View Full Version : Tanpenshu

Joseph Svinth
23rd May 2001, 06:23
I received a copy of this a few days ago, and will write a full review eventually. But some basic stuff.

The book is 143 pages, wire-ring binding, with good quality paper. The font looks to be about 10 point. Lots of B&W photos and calligraphy, some by Funakoshi.

Available from International Ryukyu Karate Research Society, PO Box 420, Virginia, Brisbane, 4014 Australia. IRKRS member price: US $19.95. Non-members, $21.95. Prices include shipping by airmail, which if memory serves runs about US $6-8, so the price isn't as steep as it sounds.

To order, send name, address, credit card (VISA/MC) details (name as on card, card type, number & expiration date) to PO Box 420, Virginia 4014, AUSTRALIA or by e-mail, bujin@bigpond.com . No checks accepted.

And, as you're ordering direct from the author, probably inscriptions and such are easily requested.


The book consists of articles by and about Gichin Funakoshi.

-- Funakoshi, Okinawa no bugi, recollecting the words of Azato Ankoh (published in Japan in 1914)
-- Sasaki G., Secret Fighting Techniques (1921 newspaper article introducing karate to the mainland of Japan)
-- Funakoshi, Introducing Karate to the Mainland (Feb 1934)
-- Funakoshi, Azato Ankoh, A Short Story about My Teacher (1934)
-- Funakoshi, Stillness & Action (1934)
-- Karatedo (unknown publication date)
-- McCarthy, P. Extract from Bubishi that Funakoshi used in three of his publications: 1922, 1925 & 1935.
-- Itosu, Ten Articles (1908)
-- Matsumura, Seven Virtues of 'Bu' (1882)
-- Noble, G. "Master Funakoshi's karate" (mid-1980s, Fighting Arts International; reprinted Dragon Times 1990s)
-- Funakoshi, "Shoto's Twenty Precepts"
-- Chronology of Funakoshi's career
-- Postscript, Pat Zalewski
-- Index


Proofreading and such is good, and there are only a couple typos.

From a content standpoint, if you have been collecting material for years, then probably you have seen most of what is here. But if you haven't, well, then this gives you easy access to lots of previously hard-to-get articles.

For myself, I hadn't seen the 1921 newspaper article before, and the way it was written has made me wonder if the idea of introducing karate to Japan in the early 1920s wasn't the furor over Jack Dempsey and his million-dollar gates. (You could still buy a heavy cruiser or a submarine for a million bucks back then.) Karate as a uniquely Japanese form of boxing, as it were. Kind of a full circle, if this is true.

A worthwhile addition to the library.

John Lindsey
26th May 2001, 03:23

For me, the most interesting part so far is the article about Karate being used to train soldiers during the War.

As someone who is not really "into" karate, I really enjoyed this book. The personal accounts and stories really make it interesting.

Joseph Svinth
26th May 2001, 10:42
John --

The Nakano School you refer to taught its candidates that they were modern-day ninja, so there is some relevance there. The article to read is Louis Allen, "The Nakano School," _Japan Society Proceedings_, 10, 1985, 9-15. The aikido people should find the story interesting, as well, inasmuch as Morihei Ueshiba was the MA instructor replaced by Shigeru Egami...

Patrick also asked me to post two clarifications on my review.

1. Regarding the 1921 Sasaki article, to his knowledge (and mine), this is the first time it has appeared in English.

2. Regarding Bubishi: "The translation is certainly mine alright, but only from what Funakoshi himself published in three of his books more than fifty years before I came along. That's the point I'd wanted to emphasize. Many Shotokan stylists believe that Shotokan and Funakoshi have no connection to the Bubishi whatsoever!"

Patrick McCarthy
27th May 2001, 08:02

Hello from "Down Under."

Mate, just a short note to say thank you for fitting in the time & space for Tanpenshu. The publication has turned into a popular seller and we've received many email orders thanks to the recommendation of supporters you.

I stand to be corrected but, I think the 1921 article by Sasaki Gogai, originally recommended by Funakoshi Gichin in his 1922 publication, "Ryukyu Kenpo," appears to be the very first article introducing karate on the mainland of Japan.

I found Funakoshi Sensei's use of the Bubishi (in no less than three of his publications) especially fascinating considering the fact that most Shotokan stylists were not aware that there was a connection.

I also liked the photos (from Gichin Sensei's 1922, 1925 & 1935) of Gichin sensei performing kyusho, tuite & grappling application techniques, especially now during a time when there has been considerable speculation to the contrary. I think it helps reveal the true depth of his skill and knowledge.

All in all, the project was quite fascinating to work on and I am especially thankful to Graham Noble & Joe Swift for their input.

Thanks once again for your help.


Joseph Svinth
9th June 2001, 09:00
A sample chapter on Azato Ankoh appears online at http://www.fightingarts.com/magazine/azato1.shtml .

There is also a review at http://www.fightingarts.com/magazine/bookreviews-funakoshi.shtml

Bustillo, A.
5th September 2001, 22:30
I read the aforementioned sample chapter on Azato. Anyone interested in learning more on one of Funakoshi's instructors will benefit from it.

A. Bustillo