This week in history (2 November – 8 November)

3 November

On 3 November 1954, Mitsusuke Harada was awarded the rank of 5th Dan, presented to him by Gichin Funakoshi.

Harada started his Karate training in November 1943, under Genshin Hironishi, a student of Funakoshi. Harada received his 1st Dan in 1951. He started teaching Karate for the Physical Education department at Waseda University as an assistant to Hiroshi Noguchi.

In the early 1950s Harada trained regularly with instructors Shigeru Egami and Tadao Okuyama. Both men have been credited with influencing Harada’s style of Karate.

At the young age of twenty-eight, Harada was awarded his 5th Dan by Funakoshi. Like Masters Egami, Hironishi and Tsutomu Ohshima, Harada never graded beyond 5th Dan, in honour of the final grade attained by their teacher, Gichin Funakoshi.

On 3 November 1957 Tetsuji Murakami arrived in France, following an invitation from Henri Plee, the “Father of European Karate“.

Murakami was one of the first representatives to demonstrate and promote Karate in Europe. At the time of his arrival he was a 3rd Dan in Karate and a 2nd Dan in Kendo.

Murakami began his Karate training at age nineteen, under Masaji Yamaguchi, an early student of Gichin Funakoshi.

On 3 November 1959 JKA instructor, Yoshinobu Ohta was born in Chiba, Japan.

Ohta began his Karate training, aged fifteen, at his high school. Two years later he had earned his black belt. Upon entering Takushoku University he continued pursuing his Karate, sometimes training up to five hours a day.
After leaving university, he continued his training at the Japan Karate Association (JKA), taking the famed Instructors Course. He had the opportunity to be taught by Masatoshi Nakayama.

In 1982 Ohta was recommended as an assistant to Keinosuke Enoeda, who was teaching in the United Kingdom. He remained his assistant for the next twenty-one years, until Enoeda’s death in 2003.

In 2005 Yoshinobu Ohta was appointed the Chief Instructor and Chairman of JKA England.

On 3 November 2018, Caylor Adkins died, aged 84 years.

Described as “the true embodiment of a karateka“, Adkins was an early practitioner and pioneer of Shotokan Karate in the United States. He was one of the first men graded to black belt by Tsutomu Ohshima. He was one of the first Americans to be graded to 5th Dan.

4 November

On 4 November 1991, Kenji Midori became World Champion at the 5th Kyokushin Karate World Tournament. He defeated Akira Masuda in the final. After becoming World Champion, Midori retired from active competition.

Representing Tsuyoshi Hiroshige’s Jonan dojo, in Tokyo, Midori became the first student from the dojo to a world title.

5 November

On 5 November 1961, a Karate exhibition was held at the Honolulu Civic Auditorium, sponsored by the Hawaii Karate Congress. Several top Japanese martial artists, including  Goju-Ryu’s Kanki Izumikawa and Shotokan’s Hidetaka Nishiyama and Hirokazu Kanazawa, displayed their skills to an attentive crowd.

On 5 November 1963 Masters Masatoshi Nakayama, Hiroshi Shoji, Keinosuke Enoeda, Toru Iwaizumi and Katsuya Kisaka arrived to teach Shotokan Karate in Indonesia. They stayed until 27 December. The trip was a part of the Japan Karate Association’s hopes of developing Karate outside of Japan.

6 November

On 6 November 1964, Pathe Pictorial released a colour film showing Vernon Bell’s British Karate Federation (BKF) students training at the Kentish Town dojo. The film lasting three minutes, was shown in cinemas across Britain.

Eddie Whitcher can be seen in the film. At the time he was a blue belt.

Between 6-8 November 1987, at the 4th World International Tournament held in Tokyo, Shokei Matsui became the youngest man, at 21 years old, to become world champion. He faced Andy Hug of Switzerland in the final.

On 6 November 2004 Shotokan master, Taiji Kase, became very ill and was admitted to hospital. He was allowed to go home as he seemed to have recovered. However, he would eventually fall into a coma from which he would not wake.

7 November

On 7 November 2008, Hidetaka Nishiyama a pioneer of American Shotokan Karate died.

Born 10 October 1928, Master Nishiyama attended the famed Takushoku University, studying economics. In 1949 he was named the captain of the Karate team, after joining earlier that year.

In the early 1950s, Nishiyama was part of a group, including Masatoshi Nakayama and Isao Obata, selected to teach military personnel from the Strategic Air Command (SAC). By 1960 he had been promoted to 5th Dan and was became an important member of the Japan Karate Association (JKA).

In the 1960s Nishiyama moved to the United States. He went on to form the All-American Karate Federation (AAKF). He was also a founding member of the Pan American Karate Union and the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF).

He died in 2008 following a long battle with cancer.

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