Japan Karate Association

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United World Traditional Shotokan Association
Japan Karate Association Logo.png
MottoKeepers of Karate's Highest Tradition
FormationMay 27, 1949
TypeSports federation
Headquarters2-23-15 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo JAPAN 112-0004
Japan Karate Federation, World Karate Federation[1]
Official language
Japanese, English
Masaaki Ueki, 10th Dan <JKA website,2011>

Japan Karate Association (日本 空手 協会; Nihon Karate Kyokai; JKA; sometimes referred to simply as Kyokai 協会 in Japan) is one of the most influential Shotokan karate organizations in the world.[citation needed] It is also one of the oldest karate organizations continuously in operation until the present.[2]


Gichin Funakoshi played a major role in introducing karate from Okinawa to Japan, adjusted to reduce injury and merged with approaches for athletic training. On May 27, 1949, some of his senior students including Isao Obata, Masatoshi Nakayama, and Hidetaka Nishiyama, formed a karate organization dedicated to research, promotion, events management, and education: the Japan Karate Association.[3] Funakoshi, then around 80 years old, held a position equivalent to chief instructor emeritus, with Nakayama as the chief instructor.

The JKA emerged from karate clubs at Japanese universities located in the Tokyo region. Most of these universities, however, distanced themselves from the JKA during the 1950s. Takushoku University always kept strong ties with the JKA, being the alma mater of many of the senior JKA instructors, such as Nakayama, Nishiyama, Okazaki, Asai, Kanazawa, and Enoeda, who were responsible for the JKA's consolidation during the 1960s and 1970s.[3][4]

General uneasiness on how karate was taught by the JKA instructors and disagreements on Funakoshi's funeral arrangements in 1957 motivated some of the senior karateka connected with Funakoshi, but not associated with the JKA, such as Shigeru Egami, Genshin Hironishi, and Tsutomu Ohshima, to form their own organizations, such as Shotokai and Shotokan Karate of America).[5] They claimed to practice a version of Shotokan karate closer to what Funakoshi taught, as compared to the JKA style. The JKA Shotokan approach is also based on Funakoshi's karate, but with significant adaptations introduced mostly by Nakayama, who was JKA chief instructor until his death in 1987.[3][6][7] Under Nakayama's leadership, a generation of respected instructors spread karate worldwide, guided from the JKA headquarters in Tokyo.[3]

Nakayama's books, which include Dynamic Karate and the Best Karate series,[8][9] are fundamental reference materials on Shotokan karate as practiced under the JKA. Clive Nicol, in his classic book Moving Zen, describes the karate practice at the JKA's honbu dojo (headquarters training hall) in Tokyo during the early 1960s, from his unique perspective as a western karate student going from white to black belt in a few years.[10]

Splinter groups[edit]

The JKA experienced several divisions from the 1970s onwards. Notable splinter groups formed as follows:

  • In 1977, JKA instructor Shiro Asano formed his own organization, and invited master Hirokazu Kanazawa to take his place as chief instructor. The group is now known as Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation (SKIF).
  • Following Nakayama's death in 1987, the JKA experienced a turbulent period, both at the Tokyo headquarters and worldwide. Taiji Kase and Hiroshi Shirai, senior JKA instructors in Europe quit to form the World Karate-Do Shotokan Academy. Taketo Okuda, JKA chief instructor in Brazil, quit to focus on his own organization, Butoku-kan.
  • In 1990, a legal dispute started between two groups about the control of JKA. One group was led by Tetsuhiko Asai, the other by Nobuyuki Nakahara. After several court rulings, the issue was ultimately settled by the Japanese Supreme Court on June 10, 1999, in favor of Nakahara's group, which included Masaaki Ueki and Masahiko Tanaka.[11] The other group, led by Tetsuhiko Asai, JKA chief instructor after Nakayama, and including Keigo Abe and Mikio Yahara, left JKA to form other organizations: Japan Karate Shotorenmei,[12] Japan Shotokan Karate Association,[13] and Karatenomichi World Federation,[14] respectively.
  • In 2007, the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF), with headquarters in the US, led by Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th dan and one of the most senior JKA instructors, became independent. However, by 2010 at least two senior Instructors returned to the JKA.
  • In 2009, Takahashi Shunsuke broke away from JKA Australia to form the TSKF Australia (Traditional Shotokan Karate-Do Federation). TSKF joined Teruyuki Okazaki's ISKF in 2011.
  • By 2011, it was acknowledged that Masao Kawasoe, 7th Dan JKA, had returned to the JKA.

