This week in history (29 March – 4 April)

29 March

On 29 March 1965, the JKA World Tour commenced at Hanada Airport, Tokyo. The touring party consisted of Taiji Kase, 6th Dan, who had started training in 1944 at the original Shoto-Kan under Yoshitaka Funakoshi. Hirokazu Kanazawa, 5th Dan, was the next member of the party. He was the first All Japan JKA Championships Grand Champion. The next member of the team was Keinosuke Enoeda, 5th Dan. Nicknamed Toru meaning Tiger, he was known for his strong fighting spirit and had won the kumite title at the All Japan JKA Championships in 1963. The youngest member of the group was Hiroshi Shirai, 5th Dan, who had become the third-ever All Japan JKA Championships Grand Champion in 1962.


On 29 March 2003, Keinosuke Enoeda, the Tiger of Shotokan, died in Tokyo, Japan, from stomach cancer. He was survived by his wife Reiko and their two children, Daisuke and Maya. His funeral took place at the Hozoji Temple in Tokyo. JKA instructor, Norihiko Iida, was a priest at the temple. Fellow JKA instructor, Kimhide Takechi conducted the funeral. A memorial service was held for Enoeda at the Crystal Palace, London on 1 June. Both events were attended by students and instructors from around the world. The tributes given indicated a teacher who was free of ego and who was liked in and out of the dojo. Many students saw him as a surrogate father. He was also remembered for his great sense of humour.


On 29 March 2003, Keinosuke Enoeda’s 9th Dan grade was backdated to this date. The grade was posthumously awarded following his death.


On 29 March 2009, Armenian, Artur Hovhannisyan, was the next person to attempt and complete the 100-Man Kumite Challenge. The test was completed in front of the IKO-1 Head, Shokei Matsui.


31 March

On 31 March 1927, Tetsuji Murakami was born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. His father was a successful wine merchant.

Murakami was a Karate missionary, teaching Karate across Europe and North Africa during the infancy of the art outside of Japan. He was one of the first Japanese instructors to settle in Europe. He was a fearsome instructor that scared and inspired his students in equal measure. He would eventually come under the influence of Shigeru Egami who would change his outlook on training.


On 31 March 1947, Malcolm Dorfman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He started practising Karate in 1966 under South African Karate pioneer Stan Schmidt.

Dorfman was a long member of the JKA. Following the various splits within the JKA, he joined Mikio Yahara’s Karatenomichi World Federation (KWF) in 1999. In 2017 he was awarded his 9th Dan by Yahara.


On 31 March 1995, Judge Atsushi Watanabe of the Tokyo Court of Family Affairs ruled that Mas Oyama’s verbal will was invalid as it had not been signed by him, only by the witnesses. On 24 October 1996, the High Court of Tokyo upheld the decision. Shokei Matsui issued an open letter to IKO members on 12 November 1996. In the letter, he tried to put members’ minds at rest. He stated that it was everyone’s duty to keep Oyama’s dream alive.


1 April

On 1 April 1922, Gichin Funakoshi gave a Karate demonstration at the Women’s Higher Normal School, in Tokyo, Japan.


On 1 April 934, Hironori Ōtsuka opened his own Karate school the Dai Nippon Karate Shinko Kai, at 63 Banchi Suehiro-Cho, Kanda, Tokyo. He blended Shotokan Karate with his knowledge of Shindō Yōshin-ryū jujutsu to form Wadō-ryū Karate,


On 1 April 1957, Vernon Bell forms the British Karate Federation (BKF). This becomes the first official Karate association in the British Isles.

On 1 April 1970, Keinosuke Enoeda was promoted to 6th Dan. He became the 25th person to be awarded this rank by the JKA.


4 April

On 4 April 1947 Mikio Yahara, one of the most dynamic fighters to come out of the JKA, was born in Ehime Prefecture.

Yahara is a firm believer in a budo approach to Karate. In 2000 he broke away from the JKA to form his own organisation, Karatenomichi World Federation (KWF). The organisation is built on the principle of “one strike, one kill” where all techniques are practiced with a martial mindset.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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