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by George Mattson

Dear KARATE Lovers

Thank you for checking our OKINAWA BBTV web site, “OKINAWA KARATE!”

It introduces One of the oldest ryu-ha “Kojo-ryu”.

One of the oldest ryu-ha, Kojo-ryu was established in 1392 when the best and the brightest Chinese called “Kume 36 families” came to Ryukyu kingdom and became a nationalized citizen of the country. The primogenitor of Kojo-ryu, Sai Jo, was from Fujian Province, China.

Sais started living in Kume village with other “Kume 36 families” and one of Sais family was named Kojo. Kojos became one of the warrior classes of Naha province. They worked for Ryukyu government for a long time and supported the kingdom. In the end of the 17th century, Kojo Pechin got together all the techniques of Kojo style and taught it to other Kojos. So Kojo-ryu as we know it today is based on Kojo Pechin’s style. The feature of Kojo-ryu is that you keep punching to attack and then finish with join constraint or throwing.

The original, Kojo Pechin was called “Umare Bushi,” means born warrior. The second, Sai Syo I was called “St. Tanme,” means great master. The third, Kojo, Isei was also called great master and he went to China, at that time Ming Dynasty, to practice Chinese martial arts under Chinese worrior, I Fa, with his cousin Kojo, Taitei.

Kojo, Isei also went to Ming in 1879, back in when Ryukyu became one of the Japanese prefectures. Hoewver, Ming was unquiet days at that time to change Qing Dynasty. Isei remained China and opened Karate Dojo there. As an aside, the primogenitor of Uechi-ryu, Kanbun Uechi practiced Karate under Kojo, Isei when he when to China.

Kojo, Isei’s cousin, Kojo, Taitei was also one of the greatest Karate masters and was good at many kinds of martial arts and Confucianism. It is famous that he argued with Kanryo Higaonna on Sanchin. And it is said that he taught Karate to Gichin Funakoshi for the first time.

The forth, Kahou Kojo [1849 ~ 1925]

The fifth, Saikyo Kojo [1873 ~ 1941]

The sixth, Kahu / Yoshitomi Kojo [1909 ~ 1996]

The seventh, Shigeru Kojo [1934 ~ 1999?]

All the masters of Kojo-ryu were great, but the seventh, Shigeru Kojo closed his dojo in 1975 because of sickness and after that, there is no listed dojo of Kojo-ryu in Okinawa. Since we don’t have Kojo-ryu dojo about 35 years in Okinawa, Kojo-ryu is called “Illusory Karate.” However, there is a Kojo-ryu dojo in Tottori prefecture, by Shingo Hayashi, disciple of Kahu / Yoshitomi Kojo.

It is said that every kata of Kojo-ryu was made along with Chinese zodiac.

In China, 36 mean many, a lot of. So “Kume 36 families” means “Many people of Kume village.”


Okinawa Karate Kobudo Jiten

Seisetsu Okinawa Karate-do


Okinawa Karate Retsuden Hyakunin

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