- No one knows with certainty who created the kata, but it was first taught by a Chinese martial artist named Seisan (or Seishan), who regularly visited Okinawa.
- Originally it was called Seisan and was practised in Naha city (where Goju styles hail from). It was a popular kata, and visitors from Shuri city (where Shotokan styles hail from) took it back and it began to evolve into a new kata. This is one of the only kata to be practised in both Goju and Shotokan styles.
- The stance was altered as lighter, smaller practitioners found sanchin dachi too difficult to use in self-defence.
- Astronomer and mapmaker Peichin Takahara modified it even more. Due to his passion for astronomy, he altered many of the movements to resemble the flight of the moon through the night sky. Both the stance (the angle below the knees to the feet) and the final hand technique of the kata closely resemble a crescent moon.
- The name of the kata translates as ‘Han’ = half or crescent and ‘getsu’ = moon.