Arakaki Seishō

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In this Okinawan name, the family name is "Arakaki".
Arakaki Seishō
Arakaki Seisho.jpg
Historical photo of Arakaki Seishō
Born 1840
Okinawa, Ryūkyū Kingdom
Died 1918 (aged 77–78)
Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Other names Arakaki Ou, Mayā Arakaki, Arakaki Kamadeunchu, Aragaki Tsuji Pechin Seisho
Style Tode
Teacher(s) Wai Xinxian
Notable students Chitose Tsuyoshi, Funakoshi Gichin, Higaonna Kanryō, Uechi Kanbun, Kanken Tōyama, Mabuni Kenwa

Arakaki Seishō (新垣 世璋?, 1840 – 1918) was a prominent Okinawan martial arts master who influenced the development of several major karate styles.[1][2][3] He was known by many other names, including Aragaki Tsuji Pechin Seisho.[4]

Life and martial arts[edit]

Arakaki was born in 1840 in either Kumemura, on Okinawa Island, or on the nearby island of Sesoku.[3] He was an official in the royal court of Okinawa, and as such held the title of Chikudon Peichin,[2] which denoted a status similar to that of the samurai in Japan.[1] On 24 March 1867, he demonstrated Okinawan martial arts in Shuri, then capital of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, before a visiting Chinese ambassador; this was a notable event, since experts such as Asato Ankō, Itosu Ankō, and Matsumura Sōkon were still active at that time.[1] Arakaki served as a Chinese language interpreter, and travelled to Beijing in September 1870.[2][3] His only recorded martial arts instructor from this period was Wai Xinxian from Fuzhou, a city in the Fujian province of Qing Dynasty China.[1][2][3] Arakaki died in 1918.[2][3]


Arakaki was famous for teaching the kata (patterns) Unshu, Seisan, Shihohai, Sōchin, Niseishi, and Sanchin (which were later incorporated into different styles of karate), and weapons kata Arakaki-no-kun, Arakaki-no-sai, and Sesoku-no-kun.[3]


While he did not develop any specific styles himself, his techniques and kata are scattered through a number of modern karate and kobudo styles.[1][3] Arakaki's students included Higaonna Kanryō who born 13 yearslater in (1853–1916; founder of Naha-te) and Master of 宮城 長順 Miyagi Chōjun, April 25, 1888—October 8, 1953, and founder of Goju Ryu, Funakoshi Gichin (1868–1957; founder of Shotokan), Uechi Kanbun (1877–1948; founder of Uechi-ryū), Kanken Tōyama (1888–1966; founder of Shūdōkan), Mabuni Kenwa (1889–1952; founder of Shitō-ryū), and Chitose Tsuyoshi (1898–1984; founder of Chitō-ryū).[1][2]

Some consider Chitō-ryū the closest existing style to Arakaki's martial arts,[3] while others have noted that Arakaki's descendants are mostly involved with Gōjū-ryū.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Sato, S. (c. 2005): Seisho Aragaki Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Karate-Do Shito-Kai Murayama USA: Shito-Kai Kata (c. 2006). Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate Academy: Seisho Arakaki (24 January 2008). Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  4. ^ McCarthy, P. (1997): The Bible of Karate Bubishi (3rd ed., p. 36). Boston, MA: Tuttle Publishing. (ISBN 0-8048-2015-5)