History of Uechi Ryu Karate



Seiyu Shinjo

As a result of his acquaintance with Seiryo Shinjo, Kanbun Uechi became fond of Seiryo's son, the exuberant Seiyu Shinjo.

Young Seiyu pleaded for years with his father to let him study karate. Seiyu became a student at Kanbun Uechi's Tebira dojo in 1939. He was ten years old.

Eventually Seiryo began teaching his son at home, in addition to Kanbun's teaching. Seiyu Shinjo was exposed to this unprecedented learning opportunity for nine years.


When Kanbun Uechi returned to Okinawa in 1946, Seiryo Shinjo relocated with him, taking his young son, Seiyu. After the death of Kanbun Uechi, Seiyu Shinjo continued to train under Kanei Uechi.

Kanei can be seen at the left of the adjacent picture overseeing a sparring match with Seiyu Shinjo.

Kanei Uechi trains Seiyu Shinjo

Seiyu Shinjo trained under Kanei Uechi,
Sensei Shinjo is on the left of the picture.

Seiyu Shinjo & the  senior black belts of Kanei Uechi

Seiyu Shinjo on the right in a group
of senior black belts of Kanei Uechi

Kadena dojo

Seiyu eventually took over the dojo of his father, Seiryo Shinjo, in Kadena, Okinawa. For many years, he taught students as Kanbun Uechi had taught him. This dojo, now owned and operated by Seiyu's eldest son, Kiyohide Shinjo, still operates on the same site as it has for three successive generations.

Seiyu Shinjo and the Kadena Dojo in 1970.

Seiyu Shinjo and the Kadena Dojo in 1970.

Tournament Day, 1974

Tournament day, 1974


Unfortunately, Seiyu Shinjo died at an early age. After his passing, the legendary Kanei Uechi had this to say:

"It already has been three years since the great loss to our Association. Unfortunately, once Seiyu Shinjo became seriously ill, modern medicine could not help him. He worked actively as a teacher and as a board member of the Uechi Ryu Karate Do Association. Karate was not recognized by society during the 1940's to 1970's. Mr. Shinjo made great efforts to popularize, develop, and organize karate.
Moreover, I could say that he was one of the persons who made the greatest strides toward karate becoming internationally known as a cultural inheritance of Okinawa. He was instrumental in making the Uechi Ryu Karate Do Association, one with an international stature.
There are many of Mr. Shinjo's students actively teaching Uechi ryu karate all over the world. I can rely on Mr. Kiyohide Shinjo, son of Seiyu Shinjo, to carry on his father's will."
-- Grand Master Kanei Uechi

Kanbun Uechi
Kanei Uechi
Seiryo Shinjo
Seiko Toyama