View Full Version : Other Meaning of the Shotokan Tiger
I was looking around about the symbolism of the shotokan tiger and somewhere I read something different from the typical explanations like "pine waves", a mountain with a tiger's tail form or Gichin Funakoshi nickname when he signed his poems. It was about this custom at Japan where they kept a figurine of religious origin of a couple of animal, female and male tigers, at home. They where some sort of religious believe about protection or something.
Does anyone knows or have heard more about this ?
My understanding is the shotokan tiger was designed specifically for Gichin Funakoshi by a friend of his. It is said he chose the tiger as he felt Funakoshi sensei moved like a cat. I am sure the tiger has different meanings to different people / groups but the shotokan symbol was specific.
the definitive text on a subject is called 'tora-no-mon' in japanese. tora also means tiger, which is why funakoshi's friend, an artist, used it as the design for the original publication of karate-do kyohan, the first text on japanese karate. :bow:
Didin't Gichin Funakoshi write three books before that and in fact Karate-do Kyohan was finished by Ohshima?
two books actually, if i remember correctly ... 'Ryukyu Kempo Karate' (1922) and 'Rentan Goshin Karate-jutsu' (1924), which was reprinted as 'To-Te Jutsu'. i guess i was wrong in the term i used - 'definitive' - i should have said 'master text' or 'manual'. in that respect, 'kyohan' is the first published with respect to japanese karate. as far as i know the book was not completed, but translated, by t. ohshima. i'm not sure though, but that is how he is credited in my copy. :bow:
I believe it was T. Ohshima who completed the book, translations and pics. T.Ohshima had been living in USA for a few years when he returned to Japan to complete the work. This is when he requested someone from Japan come to the USA to run his school which was the beginning of the incident with Nishiyama. There was also his bio "My Life" which did not fit your criteria.
i guess in a way you're right about ohshima completing the book.... but only in a way. to quote ohshima's forward in my copy og kyohan:
"Master Funakoshi worked on three different versions of the book: Rentan Goshin Karate-jutsu and two editions of Karate-do Kyohan. The second edition of the latter he did not live to complete himself. The three versions are close but minor differences do exist."
so with respect to the final publication, i guess it is correct that ohshima compelted it, but this was published a full twenty years after the first publication of kyohan, which in its origianl bore the 'tora' symbol. as far as the biography is concerned, it is not a technical book, and therefore would not be within consideration for 'tora-no-maki'' (sorry i typed this term wrong earlier). in any case, 'my way of life' was published in 1956, thus being predated by 'kyohan' (first edition) by approximately twenty years.
it just occurred to me.... tsutomu ohshima sensei would have been six years old when karate-do kyohan was first published!
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