IMPORTANT DATES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHOTOKAN

The dates highlighted are essential for any Dan grade candidate to learn and may be asked during a dan grading.

If you'd like to add an important date to the timeline, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the year and a brief statement.

868      First known martial arts traced to this year. First known martial artist was the Buddhist monk Bhodidarma
1400's   The warring clans resolve their issues and ban weapons across Okinawa
1609   Japan invaded Okinawa continuing to ban weapons and "fighting systems"
1668   Chatan Yara born (teacher of Takahara)
1683   Takahara Peichin born (teacher of Sakugawa)
1720   Kong Su Kun born (aka Kushanku)
1733   Sakugawa Kanga born (teacher of Matsumura)
1756   Chatan Yara died
1756   Kong Su Kun sent to Okinawa as ambassador to Qing Dynasty
1760   Takahara Peichin died
1762   Kong Su Kun returned to China, died in 1790
1797   Matsumura Sokon born (teacher of Azato and Itosu)
1815   Sakugawa Kanga died
1827   Itosu Anko born (teacher of Funakoshi)
1832   Azato Anko born (teacher of Funakoshi)
1868   Funakoshi Gichin born
1892   Matsumura Sokon died
1902   Japanese Ministry for Education recommended karate as a form of physical exercise
1906   Azato Anko died
1913   Nakayama Masatoshi born
1915   Itosu Anko died
1921   Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan witnessed karate demonstration whilst visiting Okinawa
1922   Prince Hirohito invited Funakoshi to Japan to give first public demonstration of karate
1922   The karate study group in Japan was formed thus becoming the first known formal karate class
1922   Vernon Bell born
1924   First recorded karate-ka graded to Shodan
1931   Kanazawa Hirokazu was born
1935   Shotokan and Shotokai split
1936   The first Shotokai dojo was built
1939   Funakoshi's dojo named "The Shotokan"
1945   Shotokan dojo destroyed in an air raid during bombing in the Second World War
1945   Yoshitahe "Gigo" Funakoshi died, third son of Gichin Funakoshi & Shotokan innovator
1949   First ever karate association formed, the JKA, with Funakoshi in charge and Nakayama as chief instructor
1957   Funakoshi Gichin O'Sensei died
1957   Vernon Bell awarded Shodan, the first British karate-ka to achieve it
1978   Kanazawa formed SKIF, breaking away from the JKA due to politics
1987   Nakayama Masatoshi Sensei died
1994   CFTS formed by Sensei Kidby, Sensei Coppen and Sensei Calver
2001   Kanazawa Sensei awarded 10th Dan, the first ever Shotokan student to be awarded this grade
2004   Vernon Bell died
 2015   Shotokai and Shotokan train together for the first time in many years
     
     

 

What follows here is the extended Shotokan timeline which is much more in depth and contains much more information about Shotokan karate.

 

482 Bodhidharma born

539 Bodhidharma died aged 57 in a Shaolin Monastery

868 First known martial arts traced to this year

1400's The warring clans resolve their issues and ban weapons and "fighting systems"

1609 Japan invaded Okinawa and continued the ban on weapons

1668 Chatan Yara born (teacher of Takahara)

1683 Takahara Peichin born (teacher of Sakugawa)

1720 Kong Su Kun born (aka Kushanku)

1733 Sakugawa Kanga born (teacher of Matsumura)

1756 Chatan Yara died

Kong Su Kun sent to Okinawa as an ambassador to the Qing Dynasty

1760 Takahara Peichin died

1762 Kong Su Kun returned to China (died in 1790)

1797 Matsumura Sokon born (teacher of Asato and Itosu)

1815 Sakugawa Kanga died

1828 Asato Anko is born. Asato was the main teacher of Funakoshi.

1831 Itosu Anko is born. Itosu was the second main teacher of Funakoshi.

1835 Sho Iku (1813-1847) becomes king of Ryukyu.

1839 In China the first opium war (1839-1842) breaks out. The following social upheavals favour the dissemination of fighting arts.

