Around 2:30 am on October 31st, a fire broke out in Shuri Castle, a World Cultural Heritage site and a symbol of the Ryūkyū Kingdom and Okinawa Prefecture. The Seiden and Nanden all the way to the Nike-Udun and Yuinchi and other buildings were burnt down.
Shuri Castle, the royal residence of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, was destroyed by fire in the past in 1453, 1660, 1709, and 1945. After the war, the University of the Ryūkyū was built on the site of the castle. After the relocation of the university in 1980, a full-scale restoration was carried out. In 1992, the Seiden and other buildings were restored. On the occasion of the opening ceremonies of the castle park, Okinawa karate grand masters offered a dedicatory demonstration.
Photo: "History and Tradition of Okinawan Karate" by Mr. Hokama Tetsuhiro
In 2000, the castle was registered as a World Heritage site as part of the “Gusuku and related heritage group of the Ryukyu Kingdom” under the name of “Site of Shuri Castle”. After that, a new area O-uchibara was opened in 2019, introducing the world known as “Oku” located being the Seiden.
Until now, many tourists visited the castle as a World Heritage site and a tourist spot, and Shuri Castle, which has a deep relationship with Shurite and Okinawa karate, has been visited by many international karate enthusiasts.
This time is the fifth time Shuri Castle burns down. Okinawan citizens, world Uchinanchu and karate enthusiasts are deeply shocked, and messages of sympathy are arriving one after another from all over the world.
At the moment, we can only pray for all tragedies, including fires in Amazon, California and other locations on earth.
Although we are already receiving donation consultations and proposals, we are communicating with the Okinawa Prefecture Karate Promotion Division and will announce new information as they arrive.
We have released a new article on from the 1961 Kobudo series of the Okinawa Times.
Today, at the Okinawa Karate Kaikan, the Okinawa Karate Kaikan (designated manager OCVB) and the Okinawa Dentō Karate Shinkōkai conducted their “Karate Experience Program” for the first time.
This program is based on a demonstration and experience program that the Shinkōkai has conducted for tourist groups several times so far. Both organizations will continue to promote this new product so that it can be used as a learning experience by school trips and a karate experience menus for tourists groups.
For this first time, 42 people from one company discovered Okinawa karate and kobudō. Demonstrating and instructing were: Shōrin-ryū Uema Dōjō Uema Takeshi sensei, Uechi-ryū Kenyūkai Higa Susumu sensei and Kudaka sensei, Gōjū-ryū Meibukan Yagi Ippei sensei, Kobudō Ryūkonkai & Kyūdōkan Honbu Dōjō Kinjō Mika.
For inquiries about this program, please contact the Okinawa Karate Kaikan’s management office.
On October 25th, in commemoration of the Karate Day, the “First Oki-no-gū Karate Festival” was held at Oki-no-gū, one of the Eight Ryūkyū Shrines located in Onoyama Park. This is where stands the Funakoshi Gichin Monument. Under the Mt. Tentōzan, a Shintō ceremony, karate demonstrations and a concert were held under the direction of Uechi Ichirō, head priest of Oki-no-gū and a Shōrin-ryū 6th dan who's wishes to make this site the sacred place of karate.
In addition, a gold statue of Busā-ganashī, the martial art deity is now enshrined in the Kangondō shrine located below the shrine.
Head priest Uechi Ichirō Hokama sensei speaking about karate
Gōjū-ryū Yahi Ippei sensei Kobudō Iha Mitsutada sensei
Okinawa Kenpō Yamashiro Yoshitomo sensei and Kobudō Yogi Kiyoshi sensei
Commemorative clear file on sale at the shrine
Today, the Karate Day dedicatory demonstration was held at the Okinawa Karate Kaikan. Below are some photos of the event.
Representing the Governor of Okinawa, Matsubayashi-ryū Taira Yoshitaka sensei Yamakawa Takako.
Shōrin-ryū Ahagon Naonobu sensei Shōrin-ryū Sakugawa Masanobu sensei
Shōrin-ryū Shimabukuro Zenpo Uechi-ryū Nakahodo Tsutomu sensei
Kobudo Nakamoto Masahiro sensei