Due to these divisions, there is today the notion of a separate JKA karate style—that is, Shotokan karate that follows the JKA tradition to a large extent, but is taught by instructors who are not officially affiliated with JKA (though most of them are former JKA instructors and graduates).

Kenshusei (instructor intern) training program[edit]

In 1956, the JKA started its kenshusei instructor intern training program at the JKA honbu dojo, in Yotsuya, Tokyo, which had been built in 1955. This program was instituted by Masatoshi Nakayama. The training program has promoted the consistency and quality control of JKA training practices over the years, graduating some of the world's most well known karateka (practitioners of karate), as listed below.


The following table lists JKA kenshusei training program graduates in order of year of graduation. The reported rank of graduates no longer with the JKA is that from their current organization. Such rank is not necessarily recognized by the JKA.

Name Year of Graduation Rank Position
Mikami Takayuki 1957 9th dan USA JKA/AF Southern
Takaura Eiji 1957
Kanazawa Hirokazu 1957 10th dan Founder SKIF
Tsushima Toshio 1958
Yaguchi Yutaka 1958 9th dan USA ISKF Mountain States
Ouchi Kyo 1959
Sato Masaki 1959
*Saito Shigeru 1959
Inaba Mitsue 1960
Kano Masahiko 1960
Watanabe Gunji 1960
*Ogata Kyoji 1960
Kisaka Katsuharu 1961 8th dan USA - JKA New Jersey since 1967 (current)
Nakaya Ken 1961
Ogawa Eiko 1961
Ueki Masaaki 1961 9th dan(2011) HQ Shihan Chief Instructor Worldwide
Keinosuke Enoeda 1961 9th dan Deceased March 29, 2003
*Miyazaki Satoshi 1961 8th dan Deceased May 31, 1993
*Mori Osamu 1961
*Takahashi Yoshimasa 1961
*Majima Kenshiro 1962
Sakai Ryusuke 1962 8th dan
Jitsuhara Shoji 1963
Ochi Hideo 1963 9th dan DJKB ("JKA Germany")
Takahashi Yasuoki 1963
Itaya Michihisa 1963 6th dan South America JKA - "Deceased 1972"
Abe Keigo 1965 9th dan Japan JSKA
Oishi Takeshi 1965
*Tabata Yukichi 1965
Takashina Shigeru 1966 8th dan USA JKA/WFA Deceased September 3, 2013
Kawazoe Masao 1967 8th Dan (Also Chief Instructor ITKF)
Higashi Kunio 1967
Iida Norihiko 1967
Okamoto Hideki 1967 8th dan Egypt - "Deceased 2009".
Takahashi Shunsuke 1967 8th dan Chief Instructor TSKF Australia
Yano Kenji 1967
Okuda Taketo 1967 8th dan Butoku-kan (Brazil)
Baba Isamu 1970
Horie Teruo 1971
Nishino Shuhei 1971
*Hayakawa Norimasa 1971
Kanegae Kenji 1972
Osaka Yoshiharu 1972 8th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Sato Teruo 1974
Mori Toshihiro 1975
Imura Takenori 1977 7th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Kurasako Kenro 1977 7th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Minoru Kawawada 1978 7th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Komaki Masaki 1978
Omura Fujikiyo 1978 7th dan JKA Thailand
Fukami Akira 1979
Kaneko Taneaki 1979
Sakata Masashi 1979
Abe Miwako 1980
Tsuchii Takayuki 1980
Yamamoto Hideo 1980
Ohta Yoshinobu Attendee 7th Dan Head JKA England
Ogura Yasunori 1982 7th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Imamura Tomio 1983 7th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Kashiwagi Nobuyuki 1984
Koike Tsuyoshi 1984
Yokomichi Masaaki 1984
Izumiya Seizo 1986 6th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Shiina Katsutoshi 1986 6th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Hanzaki Yasuo 1987 6th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Nakamura Yoko 1987
Naka Tatsuya 1989 7th dan (2012) HQ Full-Time Instructor
Noda Kenichi 1990
Taniyama Takuya 1990 6th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
*Imai Hiromitsu 1991
Takahashi Satoshi 1992 5th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Kobayashi Kunio 1993 5th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Ogata Koji 1994 5th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Walter Crockford 1996 5th dan JKA Canada
Ikenaga Atsushi 1996
Hirayama Yuko 1998 6th dan (as of 2012) HQ Secretariat
Okuma Koichiro 1998 6th dan HQ Full-Time Instructor
Iwasawa Mayumi 1998 3rd dan HQ Secretariat
Aragaki Misako 2003 3rd dan HQ Secretariat
Ubukata Koji 2003
Yamada Satomi 2004
Nemoto Keisuke 2004
Okuie Satomi 2004
Kurihara Kazuaki 2004
Shimizu Ryosuke 2004
Kumeta Riki 2008


