A young Kyoda Juhatsu practicing Sanchin
By Yagi Meitoku
Translated by Mario McKenna 2001
founder of Naha-te, Higashionna Kanryo, had many students who became
teachers themselves such as Kyoda Juhatsu, Shiroma Shimpan and Miyagi
Chojun. Kyoda Juhatsu traveled to the Japanese mainland and opened a
dojo, while Miyagi Chojun strove to promote Naha-te on Okinawa.
Higahionna Kanryo lived a simple and poor life and after his wife passed
away Miyagi sensei brought Higashionna sensei to his home and cared for
him in his later years like a son. When Higashionna sensei passed away,
Miyagi sensei, while preserving the traditional kata, developed new kata
and in due time named his art “Goju-ryu” after the phrase “goju
tonto” or “[All is] breathing hard and soft”. Thus
through Miyagi Chojun’s fervent desire in his Goju-ryu Karate came
to be known. It is through these stories that I fondly remember both
After Miyagi sensei passed away, I went to Oita Prefecture accompanied
by Mr. Toguchi to visit Kyoda Juhatsu sensei who was one year older than
Miyagi Chojun. I had heard from Miyagi sensei that while he was away
serving in the army, that Kyoda sensei had learned the kata Sanseru.
With this in mind we asked Kyoda sensei to correct our Sanseru kata and
after we performed it for him, Kyoda replied that it was not wrong. Kyoda
sensei had instructed Iraha Choko and was now instructing his son (Kyoda’s
third son, Kyoda Juko).
We talked about many different things including the passing of Miyagi
sensei and that I had become the representative of Goju-ryu. However
since Miyagi Chojun’s passing, only Kyoda sensei remained as the
most senior student of Higashionna Kanryo and therefore I asked Kyoda
sensei to be the Chairman of the Goju-ryu association for its future
development and progress. Kyoda sensei responded by saying, “You
did not consult me about Higashionna sensei’s kata. I do not think
that the name “Goju-ryu” is particularly appropriate and
also I am not disciple of Miyagi Chojun’s…”. After
a while Kyoda sensei replied, “Even if after consulting with each
other I doubt you would consider changing the name “Goju-ryu”,
however if you agree to adding “To’on” in front of
it to “To’on Goju-ryu” in order to preserve the name
of Higashionna sensei, I would consider your request.”
When I returned to Okinawa I consulted the board of directors who weighted
the possibility of changing the name Goju-ryu, however “To’on
Goju-ryu” never came to light.
Exerpted from “Otoko Meitoku no Jinsei Gekijo”
life drama of the man, Meitoku),(2000) pg. 172-174.
Tou'on-ryu, the style of Okinawan Karate taught and named by Kyoda Juhatsu
Sensei. Kyoda Juhatsu was born on December 5, 1887 (Meiji 20). Although
Kyoda had several instructors, he credited Higashionna Kanryo as his
primary teacher. By far Higashionna had the most profound impact on him.
Indeed, Kyoda devoted well over a decade of his life to learning Higashionna’s
karate-do. So loyal was Kyoda to his teacher, that he named the style
of karatedo that he taught after him; Tou’on-ryu (literally ‘Higashion[na]
style’). Kyoda Juhatsu died on August 31, 1968 (Showa 43) at the
age of 81.
Kyoda's tradition was carried on by Iraha Choko, Kanzaki Shigekazu and
Murakami Katsumi. The current headmaster of Tou'on-ryu todaay is Kanzaki
About The Author:
Yagi Meitoku was the most senior student of Miyagi Sensei and represented
one of the major inheritors of his karate. He is founder of Meibukan
School of Okinawa Goju-Ryu. For more information see the biography
posted elsewhere on the site.
About The Translator:
Mario began training under Yoshitaka Kinjo sensei in 1985, while a high
school student in Lethbridge, Alberta. He moved to Japan in 1994 and
while living on the island of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima, Japan, he trained
under Minowa Katsuhiko sensei and his student Yoshimura Hiroshi sensei
in classical Okinawan weaponry. In 1998 he began studying Tou'on-ryu
from Kanzaki Shigekazu sensei until his return to Canada in 2002. He
holds a 5th degree black belt in Tou'on-ryu Karatedo, 4th in Ryukyu Kobudo,
3rd in Gohakukai and has practiced Karatedo for over 20 years and kobudo
for 10 years. Other martial arts experience includes limited training
in Aikido, Judo, Shorinji Kenpo, and 18 months of training in Chikubishima-ryu
bo-jutsu in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. He has written on the
historical and cultural aspects of martial arts training.