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GICHIN FUNAKOSHI is one of karate's great masters. Born in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, 1868, he studied Karate-do from childhood and organized the the first public demonstrations.
As president of the Okinawa Association for the Spirit of Martial Arts, he was chosen to demonstrate karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo in 1922. This led to the introduction of the ancient martial art to the rest of Japan and subsequently to the rest of the world.
At the urging of friends and officials, he remained in Tokyo, and the development of the way of karate owes much to his teaching, writings and introduction of new forms. In his later years, he was president of Shotokai, of which he was a founder. He emphasized always the spiritual aspects of Karate-do, and it is significant that through his influence the Chinese characters for karate were changed from "Chinese" hand to "empty" hand.