And The Dragon (Tatsuo) Flew
Into The Heavens


One day in early June I was passing Tatsuo's home in Agena. At the time I was stationed at Camp Courtney and was on my last Marine Corps tour of duty on Okinawa. I lived off the base in Agena and always had to pass Tatsuo's home to get to my house. I saw a notice in Japanese posted on the front door and knew something was wrong. It was a notification of a death in the household.

     One of my family members showed me a obituary in one of the Okinawan newspapers. I went to Kichiro's house and paid my last respects to my Sensei. This is from that obituary.

SHIMABUKU SHINKICHI (Tatsuo) passed away at 10:30 AM on 30 May 1975

Father SHIMABUKU SHINKICHI (Tatsuo) passed away at 10:30 AM on 30 May 1975, while being treated for illness. We would like to thank all of you for your friendship while he was alive. The viewing shall be held at our home (Gushikawa City, Kinaka 829) from 4:00-5:00 PM on 31 May 1975. 31 May 1975 Eldest Son Shimabuku Kichiro, Second Son Shimabuku Shinsho, Second Daughter Higa Matsuko., Third Daughter Uezu Yukiko, Family Members and Friends.

Founder SHIMABUKU TATSUO (Shinkichi) has passed away on 30 May 1975. We announce this to all concerned parties.31 May 1975 Isshinryu Kokusai Karate Renmei
President Shimabuku Shinkichi, Officers and Students

Translated by Joe Swift

     While Tatsuo's body was laid to rest, his spirit is always with us. Each person who wears the Isshin-ryu patch not only honor the ideals of Tatsuo and Isshin-ryu but Tatsuo himself. For in the symbol are all the essential elements of Tatsuo's thoughts and beliefs. All the following are depicted in the Isshin-ryu symbol:

Tatsuo (Dragon)
All Tatsuo's teachers (3 stars are symbolic for plural or all)
Kenpo Gokui or Code of Karate (Symbolic)
Shorin-ryu, Goju-ryu and Kobudo (3 stars)
Naihanchi mother, sanchin father and off-spring Isshin-ryu (3 stars)
Karate is golden and should not be misused (Gold border)
The fist of Isshin-ryu (Outline of the patch)
The name Isshin-ryu (3 stars and Dragon)
Isshin-ryu only for self defense (Open and closed hand)

So when you wear a Isshin-ryu patch, you honor Tatsuo and Isshin-ryu. If you look closely you can see Tatsuo emerging from the waters of the earth into the heavens and retuning in a never ending cycle bringing his spirit to his followers and the spirit never dies.

"A persons heart is the same as heaven and earth,
just as the blood circulating is similar to the moon and sun."
--- Kenpo Gokui

To all, please honor Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei on this 26 Memorial. September 19, 1908-May 30, 1975.