This week in history (29 October – 4 November)

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 Master 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.

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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.

Born on 31 March 1927 Murakami began his Karate training at age nineteen under Masaji Yamagushi, 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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