Hawaii Karate Seinenkai.

The following article is from Charles Joseph Swift's website, Traditional Karate Kobudo, and is hosted here with his permission. Copyright Charles Joseph Swift. All rights reserved.

Mutsu Mizuho's Karate Kenpo

by Charles Joseph Swift
(c) 1999

Author's note: This is an edited version of the article that was first run in Insight into Martial Arts (New Zealand), Issue #7, September - October 2000. This book is currently being translated into English by Joe Swift. No date has been set for completion and publication as of yet. Since this article was originally written, much more information on Mutsu Mizuho has come to light, mainly due to the efforts of fellow karate researchers Ohgami Shingo (Sweden) and Charles Goodin (Hawaii, USA). Please see Mr. Goodin's article on Mutsu in the forthcoming issue of Dragon Times, Issue #18.

Out of all the pre-WWII books chronicling the fighting traditions of Okinawa, perhaps one of the most comprehensive is the massive tome entitled Karate Kenpo (a.k.a. Toudi Kenpo) by a man named Mutsu Mizuho. Covering history, philosophy, basics, kata, applications and much more, this book offers much more than any karate book before it, or since.

The Author

Not much is known about Mutsu Mizuho. It is known that his real name was Takada Mizuho, but he changed his family name to Mutsu sometime between 1930 and 1933. We know this to be true, because in 1930, when he co-authored the book Kenpo Gaisetsu with Miki Nisaburo, he was still using the name Takada, but when Karate Kenpo was published in 1933, he was using the name Mutsu.

Mutsu, a graduate of Keio University, and a Professor at Tokyo Imperial University, traveled to Okinawa in 1930, with Miki Nisaburo, a student, for the sole purpose of researching and studying the Okinawan fighting traditions. While there they visited such eminent teachers as Kojo Kaho, Oshiro Chojo, Kyan Chotoku, Yabiku Moden, Miyagi Chojun, and Yabu Kentsu (Gima, et al, 1986; Takada, et al, 1930). While most of the teachers greeted them openly, they were physically removed from the home of Kojo (Gima, et al, 1986). While in Okinawa, Miki had performed Naifuanchi and Passai for Yabiku, who told him that his kata were not karate, but merely a lifeless dance (Gima, et al, 1986; Takada, et al, 1930).

The result of this trip to Okinawa was the 1930 book entitled Kenpo Gaisetsu (Outline of Quanfa). This book was important not only because of the information it contained by the contemporary masters in karate's motherland, but it was also the first publication to contain the Passai Sho, Gojushiho, and Kusanku Sho kata. Also included was a section on Okinawan bojutsu.

According to Bruce Haines' Karate's History and Traditions, Mutsu traveled to Hawaii in 1933 with Okinawan karate teacher Higaonna Kamesuke to promote karate (Haines, 1995). In this book, however, Mutsu is mistakenly referred to as an Okinawan, and his name is misspelled as Zuiho.

Mutsu was a student of Funakoshi Gichin and Otsuka Hironori (founder of Wadoryu Karatedo). He is said to have served as the teacher for the Tokyo University Karate Research Society from April 1933 to December 1936, when he was forced to resign due to "using the name of the Tokyo University Karate Research Society without permission, in announcing his candidacy for the Lower House" (Kinjo, 1999).

It is unknown what became of Mutsu after this incident. All we have left are his literary contributions to karatedo.

The Book

Originally published in 1933 under the auspices of the Tokyo Imperial University Karate Research Society, this tome is broken up into three major sections: Introduction, General Theory, and Technical Details. Let us now take a look at the contents of each section.

Included in the Introduction are: What is Karate Kenpo; Developmental History of Shaolin Quanfa; Spread of Shaolin Quanfa; The Relationship Between Shaolin Quanfa and Jujutsu; Shaolin Quanfa and Karate Kenpo; Zen and Karate Kenpo; The Value of Karate Kenpo; The Meaning of Practice; The Meaning of "Karate Kenpo ni Sente Nashi" and more. Although there are many historical inaccuracies, this section nonetheless gives the reader an interesting view of the nationalistic culture of an era bygone in Japan's history.

The General Theory section (Chapter One) is divided into: The Styles of Karate Kenpo; Kata Names; Hand and Foot Weapons to be Conditioned in Karate Kenpo; Conditioning Tools and Methods; Charts of the Vital Points of the Human Body; Explanation of the Vital Points; Methods of Attacking the Vital Points; Methods of Punching, Kicking, Striking, and Blocking; Organization and Explanation of Karate Kenpo.

The section on kyushojutsu is perhaps one of the most intriguing for modern practitioners of karate. It is probably one of the most comprehensive of its kind in pre-war books. Detailed charts of location, as well as anatomical diagrams detailing the skeletal system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the urinary system are given. Following the charts, details are also given as to the most effective hand and foot weapons to be utilized in attacking the vital areas. This is something lacking even in the kyushojutsu section of Funakoshi's 1935 Karatedo Kyohan.

The Technical Details section (Chapter Two) is broken up into: Meaning of the Various Postures from a Combative Viewpoint; Kata; Kumite; Competitive Matches.

The kata presented in this tome include Pinan 1-5, Naifuanchi 1-3, Passai Dai, Kusanku Dai, Jitte, Seishan, Wanshu, Jion, Chinto, Passai Sho, Kusanku Sho, Niseishi, Chinte, and Useishi (a.k.a. Gojushiho).

The section on Kumite does not deal with techniques determined by the competitive phenomenon, but rather applications from the kata, to be used in self defense situations. Starting off with descriptions of rules for practice, reactive defense, and preemptive striking, the principles of blocking are then covered, describing various uses for inside blocks, outside blocks, down blocks, and rising blocks against various hand and foot strikes. The other applications presented within are broken down into the following categories: defenses against various types of bear hugs; defenses against various types of wrist grabs; defenses against various types of lapel grabs; defenses against two-hand attacks; defenses from a seated position; and defenses against edged weapons.

The next section of this book deals with "Tokyo Imperial University-Style Competitive Matches." Not only are rules of the game described, but rules and strategies of engagement are also detailed. This might actually be the first time competitive karate matches had been described in writing. An appendix details resuscitation methods.


The book was reprinted on a limited basis (800 copies) in 1999 by the Yoju Shorin Company in Okinawa. In order to facilitate easier reading, the book was enlarged from its original B6 size to B5 size, and includes a postscript by Kinjo Hiroshi Sensei.

As only 800 copies of this reprinted edition were made, there can be no guarantee of availability, but inquiries can be made to:

Yoju Shorin Co.
3-2-2 Ginowan
Ginowan-shi, Okinawa-ken
901-2211 JAPAN
e-mail: gajumaru@dh.mbn.or.jp

The cost of the book is JPY 15,000 (approximately USD $150.00) plus sales tax and shipping. A pretty hefty price, but worth every Yen.


Gima, S. and Fujiwara, R. (1986) Taidan: Kindai Karatedo no Rekishi wo Kataru (Conversations on the History of Modern Karatedo). Tokyo: Baseball Magazine.

Haines, B. (1997) Karate's History and Traditions (Second Edition). Tokyo: Tuttle.

Kinjo, H. (1999). "Thoughts on the Republication of Karate Kenpo." Okinawa: Yoju Shorin.

Mutsu, M. (1933) Karate Kenpo. Reprinted 1999. Okinawa: Yoju Shorin.

Takada, M. and Miki, N. (1930) Kenpo Gaisetsu. Tokyo: Tokyo Imperial University Karate Research Society

Copyright Charles Joseph Swift. All rights reserved.

Hawaii Karate Seinenkai.