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Thread: Anko Azato

  1. #1
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    Default Anko Azato

    Over on the Ninjutsu forum there's a perpetual question that arises. Did Takamatsu's teacher Toda exist. One school of thought is that he must have existed because Takamatsu said so - other's say why is there no proof of such a notable martial artist... well that's the gist of it you can read the threads for yourself if you haven't already.

    Is there any evidence (apart from Gichin Funakoshi saying so) that Yasutsune "Anko" Azato existed?

    I'm not suggesting Funakoshi Sensei would lie about Azato any more than Takamatsu Sensei would about Toda - it's more of a trivia query.

    It strikes me as strange that Azato was a village chieftain of sorts, an associate of extremely high profile teachers (such as Itosu) yet only Funakoshi ever trained under him and no photograph or even contemporary drawing of him exists.

    Is there another source that cites Azato's existance?

    What exactly did Funakoshi learn from Azato that wasn't taught by, say Itosu and Matsumura?
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Azato shows up as being mentioned by a number of people---hard to do if he never exsisted.

    By the sam etoken very little information exsist as to exactly what he taught and how it looked comapred to others.

    I seem to recall some speculation that Azto went with the last King of Okinawa when he moved to Japan, also recall something about his son/grandson even being interviewed.

    PLEASE don't quote me on that---I don't recall where I read it--sorry.

    One of the things that irks me about Okinawan arts is that there seem to have been a number of people that were highly respected martial artists yet didn't teach--or only taught a very few people so their skills/training are more or less lost.
    Some of their kata got handed down but without the context of the art they practiced.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Default Azato

    Azato has been mentioned by millions of people - probably every student of Shotokan in the world. But who mentioned him in literature that actually met him?
    I think Gigo Funakoshi may have trained with him but of course he predeceased his father.
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Not sure, I think I recall, him coming up in with a couple of period folks---contemperous with or nearly so with Funakoshi.

    Off the top of my head, can't recall exactly whom--but one of them was writing a non-martial arts book on Okinawa.

    Pretty sure that other people than Funakoshi/Shotokan people speak of Azato.
    Plus, also pretty sure that records exsist of him.

    Like I said, you may have better luck tracking down his decendents, which if memeory serves might live in japan.

    I could swear I read an article about his son/grandson/great-grandson whom lives in Tokyo.
    Might have read it on e-budo---you might do a topic search.

    I'll see what I can find tonight.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

  5. #5

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    Azato Anko is a somewhat mysterious figure, but there seems to be enough out there to suggest he was real.

    Firstly, the founder of Shorinjiryu Karate, Shinan HISATAKA Kori (1907-1988) wrote about Azato as being one of his influences in his Japanese language book "Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karate: History and Theory of the Art" (published sometime in the mid-1960s). Shorinjiryu Karate as devised by Shinan Hisataka has no other relationship to Shotokan, except that Hisataka sensei knew Funakoshi, and was friendly to GIMA Shinken.

    (Disclosure: I practice Shorinjiryu Karate and have researched quite heavily the origins of the style).

    Secondly, there is a documented encounter between Azato and a swordsman that can be found in several Okinawan journals.

    Thirdly, Azato was noted as a swordsman himself, and I believe gained a high level of proficiency in the Jigenryu tradition of Satsuma.

    Fourthly, Azato had other students on Okinawa, but not many. It is known that Oshiro Chojo was a student of Azato (Patrick McCarthy Sensei may be able to correct me on this), and there is some speculation that Kyan Chotoku was heavily influenced by Azato.

    Fifthly, Azato's grandson practices karate to this day, and I believe lives on Kyushu.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

    Des
    --
    Des Paroz
    Shorinjiryu Karatedo Yudansha

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    Just to clarify. Azato's great grandson lives and teaches shotokan karate along with his family system in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan. I have met and talked with him on several occasions while I still lived in Japan. He can verify that his great grandfather was an actual historical figure.
    Mario McKenna
    Vancouver, BC
    Kowakan Karatedo

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    Sanseru

    Thank you!

