This week in history (4 June – 10 June)

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“. 

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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 through Plee’s encouragement. However the two men had fallen out over various issues and the letter was the last correspondence between the two of them. 


On 7 June 1935 Shotokan master and former technical director of the Japan Karate Association (JKA), Tetsuhiko Asai was born in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. 

As a boy Asai had trained in Sumo, Judo and Kendo. He became interested in Karate after seeing a karate-ka defeat a boxer in a fight.  Upon entering Takushoku University he trained in Karate under Masatoshi Nakayama and Teruyuki Okazaki. After graduating in 1958 and following a recommendation from Nakayama, Asai enrolled on the JKA’s Instructors program. 

After graduating from the Instructor Program, Asai spent five years teaching Karate in Hawaii. On returning to Japan he was sent to Taiwan, becoming  the first instructor to introduce karate to that country. He eventually returned to japan, teaching at the JKA’s hombu dojo. 

Asai was a former winner of the JKA All Japan Karate Championship in kumite in 1961, going on to become only the third man to be name named Grand Champion after also coming 2nd in the kata competition. Hirokazu Kanazawa and Takayuki Mikami were the other men to be named Grand Champion. Asai was also a winner of the kata title in 1963. 

Tetsuhiko Asai died 15 August 2006. Earlier that year he had undergone liver surgery. 


On 10 June 1946 Michael Dewey, the Chief Instructor of Shotokan of England Karate Union (SEKU), was born. 

Dewey, a boat builder by trade, began his Karate training in 1967 at the Portsmouth Karate Club. Dewey, a keen footballer, was introduced to the new art of Karate by his girlfriend. On weekends Ray Fuller, a black belt from Keinosuke Enoeda‘s Blackfriars Shotokan dojo in London, would travel to Portsmouth to teach. 

In 1972 Dewey earned his 1st Dan from Enoeda at a Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) Summer Training Course, held at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London. 

Dewey became a full time Karate instructor in 1974, running several clubs on the south coast of England. 

Between 1973 to 1979 Dewey was a member of several KUGB squads. He was a member of the British team that came third at the 1977 World Championships held in Japan. He was also a member of the 1980 team that won European gold in Brussels. He was also selected to represent the British All-Styles Karate Team between 1975 to 1979, under the management of Steve Arneil. 

In 1982 Dewey was appointed the Chief Instructor of the South of England Karate Union (SEKU), which was eventually renamed to Shotokan of England Karate Union. 

Author: Patrick Donkor

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