Goju-Ryu literally translates to "hard-soft" style this name was given to it by the founder Chojun Miyagi. Though Miyagi has been given credit for the system, it was his teacher Kanryo Higaonna who actually laid the foundations of the style.|
Kanryo Kigaonna was born in 1853 at Nishimura, Naha, Okinawa. Higaonna as a boy learned Okinanawa-Te. At the age of 23/24 he traveled to China where he became a live in student of the Chinese master Ryu Ryu Ko where he learned Hsing-I Boxing. Master Higaonna's style was thought to have originally been known as Shorei-Ryu (Enlightened Spirit Style), however it became most commonly known as Naha-Te. When Master Higaonna died of an illness at 63 years of age, soon after his head disciple (Chojun Miyagi) succeeded him.
Chojun Miyagi was born at Higashi Machi, Naha, Okinawa in 1888. He became student of Kanryo Higaonna at the age of 14. In May of 1915 Miyagi and his friend traveled to China in search of Master Higaonna's teacher. Miyagi returned with a kata(form) known as Tensho. Tensho is very important to modern Goju-ryu, it focuses on building Ki (the inner power) through soft movements. Miyagi also introduced a kata known as Saifua which is a form that is very similar to white crane. Sometime later he created Gekki Sai Dai Ichi and Gekki Sai Dai Ni to teach to children.
Chojun Miyagi's learnings from China are what brings Goju-Ryu it's unique dispositions in the Karate world.
((Kata types often differ between organizations and nations))