top L to R:
Shigema Genyu, Kaneshi Eiko, Kaneshiro Kenji.
Interview with Shimabuku Tatsuo students: Kaneshi
Eiko, Shigema Genyu and Kaneshiro Kenji. At the home
of Ikemiya Hiroshi, Taba, Gushikawa Shi, Okinawa, December
24, 1984 2:00pm to 7:00pm.
were Arcenio and Michie Advincula, Cyrus G. and Etsuko
Bess, my brother and sister-in-law, Ikemiya Hiroshi
and his wife Ikemiya Yasue. Excerpt from this meeting
which was recorded on audio cassette tape.
Kaneshi Eiko Sensei was 70 years old at the time of the interview. He began
his training from Shimabuku Tatsuo in 1947/48 at the
Minoro dojo, Koza City. He was born October 13, 1914.
Kaneshi is a "Shinpu" or Shinto Priest of the Seicho
No Ie (House of Growth) and was a successful business
man. At the time of the interview he was retired.
Genyu was born December 3, 1929. He started with Shimabuku
Tatsuo in 1953. Shigema at the time of the interview,
worked for the Marine Corps Food Service at the Futema
Air Station SNCO Club. He has been working there for
the past 15 years. He worked for Camp Courtney SNCO
Club 35 years ago. Tatsuo could not speak english so
would have Shigema teach the Americans.
Kenji Sensei was born April 10, 1931. Kaneshiro began
training from Tatsuo around 1953/54. He brought Shimabuku
Sensei his first karate gi in 1949. He is a lawyer and
at one time an english translator. He formerly worked
in the Prosecutor's Office. Kaneshiro is a good friend
of Ikemiya Hiroshi who, at the time, was a Gushikawa
City Councilman. Ikemiya set up this interview at Advincula's
Kaneshi have picture of Megami and was it copied from
any other picture ?
KANESHI: It is not copied. Megami was painted
by my uncle according to Tatsuo Shimabuku's description.
ADVINCULA: What does
the dragon in the picture stand for ?
KANESHI: The dragon stands for Shimabuku Tasumaki
(tornado or water spout), there is a dragon in tatsumaki
("tatsu" is dragon and "maki" is winding). He (Tatsuo)
dreamed in a vision the dragon.
ADVINCULA: Then it
is OK to say that the dragon in the Megami is Tatsuo.
ADVINCULA: Is it OK
to call Mizugami or Megami ?
KANESHI: It is Bukkyo (Buddhist). Shimabuku made
Sunsu with ken (fist) and Megami together. Megami would
be correct. Shimabuku did not copy from a Mizugami (water
goddess). It has nothing to do with water. It is original
from his dream. (Shigema and Kaneshiro both nod in agreement)
KANESHIRO: This has nothing to do with Mizugami.
This is not a Water Goddess. Every martial arts has
a vision or symbol. One day he (Tatsuo) had a dream.
Goddess (Megami) came to him and said teach everyone.
This God or Goddess was at first not clear to Shimabuku.
It came riding on a dragon. The Goddess talked to Shimabuku
saying he had enough karate knowledge to teach publicly.
This was his own God which told him. Shimabuku was a
Sanjinso, fortune teller, so he had more religious beliefs
than most. Shimabuku went to a frame shop and saw a
picture similar to the one in his dream. He borrowed
the picture and had the Megami made up.
KANESHI (interrupts): This is not right. I went
to Shuri with him (Tatsuo).
KANESHIRO: I heard he went to Naha and got the
idea from there.
KANESHI: Shuri, and we had two pictures made.
One for me and one for Shimabuku. It doesn't make any
difference what God it is, it's his God. Bu No Kamisama
(God of the Martial Arts). That's how much he was into
the martial arts.
KANESHI: That is not wrong.
INTERVIEWERS NOTE: Tatsuo told me the same story
and it was confirmed by Shinsho (2nd son of Tatsuo).
Shinsho shows a picture of the Megami that is in one
of Tatsuo's old fortune telling books. The Goddess is
Kannon or the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Both Tatsuo
and Shinsho call it Megami for short. Tatsuo also called
it Kamisama. The Goddess is often depicted as a woman
seated on or riding on a dragon. Sometimes the Goddess
is depicted standing next to a dragon. Goddess in Japanese