Shotokan & the JKA
Karate-do History


In 1936 Master Funakoshi established the first Institution of Karate in Japan at Zoshigaya Toshima ward Tokyo. His disciples called the Dojo SHOTO-KAN. Shoto being the pen name Master Funakoshi used to sign his calligraphy. The literal translation of the word Shoto means the sound of the wind passing through pine trees and Kan meaning house or hall. Thus came about the first recognised style of Karate to be taught in the world. He was then seventy years of age yet he felt his task had only just begun
Calligraphy for Shoto-kan

Amongst the groups that Funakoshi Dai Sensei taught was the Tabata Poplar Club which consisted of a group of artists. They, along with Jigaro Kano, persuaded him to stay on & continue teaching in Tokyo. The president of this Club was a famous artist by the name of Hoan Kosugi (1881- 1964) from Nikko, Tochigi Ken who had also travelled to Europe. He told Funakoshi to write a book on the art of Karate-do as his book would be the tora no maki of karate. The term "Tora no maki." can be defined as an official written document used as the most reliable or complete reference source for or of an art or system . Prior to Dai Sensei Funakoshi's book, there were no official books written about karate. Being very famous at that time, Hoan Kosugi told Fuanakoshi Dai Sensei that if the book was written, he would design it and provide a painting for the cover. Dai Sensei Gichin Funakoshi produced the book, entitled "Ryukyu Kempo: Karate". In Japanese "tora" also means- tiger - so in compliance with the term " Tora no maki" Hoan Kosugi made a drawing of a tiger within a circle as a representation of the art Funakoshi. The calligraphy near the tiger's tail reads Hoan Kosugi, the artist.

"Tora no maki" The symbol used all over the world as the mark that represents the shotokan ryu or school of karate

Master Gigo Funakoshi, the third son of Dai Sensei Funaksohi Gichin was responsible for many of the changes brought about in the modern Shotokan. Being extremely agile, he is said to have been primarilily responsible for the differentiation in the Yoko Geris.

After he established the Shotokan Dojo the Master went about ensuring that Karate become an integral part of the Japanese Budo by establishing the JKA. The body formed by him came to bear the name Nihon Karate Kyokai or Japan Karate Association. The JKA when it became a corporation took on the added titile of "Shadanhoujin"
or translated into English as
was formed on March 20 1950.
The Association was made a corporation by the Ministry of Education of Japan
on April 10, 1958.
The current address of the JKA Headquarters is as follows:
23-15, Kouraku 2 Chome,
Bunkyo ku, Tokyo 112-0004
Tel #:   ++ 81 3 5800 3091
Fax#    ++ 81 3 5800 3100
Calligraphy of Shadanhoujin Nihon Karate Kyokai

This mark represents the Japan Karate Association world wide

Dai Sensei Gichin Funakoshi passed away in 1950 at the age of ninety.

After the demise of Dai Sensei Funakoshi, the JKA was left without a Chief Instructor for some time. The instructors at the various clubs at University level were divided as to the path the JKA should take. Amongst the instructors who left the JKA were teachers like Egami Shigeru and others who taught at the Keio Universities.

The JKA Alumini nominated Masatoshi Nakayama Sensei to head the JKA as it's Chief Instructor.

In 1956 the world's first Karate tournament was held the All Japan Grand Karate tournament, This tournament is held in Tokyo till today. Teams from India have also participated in this tournament.

Under Nakayama Sensei, the JKA grew rapidly. Disciples of Master Funakoshi were invited to teach karate outside of Japan and it was the SHOTOKAN STYLE of karate that was first taught not only in Europe but also in America and Asia. Thus J.K.A. spread its branches through out the world. Nakayama Sensei continued holding the post of Chief Instructor of the JKA till his demise in 1987. During his tenure the JKA grew rapidly into easily the world's greatest organization.

With Nakayama Semise's Demise the JKA nominated Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei as it's Chief Instructor. Unfortunately due to internal turmoil, a split took place within the JKA in 1991 with one group headed by Asai Sensei and the other led by the JKA Chairman Nobuyuki Nakahara who had Senior Instructors like Ueki, Tanaka, Enoeda, Okazaki, Mikami, Mori, Ochi, Okamoto and others backing him. The matter went into litigation for nearly a decade. The case was finally decided by the Supreme Court of Japan and the Nakahara Group was awarded the Title and all the rights of the Corporation called the Shadanhoujin Nihon Karate Kyokai

During the litigation period, the Nakahara Group nominated the current Chief Instructor, Motokuni Sugiura who was an Uchi Deshi or Home Student of Funakoshi Sensei. to head the Master's group of the JKA. In 2010, Sugiura Motokuni Sensei stepped down as the Chief Instructor of the JKA due to reasons of ill health.

The New Chief Instructor elected by the Shihankai of the JKA is Masaaki Ueki Sensei. He is also from the same university as Sugiura Sensei and is a graduate of the JKA Instructor Course. A 3 time Grand Champion at the All Japan Level, Ueki Sensei is a legend in the JKA circles.