My ideal vision for the future is for students to be able to visit each other more freely and frequently from different countries. I think that we should develop this kind of close relationship between any organisation. In this way all students will be able to exchange goodwill and develop friendship.Masaru Miura
Known as the ‘smiling master‘, Masaru Miura is a pioneer of Shotokan Karate in Italy. Small in stature, he is known for his immense knowledge of Karate.
Masaru Miura was born on 22 April 1939, in Shizuoka, Japan, 150 miles west of Tokyo. His family was descended from a samurai family on his mother’s side.
During World War II Miura’s family moved from Shizuoka to a village in the countryside, to avoid the bombing of the city.
Being small for his age and being an outsider to the village, Miura was frequently bullied by the other boys in the village.
In 1947, aged eight, Miura started learning Judo at the local police station. The Judo practice gave him confidence, and in time the bullying stopped.
Miura started learning Karate in 1952 when he was aged 13. His brother had studied Kendo. However, Miura believed that Karate techniques were fancier and stronger. He studied at the Shunpu-Kam dojo.
One day Masatoshi Nakayama and Hirokazu Kanazawa visited the Shunpu-Kam dojo as part of a Karate demonstration tour. Miura had the opportunity to spar against Kanazawa. He was so impressed by Kanazawa’s temperament and technique.
Around 1960 Miura attended Takushoku University where he enrolled to study Business and Economics. He had wanted to go to the same university where Kanazawa had trained and graduated from.
Miura joined Takushoku’s famed Karate club, where he trained under Masatoshi Nakayama. At the club, he trained with the likes of Hideo Ochi, Shiro Asano, Akio Nagai, and Satoshi Miyazaki. The training was tough. Being smaller than average, he tried working harder than everyone else.
Teruyuki Okazaki was one of Miura’s instructors at the University. When Okazaki left for the United States in 1961, Miura was at the airport to see him off.
On graduating from Takushoku University in 1964, Miura worked at a local government office for around six months. He didn’t particularly like the job. Nakayama suggested that he go to Europe to teach Karate.
Miura travelled to Europe in 1964 after saving enough money from his job.
Miura’s first stop in Europe was London. He spent the next six months travelling around Europe until his money ran out in Torino, Italy.
Not having any money, Miura would sleep under a bridge or stay in a shelter in town.
Miura would sometimes practice his Karate on the banks of a nearby river. One morning while practising, he was approached by a man, asking for Karate lessons. The man became his first student. Not having a dojo, lessons took place in the kitchen of a butcher’s shop. After some time in Torino, he eventually moved to the city of Milan.
By 1975 Miura had built a loyal following of students in Italy. That year, together with Shiro Asano and Akio Nagai, he helped establish Shotokan Karate-do International European Federation (SKIEF).
A member of the JKA, Miura left the Association in 1977. That year he founded SKK-Italia which later became SKI-I. The following year, alongside Kanazawa, Asano, Nagai, and Rikuta Koga, he helped establish Shotokan Karate International Federation (SKIF). He also became the Technical Director of SKI-I.
In 1979 Miura organised the SKIF European Championships held in Milan.
By 1997 SKIF and SKI-I had grown. In June of that year, Miura helped organise the 6th SKIF World Championships held in Milan.
In 2014 Miura celebrated 50 years of teaching.
Masaru Miura is a charismatic and technical instructor. He has been teaching Karate in Italy for over 50 years. He is frequently invited to give training courses around the world. As the Technical Director for Italy and Europe, he was invited to the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium to conduct a series of training courses.
A phenomenal teacher, many of Miura’s students have gone on to be successful in Karate, winning international tournaments or having successful teaching careers.