Major organizations and facilities
Okinawa Prefecture Karate Promotion Division (Okinawa ken karate shinkōka)
On February 12, 2016, the Okinawa Governor at that time Onaga Takeshi announced the creation of the Karate promotion division within the Culture, Tourism and Sport Department of the Okinawa Prefecture Government. This creation was petitioned by the Okinawa Prefecture designated intangible cultural asset holders. For more, read the Ryūkyū Shinpō newspaper’s article.
The division opened its office on April 1st of the same year. It is in charge of planning, coordination and promotion in regards to Okinawa karate and kobudō working together with local karate organizations. It is also in charge of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan.
The Karate promotion division has its office on the 12th floor of the Okinawa Prefecture Government Building.
Since its creation, it is headed by Yamakawa Tetsuo kachō (division chief). A disciplined martial artist, Yamakawa kachō used to practice Uechi-ryū. Today, he practices Shōrinji-Kenpō.
Official website (In Japanese)
Email address: aa082500[@]pref.okinawa.lg.jp (Please remove the [ ] before and after @)
Okinawa Prefecture designated intangible cultural asset “Okinawa Karate and Kobujutsu” preservation society (Okinawa ken shitei mukei bunkazai “Okinawa no karate kobujutsu” hozonkai)
Founded in 2016, April 2nd
1st President: Tomoyose Ryukō
Actual President: Uehara Takenobu
In 1997, “Karate and kobujustu” was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Asset by the Okinawa Prefecture. The same year on August 8th, the following masters were recognized in this field: Nagamine Shōshin (1907-1997, Matsubayashi-ryū), Yagi Meitoku (1912-2003, Gōjū-ryū) and Itokazu Seiki (1915-2006, Uechi-ryū).
On September 12th 2000, 6 other masters were recognized as asset holders: Iha Kōshin (1925-2012, Gōjū-ryū), Tomoyose Ryukō (1928-2019, Uechi-ryū), Nakazato Shūgorō (1920-2016, Shōrin-ryū), Nakazato Jōen (1922- 2010, Shōrinji-ryū), Miyahira Katsuya (1918-2010, Shōrin-ryū) and Wakugawa Kōsei (1926-, Gōjū-ryū).
On May 7th 2013, 5 masters were also recognized by the prefecture. They are Ishikawa Seitoku sensei (1925-2013, Shōrin-ryū), Uehara Takenobu sensei (1930-, Uechi-ryū), Hichiya Yoshio sensei (1930-2017, Gōjū-ryū), Nakamoto Masahiro sensei (1938-, Kobudō）and Higaonna Morio sensei (1938-, Gōjū-ryū).
Today as of March 2020, among the 14 masters recognized as cultural asset holders, 3 are still alive.
Okinawa Dentō Karatedō Shinkōkai (Society for the Advancement of the Traditional Okinawa Karate)
Founded on February 14, 2008
This organization was established with the purposes of planning the preservation, transmission and worldwide popularization of Okinawa traditional karatedō and kobudō. It aims at the establishment of Okinawa as not only the birthplace of karatedō and kobudō but also the Mecca for world karate. (Source: founding general meeting records)
President: the Okinawa Governor, Tamaki Denny
Vice-presidents: Sakugawa Masanobu, Taira Yoshitaka, Ahagon Naonobu and Shimabukuro Zenpo
Board chairman: Arakaki Kunio
Secretary: Ikemiyagi Masaaki
Zen Okinawa Karatedō Renmei
(All Okinawa Karatedō Federation)
Founded in 1967
This organization was established in 1956 at a time when there was no organizational activity in the Okinawa karate world. The purposes were to properly inherit and transmit karate and to support its international diffusion and development. The 4 major styles Uechi-ryū, Gōjū-ryū, Shōrin-ryū and Matsubayashi-ryū united into one body known as the “Okinawa Karatedō Federation”. In 1967, this entity was remodeled to become the “Zen (all) Okinawa Karatedō Renmei (federation)” with Nagamine Shōshin of Matsubayashi-ryū being the president.
1st President: Nagamine Shōshin
Actual President: Sakugawa Masanobu
Board chairman: Hanashiro Kiyonari
Okinawa Ken Karatedō Renmei
(Okinawa Prefecture Karatedō Federation)
Founded in 1981
While taking the initiative in the organization of and participation to the National Sports Festival and other sport competitions, this organization strives for the preservation and inheritance of Okinawa traditional karate passed down by our ancestors. As an organization with the nurturing of healthy youth through karate as a foundation principle, it endeavors to raise world level athletes under the jurisdiction of the Japan Karatedō Federation.
1st President: Nagamine Shōshin
Actual President: Taira Yoshitaka
Board chairman: Takara Seigō
Okinawa Karate Kobudo Renmei
(Okinawa Karate Kobudō Federation)
Founded in 1982
This organization was established around late masters Higa Yūchoku and Akamine Eisuke who both felt that Okinawa karate was undergoing a crisis. Its goals were to inherit and develop Okinawan karate and kobudō as an important traditional culture.
1st President: Higa Yūchoku
Actual President: Ahagon Naonobu
Board chairman: Ihara Satoshi
Okinawa Ken Karatedō Rengōkai
(Okinawa Prefecture Karatedō Association)
Founded in 1993
In 1990 was formed the “Okinawa Karatedō Konwakai”, group that was reorganized in 1993 as “Okinawa Ken Karatedō Rengōkai”. Consistently aiming at karatedō’s unity, it is promoting internationally Okinawa as the birthplace of karate.
1st President: Nakazato Shūgorō
Actual President: Shimabukuro Zenpo
Board chairman: Uezato Kazuo
Okinawa Ken Kobudō Renmei
(Okinawa Prefecture Kobudō Federation)
The organization was established in order to plan the future of Okinawa traditional kobudō, aiming at its inheritance and development. Members represent the Ryūkyū kobudō system of Taira Shinken sensei, the Matayoshi family kobudō system and Motobu Udundī related system.
1st President: Nakamoto Masahiro
Actual President: Shimabukuro Tsuneo
Board chairman: Nakamori Takashi
Okinawa Karate Kaikan
Opened: AM 9:00 to PM 9:00 (The Archives are open from AM 9:00 to PM 6:00)
Closed: Every Wednesday
Holidays: December 30 to January 3
Location: 854-1 Tomigusuku, Tomigusuku City, Okinawa Prefecture
Contact : 098-851-1025
Okinawa Prefectural Budōkan (Hall of Martial Arts)
Opened: AM 9:00 to PM 9:00
Closed: Every Tuesday
Holidays: December 28 to January 4
Location: 52 Onoyama-cho, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
Official homepage (In Japanese)
Okinawa Prefecture Karate Museum
Entrance fee: 300 yen
Holidays: None (call in advance to schedule a visit)
Location: 2-17-6 Uebaru, Nishihara Town, Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa karate – Cabinet Office, Government Of Japan
Okinawa Prefecture Government (OPG)
Culture, Tourism and Sport Department (OPG) Culture Promotion Division (in Japanese)
Culture, Tourism and Sport Department (OPG) Sport Promotion Division (in Japanese)
Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education (in Japanese)
Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau