteristic of Shorin-ryu resides in concentrating power in an instant. In that sense, it resembles Kendo. While in martial art speed is important, for speed and weight to create destructive power, one needs to nurture speed and weight through tanren (training). The exteriorization of power in Shorin-ryu should be generated from inside to outside without internal pressure or excessive breathing. As it also prevents unnecessary muscle fatigue, concentration is increased thus rearing agility, allowing to fully display striking power.”(Okinawa Dai Hyakka Jiten – Okinawa Large Encyclopedia)

Representative kata are Naifanchi (Shodan, Nidan, Sandan), Pinan (Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan), Itosu no Passai, Matsumura no Passai, Kusanku (Dai & Sho), Chinto, Jion, Gojushiho, etc…

Today, Okinawa Shorin-ryu is composed of the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karatedo Kyokai (1st president Chibana Choshin, 2nd president Miyahira Katsuya, 3rd president Ishikawa Seitoku), the Okinawa Karatedo Shorin-ryu Shorinkan Kyokai (President Nakazato Shugoro) and the Okinawa Shorin-ryu Karatedo  Kyudokan Rengokai (1st president Higa Yuchoku, 2nd president Higa Minoru).

Okinawa Shorin-ryu was inherited mainly in Shuri and is passed on as a traditional system of karate. Its tenor is different from the Shotokan-ryu developed and spread by Funakoshi Gichin in Tokyo. It was spread in Mainland Japan and overseas after the end of war starting from 1946. Today, each Okinawa Shorin-ryu branches has many branches in Mainland Japan, North and South America and Europe.


Shorin-ryu (Sukunai-hayashi-ryu)

There are various organizations that use the name Sukunai-hayashi-ryu (in this section thereupon named Shorin-ryu). However, those who were taught by Kyan Chotoku (1870-1948) decided in August 1967 to separate taking Ginowan City as a boundary: the dojo below Ginowan would form Nanbu Shorin-ryu and the dojo above Ginowan would form Chubu-Shorin-ryu. At the time of formation, Chubu-Shorin-ryu was called Chubu Shorin-ryu Karatedo Kyokai. On the other hand, Nanbu Shorin-ryu started in 1960 as the All Japan Karatedo Federation Okinawa Regional Headquarters (director of the federation Tamotsu Isamu acted as intermediary). With the later breakup of the federation, it became Okinawa Karatedo Rengokai but dissolved itself with the creation of the Zen Okinawa Karatedo Renmei in 1967.

The first president of Chubu Shorin-ryu Karatedo Kyokai was Shimabukuro Zenryo (1909-1969), the 2nd president Kochi Katsushide, the 3rd president being Shimabukuro Zempo. Chubu-Shorin-ryu is presently formed by 3 dojo: Shudokan of Yonamine Masao, Shidokan of Tomei Yushin and Seibukan of Shimabukuro Zenpo.

Among the kata inherited are Naifanchi (Shodan, Nidan, Sandan), Pinan (Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan), Chinto, Ananku, Kusanku, Gojushiho, Wansu, Passai, seisanetc… The Seibukan organization has many branches overseas



After the dissolution of the Okinawa Karatedo Rengokai, this organization was formed with Nakazato Joen (1922-2010) as founder. From April 1937 to December 1943, Nakazato studied under Kyan Chotoku. During these 6 years, Nakazato was a student at Okinawa Prefecture Agriculture School, teacher school and worked at the Kitatama Youth School. Together with Shimabukuro Zenryo, he formed the All Japan Karatedo Federation Okinawa Regional Headquarters and the Okinawa Karatedo Rengokai of which he assumed the post of vice-president.

Shorinji-ryu, the goal of which is to pass on correctly the 8 kata transmitted by Kyan Chotoku, was formed so it wouldn’t be associate with Shurite. About the name, Nakazato said “the name Shorinji-ryu is based on the Chinese Shaolin Temple Kempo, origin of Chinese Kempo.”

The 8 kata passed on are Ananku (inherited from a Taiwanese), Sesan, Naifanchi and Gojushiho (inherited from Matsumura Sokon), Wanshu (inherited from Maeda Pechin), Passai (inherited from Oyadomari Kokan), Chinto (inherited from Matsumora Kosaku) and Kusanku (inherited from Yara Pechin). There is also the bo kata Tokumine-no-kun that Kyan Chotoku learned from Tokumine Pechin of the Yaeyama Islands.


Sources: Okinawa Karate Standard Text (Written by Tsuha Kiyoshi as per request from the NPO Okinawa Karatedo Kobudo Support Center)