Ryukyu Kobujutsu Shihan

Shinken Taira

Shinken Maezato was born on 12 June 1897 in the Nakazato village on the tiny island of, Kumejima of the Okinawa Prefecture as the grandson of a famous weapon master named Gibu Kanagawa. He was the second son in a family of three boys and one girl, after which he was placed for adoption. At young age, he therefore took on his mother’s maiden sur name of Taira. As a young man, Shinken Taira worked in the sulfur mines in Minamijima, where he suffered a badly broken leg when he was trapped in a mine shaft collapse, which caused permanent damage to his leg. In 1922, after traveling to Tokyo to find work, he was introduced to a fellow Okinawan named Gichin Funakoshi (1868 – 1957), the founder of Shotokan Karatedo. In 1929, Shinken Taira began his studies of Ryukyu Kobudo under Moden Yabiku (1878 – 1941). In 1932, after studying Kobudo for three years and Karatedo for ten years, he received permission from his masters to open his own dojo. He began to teach Karatedo and Kobudo in the springs resort town of Ikaho, Gunma Prefecture. In 1940, Shinken Taira opened a Kobudo dojo in Naha, Okinawa, where he established Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai. He also opened dojo in Kanto and Kansai, two major districts of central Japan. He researched and collected weapon techniques and kata that were buried and dispersed in various regions across the Okinawa Islands. He handed down all kata to Motokatsu Inoue (1918 – 1993) and ordered him to establish a technical system for each weapon. On 3 September 1970, Shinken Taira passed away at Naha city at the age of 73.

Motokatsu Inoue

Motokatsu Inoue was born on 2 December 1918 at Azabu, Tokyo, as the second son of Saburo Inoue (a Marquis and general) and a grandson of Katsura Taro (a former prime minister of Japan). He began training in martial arts at an early age, taught by the security specialist at his family home, Soke Seiko Fujita (1898 – 1966), who was headmaster of Koga-ryu Ninjutsu and considered the last true Ninja. In 1948, Motokatsu Inoue began with training in Ryukyu Kobudo under Shinken Taira (1897 – 1970). Twenty years later, in 1968, Motokatsu Inoue became the head of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinko Kai. As ‘Kobudo’ also means ‘old’ (Ko) Budo, henceforth the designation Kobujutsu was used. In november 1974, Motokatsu Inoue was appointed as President of Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai by all directors’ consensus. In later life, he changed his first (Budo) name into Gansho. On 1 January 1993, Gansho Inoue passed away at the age of 74.

Kisho Inoue

Kisho Inoue was born on 30 October 1954 in Shizuoka City, Japan, as the only son of Motokatsu Inoue (1918 – 1993). On 17 January 1981, he was appointed as Vice President of the Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai. After his father Gansho Inoue passed away, Kisho Inoue was appointed as President of Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai on 7 March 1993.

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