Thought For The Week


Thought for the Week (April 15th, 2002)

From the Midtown Karate Dojo
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Okinawa - Some facts, in honor of Master Ueshiro's birthday

Okinawa lies in the East China Sea nearly equidistant from China, Japan,
Taiwan and Korea. The language of the Okinawan Islands is Hogen. Until the
14th century Okinawa was an independent kingdom. In 1429 King Sho Hashi
banned all weapons on the island of Okinawa. This ban and subsequent ones
spurred interest in te and kobudo. The weapons ban was reimposed by King Sho
Shin in 1477. Between the 14th and 19th centuries the island paid tribute to
China with intervening periods of Japanese influence. Japan occupied Okinawa
in 1609 and all weapons were once again banned. In 1879 Japan formally
annexed Okinawa. One-fourth of Okinawa's people died in the eighty-two day
battle for Okinawa between Japan and the United States in 1945 and much of
the island was leveled. In 1972 Okinawa reverted from the United States to
Japan.

The original karate of Okinawan bushi is Shorin-ryu. Master Ueshiro, born
April 20, 1933, into the bushi class, brought Shorin-ryu karate from Okinawa.