Shotokan Timeline

The dates highlighted are essential for any Dan grade candidate to learn, and may be asked for during a dan grading.


If you would like to add an important date to the timeline, email it to Sensei Steve Cook with the year and a brief statement.

868

First known martial arts traced to this year. First known martial artist was the Buddhist monk Bhodidharma

1400s

The warring clans resolve their issues and ban weapons across Okinawa

1609

Japan invades Okinawa, continuing to ban weapons and 'fighting systems'

1668

Chatan Yara born (teacher of Takahara)

1683

Takahara Peichin born (teacher of Sakugawa)

1720

Kong Su Kun born (AKA Kushanku)

1733

Sakugawa Kanga born (teacher of Matsumura)

1756

Chatan Yara dies

1756

​Kong Su Kun sent to Okinawa as ambassador to the Qing Dynasty

1760

Takahara Peichin dies

1762

Kong Su Kun returned to China

1790

Kong Su Kun dies

1797

Matsumura Sokon born (teacher of Azato and Itosu)

1815

Sakugawa Kanga dies

1827

Itosu Anko born (teacher of Funakoshi)

1832

Azato Anko born (teacher of Funakoshi)

1868

Funakoshi Gichin born

1892

Matsumura Sokon dies

1902

Japanese Ministry for Education recommends karate as a form of physical exercise

1906

Azato Anko dies

1913

Nakayama Masaytoshi born

1915

Itosu Anko dies

1921

Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan witnesses karate demonstration while visiting Okinawa

1922

Prince Hirohito invites Funakoshi to Japan to give the first public demonstration of karate

1922

The karate study group in Japan is formed, thus becoming the first known formal karate class

1922

Vernon Bell born

1924

First recorded karateka graded to Shodan

1931

Kanazawa Hirokazu born

1935

Shotokan and Shotokai split

1936

The first Shotokai dojo is built

1939

Funakoshi's dojo named 'The Shotokan'

1945

Shotokan dojo destroyed in an air raid during bombing in the Second World War

1945

Yoshitaka 'Gigo' Funakoshi, third son of Gichin Funakoshi, and a Shotokan innovator, dies

1949

First ever karate association formed, the JKA, with Funakoshi in charge and Nakayama as the chief instructor

1957

Funakoshi Gichin O'Sensei dies

1957

Vernon Bell awarded Shodan, the first British karateka to achieve this

1978

Kanazawa forms SKIF, breaking away from the JKA due to politics

1987

Nakayama Masatoshi Sensei dies

1994

CFTS formed by Sensei Kidby, Sensei Coppen and Sensei Calver

2001

Kanazawa Sensei awarded 10th dan, the first ever Shotokan student to be awarded this grade

2004

Vernon Bell dies

2015

Shotokai and Shotokan train together for the first time in many years


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