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Thread: The other Funakoshis and Shotokan

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    Default The other Funakoshis and Shotokan

    I recently began to think about the Funakoshi family and wondered to what extent any of them, aside from Giko, were involved in karate.
    I have read that Gichin's eldest son was quite an adept, but had an unfortunate gambling problem. He was also the rallying point for the Shotokai following Gichin's death. What ever became of him and his karate?
    Also, did the elder Funakoshi teach his grandchildren?
    I would appreciate any help answering these questions.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

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    Gusta Paulo Novak

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    He is a relative of Gichin, but never trained under him. In fact, Kenneth Funakoshi learned karate from Nakayama's students.
    I was asking specifically about Gichin's direct decendents.
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    JKA Tokorozawa

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S View Post
    He is a relative of Gichin, but never trained under him. In fact, Kenneth Funakoshi learned karate from Nakayama's students.
    I was asking specifically about Gichin's direct decendents.
    I would appreciate any help answering these questions.
    Thank you for your very condescending reply. You asked about family members who practiced Karate and I was only trying to help. I have more information but I think I don't want to get insulted again.
    Gusta Paulo Novak

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    Mr. Novak, I searched for the original poster's post, He was nowhere near about being dis-respectful, insulting and condescending to you.
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    I agree with Prince.

    His first question was "What ever became of him [Gichin's eldest son] and his karate?"

    And

    "Also, did the elder Funakoshi teach his grandchildren?"
    George Kohler

    Genbukan Kusakage dojo
    Dojo-cho

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gusta in Japan View Post
    Thank you for your very condescending reply. You asked about family members who practiced Karate and I was only trying to help. I have more information but I think I don't want to get insulted again.
    Upon reflection, my reply was rather curt and could be taken as rude. I neither had nor have any intention to sound condescending, and am sorry that my post gave this impression.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

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    Default Gigo

    Gigo or Yoshitaka was as influential in the development of Shotokan as anybody. He is credited with popularising the Mawashi Geri, Yoko Geri, Ushiro Mawashi Geri and Kokutsu Dachi.

    Like Funakoshi Gichin's other senior students, Gigo trained with other masters and brought back what he had learned.

    His deep stances and comparatively flashy kicks were new to Shotokan and perhaps reflects what he may have learned from Chinese or Korean styles.

    Shotokan minus Gigo's influence would look like Wado Ryu. Old pictures of Shotokan kata practitioners prior to Gigo show Nekoashi Dachi in place of Kokutsu Dachi and Mae Geri in place of Yoko Geri. In traditional kata there are no Maswashi Geri or Ushiro Mawashi Geri (I know there is a technique in Unsu that resembles Mawashi Geri to a small degree).

    In my opinion Gigo took a fairly "upright" boxing art and made it into a more physical demanding, more percussive art that makes greater use of kicks and personal fitness.

    Were Gigo's influences a good or bad thing on Shotokan? I guess that depends on one's perspective, but they cannot be underestimated.

    As an aside. Does anybody know how exactly Kenneth Funakoshi is related to Gichin? For example was Kenneth's grandmother the cousin of Gichin? He certainly resembles him.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Simon,
    I believe that Kenneth is decended from one of Gichin's cousins.

    Yoshitaka/Giko certainly heavily influenced stances and training methods, but some believe that the stances were already being changed by Shimoda, one of the most senior (if not the most senior) of the pre-war students (most likely to have succeeded Gichin if not for his death).

    Without wishing to sound rude, I am more interested in Gichin's other sons (particularly the eldest) and grandchildren and to what extent they learned directly from the elder Funakoshi.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

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    No problem, I don't think you are being rude at all.

    I think Gigo was really the only one of Funakoshi's sons who showed any flair for Karate. But I seem to remember Funakoshi stating that his teachers Itosu and Azato both taught all of Funakoshi's sons and would spoil them with treats and sweets which he could not afford to give them himself because he was poor.

    Giei Funakoshi (Gichin's eldest son) caused some problems between him and Hironori Otsuka.

    It seems Otsuka was sensible with his money and saved a retirement fund for himself. When Giei amassed gambling debts he used his status as the eldest son of Otsuka's then-teacher to try to convince Otsuka to use his pension to pay off Giei's debts. Because of a sense of Giri, Otsuka did this and never got the money back and then Giei accused Otsuka of fiddling the club books himself.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Keegan View Post
    No problem, I don't think you are being rude at all.

    I think Gigo was really the only one of Funakoshi's sons who showed any flair for Karate. But I seem to remember Funakoshi stating that his teachers Itosu and Azato both taught all of Funakoshi's sons and would spoil them with treats and sweets which he could not afford to give them himself because he was poor.

