Chōtoku Kyan

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In this Okinawan name, the family name is "Kyan".
Chōtoku Kyan
Kyan Chotoku.jpg
Born 1870
Shuri, Ryūkyū Kingdom
Died 1945 (aged 74–75)
Ishikawa, Japan
Other names Chōtoku Kiyan
Style Shōrin-ryū
Teacher(s) Sokon Matsumura, Yomitan Yara[citation needed], Kokan Oyadomari, Maeda PECHIN, Kosaku Matsumora, Tokumine Pechin.[1]
Notable students Tatsuo Shimabuku, Ankichi Arakaki, Shōshin Nagamine, Zenryō Shimabukuro, Tsuyoshi Chitose, Joen Nakazato, Kori Hisataka

Chotoku Kyan (喜屋武 朝徳 Kyan Chōtoku?, born December 1870 in Shuri, Okinawa - died September 20, 1945 in Ishikawa, Okinawa) (also spelled Chotoku Kiyan) was an Okinawan karate master who was famous for both his karate skills and his colorful personal life. He had a large influence on the styles of karate that would become Shorin-Ryu and its related styles.

Early life[edit]

Chotoku Kyan was born as the third son of Chofu Kyan[2] who was a steward to the Ryukyuan King before the country's official annexation by Japan as Okinawan Prefecture.[3] Kyan was noted for being small in stature, suffering from asthma and frequently bed-ridden. He also had poor eyesight, which may have led to his early nickname Chan Migwa (squinty-eyed Chan).[4]

Karate legacy[edit]

Kyan's father is noted as possibly having a background in karate and even teaching Kyan tegumi in his early years.[3][4] When Kyan was 20 years old, he began his karate training under Kosaku Matsumora and Kokan Oyadomari. While at 30 years of age, he was considered a master of the karate styles known as Shuri-te and Tomari-te.[3]

The most long time student of Kyan was Zenryō Shimabukuro, who studied with Kyan for over 10 years[citation needed]. Kyan is also noted for encouraging his students to visit brothels and to engage in alcohol consumption at various times.[4][5]

Kyan was a participant in the 1936 meeting of Okinawan masters, where the term "karate" was standardized, and other far-reaching decisions were made regarding martial arts of the island at the time.[6]

Kyan survived the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, but died from fatigue and malnutrition in September of that year.[4]


External links[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Pechin/Peichin
  • Alexander, George. Okinawa, Island of Karate. Yamazato Publications, 1991.
  • Bishop, Mark, Okinawan Karate, Teachers, Styles, and Secret Techniques. Tuttle, 1999.
  • Kim, Richard. The Weaponless Warriors. Ohara, 1974.