April 22, 2010

A walk through the garden

Fukushuen Garden in Naha celebrates the ties between Okinawa and southern China. I'll drink to that.

Today I'm passing on some Okinawa pictures and background this week, along with the usual links and comments below. As I mentioned yesterday, Okinawa, now a prefecture of Japan, was once an independent monarchy. It's political center was the palace at Shuri, also featured yesterday. Nearby was the port city of Naha, which has since absorbed Shuri.

Port cities have the reputation of being wild and woolly and Naha was no exception. Okinawa enjoyed wide trade and diplomatic contacts and all kinds of interesting people and rough characters passed through.

Ties were especially close to southern China, which had an Okinawan community as well as extensive travel back and forth. Those ties are celebrated at the Fukushuen Garden in central Naha.

Those ties also influenced the karate traditions that developed in Naha as distinct from the Shuri te or Shorin ryu styles associated with the palace culture discussed yesterday. A leading example of Naha te is the Goju ryu or hard/soft style. Higashionna Kanryo, circa 1853-1916, is regarded as one of its forerunners. Higashionna traveled to Fuzhou in the Fukien Province of China and studied several styles of Chinese martial arts. He is pictured below.

One of his most prominent students was Miyagi Chojun, 1888-1953, who also went to Fukien Province in 1915 to study Chinese styles. Miyagi gave Goju its name and established the system. If the Shuri/Shorin karate tradition is rapid and whiplike, Naha/Goju karate training emphasizes strength development, dynamic tension, breathing and develops the ability to absorb as well as dish out powerful techniques. In practice, the style lives up to its name with its combination of "soft" and hard techniques.

The real Miyagi, pictured above, probably inspired the naming of the teacher in the Karate Kid movies. Some Goju techniques actually look like tasks Mr. Miyagi assigned Daniel-San in the film (wax on/wax off, paint the fence, etc.)

TWO FROM THE TIMES. These items caught my eye this morning. First, Japan is starting to admit that it has a poverty problem. Second, here's a look at how local food is starting to replace tobacco in a North Carolina town.

GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT MINE SAFETY. Here's an op-ed on the subject by a friend of mine.

EARTH DAY. Here's one person's list of things to do about it.

GET UP, STAND UP. There's a connection between body motion and memory. Upward movement seems to be related to happy memories.


1 comment:

Hollowdweller said...

Loving the pics and the commentary!

Know nothing about that area nor martial arts so really enjoying it!