1848 Sho Tai (1843-1901) becomes king of Ryukyu.

1867 For the first time the spelling "Chinese hand" is used in a programme of performances.

1868 Funakoshi Gichin is born.

1872 The Ryukyu kingdom ends and Ryukyu becomes a domain (han) of Japan.

1879 The Japanese domain Ryukyu becomes a Japanese prefecture (ken), namely Okinawa

The former King of Ryukyu, Sho Tai, has to move to Tokyo

Asato belongs to Sho Tai's staff in Tokyo

Itosu becomes a secretary at the Prefecture Administration

Funakoshi begins his karate practice

1885 Itosu retires from his job as secretary.

1887 Funakoshi begins his career as school teacher.

1895 Japan emerges victorious from the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895)

The "Great Japan Association of Combative Virtues" (Dai Nippon Butokukai) is founded in Kyoto.

1899 The "Hall of Combative Virtues" (Butoku-Den) is completed in Kyoto.It is used as the practice hall of the Butokukai.

1901 Karate becomes established as a department of the gymnastics club of Shuri's elementary school.Itosu conducts the karate practice.

Shimoda Takeshi is born.Shimoda was Funakoshi's first teaching assistant (shihan-dai) in Tokyo.

1902 Karate is introduced as a teaching subject in Okinawa prefecture's normal school.

1904 Itosu introduces the kata Pinan,which consists of five steps.Later Funakoshi called it Heian.

1905 Japan emerges victorious from the Russo-Japanese war.(1904-1905)

Karate becomes a compulsory subject at Okinawa Prefecture's middle school.

For the first time the spelling "empty hand" can be proved. Hanashiro Chomo (1869-1945) a student of Itosu, uses it in a hand written script.

Funakoshi and Hanshiro start a public demonstration tour across Okinawa.

1906 Asato Anko dies.

Funakoshi Yoshitaka is born. Yoshitaka is Gichin Funakoshi's third son.

Uemura Tsunejiro is born. Uemura belonged to the four main teachers at the Shotokan.

1907 Hayashi Yoshiaki is born. Hayashi belonged to the four main teachers at the Shotokan.

1908 Itosu writes down his text "The Chinese Hand"

1910 Funakoshi retires from his career as a school teacher.

1911 Funakoshi, Yabu Kentsu (1866-1937), a student of Itosu, performed a kata at a "karate festival" organised by Okinawa prefecture's normal school.

1912 The "Okinawan Association of the Esteemed Fighting Art" (Okinawa Shobukai) is established with Funakoshi is its chairman.
Egami Shigeru is Born.

1914 Funakoshi produces a three part interview with Asato ("The Martial Techniques of Okinawa") The interview circa 1902.

1915 Itosu Anko dies

1916 Funakoshi demonstrates karate at the Butoku-den in Kyoto.

1918 In the home of Mabuni Kenwa (1889-1952) , a student of Itosu, the "Research Association of the Chinese hand" (karate kenkyukai) is established. Funakoshi Gichin is one of its members.

1919 Funakoshi becomes teacher (shihan) of karate at Okinawa prefecture's normal school.

1921 The subsequent emperor Hirhito (1901-1989) visits Okinawa and watches a karate performance. Funakoshi is in charge of this performance.

1922 Funaskoshi Gichin introduces Karate in Tokyo and makes the Meisho - juku his headquarters there.

Funakoshi Gichin publishes his first karate book "Ryuku's Fist Method : the Chinese Hand)

1924 Funakoshi Gichin bestows his first dan diplomas

The "Karate Research Association of the Private school Keio" is established as the first karate club at a Japanese university in Tokyo . Funakoshi Gichin is its teacher (shihan)

1925 Funakoshi Gichin publishes his second book "Tempering & Self Protection - Karate Jutsu")

1926 The denotations Shuri-te, Naha-te & Tomari-te are created as counter proposals to the term "Chinese Hand" in Okinawa.

The "Karate Research Association of Tokyo Imperial University" starts its regular practice. Funakoshi Gichin is its teacher.(Shihan)

1928 Funakoshi Gichin demonstrates karate at the Saineikan within the borders of the imperial palace.

1929 Funakoshi Gichin gradually begins to apply the spelling ("empty hand") and dismisses the spelling ("Chinese Hand")

Funakoshi Gichin resigns from the post of teacher of the "Karate Research Association of the Tokyo Imperial University"

1930 Funakoshi establishes the "Great Japan Research Association for the Way of the Chinese Hand" ("Dai Nippon Karate D Kenkyukai")

Previously he already used the name "Research Association of the Chinese Hand" (Karate Kenkyukai)

The "Karate Research Association of the Takushoku University" is established in Tokyo.

