Ryu te no Michi by Seiyu Oyata & Sharon Hayakawa

In the book, "Ryu Te no Michi", there is a very well researched history of Okinawa (Ryukyu) which was done by reading books in both Japanese and English,  and with consideration for references from older records in China and Korea, where mention had been made of the Ryukyuan Islands (Loo Choo, in Chinese) and there is a great deal of folk lore, history from the perspective of a Ryukyuan, (Mr. Oyata, specifically) and a lot of local stories about events and people not usually mentioned elsewhere.

I know much research should be credited  to Shiro Shintaku, and equally to Jim Logue, who both spent many years to assist in the gathering and researching of the details.  Mr. Oyata also has put a lot of personal details about himself and his first kakure bushi instructors,who were born in the time of the Meiji. They had planned to keep their knowledge since society had no need for it, until WWII happened, and the need for life protection arts was revived, as well as the opportunity to pass it along to a bushi class youth they approved of, as his ancestors had been Shuri bushi as well. Those things really held some significance to that generation which it wouldn't have or be understood by in this modern time.

Besides the history of his culture and kingdom, Mr. Oyata goes into detailed explanations concerning the significance of certain ideas and philosophies,  of the kanji bunkai, techniques, Ryukyuan Idioms, and there are a great many areas he covers, to pass on the knowledge of his art as he understands it.  Some beautiful photographs, much taken in Okinawa, explanations of theory, illustrations of implementation of some of his protection arts techniques and patterns. An example would be the spider web pattern. He had plans for writing this book for a very long time, but not the language skills to do it without others to lend their talents to the realization of that goal.

The cover of the book has an award winning photo of a Noro, with the old tattoos on the hand, passing the bloom of a hibiscus to the small hand of the child, representing the passing of knowledge from the older generation to the next, future generations.  A lot of symbolism is used, and a lot is explained in the book.

My part in it was to fix the English, which gave me the unique opportunity to learn as no other would have had a chance to, from the translator, Mr. Oyata, and others, over a 9 year span that I was involved with it.That so few have found out about it, so far, is mostly a poor marketing plan, which was his intention, as he wanted the people belonging in his organization to have the first copies and then allow it to be released to others, after that. At least, it was what he had planned at the time the book went to press.  Now it is for everyone who wants to have it.

Please feel free to inquire if you have any questions, and know that I have no hand in the profits or any ulterior motive to promote this book. I think it is a really well thought out and useful book for most all MAs that have an interest in traditional or classical Ryukyuan life protection arts.

Sharon Hayakawa

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