Norisato Nakaima was born on the island of Okinawa, located in the Southern Pacific Ocean south of Japan. The island, originally named Ryukyu, had inhabitants that supported themselves by trading with China, Korea, and other Southeastern Asian countries..
Norisato was born in 1819, a time in which Ryukyu experienced a strong influence. The Chinese not only appointed their King, but also sent ambassadors to establish trade routes and carry out official business on the island. Because of this influence, Norisato was well disciplined in the Chinese language.
At the age of eighteen, Norisato would peek over the fence of a military training base to watch its officers practicing martial arts. He too was interested in learning a martial art but could only learn by watching the officers practice. One day, one of the officers noticed Norisato and began speaking to him. The general took note of Norisato's interest and invited the strong young man to China for Martial Arts training. The following year after much preparation, Norisato traveled to China. Thanks to the generals introduction, he became a student of Master Ryu Ryu Ko, Shihan of the Military School of Qing Dynasty.
At the Military School, Norisato received a military officers's education, studying a range of subjects from military strategy to astrology. After several years of training under Master Ryu Ryu Ko, Norisato received a certificate of graduation and subsequently returned to Okinawa at the age of 26.
Norisato did not open a martial arts school due to the secrecy of the Chinese Kung Fu; he could not risk exposing the technique of the military school. He told his family, "the power of martial arts is to support the heart and defend the body. It should not be used without good reason nor taught to others easily. It should be kept in the family and be taught to one child per generation." The Nakaima family respectfully followed Norisato's instructions. As a result, Norisato only passed his knowledge on to his son Kenchu Nakaima. And Kenchu passed it onto Kenko Nakaima. In 1968, Kenko Nakaima decided it was no longer necessary to keep his family's style a secret in these modern times. He therefore named the style Ryuei-Ryu after Ryu Ryu Ko and his family name Nakaima. Kenko Nakaima also founded the Ryuei-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Preservation Society. Kenko proceeded to teach his three sons and two thirteen year old students, Tomohiro Arashiro and Takeshi Matsuda. Out of Kenko's three sons Kenji Nakaima is now the Soke of Ryuei Ryu living in Okinawa.
Tsutomu Kuniyoshi and Tomohiro Arashiro were chosen to introduce Ryuei-Ryu in the United States in 1979 with Arashiro Sensei first establishing a foundation for Ryuei-Ryu in San Diego, California. Ryeui-Ryu continues to grow in Southern California, throughout the United States, and within several other countries.