Conference Paper

Karate as a political issue at the beginning of the Showa Period. Nakasone Genwa: historian, editor and ideologist (in Spanish)

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Abstract

Genwa Nakasone (1895-1978) is an essential figure in the introduction, disclosure and adaptation of Okinawan karate to the ultranationalist Japan of the early Showa Era. In his personal writings and especially in the prefaces and commentaries that, as editor and co-author, he was able to introduce into the first karate manuals, an accommodation rhetoric of the karate spirit to the ideology of Imperial Japan can be found, in order to facilitate the integration of an outlying martial art, until that moment, to the corpus of Budo. This new discourse, strongly programmatic, arises itself fundamentally on two central concepts on the modern construction of karate: its substantive redefinition and its main motto. In order to be institutionalized by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (大 日本 武 徳 会) as part of the traditional martial arts, karate had to be adapted, in a process that basically covers the Taisho Era and the beginning of the Showa Era. On one hand, the initial kanji of the "karate" is corrected, preserving the pronunciation but altering the meaning. It is changed “karate" or "Tode" (唐 手) "Chinese hand" (for "Tang") to karate (空手) "empty hand". On the other hand, the nuclear precept "karate ni sente nashi" ("there is no first attack in karate"), today one of the folkloric sources of the alleged pacifism characteristic of the Okinawan people, constituted in its day an argument for the Japanese national construction, military expansionism and war propaganda. Keywords: karate, Genwa Nakasone, Okinawa, Japan, national identity.

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