This week in history (28 October – 3 November)

28 October

On 28 October 1939 Keigo Abe was born in Iyoshi, Ehime Prefecture, Japan.

A direct student of Masatoshi Nakayama, Abe graduated from the JKA Instructors Program in 1965. He was a long serving instructor at the Japan Karate Association’s hombu. After the JKA split in 1990 he became Technical Director of the JKA (Matsuno faction).

In 1999 Abe resigned from the JKA and formed his own association, Japan Shotokan Karate Association (JSKA).

Noted for his phenomenal back fist, Abe is featured in three volumes of Masatoshi Nakayama’s Best Karate Series (volumes 3, 4, 9) .

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On 28 October 1957 the 1st All Japan University Karate Tournament is held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Shiro Asano becomes the first All Japan University Champion.


29 October

On 29 October 1939 Shiro Asano was born in Tokyo.

A student of Masatoshi Nakayama, Asano attended the Takushoku University becoming a prominent member of the university’s famed Karate club. In 1957 he won the inaugural All Japan Universities Championship. This was followed by another win in 1958.

After graduating from university Asano enrolled on the Japan Karate Association’s Instructor program. After graduating from the program, he becoming a full-time instructor for the JKA in 1963.

As part of the JKA’s expansion, Asano was sent to teach in Germany. He was then invited to the United Kingdom, first going to Liverpool, before finally taking up permanent residence in Nottingham around 1968.

In 1974 Asano was appointed Chairman and Chief Instructor to the Shotokan Karate International (Great Britain) SKI(GB), the British branch of Shotokan Karate International Federation (SKIF), headed by Hirokazu Kanazawa. Eventually Asano also become the Chief Instructor for the Shotokan Karate International European Federation (SKIEF).

Shiro Asano is famed for his superb timing in kumite.


3 November

On 3 November 1954 Mitsusuke Harada was promoted to the rank of Godan (5th dan), awarded to him by Gichin Funakoshi.

Harada started his Karate training in November 1943, under Genshin Hironishi, a student of Funakoshi. Harada received his Shodan (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 Shigeru Egami and Tadao Okuyama. Both masters have been credited with influencing Harada’s style of Karate.

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

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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.

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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.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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