List of major Shotokan Karate organizations

List of major Shotokan Karate organizations

This is a list of some of the larger Shotokan karate organizations.

Japan Karate Association

The Japan Karate Association (JKA; "Nihon Karate Kyokai" in Japan) was the first formal Shotokan organization, formed by the Shotokan karate clubs of Japanese universities. Takushoku University provided the most members initially, but Hosei, Waseda, Gakushuin, and Keio Universities also contributed members. Masatoshi Nakayama (1913–1987) led the JKA, with Gichin Funakoshi holding a position equivalent to Professor Emeritus. The JKA grew to be one of the biggest karate organizations in the world. Differences between senior instructors and administrators gave rise to several breakaway groups, with the JKA itself eventually dividing into two factions. Nobuyuki Nakahara, Ueki Masaaki, Tanaka Masahiko, Yoshiharu Osaka and others led one faction, while Asai Tetsuhiko led the other. Following legal battles, the Nakahara group retained control of the JKA. The following sections describe some of the Shotokan organizations that descended from the JKA. The founders of these organizations are some of the most senior Shotokan instructors in the world.


Shigeru Egami (1912–1981), founded the Shōtōkai, or "association/group of Shoto (Funakoshi)". The Shotokai claims that Egami, the most senior of the Shotokai, was named successor by Gichin Funakoshi after the death of his son Yoshitaka.Fact|date=April 2008

International Traditional Karate Federation

Hidetaka Nishiyama (1928–), 10th "dan", is Chairman of the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) and President of the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF). Nishiyama began his karate training in 1943 under Gichin Funakoshi at the Shotokan. Two years later, while enrolled at Takushoku University, he became a member of the university's karate team, for which in 1949 he was named captain. He was a co-founder of the All Japan Collegiate Karate Federation and was elected as its first chairman. In 1951, Nishiyama became a founding member of the JKA, and was elected to the JKA Board of Directors. In 1952, he was selected as a member of the martial arts combat instruction staff for the US Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combat Training Program. The other karate instructors for this program included Funakoshi, Nakayama, and Isao Obata. Nishiyama is one of the most senior Shotokan karateka in the world. His former students include Hiroshi Shirai and Takeshi Oishi. Nishiyama continues to instruct at the Central Dojo in Los Angeles.

Shotokan Karate of America

Tsutomu Ohshima (1930–present), 5th "dan" (the rank Funakoshi awarded him, and the rank he has retained by choice), is head of Shotokan Karate of America (SKA), a non-profit organization that has been teaching traditional karate-do in the United States since 1955. Ohshima was given permission by Funakoshi to bring Shotokan karate to the USA and split from the other Shotokan schools after Funakoshi's death in 1957. Ohshima is recognized as the chief instructor of many other SKA-affiliated Shotokan organizations worldwide. SKA maintains its national headquarters in Los Angeles and is not affiliated with the JKA.

Shotokan Karate-do International Federation

Hirokazu Kanazawa (1931–), 10th "dan", broke away from the JKA in 1978, and called his organization "Shotokan Karate-do International Federation" (SKIF). Kanazawa had studied under Masatoshi Nakayama and Hidetaka Nishiyama (1928–), both students of Gichin Funakoshi. SKIF introduced elements of Tai Chi Chuan, particularly in the matter of flow and balance, and actively promoted the evolution of Shotokan while maintaining the traditional core of the art. Kanazawa is considered one of the most technically brilliant Shotokan exponents, and was a top contender in competition. Most notably, he won the "kumite" championship at the first JKA Open Tournament (1957) with a broken hand. Kanazawa was awarded 10th "dan" in 2000.

International Shotokan Karate Federation

Teruyuki Okazaki (1931–), 10th "dan", leads the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF), which is the largest Shotokan karate organization in North America and South America. Okazaki studied under Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama, and was integral in the founding of the JKA Instructor Trainee program. As part of an effort by Nakayama to spread Shotokan karate internationally, Okazaki came to the USA in 1961. Okazaki founded the ISKF in 1977 and it was part of the JKA until June 2007.

Japan Karate Shotorenmei

Tetsuhiko Asai (1935–2006), 10th "dan", often practiced Sumo, Judo, Kendo, and the Spear in his youth. Asai studied at the Takushoku University in Tokyo, where he also studied Shotokan karate. He joined the instructors' program and became a JKA instructor. In later years, Asai instructed in China, Hong Kong, America, Europe, and Hawaii (where he led the Hawaiian Karate Association). Asai was made Chief Instructor of the JKA after Masatoshi Nakayama's death in 1987; however, he—along with a number of other senior JKA instructors—opposed the appointment of Nakahara as Chairman, and so formed a separate JKA (Matsuno Section). Following a lengthy legal battle, the Nakahara group won the rights to the JKA title and Asai's group adopted the name of the Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS).

Japan Shotokan Karate Association

Keigo Abe (1938–present), 8th "dan", as a student at the JKA "Honbu", learned directly from Nakayama, which is reflected in his deference to Nakayama as being his only headmaster. Abe was a former senior instructor at the JKA "Honbu", having graduated from the instructors' program. He held the office of Director of Qualifications in the original, pre-split JKA. However after the split in 1990, he became the Technical Director of the JKA (Matsuno Section), during some of the association's most turbulent years. In his youth, Abe took 3rd place in the very first JKA National Championships; was the captain of the Japanese team at the second World Championships in Paris, France; won 1st place at the JKA International Friendship Tournament (1973); and took 1st place in the second and third JKF National Championships as a representative of Tokyo. Renowned for his strong traditional approach to Shotokan karate, he retired from the JKA in 1999 to form his own international organisation—the Japan Shotokan Karate Association (JSKA). Abe was also responsible for formulating the Shobu Ippon tournament rules, which are used by most Shotokan stylists today.

Karatenomichi World Federation

Mikio Yahara (1947–), 8th "dan", is Chief Instructor of the Karatenomichi World Federation (KWF). Yahara graduated from Kokushikan University and became a JKA instructor during that organization's zenith in the 1970s and 1980s. In over a decade of competition, Yahara distinguished himself as a predatory fighter, monopolizing the high ranks of domestic and international championships. As a Kata World Cup Champion, he is probably most famous for his performance of the Unsu and Empi kata. He is known for single-handly defeating 34 local gangsters ("yakuza"), facing down a gangster with a gun, and turning up for a competition with a knife wound. [ [ Mikio Yahara controversial legend] ] When Tetsuhiko Asai, Yahara, Keigo Abe, Akihito Isaka and other leading JKA Karateka formed the Matsuno Section of the JKA, Yahara became Assistant Chief Instructor. In 2000, Yahara formed the Karatenomichi World Federation with Isaka and which is represented in over 40 countries. Yahara fractured three of his opponent's ribs during his 8th "dan" promotion kumite in July 2006. The KWF claims that no other senior karate instructor has ever submitted himself to real kumite, in front of juniors and in front of the camera, for his 8th "dan". In April 2007, Yahara and Japanese industrial loan magnate Kenshin Oshima, who is also a personal pupil of Yahara officially opened the ShotoKan, ¥1 billion private members' dojo donated to the KWF by Oshima.


See also

* List of shotokan techniques
* International Shotokan Karate Federation
* Japan Karate Association
* Karatenomichi World Federation
* Karate Union of Great Britain

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