Shotokan Books

If you’re on the lookout for definitive karate books about Shotokan karate particularly in Great Britain then you are definitely in the right place. SHOTO Publishing in association with Kirby Publishing provides a wide range of Shotokan karate books for all karate needs. We even provide Shotokan karate books for wholesale purposes. The following book selection is a must for the serious karate-ka and all books are available by filling out the order form. The titles currently available are:


Title: Funakoshi On Okinawa: A
Portrait of Life on a Ryukyuan Island in the 19th Century, with Special
Reference to Karate
Author: Dr Clive Layton
Abstract: Just what was it like to live on Okinawa during the nineteenth century? This question is of burning importance to serious practitioners of karate, for, once answered, it provides an invaluable insight into the world of men whose influence still dominates modern training, of whom Gichin Funakoshi is the most prominent. Weaving into the text original quotes from westerners who visited the small Pacific island more than one hundred years ago, Dr Layton creates a wonderful narrative mosaic that leaves a permanent impression.

At last, a heritage previously made remote by distance, language, culture, and time, has become available to a twenty-first century martial arts’ audience. From the author of such respected works as the two-volume Shotokan Dawn, The Kanazawa Years, and Kanazawa 10th Dan, comes another brilliantly researched and innovative work.

Cost: £19.95


Author: Dr Clive Layton
Abstract: A fantastic new biography of Master Hirokazu Kanazawa, 10th Dan. This book contains a wealth of information about the master and is an absolute must for the serious karate-ka.
Cost: £19.95 (Softback) /
£27.50 (Hardback)


Author: Dr Clive Layton, Hanshi Michael Randall MBE, Sensei
Michael Nursey
Abstract: A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF FACTS is a valuable, easy to access reference work on general, historical and technical matters. The authors, all respected senior karate-ka of long standing, have collaborated to produce a much needed and well researched quality book, which is considered essential reading for students and instructors alike, who wish to acquire a deeper understanding of their art.

Adopting a question and answer format, Layton, Randall and Nursey have explored a tremendously diverse range of material within their remit. The facts and figures presented, together with the accompanying photographs, allow this unique book to stand proud among the classics in karate publications.

Cost: £9.95


Author: Dr Clive Layton, Hanshi Michael Randall MBE
Abstract: In the wake of the success of Volume I of A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF FACTS, this book continues the tradition of providing a valuable reference work for students of Shotokan, irrespective of grade, who wish to acquire a deeper appreciation of their art.

Once again, general, historical and technical information is presented in a friendly question and answer format, and authors’ opinions add much where interpretation is required. Also included in this volume are signatures of karate-ka and Budoka important in the development of Shotokan in Great Britain, before the official coming of the Japan Karate Association. Carefully worked out Kata embusen are additionally provided which readers are advised to consult. Historical and detailed photographs accompany the text.

This sequel is one of those rare books which equals the original. A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF FACTS is therefore rightly now in two volumes. Layton and Randall have not only made a valuable contribution to Shotokan by producing this work, they are also to be commended for making the information accessible to a wider audience.

Cost: £9.95 to order click here


Author: Dr Clive Layton, Hanshi Michael Randall MBE
Abstract: A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF FACTS: VOL. III brings this exceptional and much appreciated reference work to an end. In all, over five hundred questions – general, historical and technical in nature – have been answered.

Features of the present volume include signatures from selected senior British Shotokan karate-ka holding the rank of 6th Dan and above, rare photographs from Japan, the earliest photographs of Karate ever published in this country, and Japanese calligraphy. Of course, a whole range of fascinating questions, some quite bizarre, are answered in the same friendly manner that proved so successful in the previous books. In a few cases, Newly acquired information has allowed old gaps in knowledge to be filled, or corrected, and interesting research by the authors, published here for the first time, will open up thoughtful debate. Volume III concludes with a valuable terminology section and three volume index.

Layton, Randall, and Nursey (Vol.I only) have written a series of books that are, in a sense, timeless. A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF FACTS really must be considered essential reading for any thoughtful Shotokan karate-ka. One magazine critic wrote of Volume I, “A 10/10 must buy” and Volumes II and III may also be said to fall into this elite category.

Cost: £12.95 to order click here


Author: Dr Clive Layton
Abstract: It is, perhaps, difficult for students of Shotokan karate today to appreciate what training was like in Britain before the coming of the Japan Karate Association. Using the Murikami based British Karate Federation training as a starting point, Hanshi Michael Randall MBE reflects on the arrival of the JKA’s Master Hirokazu Kanazawa, and the tremendous impact his presence had on the British Shotokan movement.

THE KANAZAWA YEARS thus mainly focuses on the period 1965 to 1968 when the master resided in this country. During this time, Michael became a close disciple of Kanazawa’s – one of the seven Samurai – and was amongst the very first in Britain to gain a JKA karate black-belt. He is, therefore, exceptionally well qualified to speak authoratively on the subject, and the book is subsequently packed full of stories, often very funny, not only about Kanazawa and the rigorous training, but
also of other famous JKA instructors that Michael trained under. The work concludes with a brief “Kanazawa Legacy”, a personal account detailing the following three decades of Michael’s training, which is seen as a product of those three highly influential years.

THE KANAZAWA YEARS, which contains over one hundred historical photographs, is destined to become a classic and will forever keep alive a period in British Shotokan history that was perilously close to being lost.

Cost: £14.95


Author: Dr Clive Layton, Hanshi Michael Randall MBE
Abstract: A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF DATES is and invaluable, easy to read reference work, written for both students and instructors alike. Five hundred chronologically presented date entries are included, generally following an Okinawa-Japan-Great Britain line. Dates commence with the mid 14th century and conclude at 1972, shortly after which came a proliferation of Shotokan karate associations and competitions in Great Britain, making recording, in the opinion of the authors, often a confusing and not wholly worthwhile affair.

A SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF DATES is another essential work from two of Britain’s most senior grades, whose collaboration in the past has resulted in the classic three volume, A Shotokan Karate Book of Facts, and the much praised, The Kanazawa Years.

Cost: £9.95


Author: Clive Layton, Harry Cook
Abstract: The image of Shotokan karate-ka sharing identical views about the nature of their art is a popular but inaccurate myth. THE SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF QUOTES is a unique collection of the thoughts and ideas of many leading Shotokan teachers and practitioners about the essentials of Shotokan karate-do. Using the widest possible range of sources to illustrate the sometimes opposing yet provocative opinions of senior Shotokan karate-ka of many nationalities, THE SHOTOKAN KARATE BOOK OF QUOTES is an invaluable guide for anyone who genuinely wants to understand the art
of Shotokan karate-do as it really is.
Cost: £14.95


To order any of the above books, please fill out the order form. Please note that we can’t currently accept credit cards either online or otherwise. If payment by UK Cheque or Postal Order is an issue, please email, and we will try to see if an alternative method of payment may be arranged.