Kosaku Matsumora

Matsumora KosakuMatsumora Kōsaku (1829 – 1898) (Matsumora Chikudon Peichin Kosaku) was a prominent bushi from the west side of Tomari village. His family were indirect descendents of the first Sho king. As a boy, he studied Chinese classics and Confucianism at the Tomari School for young men from families of position. Matsumora was short in height, but his wide shoulders and massive chest revealed a muscular body.

Matsumora studied Karatedo from Karyu Uku (Aka Giko Uku) for 3 years, emphasis was on developing a strong foundation while learning to use his legs for mobility and hips to generate power. Master Uku taught Matsumora three Kata known in Tomari as Naihanchi.

Matsumora then studied with Teruya Kishin.He also studiedJigen-ryu. He learned the Katas Bassai and Wanshu from this great master. Master Teruya was so impressed with this young bushi that he invited Matsumora to continue his training at the family tomb. This was the greatest honour that the young man could receive, because at this time the study of Karate was still practiced in total secrecy, and very late a night. Being caught at practice meant certain death.

It was at the family tomb that Teruya revealed bunkai or application training to Matsumora so that he could understand the deeper meaning of the kata movements and the practical application of the moves.Among Matsumora’s students, who went on to influence new generations through students of their own, were Choki Motobu and Chotoku Kyan Matsumora is credited as the master who taught Chotoku Kyan the kata Chinto (his own version, not to be confused with Sokon Matsumura‘s version of the same kata). Another student of Matsumora, Maeda Pechin, is credited with teaching Kyan the kata Wanshu.

When Matsumora was in his early 20’s, he successfully defended himself and several townspeople against a Satsuma swordsman. Matsumora disarmed the swordsman and threw the sword in the river, losing only his little finger in the encounter. Losing one’s sword in battle was, for any samurai, a loss of spirit. However for a samurai of the fierce Satsuma clan to lose his sword to an Okinawan was an unimaginable disgrace.The official story comes from Nagamine. The event was so insulting to the hated Japanese overlords that Matsumora became an Okinawan folk hero overnight.

Losing a finger however made Matsumora a marked man. Fortunately, the whole town of Tomari came to his rescue by hiding his were-abouts from the retaliating government officials. Matsumora went into hiding/seclusion in the Nago area. Matsumora was also a master of Bo-jutsu, the study of the 6 foot wooden staff, and Jo-jutsu the 4 foot stick, despite his “handicap”. 

Matsumora Kosaku is well remembered for fighting injustices brought on all Okinawan’s by the Meiji Government. He is credited with saving the Neewagumuchi, an Endowment to the people of Tomari from the scavenging officials.

His relentless battles against injustices during the Japanese take-over earned him the name “Fist Saint”.