    Giei Funakoshi (Gichin's eldest son) caused some problems between him and Hironori Otsuka.

    It seems Otsuka was sensible with his money and saved a retirement fund for himself. When Giei amassed gambling debts he used his status as the eldest son of Otsuka's then-teacher to try to convince Otsuka to use his pension to pay off Giei's debts. Because of a sense of Giri, Otsuka did this and never got the money back and then Giei accused Otsuka of fiddling the club books himself.
    Thanks for this. I never knew that Otsuka was one of the injured parties of Giei's gambling. I wonder if this was one of the factors that caused the break between (Gichin) Funakoshi and Otsuka.
    I read that Giei did have a certain flair for karate, but not to the same level as Giko.

    Interestingly, the Shotokai gave Giei the position of president following Gichin's death. It seems they wanted to at least keep the Funakoshi's involved.

    I actually saw a book by the Shotokai on Yoshitaka/Giko in a normal bookshop over here a couple of years ago, and an kind of kicking myself for not getting it.
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    Okay, found me something to work on today. Here is the info that I have on Funakoshi and his children.

    Funakoshi married Gosei and had six children....

    The sons were
    Giei (Yoshihide) first born and one of the founding members of the shotokai.
    Giyu (Yoshihio) no evidence that he even came to Japan from Okinawa.
    Gigo (Yoshitaka) driving force in the JKA.
    Geiketsu (yongest son and no evidence he came to Japan from Okinawa).

    Daughters
    Tsuru
    Uto

    Some pictures do exist of his daughters and a young man that may be Geiketsu at his memorial. However their may be a simple explanation for his other two boys not being part of Karate. They may have died in the war of Okinawa an never made it to Japan.

    I will keep diggin!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kensei View Post
    Okay, found me something to work on today. Here is the info that I have on Funakoshi and his children.

    Funakoshi married Gosei and had six children....

    The sons were
    Giei (Yoshihide) first born and one of the founding members of the shotokai.
    Giyu (Yoshihio) no evidence that he even came to Japan from Okinawa.
    Gigo (Yoshitaka) driving force in the JKA.
    Geiketsu (yongest son and no evidence he came to Japan from Okinawa).

    Daughters
    Tsuru
    Uto

    Some pictures do exist of his daughters and a young man that may be Geiketsu at his memorial. However their may be a simple explanation for his other two boys not being part of Karate. They may have died in the war of Okinawa an never made it to Japan.

    I will keep diggin!
    Thanks. I assumed that the second son died before Gichin made his permanent trip to the mainland - era of relatively high child mortality and all.
    When I started this thread, I was curious as to the karate of the eldest son and whether Gichin taught any of his grandchildren (or if any of them showed any flair for karate).

    BTW, I believe it is safer to say that Gigo was the driving force behind Shotokan, rather than behind the JKA - in fact it is the Shotokai who probably have the greater claim to him. That said, his death was a huge loss to what could have been.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S View Post
    Thanks. I assumed that the second son died before Gichin made his permanent trip to the mainland - era of relatively high child mortality and all.
    When I started this thread, I was curious as to the karate of the eldest son and whether Gichin taught any of his grandchildren (or if any of them showed any flair for karate).

    BTW, I believe it is safer to say that Gigo was the driving force behind Shotokan, rather than behind the JKA - in fact it is the Shotokai who probably have the greater claim to him. That said, his death was a huge loss to what could have been.
    It would be very interesting to see if he has any living relatives now. I know that Gigo passed very youn and no word of any children. Giei passed away young, but older than Gigo and still no word on children. I dont know about the others.

    I had seen a picture of a "family gathering" at his grave with ladies identified as Tsuru and Uto as well as Giyu and Geiketsu, but I dont know how accurate that was.

    I also agree and have to appologize, as much as Gigo would have influenced the JKA style he was also a driving force in the development of the Shotokai. From what I can see he was very important to the development of both systems of Shotokan training as he taught most of the seniors that went on to develop the JKA as well as influencing the seniors that taught at the universities. Suffice it to say his teachings had impact in both groups, but probably more so in the shotokai section at the time.

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    Hello,

    Among his four sons, Giei, Giyū, Gigō (called Yoshitaka on mainland Japan), and Giketsu only the third son, Yoshitaka, engaged himself in the practice of karate seriously.

    The youngest son, Giketsu, apparently died prematurely after his birth. Giei, the oldest son, did not study karate because of bodily limitations. However, he became an administrative figure for the Shōtōkai after the Pacific War. Giyū had character deficits and therefore was not allowed to learn karate.

    Regards,

    Henning Wittwer

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