Okinawa Karate: The Exquisite Art

Okinawa Karate: The Exquisite Art

The Okinawan Prefectural Government commissioned this excellent volume to commemorate the opening of the Karate-Do Kaikan Center in 2017. It was distributed directly to karate dojo, libraries and universities on the island of Okinawa and widely praised throughout the karate community there. The pedigree of this volume is in no doubt. The “Golden Ratio” inspired the book design, referred to as the sectio-aurea by Leonardo Da Vinci. These classical proportions date back to the creation of the Gutenberg Bible in the 1450s. The text resulted from decades of study by a group of Japanese, European, Okinawan and American historians and researchers, all highly respected, widely published and viewed as the very best karate in the world. Editorial supervision came from an expert appointed by the Government of Okinawa, a Professor Emeritus of the International University, and taught at Stanford University in California. He is widely recognised as one of Okinawa’s most highly ranked karate instructors. Another remarkable feature of this fine volume is the digitally enhanced images created from the many original photos provided by the families of the karate pioneers depicted within its pages. These were reproduced by ultra high definition scanners and lenses from Leica, Rodenstock, Hasselblad.

 Nikon and Zeiss, then painstakingly retouched by specialists using the latest digital technology. As a result, the book exudes style and authenticity.
Aesthetically, the book is very  beautiful. For example, the full-color endpapers are high definition copies of original woodblock prints from 1879 depicting a market scene in Okinawa. This allowed the population of mainland Japanese to contrast their lifestyle with that of the newly created Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, the old Ryukyu Kingdom, that the Meiji Government had recently annexed.
This is genuinely a limited collectors’ edition produced, printed and bound using the finest materials by the Dragon-Ikemiya International JV. Dragon Associates Inc. has been publishing karate books for more than 40 years and Ikemiya Shokai Ltd is one of the oldest presses in Okinawa and one with close karate ties. Okinawa Karate: The Exquisite Art has never been sold to bookstores or other public retail outlets. It features a hard binding, color dust cover, library sleeve, printed color endpapers, the full text in both English and Japanese, and even a bound -in page marker ribbon.
If you have ever wondered about the origins of your style, or wish to take your knowledge of karate to a higher level, you need a copy of this beautiful hardbound, cased, collectors edition.


Sadly this limited edition is now
Okinawa Karate The Exquisite Art

When the book was first published, a set of Ryukyu Islands Post Office karate stamps were supplied to all customers purchasing it but soon ran out. Even though they were published almost exactly 60 years ago (1963-1965), we recently obtained a few more sheets of stamps which we are giving away with new book orders until they are all gone. However, they are already in short supply and will not last long. As we do not have enough to make complete sets of three stamps, you may receive only two or even one with your book order if you do not act quickly. These Post Office issued stamps illustrate how karate permeates Okinawan society. They are a pointer to the true story of karate that is to be found in the pages of this excellent volume.

Technical Specs.

• A limited, hardback and cased, collector’s edition.
• Printed in English and Japanese.
• Presented on fine art paper with digitally restored images.
• Includes many previously unpublished photographs
• 210 pages in international A4 size (8.27” x 11.69”)
• Prologue by noted Chinese martial arts historian, Stan Henning.
• Hundreds of endnote references in English and Japanese.
• Includes an Okinawan chronology from 1322 AD to the present

Okinawa Karate The Exquisite Art
Karate Stam 1
$89 + S&H Call 818 889 38565

When we ship your copy of this landmark book we will include  a sample 3 cent Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) karate stamp from the series that was  published from  1963-65. At this time,  Okinawa was still U.S. controlled, hence the “cents” denomination. The models used for the stamp illustrations were members of the Matsubayashi Ryu Dojo of Shoshin Nagamine Sensei. There is no charge for this service. We just felt that these stamps would be  do more good and create more interest if they were in the hands of serious karate  exponents. 


Not long after publication of this book we received a call from Japan Transocean Airways (a subsidiary of the Japanese national airline, Japan Airlines) asking if they could use the cover logo from our book on one of the new Boeing 737s they had just added to their fleet. They told us that our Japanese calligraphy was so beautiful that it would look amazing on the fuselage, and remind them of where karate was born.Of course, we agreed and you can go here to see the commissioning ceremony of the new airliner by the airline executives with our logo, proudly displayed on the fuselage! So now, every time one of these airlines lands the message is clear from our logo: Okinawa: Birthplace of Karate! 

During the research for this book, work that started decades ago, a great deal of new information and previously unpublished images and documents were discovered by the team of researchers and historians who created the foundational manuscript from which this volume was created. This includes photos of Chojun Miyagi, Choki Motobu, Chosei Motobu, Yasuhiro Konishi, Yuchoku Higa, Gichin Funakoshi, Choshin Chibana and many others. Film footage from the 1920s and 1930s was also unearthed a sample of which, a student of Chojun Myagi performing kata, appears here. Much of this treasure trove came as a result of the support we received and the kindness we were shown by the families of these famous karate masters. Therefore we would like to thank the descendants of Choki Motobu, Yuchoku Higa, Zenryo Shimabukuro, Yasuhiro Konishi, Meitoku Yagi and dedicated individuals such as Morio Higaonna, Tsutomu Nakahodo, Tsuyoshi Uechi, Charles Goodin and so many others for their support and encouragement.

While working in the Prefectural Archives, we discovered a documentary entitled Ryukyu Fubutsu (Okinawan Culture) made by a Japanese anthropologist in 1939. The producer devoted the closing minutes to Goju Ryu students performing kata and hojo undo.

This book was produced by Dragon-Ikemiya Joint Venture Associates (Okinawa) and printed by Ikemiya Shokai Ltd. one of Okinawa’s oldest and most respected publisher of high quality art books. From its design to the printed endpapers, it is an excellent example of the art of fine book publishing.