    I knew I recalled hearing that--the details of course escaped me.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Default Thankyou

    Thank you very much - that's very interesting that his grandson practises Shotokan. That's certainly not very commonly documented information.
    Thanks for your insight.
    Simon
    Simon Keegan 4th Dan
    www.bushinkai.org.uk

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    Sanseru

    May I call you Mario?

    Do you know if there are any published (or share-able private) photographs of Anko Azato in books, websites, etc? With your previous contacts, do you have any you could share?

    Cheers
    Gil Ross

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    Hello,

    concerning A. Asato there will be an article in CFA in near future.

    I would like to mention that K. Hisataka was certainly not a personal student of A. Asato but an indirect student (mata-deshi) of him at best. This is because A. Asato passed away in 1906 (T. Iwai says in 1909). Additionally I would like to mention that there is a great-granddaughter of A. Asato, Y. Yasuzato (Japanese pronunciation of Asato), living in Sasebo. According to my information her husband, H. Yasuzato, adopted her wife’s family name.

    Best regards,

    Henning Wittwer

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    Hello:

    I do not know about the great-grand daughter, but have met the great grandson - Yasuzato Hiroyuki. Unfortunately, I was never provided with a photograph, and do not know if one exists. I suppose I could simply send him a letter and ask. You may also want to contact Mr. Joe Swift who also corresponded with him. He may have something.
    Last edited by Sanseru; 25th July 2007 at 15:44.
    Mario McKenna
    Vancouver, BC
    Kowakan Karatedo

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    Hello,

    exactly this Hiroyuki is the husband of A. Asato's great-granddaughter, at least according to my information.

    Regards,

    Henning Wittwer

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibukai
    Hello,

    concerning A. Asato there will be an article in CFA in near future.

    I would like to mention that K. Hisataka was certainly not a personal student of A. Asato but an indirect student (mata-deshi) of him at best. This is because A. Asato passed away in 1906 (T. Iwai says in 1909). Additionally I would like to mention that there is a great-granddaughter of A. Asato, Y. Yasuzato (Japanese pronunciation of Asato), living in Sasebo. According to my information her husband, H. Yasuzato, adopted her wife’s family name.

    Best regards,

    Henning Wittwer
    Hi Henning

    Thanks for the info on the upcoming CFA article. Will look forward to it!

    Re. K. Hisataka being a personal student, I was pretty careful to say that K. Hisataka credits Azato as being one of his influences, as opposed to one of his teachers.

    But, I realise 1906 is commonly given as Azato's year of death, but I've also seen 1909, 1915, 1921 and 1926 (from memory). AFAIK, there is not definitive proof of when he died. I'd love it if anyone could be more definitive than that. Mario - did Azato's great grandson mention that at all to you?

    Cheers

    Des
    --
    Des Paroz
    Shorinjiryu Karatedo Yudansha

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    Default Asato Okina

    Asato Okina was a colleague and personal friend of Itosu Ankoh. You can locate an insightful account of him by Funakoshi Gichin in my publication entitled, "Tanpenshu," or read the on-line version of it here; [part #1] http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=124, and [part #2] here http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=123 which I originally translated and published in the 3rd quarter edition of our 1997 IRKRS Journal

    FYI, following the discovery of the only known photograph of Itosu Ankoh last year by my Okinawan teacher, Kinjo Hiroshi, a series of related newspaper articles, dated the weeks following the death of Itosu Okina in 1915, were discovered by Kadekaru Toru. Obtaining the articles directly from grandmaster, my wife and I have been busy translating and publishing them in our quarterly journals. Making mention of Asato Okina in several of the articles, the last instalment [No#8] makes for some very revealing information.
    Patrick McCarthy
    International Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Research Society
    http://www.koryu-uchinadi.com

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