Shuji Tasaki

A teacher notices the difference and tries to think of the way to improve each individual student. He also respects the individuality and characteristic of each person and tries to build them up mentally and physically.

Shuji Tasaki

One of Gogen Yamaguchi’s best students, Shuji Tasaki, is considered by many to be one of the best Goju-Ryu practitioners of his generation. Given the nickname Goshu by Yamaguchi for his toughness, he epitomised Yamaguchi’s style of Karate. He had a reputation for being a fierce and tough fighter.

Shuji Tasaki was born on 20 January 1933, in Tokyo, Japan. He began learning Karate in 1950 in high school.

On 15 August 1951, Tasaki began training under Gogen Yamaguchi, assisted by Motomasa and Kenichiro Onishi. This was during the postwar years when American forces occupied Japan.

Tasaki trained very hard. He was promoted to 1st Dan by Yamaguchi in 1952. Two years later, he was promoted to 2nd Dan. In 1957, he was promoted to 3rd Dan.

In 1958, Tasaki began teaching Karate at Yamaguchi’s dojo. He became one of the top instructors at the dojo. As Yamaguchi opened up Japanese Goju-Ryu Karate to the wider world, Tasaki was beside him.

Tasaki was promoted to 4th Dan by Yamaguchi in 1961.

The 1st All Japan Karatedo Gojukai Championships was held in Tokyo in April 1963. It was a day-long competition and it was a full-contact tournament. Representing Tokyo, Tasaki won the Individual Kumite title ahead of Gonnohyoue Yamamoto, Mutsuo Shimotoku, and Goshi Yamaguchi.

Gogen Yamaguchi presented Tasaki with his Shihan license in July 1964.

At the 2nd All Japan Karatedo Gojukai Championships, held in Wakayama in 1964, Tasaki finished in second place in the Individual Kunite event. He did this while fighting with a broken arm.

The JKF (Japan Karate Federation) was established in 1964 to unify all traditional Karate organisations. The JFK was a part of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Tasaki was promoted to 5th Dan by Gogen Yamaguchi in 1965. This was followed by a promotion to 6th Dan in 1970.

In 1972, Gogen Yamaguchi travelled to Melbourne, Australia, assisted by Tasaki. In Australia, they conducted a series of courses.

Tasaki was permitted by Yamaguchi to establish his own association in 1972. He established the Seiwakai Gojuryu Karatedo. Even though Tasaki had split from Yamaguchi, he considered him to be his first and only teacher. They remained close, even after the split.

Training at the Seiwakai dojo was very tough. The training emphasis was on hard sparring, with techniques such as groin kicks being permitted. In the dojo, Tasaki was a tough instructor. However, out of the dojo, he was described as having a heart of gold.

Very few foreigners trained at the dojo. However, the Seiwakai organisation would eventually have members in over sixty countries.

In 1974, Tasaki was appointed a JKF National Instructor. The following year, he was promoted to 7th Dan by the JKF Gojukai.

Tasaki was promoted to 8th Dan by the JKF Gojukai in 1986. He was also awarded the title of Hanshi.

Seiwakai Gojuryu Karatedo continued to go from strength to strength as an international organisation.

On 20 May 1989, Tasaki’s mentor and friend, Gogen Yamaguchi, died in Tokyo, Japan.

Tasaki was promoted to 9th Dan by the JKF Gojukai in 2009. The promotion was for his lifetime contribution to Goju-Ryu Karate.

On 30 January 2011, Shuji Tasaki died following a bout of illness. He was aged 78. His funeral was well attended.

Tasaki’s student, Seiichi Fujiwara, replaced them as the President of Seiwakai International.

Shuji Tasaki was a 9th Dan in both the JKF Gojukai and the Seiwakai. He was the Chief Instructor and President of Goju-Ryu Karate-do Seiwa-Kai. Some consider him one of the best Karate instructors of his generation.

Away from Karate Tasaki was a practitioner of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. It represented the go and ju (hard/soft) aspects of his personality.

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