This week in history (30 October – 5 November)

3 November

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

Harada started his karate training in November 1943, under Genshin Hironishi, a student of Master 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 Master Hiroshi Noguchi.

In the early 1950s Harada trained regularly with Masters 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 Master Funakoshi. Like Masters Egami, Hironishi and Tsutomu Ohshima, Master Harada never graded beyond 5th dan, in honor of the final grade attained by Master 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.

Born 31 March 1927, Murakami began his Karate training at age nineteen, under Masaji Yamagushi, an early student of Master 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 Master 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.

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.

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