Shinko Matayoshi 眞光又吉 was born into a Shizoku family in Naha Kakinokana Village, Naha, Okinawa, Japan in 1888. His father was Shinchin Matayoshi who was a wealthy businessman involved in the sugar cane business. Shinko grew up in Shinbaru Village, Chatan.
As a teen he learned Bo-Jutsu (staff art), Ieiku (oar), Kama (sickle), and Sai (truncheon) from an old Sensei named Higa in Gushigawa village in Okinawa. Higa is purported to be Shinko’s uncle and was known as Chokuho Agena. He learned the Tunkua (handled baton) and Nunchaku (flail) from Jitude Mishigwa Irei Sensei of Nozato, Chatan town.
At the end of the Meiji era (1868 – 1912) around 1910 at the age of 22 Matayoshi Sensei started his first grand travel adventure. He traveled to Karfu-to, Manchuria,. He especially trained austerely in Manchuria where he joined up and lived with the Bazoku, a mounted nomadic tribe. From them he learned horseback riding, Nagennawa (rope throwing), knife throwing, Shuriken-Jutsu (pointed disk throwing art) and Ba-Jutsu (horseback archery art). Sometime after 1921 and before 1935 Matayoshi took his second trip to Shanghai, Fukien and Anan, building up his skill and learning from various teachers. In Shanghai, he learned Timbei/Roshin (shield with dirk), Suruchin (a length of hemp line with a rock tied to each end) and Nunti (gaff) from a teacher named Kinkoroushi. It is believed, though not certain, that Shinko Matayoshi’s Karate-Do style Kingai Ryu was named after that teacher and is thought to be a sister system to the Pang Gai system that Kanbun Uechi had learned in China as well. Kinkoroushi was also responsible for teaching him Kampoh-yaku (herbology) and Hari (acupuncture). In Fukien or Fuchow Shinko practiced Shaolin Si Quan Fa (Sho Rin Ji Kempo).
Matayoshi Sensei returned to Okinawa in 1915 from his first trip to Manchuria where he was invited to demonstrate Okinawan Kobu-Do at the Imperial Bu-Do Festival at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. This was the first public demonstration of Okinawa Kobu-Do conducted outside of Okinawa. He demonstrated the Tunkua and Kama along with Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan Ryu Karate-Do) who demonstrated Karate-Do. In 1921, when the Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito visited Okinawa, Matayoshi was invited to demonstrate Kobu-Do along with Chojun Miyagi (founder of Goju Ryu Karate-Do) who was also demonstrated Karate-Do during a celebration in honor of the Prince.
In 1935 He returned to Naha City where began to associate with other martial artist. The Okinawans called him Kama Nu Matehi (Matayoshi the Kama). It was at this time that he developed the Matayoshi system of Kobu-Do drawing on all of his experience and knowledge which is known for its Chinese influence and its repertoire of weapons which included the Kuwa (hoe) and the butterfly knife. He died in 1947 at the age of 59.