This week in history (28 May – 3 June)

On 28 May 1952 Clive Layton, a prolific author on Karate, was born.

Layton began training in Shotokan Karate under Michael Randall ,Chris Adamou, and Nick Adamou. In 1977 he received his 1st Dan from Hirokazu Kanazawa.

His books [amazon text=Shotokan Dawn: Vol 1 %26 2&asin=0955512204] detail the beginnings of Karate in Britain under Vernon Bell.

On 29 May 1964 JKA instructor Tatsuya Naka, was born.

Naka started Wado-ryu Karate under the guidance of  at the age of thirteen school and attended the famous Takushoku University where he began learning Shotokan Karate. After graduating from university he entered the JKA Instructors Course, graduating in 1989. Known for his in depth knowledge of kata, he won an All Japan Karate Championship title in 1992.

Naka is a full-time instructor at the JKA’s headquarters based in Tokyo and represents the new generation of younger instructors. In addition to his teaching duties he is also the general manager of the JKA Public Relations Division. If that was not enough, he has appeared in at least three films.

On 31 May 1993 the former Chief Instructor for the JKA in Belgium, Satoshi Miyazaki died.

In 1956 Miyazaki enrolled at Takushoku University to study economics, having been persuaded by Masatoshi Nakayama to do so. He joined the university’s famed Shotokan Karate school as a white belt, studying under Nakayama. Nakayama would be his instructor for the next eleven years.

On completing his degree, Miyazaki was asked by Nakayama to enroll on the 1961 JKA Instructor Course. Others enrolled on that year’s course included Masaaki Ueki and Keinosuke Enoeda.

On graduating from the Instructor’s Course, in 1967 Miyazaki was asked to take over from Taiji Kase, who had been teaching in Belgium for six months

Miyazaki became the Technical Director of the Belgian Karate Federation (BAKF), a position he held until his untimely death in 1993. Apart from establishing Shotokan Karate in Belgium, Miyazaki taught many courses across Europe.

On 1 June 1892 the founder of Wado-ryu Karate, Hironori Ōhtsuka, was born.

Although Ōhtsuka was an early student of Gichin Funakoshi, he had previously studied Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu for many years.

After training in Shotokan Karate for around ten years, Ōhtsuka left to form his own style of Wado-ryu in 1939. Wado-ryu is considered one of the major styles of Karate. It contains elements of both Shotokan Karate and Jujutsu.

On 2 June 1922 Gichin Funakoshi gave a Karate demonstration in front of the Poplar Club in Tabata, Tokyo.

Funakoshi had arrived in Japan earlier in 1922 at the request of the Japanese Ministry of Education to give a demonstration of Okinawan Karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition, held a the Kishi Gymnasium, Ochanomizu, Tokyo.

The demonstration of Karate at the Poplar Club was one of several demonstrations given by Funakoshi to introduce the Okinawan martial art to the Japanese people. The Poplar Club was an artists guild. The famous Japanese painter Hoan Kosugi was a member of the guild. He became a friend to Funakoshi and eventually was one of his first students. It was Kosugi who came up with the design of the Shotokan Tiger.

On 3 June 1922 the earliest known Japanese newspaper article on Karate was published in the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun. The title of the article was “The Mystical Martial Art – Karate: (Chinese Fist) from Ryukyu (Okinawa Prefecture). Wonderful Technique to Defend from an Opponent with Bare Hands. Kodokan to Study”.


On 3 June 1959 the final known letter between Vernon Bell and Henri Plee was written by Bell. Plee had been instrumental in introducing Karate to Europe. Bell had studied Karate under Plee and was responsible for introducing the martial art to Britain. However the two men had fallen out over various issues and the letter was the last correspondence between the two of them.

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