View Full Version : History of karate (tode)

25th March 2002, 12:51
I look for a books about history of karate, especially at the turn of
the XIXth and XXth centuries - before it migrated to Japan. I'm
interested in genealogy, changes in 'kata' within the space of many
years, lineage of different styles/schools (Who practised at which
master? What kata did X know?) and so on...

What book can you recommend for me?
I will be grateful for an answer.

Joseph Svinth
26th March 2002, 23:20
Mark Bishop, Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles, and Secret Techniques (London: A. & C. Black, 1989) is a good starting place.

To get significantly deeper than this, consider undertaking Ryukyuan studies. For this, I recommend starting with Josef Kreiner (editor), Sources of Ryűkyűan History and Culture in European Collections (Munich: Iudicium, 1996). There is nothing there specifically on karate, but undoubtedly there are useful comments here and there in the primary sources.

In the US, University of Hawaii at Manoa and University of Washington both have reasonable Ryukyuan collections. I'm sure there are East Coast, California, and Midwest universities, too, but I can't speak from personal knowledge on those areas.

1st April 2002, 15:51
Hi all,
A good book to read regarding the authors ideas and views on the importing of Okinawan 'Te' to Japan surely has to be "Karate-Do; My way of life" By Funakoshi Gichin.
It takes about a day to read and covers his own evolution and the art that he brought to Japan in very simple but quite well covered chapters...If the info that you are looking for is more along the lines of an 'introductory text' I feel that Funakoshi's book is good enough for a good idea on the transportation of the style to Japan at the turn of the century.
It is also a good 'story' book and I paricularly liked his stories on his 'Roof/hurricane incident' :nono: and his introduction to Kano Jigoro...Quite amazing/amusing at the same time...And well worth the read.

3rd April 2002, 08:45
Originally posted by fifthchamber
Hi all,
A good book to read regarding the authors ideas and views on the importing of Okinawan 'Te' to Japan surely has to be "Karate-Do; My way of life" By Funakoshi Gichin.
I read it many times :)
I rather search for a book based on someone's research works.
What do you think about Donn Draeger's books, i.e. "The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan"?

3rd April 2002, 13:58
Hello sir,
Regarding mr. Draegers works I believe that the series he wrote on the Japanese Budo was much needed...There has been a lot of debate on whether the books are accurate or not but I believe that they are a vey good source of information for starting to understand these arts..I would suggest reading them as a starter before moving on to more specific information sources.
For Karate information I would suggest the third of three books written by him called "Modern Budo and Bujutsu" as this has its focus more on the 'Gendai budo' of Aikido, Kendo, Karate Do, and Judo than the other two..(Although they are also worth the read) Which look more at the pre-Meiji and early Meiji arts developments..
A worthwhile book to have and one that I keep coming back to anyway...Like all of the early books on Budo things should be taken with a pinch of salt as regards specifics but as I said generally they are among the better western books to have in any collection.