This list is incomplete. For instance, it does not include some members who were expelled or resigned from the JKA see below:

  • Kisaka Katsuharu (Katsuya) 8th dan JKA Instructor JKA of New Jersey, USA (current)
  • Abe Keigo, 9th dan (former JKA HQ instructor) JSKA Chief Instructor
  • Aramoto Nobuyuki, 8th dan (former JKA instructor)
  • Asai Tetsuhiko, 10th dan (former HQ JKA instructor) JKS/IJKA Chief instructor (passed)
  • Inaba Tsuneyuki, 7th dan (former JKA instructor)
  • Isaka Akito, 7th dan (former JKA instructor) KWF
  • Ishimine Minoru, 7th dan (former JKA instructor)
  • Kagawa Masao, 9th dan (former JKA instructor) JKS Chief Instructor
  • Kagawa Masayoshi, 7th dan (former JKA member, not JKA instructor graduate)
  • Kanayama Kyosho, 7th dan (former JKA instructor) (Chief of Domestic Department JKS)
  • Mizuno Yoshihisa, 8th dan (former JKA instructor)
  • Yokota Kousaku, 8th dan (former JKA member, not JKA instructor graduate) ASAI Chief Instructor
  • Naito Takashi, 7th dan (Has left E.T.K.F & returned to JKA)
  • Shin Naomitsu, 7th dan (former JKA member, not JKA instructor graduate)
  • Sumi Yoshikazu, 8th dan (former JKA member, not JKA instructor graduate) ISKDA Chief Instructor
  • Tamang Pemba, 8th dan (former JKA HQ instructor) NSKF Chief Instructor
  • Tanaka Chougo, 7th dan (former JKA member, not JKA instructor graduate)
  • Yahara Mikio, 8th dan (former JKA HQ instructor) KWF Chief Instructor
  • Yamaguchi Takashi, 8th dan (former JKA instructor) (Chief of International Department JKS)
  • Kanazawa Hirokazu, 10th dan (former JKA HQ instructor) Chief instructor SKIF
  • Kase Yasuharu, 10th dan (former JKA HQ instructor) Chief Instructor SRKH (passed)
  • Kasuya Hitoshi, 9th dan (former JKA instructor) Chief Instructor WSKF
  • Katsumata (Suzuki) Yutaka, 7th dan (former JKA instructor)
  • Shirai Hiroshi, 10th dan (former JKA instructor) WSKA
  • Tatetsu Meicho, 7th dan (former JKA instructor)
  • Asano Shiro, 9th dan (former JKA member, not JKA instructor graduate) SKIF

The list at the JKA's website, which includes most members who left or were expelled, may also be incomplete. The JKA has not included some former members who have completed the course and are not currently affiliated with JKA. In addition, during the troubled period between 1990 and 1999 each JKA faction held its own instructors' course. Currently, the JKA does not recognize graduates from the instructors' courses led by the JKS (Japan Karate Shoto Renmei, which also held the name JKA between 1990 and 1999).

Karateka such as Dave Hazard (UK)[15], Ennio Vezzuli (Brazil), Nigel Jackson (South Africa), Peté Pacheco (Portugal), Malcolm Fisher (Canada), Leon Montoya (Colombia), Richard Amos (UK, US), Pascal Lesage (France) and others, are mentioned in karate forums as having completed the JKA instructors' course (or having had substantial participation in it) but do not appear on the list of graduates as published in 2008 on the JKA's website.[16]

In addition, the list does not include graduate instructors from the instructor programmes of splinter groups such as JKS and KWF, examples being Norio Kawasaki (KWF - Japan) Masamichi Otsuka (KWF - Japan) Yutaka Koike (JKS - Japan) Yasuhisa Inada (JKS - Japan) Scott Langley (JKS - Ireland) Kyle Kamal Helou (JKS - Lebanon) Takeo Matsui (JKS- Japan) Takuya Makita (JKS - Japan)


Although Gichin Funakoshi wrote that there are no contests in Karate, Nakayama Masatoshi teachings led to more scientific and competitive approach to the training and in 1957 the first All Japan Karate Championship was held, and has been held annually since.

World championships[edit]

In addition, the JKA has organised a number of international tournaments amongst which the following have been considered to be the JKA's World Championships:

Year Tournament name Location
1975 1st IAKF World Championships United States Los Angeles, USA
1977 2nd IAKF World Championships Japan Tokyo, Japan
1980 3rd IAKF World Championships Germany Bremen, West Germany
1983 4th IAKF World Championships Egypt Cairo, Egypt
1985 1st ShotoCup Japan Tokyo, Japan
1987 2nd ShotoCup Australia Brisbane, Australia
1990 3rd ShotoCup England Sunderland, England
1992 4th ShotoCup Japan Tokyo, Japan
1994 5th ShotoCup United States Philadelphia, USA
1996 6th ShotoCup Japan Ohsaka, Japan
1998 7th ShotoCup France Paris, France
2000 8th ShotoCup Japan Tokyo, Japan
2004 9th ShotoCup Japan Tokyo, Japan
2006 10th Funakoshi Gichin Cup World Karate-do Championship Australia Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, Sydney, Australia
2009 11th Funakoshi Gichin Cup World Karate-do Championship CANCELLED[17] Japan Nihon Budo-kan, Tokyo, Japan
2011 12th Funakoshi Gichin Cup World Karate-do Championship Thailand Pattaya, Thailand
2014 13th Cup World Karate-do Championship Japan Nihon Budo-kan, Tokyo, Japan
2017 14th Funakoshi Gichin Cup Karate World Championship Ireland

Male Kumite[edit]

Year Champion Runner-Up 3rd Place
1975[18] Japan Masahiko Tanaka Japan Takashi Oishi United Kingdom Billy Higgins
1977[18] Japan Masahiko Tanaka Italy De Michelis East Germany Willrodt
1980[18] Japan Toshihiro Mori Socialist Federal Republic of YugoslaviaDusan Dacic East Germany Hoffman
1983[18] Japan Hideo Yamamoto Italy Guazzaroni Egypt Sarie
1985[18] Japan Minoru Kawawada Japan Masaaki Yokomichi Japan Takayuki Tsuchii/JapanMasao Kagawa
1987[18] Japan Tomio Imamura United Kingdom Frank Brennan United Kingdom George Best/ItalyMarco Barone
1990[18] Japan Masao Kagawa United Kingdom Ronnie Christopher Belgium Fillipo Allata / Sweden Jensen
1992[18] Japan Tomio Imamura United Kingdom Frank Brennan Japan Kunio Kobayashi / Japan Tatsuya Naka
1994[18] South Africa Pavlo Protopapa Belgium Jeannot Mulolo South Africa Colin Smith / Japan Katsutoshi Shiina
1996[18] Canada Don Sharp Japan Toshihito Kokubun Japan Kunio Kobayashi / Japan Takuya Taniyama
1998[18] Japan Toshihito Kokubun Japan Koji Ogata Switzerland Pierre Toudjip / Belgium Jeannot Mulolo
2000[18] Japan Toshihito Kokubun South Africa Johan LaGrange Japan Takuya Taniyama /Japan Koji Ogata
2004[19] Japan Koji Ogata Sweden Miroslav Femic Japan Ohkuma Kouichiro / South Africa Johan LaGrange
2006[20] Japan Koji Ogata Brazil Chinzo Machida Japan Nemoto Keisuke / Japan Ohkuma Kouichiro
2011[21] Japan Rikiya Iimura JapanKoji Chubachi Japan Nemoto Keisuke / Russia Andrey Mazurov
2014[22] Japan Koji Chubachi JapanRikiya Iimura Japan Nemoto Keisuke / Thailand Supa Ngamphuengphit
2017 Chile Rodrigo Rojas Japan Okada Yasunori Japan Ueda Daisuke/JapanHaga Yusuke

Male Kata[edit]

