July 5, 1922|
Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
December 11, 1999 (aged 77)|
Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
|Style||Goju-ryu Karate, Judo|
|Rank||10th dan karate, 8th dan judo|
|Notable students||Kiichi Nakamoto, Teruo Chinen, Morio Higaonna, Chuck Merriman, An'ichi Miyagi, Masaji Taira|
Eiichi Miyazato (宮里 栄一 Miyazato Eiichi, July 5, 1922 – December 11, 1999) was a leading Okinawan master of Goju-ryu karate. He was a senior post-war student of Chōjun Miyagi, founder of the Goju-ryu style. Miyazato held the rank of 10th dan in karate and 7th dan in judo; on his death, he was honoured with the degree of 8th dan in judo.
Miyazato was born on July 5, 1922, in I-Chome, 13 Banchi, Higashi-machi, Naha, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Some sources indicate that Miyazato began training under Miyagi at the age of 13, while others state that Miyazato first trained under his own father and only began training under Miyagi at the age of 15. Miyazato's father had been a student of Kanryo Higaonna, who had been Miyagi's teacher, so Miyagi accepted the young Miyazato as his student. Except for an interrupted period due to World War II, Miyazato learned from Miyagi continuously until the death of the latter in 1953. Apart from his karate training, he also studied judo under Shoko Itokazu.
Miyazato who also after the war was heavily occupied with judo became a judo champion around 1950 or 1951 and even left for Japan in April 1953, to attend the Japan Kodokan seminar. Miyazato became an accomplished judo master in local police judo club and president of the Okinawan Judo Federation.
Miyazato joined the Ryukyu Police Department on Miyagi's recommendation in 1946. He served as physical education instructor at the police academy, and assisted Miyagi (then an instructor at the academy), teaching karate and judo there. Upon Miyagi's death in 1953, Miyazato inherited his teacher's training equipment, and the family also passed on Miyagi's gi (uniform) and obi (belt) to him. Miyazato took up the position of teaching at the 'Garden dojo,' which had been Miyagi's dojo.
In 1957, Miyazato opened his own dojo, the Jundokan, in Asato, Naha. The building had three levels, with Miyazato's dwelling located on the top level. In 1972, he retired from the police force and devoted the rest of his life to teaching karate. Through the early 1970s, he served as Vice-President of the Okinawan Judo Federation and President of the Okinawa Prefecture Karate-do Federation.
On March 20, 1988, the Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate-do Kyokai awarded him the rank of 10th dan in karate. Apart from his karate rank, Miyazato held the rank of 7th dan in judo from the Kodokan, and was President of the Okinawa Judo Federation.
Miyazato received several awards for his contribution to the martial arts. In 1984, Miyazato received an official commendation from the Kodokan. In 1994, he was awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service from the Nihon Budo Kyogikai and received an official commendation from the Okinawa Judo Federation. In 1998, he received an official commendation from the Japanese Ministry of Education.
Following a period of poor health, Miyazato died on December 11, 1999,[a] in Naha Hospital. On his death, the Kodokan awarded him the rank of 8th dan in judo. Miyazato's students included Riyosei Arakai, Shinzo Chinen, Teruo Chinen, Yoshio Hichiya, Morio Higaonna, Koshin Iha, Kiichi Nakamoto, Anyu Shinjo, Shinichi Iribe, Masanari Kikukawa, Seikichi Kinjo, Mike Mancuso, Tetsu Gima, Tsuneo Kinjo, Atsumi Iida, Kenei Shimabukuro, Hiroshi Ganaha, Kazuya Higa, Hisao Sunagawa, Richard Barrett, Mike Clarke, Chuck Merriman, Nanko Minei, Keikichi Nakasone, Kenei Shiabuku, Masaji Taira, Koei Teruya, Tetsunosuke Yasuda and Ryoichi Onaga. Miyazato's dojo is now run by his son, Yoshihiro Miyazato.
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