O-sensei’s Tiger symbol

Shotokai Karate-do, CHILE

The History of Master Funakoshi’s Personal Symbol

Master Funakoshi’s first book, “Ryukyu Kempo: Tode”, was edited by Bukyo-Sho in 1922. It included a series of prologues written by some of the most famous people in Japan and Okinawa at that moment in time. On the cover of this book, a famous artist friend of Gichin Funakoshi, Hoan Kosugi, placed the tiger symbol that later would come to symbolize Master Funakoshi’s Karate.

Kosugi inspired himself in the Japanese saying Tora no Maki, that in Japanese is a phrase that describes an official document, established as a reference on a system. So Ryukyu Kempo would be the Tora no Maki of Tode. He also felt that Master Funakoshi gave the image of a feline due to his way of acting and his movements.

This symbol, at the time of his death, together with all his documents regarding Karate-do were given to Shotokai by the Master’s and his family’s wishes.