Okinawan Karate Styles

Here is a list of traditional Okinawan karate styles and their respective founders. This list represents styles founded on Okinawa but not their branch organisations formed in other countries.

The list is organised by Style name, Founder and Root. As Japanese kanji can have several phonetic interpretations I have included the kanji for each respective group as well as the name of their Founders to assist with domestic research.

Most Okinawan karate styles were founded after the Second World War. Prior to the categorising of karate styles the art was predominantly developed within the three districts of Shuri, Naha and Tomari that comprise the modern-day capital of Naha City. Here the suffix ‘Te’ (meaning martial art), has found common usage. Thus the ‘Root’ column determines the key influences upon that style’s development. There are three common roots, Shuri-te, Nahate, Tomari-te and styles may have a blend of each or one in particular.

A fourth root ‘Tang Hand’ has been included for the style of Jukendo as its development largely took place in Taiwan. However all roots have been influenced by Chinese martial arts which were blended with indigenous ‘Ti’. In general terms it can be said that Shuri-te has been influenced by the Chinese Military arts, Naha-te by Chinese Civil Fighting Arts and Monk Boxing, and Tomari-te by Chinese Internal Martial Arts such as Xingyi and Bagua. These generalisations must be taken in a broad sense though.

List of Okinawan Karate Styles

Style Name Kanji Founder Root
Bugeikan ryu 武芸館 比嘉 清彦 Higa Seitoku 首里手 / 泊手
Chubu Shorin ryu 中部小林流 島袋 善良 Shimabukuro Zenryō 首里手
Gohaku kai 剛泊会 Tokashiki Iken 那覇手 / 泊手
Goju ryu 剛柔流 宮城 長順 Miyagi Chojun 那覇手
Ishimine ryu 石嶺流 金島 Kaneshima Shinyei 首里手
Isshin ryu 一心流 島袋 龍夫 Shimabukuro Tatsuo 那覇手 / 首里手
Jukendo 柔拳道 キンリュ Kinryu (Golden Dragon) 唐手
Kenwa Mabuni Shito ryu 糸東流 摩文仁 賢和 Mabuni Kenwa 那覇手 / 首里手
Kishaba Juku Shorin ryu 小林流 喜舎場 朝啓 Kishaba Chokie 首里手
Shorin ryu (Kobayashi) 小林流 知花 朝信 Chibana ChŌshin 首里手
Kojo ryu 湖城流 湖城 Kojo Kafu 唐手
Kushin ryu 空眞流 Kensei Kinjo & Sannosuke Ueshima 首里手 / 那覇手
Shorin ryu (Matsubayashi) 松林流 長嶺 将真 Soshin Nagamine 首里手
Matsumura Shorin ryu 松村少林流 祖堅 方範 Hohan Sōken 首里手
Okinawa Kenpo 沖縄拳法 中村 茂 Nakamura Shigeru 首里手
Pangai-noon-ryu 半硬軟流 糸数盛光 Itokazu Seiko 那覇手
Ryū-te 琉手 親田清勇 Oyata Seiyū 首里手
Ryuei ryu 劉衛流 仲井眞 錦里 Nakaima Kinri 那覇手
Ryukyu Shorin ryu 琉球少林流 稲嶺 誠人 Inamine Seijin 首里手
Shinpan Shiroma Shito ryu 糸東流 城間 真繁 Shiroma Shinpan 那覇手 / 首里手
Shobayashi Shorin ryu 少林流 島袋 永三 Eizo Shimabukuro 首里手
Shorinji ryu 少林流 喜屋武 朝徳 Kyan Chotoku 首里手
Toon ryu 東恩流 許田 重発 Kyoda Juhatsu 那覇手
Tozan ryu 渡山流 兼島 信助 Kaneshima Shinsuke 首里手
Uechi ryu 上地流 上地 完文 Uechi Kanbun 那覇手