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Ankō Itosu

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

Ankō Itosu was born in 1831 the Yamagawa Village, Shuri, and became a student of Matsumura at a very early age learning Shurite style of self defence. As an educated man he was well educated in Chinese classics, Japanese classics and calligraphy, he held the position of Secretary for the Administrative Office of the Ryukyu kingdom under the last Ryukyuan king, Sho Tai, until the monarchy was dissolved in 1879.

In April 1901, Itosu introduced karate to the physical training curriculum at the Shuri Jingo Elementary School . Four years later he became the karate teacher at the Prefectural Dai Ichi College and the Prefectural Teacher's Training College . In 1908 he wrote a letter to the Prefectural Education Department which led to the introduction of karate to all Okinawan schools. Itosu died in 1915.

Within Shotokan he is best remembered for refining and modifying many of our advanced Kata. He was responsible for devising the Heian series of kata taking the movements from Kankudai.

Prominent Students Itosu trained many well-known martial artists, including:

  • Kentsu Yabu

  • Gichin Funakoshi

  • Chomo Hanashiro

  • Kenwa Mabuni

  • Shinpan Shiroma

  • Anbun Tokuda


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