New photograph of Itosu Ankō

Re-examination of the Itosu Ankō photo

Only a few karate masters have had as much influence on karate development as Itosu Ankō (Itosu Yasutsune). He was born in Gibo Village (Shuri, Okinawa) in 1831.

Itosu Ankō was the teacher of Choyu Motobu, Choki Motobu, Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni, Chōshin Chibana, Chojun Miyagi, and many more. There is no doubt that he has left a huge footprint on Karate and its history. All of these are facts that no one will dispute, but what does Itosu Ankō look like?

In a 2006 released article in the Okinawa Times, it was reported the discovery of a photograph of Itosu Ankō (1831-1915). Since then, this photograph has been used widely as the photograph of Itosu Ankō.

Later on, more photos were found.

New study and research

Miyake Sango
Photo of Miyake Sango with members of the prefectural police.

Miyake Sango
A new review and research of the photograph found in 2006, rewelds that the picture isn’t Itosu Ankō, as first assumed.
However, if the photo does not show Itosu Ankō, then who is the mysterious person with the big and powerful mustache?

Researchers have now found out, that the powerful mustache is sitting on the face of Miyake Sango!

Miyake Sango is a Shizoku (descendant of a samurai) from Miyazaki prefecture. Born in 1847. He served as a fencing instructor of the Okinawa police while also teaching fencing at the Okinawa Prefecture Normal School and the Okinawa Prefecture Junior High School.

New photograph of Itosu Ankō?

Is this Itosu?On September 12, 2019, the Okinawa Prefecture Karate Promotion Division launched a special exhibit at Okinawa Karate Kaikan.

A new hypothesis on the Itosu Ankō photo was presented.

A summary of the OKIC article shows the discovery of a new photograph, where Itosu Ankō is present.
According to the history of Okinawa Prefectural Middle School, karate instruction with Itosu Ankō as a karate professor started in January 1905. There is thus a possibility that he appears in a graduation photo after the 17th graduation ceremony of March 1905.

Now take a closer look at the photograph. There are 2 older persons present, possibly Miyake Sango (marked with 1) and the person to the right who now is assumed to be Itosu Ankō (marked with 2).

Miyake Sango
Miyake Sango (marked with 1)
Itosu Anko
New photo of Itosu Anko (marked with 2)


Now the big question!

Is this the face of Ankō Itosu?

If it turns out that the new photo is Itosu Ankō, then there are certainly some books to rewrite.




Thanks for reading.

Read both articles at the Okinawa Karate Information Center (OKIC)
Itosu Ankō – Re-examination of the photo
About the estimated new photo of Itosu Ankō

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