Meikyo (Bright/Polished Mirror) was renamed by Gichin Funakoshi (above) from its original name, Rohai meaning ‘Vision of a Crane’ (though many styles still use the old name). The kata comes from the Tomari-te school where it was a set of three, Rohai Shodan, Nidan, and Sandan.

These kata were probably invented by Sensei Anko Itosu, with the techniques being derived from a much longer version of Rohai which was possibly invented by Kosaku Matsumora, suggested by the fact that it was known as Matsumora Rohai. Although all three of Itosu’s Rohai are still taught in some styles, in Shotokan kata, Meikyo is the only one and may have been invented as a combination of all three, but who exactly put them together to invent the kata is a mystery.

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