The Chibana Project

A blog where I post my research on a certain Okinawan named Chibana Choshin.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Field Trip in Brief

I recently ventured to Nishihara and visited Hokama Testuhiro's famed Karate Museum. I was not disappointed by the trip. Hokama Sensei was busy painting the outside of his museum when I stopped by, and dropping what he was doing, he ushered me in and walked me through his museum. I found him to be extremely friendly, and his English was on par. I was accompanied by a Japanese friend of mine who he would ask about me in Japanese trying to figure out: how I knew about his museum, how I knew so much about Okinawan karate, why I was so interested. It's not the first time these questions have been asked in my quest, and I doubt that it will be the last. He did remark, however, that it surprised him that foreigners were more interested in Karate history than Okinawans were. He mentioned that the majority of visitors to his museum are gaijin, which is why he felt it was important for him to study English.

There are several prized artifacts that are a part of his collection, but a couple stood out in my mind. The first was an original copy of Chibana Sensei's Karatedo no Kokoro e. The second was an original copy of Chibana Sensei's Butoku. After asking permission and paying a nominal 100 yen fee, I went picture happy, snapping away inside and outside of his museum. He later asked me if I could help move a ladder for him which I happily did. He introduced me to a couple of his students who were helping him paint, and his granddaughter who speaks English pretty well for a 10 year old Japanese girl, payed him a visit as well.

An original copy of Chibana Sensei's Karatedo no Kokoro e framed in the center

An original copy of Chibana Sensei's Butoku framed in the center

My thanks go out to Mr. Joe Swift who suggested I pay a visit to the museum. Hopefully, I will be able to continue my relationship with Hokama Sensei and get more information on Chibana Sensei. After speaking with my instructor, I have decided to make a contribution to his museum that he will more than likely prize. I would also highly encourage anyone with a penchant for karate history to pay a visit to his museum.

From left to right: My friend Mayumi, Hokama Sensei's granddaughter Miyu, Hokama Sensei, Me