Gichin Funakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi (November 10, 1868 – April 26, 1957) was the creator of Shotokan karate, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is attributed as being the father of modern karate. Following the teachings of Anko Itosu, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1921. He taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan karate Association upon its establishment in 1949.

Gichin Funakoshi was born in Shuri, Okinawa in the year of the Meiji Restoraton, around 1868, to ethnic Okinawan parents, and originally has the family name Tominakoshi, After entering primary school he became close friends with the son of Anko Asato, a karate and kendo master who would soon become his first karate teacher.

Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular Okinawan karate styles of the time: Shorei-ryu and Shorin-fyu. Shotokan is named after Funakoshi’s pen name, Shoto, meaning “pine waves” or “wind in the pines“. In addition he was an avid poet and philosopher who would go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry. Kan mean training hall, or house, thus Shotokan referred to the “House of Shoto“.

In 1930, Funakoshi established an association named Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai to promote communication and information exchange amont those who study karate-do. In 1936 Dai-Nippon Karate-do Kenkyukai changed its name to Dai-Nippon Karate-do Shoto-kai.

In 1939, Funakoshi built the first Shotokan dojo in Tokyo. His extended stay in Tolyo eventually led to the creation of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) in 1949 with Funakoshi as the honorary head of the organization. He remained in Tokyo until his death in 1957. After World War II, Funakoshi surviving students formalized his teachings.


Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email