Freitag, 16. Mrz 2018, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

From invented traditions to distorted history

Okinawa as portrayed in narratives of Karate

Stanislaw Meyer (Jagiellonian University, Krakow)


Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften-Japanologie, Seminarraum JAP 1
Spitalgasse 2, UniversitätsCampus Hof 2, Eingang 2.4, 1090 Wien


Popular narratives in the West often depict karate as Japanese martial art embodying the spirit of samurai. Such karate is a typical example of “invented tradition”, given the fact that in Okinawa, where karate was born, there were never samurai. This is not to say that karate is “fake” or “untrue” and thus lacks legitimacy to represent Japanese traditions. The problem lies elsewhere: karate narratives often confuse Okinawa with Japan and depict the entire Okinawan past by means of Japanese imagery, as if Okinawa had always been an integral part of Japan.


Stanislaw Meyer (M.A. Jagiellonian University, M.A. University of the Ryukyus, Ph.D. University of Hong Kong) is lecturer at Department of Japanology and Sinology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. His conducts research on Okinawan history, Japanese colonialism and Japanese minorities.



Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften/Japanologie und AAJ (Akademischer Arbeitskreis Japan)


Mag. Angela Kramer
Universität Wien
Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie