Thoughts on International Education
Musings on Japanese and Ryukyu Budo
Thoughts on International Education
Usually, I do not like to explicitly point out specific places or people regarding misinformation on Chito Ryu, especially if they are not expressly tied to Chito Ryu. Still, the so-called `history` at the site (https://www.hakuakaikarate.org/history.html) is so poorly researched and checked that I must, in good conscience, draw attention to significant inaccuracies in its presentation of Chitose Sr`s history. Firstly, Chitose Sensei Sr did not serve in China. Instead, in World War 2, he worked in Kumamoto as a civilian and helped with the `national guard` during the latter years. Eyewitness accounts from his family certify to this. Indeed, there are no photos of him in military costume, among their collections. Secondly, while he worked with some karate groups on the mainland in the late 1920s and 1930s, he mainly lived on Miyako-Jima teaching karate and working with Kyan and Jyuhatsu. Thirdly, he did NOT change his name to Chitose Tsuyoshi until AFTER World War 2 - the adoption of this name had nothing to do with the other name changes he made in the 1920/the 30s.
Indeed thus far, I have found no evidence that Chitose Sr ever served in the Japanese Imperial Army. I must point out, however, such a lack of proof is not sufficient in and of itself to make a definitive statement. In Japan today, discussing wartime actions remains a taboo among those of a certain age. However, as research by Mario Mckenna and others (see, for example, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181217/p2a/00m/0na/018000c) has pointed out, draft-dodging among Okinawas was not uncommon and indeed may have been the norm. Due to a combination of ambivalence towards the national conscription law and an awareness of the racism they would face, the majority of draftees were not overly keen (that is, putting it mildly) to follow in the footsteps of Yabu-Sensei.
Even on the mainland, there was a keen awareness of the inequality prevalent in the conscription law. For example, for those who could afford the 280Yen, they could buy an exemption. At the time, 280Yen was approximately half a months salary for a general, so it was a substantial amount. Footsoldiers made about 9 yen. Thus on the mainland, the conscripted army was mainly composed of poor farmers sons until mid-way through the Taisho period. Still, others, such as Kyoda Jyuhatsu, were too short to meet the minimum height requirement of 150 cm.
Another common way of reducing the draft impact in Okinawa was to graduate as a teacher, thus reducing conscription to 6 week stint in the army. For others, the option was to go to the mainland and disappear. Perhaps this may have contributed to Chitose`s name changes during the 1920s and 30s. However, this is only speculation and must not be interpreted as truth. Indeed in Okinawa, he kept using his official name during this period, thus suggesting the name changes on the mainland were done for other reasons.
I have contacted the site owners and will let you know if I hear back from them.
Bad history = ignorance and betrayal of Chinen and indeed the life he lived with his family on Okinawa
Okinawan and Japanese Budo
Are you going to share the link to the site you are critiquing?
I guess I'm just confused as to why Chitose/Chito-Ryu, etc. are being so harshly judged and put down on this page, based on the history published on the web site of a broad organization like Japan Karate Do Hakua-kai - an organization that provides wide-ranging information on many Japanese arts and instructors. Is the author under the impression that the Hakua-kai page is the official clearinghouse of Dr. Chitose and Chito-ryu history, and therefore transferring a layer of shame to Chitose and Chito-ryu because of its perceived lack of definitive history? "I haven't seen pictures of Dr. Chitose in military garb" is NOT a fair or balanced rationale for inferring that Dr. Chito's service is bogus. Truly odd, it feels like this is an agenda-driven piece that purposely tries to shed a negative light on the two.
Hi LW. Indeed the intent is just the opposite. I do not say he did not serve merely that it is a possibility that is difficult to verify. The only shame on Chito Ryu would be if they misled and from what I have read there are no official claims Chitose Sr served in the Army - he definitely does not claim so in either of his main works! Thus I am defending him from those who make myths about him - including those who assert he was a medical doctor.
So just to be clear, based on the verbiage you are currently using, you are asserting that he was never a medical doctor? It seems a bit odd that you discount somebody’s experience based on whether they talk about it in publications or not. That’s not really how responsible verification of experience works.
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James M. Hatch
International Educator who happens to be passionate about Chito Ryu Karate. Born in Ireland, educated in Canada, matured in Japan