Funakoshi Gichin publishes twenty teaching maxims (precepts) on karate compiled by himself.

1931 The "Karate Research Association of the Tokyo Business College is established. Funakoshi Gichin is its teacher. (Since 1949 this school is called "Hitotsubashi University")

The "Karate Research Association of the First High School Waseda" is established in Tokyo. Funakoshi Gichin is its teacher.

1933 The Butokukai opens a branch in Okinawa prefecture.

1934 Shimoda Takeshi dies.

Funakoshi Yoshitaka begins to take over Shimoda's functions as teaching assistant.

The karate club of the Hosei University is established in Tokyo. Funakoshi Gichin is its teacher.

1935 Funakoshi Gichin publishes his third karate book ("The teaching Standard of Karate Do")

Funakoshi Yoshitaka formally banishes Otsuka Hironori (1892-1982), an early Japanese student of Funakoshi Gichin, from the Funakoshi group.

1936 Funakoshi Gichin renames his research association into "Great Japan Association of the Pine Wave for the way of the empty hand" (Dai Nippon Karate Do Shotokai)

1937 Japan begins war with China and enters World War 2 subsequently.

Funakoshi Yoshitaka together with the Takushoku University undertakes a Korea expedition, demonstrating karate in Seoul.

Funakoshi Gichin is introduced in the "Record Upon Human Affairs of Okinawa prefecture" published by the Asahi Neswpaper Publishing Company Okinawa.

1938 In Tokyo the construction work for Funakoshi's first independent practice hall begins.It was given the name "Building of the Pine Wave" (Shotokan)

1939 Funakoshi Gichin's practice hall is inaugerated under the name "Great Japan Building of the Pine Wave for the Way of the empty hand" Dai Nippon Karate Do Shotokan).

1940 The denotation "Karate do Shotokan Ryu" is created.

The "Karate do Association of the Chuo University" is established in Tokyo.Funakoshi Yoshitaka is its teacher.

1941 Funakoshi Yoshitaka completes the Bo kata Matsukaze no Kon.

Ten no kata is introduced into the Shotokan curriculum.

1942 A new Butokukai is established, which is a governmental organisation now. Its predecessor was dissolved shortly before.

The Shotokai does not participate in the Butokukai.

1943 Funakoshi Gichin publishes his fourth book ("Introduction into karate")

1945 Funakshi Gichin moves to the island of Kushu.

The Shotokan burns down as a result of an American bombing raid on Tokyo.

Japan surrenders in world war 2.

Funakoshi Yoshitaka dies.

1946 The Butokukai is dissolved.

1947 Funakoshi Gichin returns to Tokyo.

In Tokyo several university karate clubs conduct a joint "welcome performance" on the occaision of Funakoshi Gichin's return.

1949 Students of Funakoshi Gichin establish the Japanese Karate Association (Nihon Karate Kyokai (JKA). They appoint him to the "highest teacher" (saiko-shihan) respectively the "highest technical advisor" (saiko-gijutsu komn) of this association.

1952 American aviators of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) shall become "combative measures instructors" For that purpose they learn particularly judo, however , also karate among others in Tokyo. Funakoshi and a few of his students direct the karate lessons.

1953 Performance on the occasion of Funakoshi Gichin’s move to Tokyo thirty years ago

1956 Funakoshi resigns from the post of the "highest teacher" respectively the "highest technical advisor" of the JKA.

Funakoshi Gichin publishes his fifth karate book ("The one path of karate do") Togawa Yukio (1912-2004), a student of both Funakoshi Gichin's and Funakoshi Yoshitaka includes their biographies in his work "Biographies of fighting arts masters"

1957 Funakoshi Gichin dies

1968 In Kamakura a memorial stone for Funakoshi Gichin is erected

1994 CFTS formed by Sensei Kidby, Coppen and Calver

2001 Kanazawa Sensei awarded 10th Dan, the first ever shotokan student to attain this grade

2004 Vernon Bell died

2015 Shotokai and Shotokan train together for the first time in many years

 

 

Karate Styles & Originators


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