This week in history (25 May – 31 May)

27 May

On 27 May 1949, Isao Obata, alongside Shigeru Egami, Masatoshi Nakayama, and others, helped establish the Japan Karate Association (JKA). He became the JKA’s first Chairman. Funakoshi was made Honorary Chief instructor, with Nakayama becoming Chief Instructor. Other appointments included:

  • Kichinosuke Saigo becoming President
  • Masatomi Takagi becoming Administrator
  • Kimio Itoh becoming Director of Administration
  • Hidetaka Nishiyama becoming Chief of the Instruction Committee

28 May

On 28 May 1952, Clive Layton, a Shotokan practitioner and author, was born in Hertfordshire, England.

Layton has written a number of books on the early history of Karate in the United Kingdom. He has also a number of biographies on masters like Steve Arneil, and Hirokazu Kanazawa.


29 May

On 29 May 1947, Hamish Adam, a Wado-ryu practitioner was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a part of the British team that won the team kumite title at the 1975 World Championships held in Long Beach, California. He was also part of the Scottish team that won the 1973 European Team Championships at their first attempt.


On 29 May 1959, Pat McKay, a multiple world champion, was born in Kilmarnock.

Fighting at light heavyweight (-80 KG), Pat Mckay’s record is second to none. He is a 13-time Scottish Champion and a 5-time World Champion. Alongside Vic Charles and Geoff Thompson, he was one of Britain’s first multiple World Champions.


On 29 May 1964, JKA instructor Tatsuya Naka, was born.

Naka started Wado-ryu Karate at the age of thirteen at school. He attended the famous Takushoku University where he began learning Shotokan Karate. After graduating from university he entered the JKA Instructors Course, graduating in 1989. Known for his in-depth knowledge of kata, he is an All Japan Karate Championship title in 1992.


On 29 May 1981, Elisa Au, a multiple world champion, was born in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Au holds a number of firsts in her competitive career. She was the first American woman to win an individual kumite world title. She was also the first person, male or female to win two individual world titles at the same championships (a feat repeated by the great Rafael Aghayev in 2008). A kumite specialist, she is known for her speed and exceptional timing.


30 May

On 30 May 2003, Minoru Mochizuki, the founder of the Yoseikan School of martial arts, died on in Aix-en-Provence, France aged 96 years.

In his later years, Mochizuki moved to France to be with his son Hiroo and his family.


31 May

On 31 May 1993, the former Chief Instructor for the JKA in Belgium, Satoshi Miyazaki died.

Miyazaki became the Technical Director of the Belgian Karate Federation (BAKF), a position he held until his untimely death in 1993. Apart from establishing Shotokan Karate in Belgium, Miyazaki taught many courses across Europe.


On 31 May 1999 Shotokan Karate legend, Taiji Kase suffered a heart attack. He was admitted to the American Hospital of Paris where he recuperated for around twenty days. On leaving hospital he resumed his teaching duties.

Author: Patrick Donkor

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