Hitotsu! Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto
SEEK PERFECTION OF CHARACTER
Hitotsu! Makoto no michi o mamoru koto
Hitotsu! Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto
ENDEAVOR TO EXCEL
Hitotsu! Reigi o omonzuru koto
Hitotsu! Kekki no yu o imashimuru koto
REFRAIN FROM VIOLENT BEHAVIOUR
We will start reciting the Japanese version at the end of the advanced class. For simplicity, we stick to English for the all levels class, as it is more important to understand the concepts in English than it is to (often poorly) recite it in Japanese. Any student is welcome to start learning the Japanese on their own. If you need help with pronunciation, feel free to ask a Sensei or Senpai sometime.
The English version of the Dojo Kun has been widely adopted in English-speaking Shotokan Karate dojo all around the world. Some schools have further shortened the fourth principle, Endeavour to Excel, to just Endeavour, so don't be alarmed if you hear this when visiting another dojo. In general, the English version of the Dojo Kun we use today is a fairly loose and inaccurate translation of the Japanese version originally written by the founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi.
Below, Sensei Richard Amos provides a much better explanation of the true meaning of the Japanese Dojo Kun. He breaks down the meaning behind the Japanese kanji characters. Having spent many years training in Japan at the JKA Honbu Dojo (Headquarters), Sensei Amos speaks Japanese fluently with excellent pronunciation. Please have a look.