The Karate-Do Sanka
The Karate Song

Written by Grand Master Nagamine Shoshin

Click Here to Download .WMA File of the song.

Karate-Do Sanka
(English translation)

Ah, beautiful islands of sunlight,

And the color of the sea,

The proud fighting spirit of the Islanders

and the empty handed Sword of Justice.

Training spirit and training body

Ah, this is Okinawan Karate-do!

O, but if an enemy should happen to attack us,

and the method of courtesy prove to no avail,

if he should cut our flesh with his iron weapon,

even then we will punch through to his bones.

Courtesy and defense together

This is Okinawan Karate-do!

O! Ever since the mythical ancestry of Japan,

the bell of peace has been ringing continually in Okinawa.

The way of courtesy and the five bodily weapons of Karate together,

to make a straight character and good Etiquette,

This is Okinawan Karate-do!

Karate-Do Sanka

Aa sanjento hi no hikari

Myo gunjorno umi no iro

Saekeki shima no tokonga

Saegigaumishi mute no ken.

Kokoro o Kitau, mi o kitau

Aa, Okinawa no, Karate-do!

Aa ware osou tekki araba

Shurei no kuni ni shingiari

Tetsu no kobushi wa kanzento

Niku o kirasete, hone no utsu

Kokoro o mamaru, Mi o mamaru.

Aa, Okinawa no, Karate-do!

Aa tensenshi kodai yori

Hewa no kane wa naritsutau

Semeru ni arazu fusegu waza

Gotai ga bukizo kono karate

Kokoro o tadasu, mi o tadasu

Aa Okinawa no Karate-do!

This song, "Karate-Do Sanka", attempts to epitomize some of the most important aspects of Karate. The most important lines of the three verses are:

"Kokoro o kitau, mi o kitau"; "Kokoro o mamaru, mi o Mamaru"; and "Kokoro o tadasu, mi o tadasu".

"Kokoro" means spirit, heart, mind, or feeling. "Mi" is the body. Since the word "Kitau" means training or practice, the first line may be translated as, "Training spirit and body", i.e. making not only the body strong through the many repetitions of years of continuous practice, but also strengthening the spirit to be able to tackle the most difficult tasks, both physical, mental and spiritual.

The second line combines with the word for defense, "Mamaru". Hence the total meaning is defense with body or the blocking and attacking method of the Karate-jutsu, and more importantly the ability to avoid fighting even when it means walking away from the insult or some other difficult situation, in other words, defense with the spirit, or in a rough approximation, courtesy.

The third line builds us up to the most important and difficult of the three concepts, character and etiquette. "Tadasu" means to make straight and so the literal translation of this is, "Make a straight spirit and a straight body." In other words, to correct and perfect the very way in which each individual thinks and acts on a moral basis, as determined by his society and religion.

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