Wansu (year unknown)
A Chinese envoy who brought the kata to Okinawa around 1683. Wansu was unlikely it’s creator or its original name, rather it was called Wansu, implying it was his kata.
Shinun ‘Peichin’ Takahara (1683-1762)
No one knows for sure who his instructors were so it is unclear who taught him Wansu (Empi). It is most likely Takahara, who passed it onto Sakugawa (see below).
‘Satunushi’ ‘Tode’ Sakugawa (1733-1815)
The Okinawan teacher of Soken Matsumura (see below).
Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura (1796-1893)
Student of Sakugawa and teacher of Itosu (see below). It is possible Matsumura (as Chief bodyguard to the King) modified the kata a good deal from its original but most evidence suggests it was his student (Itosu, see below) who did so.
Yatsutsune “Ankoh” Itosu (1830-1915)
A student of Sokon Matsumura’s, taught the kata to his student – Gichen Funakoshi (see below). Yatsutsune likely modified the kata a good deal from the way he was taught. He likely did this because it was Itosu who introduced karate to the Okinawa school system (bringing karate out from under its veil of secrecy), and therefore modified kata to make it easier to learn and less lethal in appearance (due to the fact that children were learning it). Also perhaps because he instigated a number of his instructor’s philosophies into the kata.
Gichen Funakoshi (1868-1957)
Founded Shotokan karate (incorporating ‘Wansu’ but changed the name to ‘Empi’)
While many styles incorporate Empi, GKR derives it’s from Shotokan karate.