Year Champion Runner-Up 3rd Place
1975[18] Japan Yoshiharu Osaka Italy Fugazza East Germany Strauff
1977[18] Japan Yoshiharu Osaka Japan Mikio Yahara Italy Fugazza
1980[18] Japan Yoshiharu Osaka Japan Mikio Yahara Greece Karamitsos
1983[18] Japan Yoshiharu Osaka Japan Mikio Yahara Egypt Saedd El Herem
1985[18] Japan Minoru Kawawada Japan Masao Kagawa JapanAkira Fukami
1987[18] Japan Takenori Imura Japan Masao Kagawa Japan Okazaki Hiroyoshi
1990[18] Japan Tomoyuki Aihara United Kingdom Frank Brennan Japan Masao Kagawa
1992[18] Japan Tomoyuki Aihara Japan Imura Takenori Japan Yuji Hashiguchi
1994[18] Japan Imura Takenori Japan Okazaki Hiroyoshi Japan Tomoyuki Aihara
1996[18] Japan Imura Takenori Japan Yuji Hashiguchi Japan Tomoyuki Aihara
1998[18] Japan Yuji Hashiguchi Japan Seizo Izumiya Japan Takuya Taniyama
2000[18] Japan Takuya Taniyama Japan Seizo Izumiya Japan Katsutoshi Shiina
2004[19] Japan Katsutoshi Shiina Japan Takuya Taniyama Japan Kobayashi Kunio
2006[20] Japan Kurihara Kazuaki Japan Kobayashi Kunio Japan Saitoh Yuki
2011[21] Japan Kurihara Kazuaki Japan Naoto Maruoka Japan Hideki Hukuhara
2014[22] Japan Kurihara Hidemoto Japan Daisuke Ueda Japan Kurihara Kazuaki
2017[23] Japan Kurihara Kazuaki Japan Kurihara Hidemoto Japan Hakizume Yushi

Female Kumite[edit]

Year Champion Runner-Up 3rd Place
1975[18] NA NA NA
1977[18] NA NA NA
1980[18] NA NA NA
1983[18] NA NA NA
1985[18] NA NA NA
1987[18] NA NA NA
1990[18] Japan Yuko Hasama TBC TBC
1992[18] Japan Yukiko Yoneda Japan Yoshimi Naoko Japan Sakurako Sasaki / Japan Keiko Kono
1994[18] Japan Hiromi Hasama Japan Mayumi Baba Japan Kimiyo Nakamura / Daud NilawatiIndonesia
1996[18] Japan Hiromi Hasama Japan Mayumi Baba Japan Shoko Sakuragi / Japan Yuko Okuda
1998[18] Japan Mayumi Baba United Kingdom Caroline Quansum United Kingdom Colette Glynn / Japan Hiromi Hasama
2000[18] Japan Hiromi Hasama Japan Yuko Okuda South Africa Christy Cauvin / Japan Mayumi Baba
2004[19] Japan Okuie Satomi Japan Takahashi Yuko Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Tatjana Nikolic / Hungary Krisztina Zsigmond
2006[20] Japan Yuko Takahashi Japan Okuda Yuko Australia Tracy Pearce / Australia Storm Wheatley
2011[21] Japan Asumi Isiduka Sweden Glusa Akdag Russia Sergeeva Alla / Venezuela Josmaira Quiroz
2014[22] Japan Taguchi Satoshitama Japan Mai Shiina Japan Yuki Ito / Czech Republic Cifkova Petra

Female Kata[edit]

Year Champion Runner-Up 3rd Place
1975[18] NA NA NA
1977[18] Japan Hiromi Kawashima Japan Keiki Hayakawa United States R Senior
1980[18] Japan Hiromi Kawashima Japan Hiroko Moriya East Germany Schweiber
1983[18] Japan Hiroko Moriya Japan Yuko Sakada Japan Yoko Nakamura
1985[18] Japan Yoko Nakamura Japan Kikue Yamamoto Japan Yurika Yoshida
1987[18] Japan Yuki Mimura Japan Yoko Nakamura Japan Hiroe Sekimori
1990[18] Japan Yuki Mimura Japan Yoko Nakamura Japan Maiko Asano
1992[18] Japan Yoko Nakamura Japan Miyo Gunji Japan Miwa Akiyama
1994[18] Japan Yoko Nakamura Indonesia Ompi Omita Japan Haruna Ikutake
1996[18] Japan Yoko Nakamura Japan Miyo Gunji Japan Nakata Terumi
1998[18] Japan Miyoko Fujiwara Japan Miyo Gunji South Africa Karin Prinsloo
2000[18] Japan Nakata Terumi Japan Miyo Gunji Japan Chiharu Azuma
2004[19] Japan Nakata Terumi Japan Misako Aragaki Japan Oshima Nozomi
2006[20] Japan Misako Aragaki Japan Nozomi Oshima Japan Shirota Takaki
2011[21] Japan Nozomi Oshima Japan Miki Nakamachi Japan Serino Fukasaku
2014[22] Japan Miki Nakamachi Japan Takagi Ayano Japan Hikawa Nao
2017[22] Japan Ayano Nakamura Japan Yuna Sato Japan Rio Hayakawa


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External links[edit]