Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Kame Kinjo was born on March 20, 1869 in Tsukazan, Haebaru, Okinawa. He attended school at the Okinawa Prefectural Secondary School and studied Karate under Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura, the bodyguard and Karate instructor to the King of Okinawa. One of Matsumura's students, Anko Itosu, introduced Karate to the Okinawan school curriculum.
Kame Kinjo also practiced Okinawan Sumo, and was known for his great physical strength. He was expelled from school after participating in the secondary school strike movement. Another participant in the strike was Kenwa Kanna.
On December 5, 1899, Kinjo left Okinawa, venturing to a new land that promised untold riches and opportunity. Kinjo arrived in Honolulu on January 8, 1900, aboard the S.S. China Maru. He was one of the original 26 Okinawan immigrants to Hawaii (the 27th member of the group failed the physical examination in Honolulu and was sent back to Japan). Another of the first immigrants who also knew Karate was Chinzen Kinjo, father of Chinyei Kinjo (editor of the Yoen Jiho Sha and sponsor of Chojun Miyagi's 1934 visit to Hawaii).
Kame Kinjo immediately went to work at the Ewa Plantation (a sugar cane plantation). As a contract laborer, he was obligated to work for 3 years.
In 1904, Kame Kinjo returned to Okinawa and was married. At that time, he changed his first name to Ritaro, and returned to Hawaii.
By 1911, he owned a successful clothing store in Waipahu. He died in 1933 at the age of 63.
The ship manifest of the S.S. China Maru lists Mr. Kinjo's surname as "Kinjo." However, he was also known as "Kaneshiro," which is another way to pronounce the same surname (as is "Kanegusuku"). Thus, he was also known as Kame Kaneshiro, and later known as Ritaro Kaneshiro.
We are conducting further research on Mr. Kinjo, one of the first Okinawan immigrants to Hawaii and a student of Sokon Matsumura, one of the greatest Karate teachers. Please contact us if you have any information. At this time, we do not have a photograph of Mr. Kinjo. We thank Mr. Kisei Teruya, son of Kizo Teruya, for providing the above information.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai respectfully salutes Kame (Ritaro) Kinjo.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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