What does Shotokan mean?

It was believed that the founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi, never gave the style of Karate that he was teaching a name. So how did we end up with the name Shotokan and what does it mean?

The name Shotokan is actually made up of two words “Shoto” and “Kan”, and actually came from his students. “Shoto” means pine waves or waving pines and it is referred to as Gichin Funakoshi’s pen-name as he would use this name when writing. The word “Kan” means house or hall.

In honour and respect for their Karate master, Gichin Funakoshi’s student’s decided to make a sign to display above his door of his dojo. The sign read Shotokan, and the very first Shotokan Karate school was born. Sadly, due to the bombing in WWII The dojo was destroyed in 1945.