As of April 11th, the Okinawa Karate Kaikan has been temporarily closed. With the emergency notification, the Okinawa Karate Information Center will be closed for the following period to prevent the spread of the new virus.
Temporary closure period: From April 11 (Sat), 2020 to April 24th (We will coordinate with the Okinawa Karate Kaikan on that date again)
To all of you!
- Stay home!!
- We would like you to continue your self-confinement. Especially, avoid the “Three Cs”－ “ Closed spaces with poor ventilation”, “Crowded places with many people nearby”, and “Close-contact settings such as close-range conversations”. Remembering the words of Miyagi Chojun sensei “Do not hit others, and do not allow others to hit you. The goal is peace without incident", make sure to not transmit the new corona virus to others, and keep yourself from being transmitted.
We recognize that this one or two weeks are a very important time to control the future spread of the infection. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
We end the Special feature project “The 1st Kobudō Demonstration of 1961” with two articles published following the demonstration.
When the Okinawa Karate Kaikan opened on March 4, 2017, the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau was designated as the managing body for three years. As of April 1st, 2020, a new consortium is acting as designated manager of the kaikan. Named “Okinawa Karate Promotion Vision Promotion Partners” (OKP), this consortium is a joint venture between Okinawa Tourist Co., Ltd. (OTS), Okinawa Building Management Co., Ltd., Nishihara Farm and Seika Sports Center Co., Ltd.
Nakamura Yasushi, Executive Vice President of Okinawa Tourist, has become the new head of the management office of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan. From this year, it has been decided that the director will also be referred to as “Kanchō – director”.
Born in Nago in 1960, Mr. Nakamura joined OTS in 1985. He has traveled to more than 30 countries as a tour operator and has also been involved in the rental car business for many years. This time, we interviewed him as the new Kanchō of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan.
Nakamura Kanchō in front of the Shuri Castle tapestry in the newly open Karate Cafe "AGARI"
How did you become a designated administrator of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan?
OTS aims at developing local resources with a tourism approach. Mr. Nakamura explains that OTS wishes to improve the local culture and make it worth the experience for the people who visit and experience this culture. Under such initiatives, OTS has developed tours relating to traditional events such as the harvest festivals etc. As a result, Mr. Nakamura explains that these events have become more active, and the organizers and youth associations have become more energetic.
Karate is an Okinawan culture that cannot be described separately from performing arts, dance, and awamori among others. However, karate is a keyword in a sense, and is a "killer content" for Okinawa and its tourism industries.
Nakamura Kanchō hopes that the Okinawa Karate Kaikan will be used as a transmission base for “Okinawa, the birthplace of karate” and also for the transmission of Okinawan culture in general, thus attracting many tourists and creating a new sightseeing path.
Management concepts and important points
Based on the combination of cultural values and inheritance of “the birthplace of karate, Okinawa” and the needs of the times, Mr. Nakamura emphasizes that he wants to promote the related businesses of the Karate Kaikan according to four themes: “Creation”, “Fostering”, “Exchange” and “Life”.
In addition, he believes that proper guidance within the Kaikan is important as it is a large facility.
"The many visitors to the Kaikan are looking for a wide range of services. Some want to see the exhibition room, some want to use the training halls, and other are looking for information on karate. We need to clarify the role of each entity and respond to the various requests and needs in a smooth way. In that matter, the Okinawa Dentō Karatedō Shinkōkai and the Okinawa Karate Information Center have an important role to play."
Thoughts on the future management
Mr. Nakamura points out that "Three of the four companies of the consortium will be primarily involved with the Kaikan’s supervision, but OTS will also work on ‘attracting visitors’. Although the role of a designated manager and a travel agency is different, only supervising would be difficult. Managing the Kaikan is the most important part."
Mr. Nakamura wishes to operate the Karate Kaikan with the aim of improving "occupancy rates" and installing a "sound management."
The Karate Kaikan is the base and center of karate as well as the symbol of “Okinawa, the birthplace of karate”. “We will not let the axis shake, but wish to widen the scope. It's important for the Okinawan people and tourists to visit the Kaikan.”
Mr. Nakamura believes that “the Karate Kaikan will spread and develop by being close to the lives of the people of the prefecture and by becoming an important destination for tourists”.
He plans of establishing the Kaikan as the home of karate both physically and virtually both nationally and internationally, while also creating various menus for residents and tourists.
"Soon we will start a series of tours around the kaikan. At the same time, we are planning to become a destination for schools’ excursions for Okinawan elementary, junior and senior high school students. In addition, we are preparing health seminars with Ikehara Hideki sensei Okinawa Traditional Karate Gōjū-ryū Ikehara Juku. Later on, we will offer programs for tourists" explains Mr. Nakamura.
As the words of Louis Pasteur hung at the Kaikan say, “Chance favors only the prepared minds.”
Nakamura Kanchō working on the management of the Kaikan in the management office
Postscript: Nakamura Yasushi is the grandson of the founder of Okinawa Kempō, Nakamura Shigeru sensei (1891-1969). Born in 1934, his father Nakamura Taketo sensei still watches the Nakamura Dōjō in Ōnaka, Nago City.
Since 2018, journalist Yanagihara Shigeo has written on Okinawa karate from various angles. The full articles of the series entitled “The present of Okinawa traditional karate - The Origin of karate that spread around the world” are available on the website of Daisan Bunmeisha. Although in Japanese, using an online translating software might be a good way to read through this interesting series.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in the series are those of the author and featured characters, not necessarily those of the information center. Also, the titles’ translation was done by our center in order to give further details to English readers. Any mistake is solely our responsibility.
- The essence of Okinawa karate
- An organization spreading to the world [with Mr. Kiyuna Chōkō]
- Karate master: Shinzato Katsuhiko
- Karate master: Hokama Tetsuhiro
- Karate popularization meritorious person: Itosu Ankō
- Karate popularization meritorious person: Funakoshi Gichin
- The way to the establishment of the “Karate Day”
- Types of Karate: Sport · Martial Art · Health
- Origin and styles of karate
- Leading figures who supported the Okinawa karate world after WWII
- Okinawa's original style, Uechi-ryū (Part I) [with Mr. Tomoyose Ryūkō]
- Okinawa's original style, Uechi-ryū (Part II) [with Mr. Takara Shintoku and Mr. Shinjō Kiyohide]
- Okinawa's original style, Uechi-ryū (Part III) [with Mr. Uehara Takenobu]
- Gōjū-ryū, the first style in Japan (Part I)
- Gōjū-ryū, the first style in Japan (Part II) [with Mr. Higaonna Morio, Mr. Yagi Meitatsu and Mr. Kuba Yoshio]
- The first Okinawa Karate International Tournament report
- Shōrin-ryū 1, the traditional martial art of Shuri “Shurite”
- Shōrin-ryū 2, Shōrin-ryū (Kobayashi) founded by Chibana Chōshin (Part I) [with Mr. Miyagi Takeshi]
- Shōrin-ryū 3, Shōrin-ryū (Kobayashi) founded by Chibana Chōshin (Part II) [with Mr. Oshiro Isao and Mr. Matsuda Yoshimasa]
- Shōrin-ryū 4, the lineage of Kyan Chotoku Shōrin-ryū (Sukunai-hayashi) [with Mr. Shimabukuro Zenpō and Mr. Sakugawa Masanobu]
- Shōrin-ryū 5, Shurite and Tomarite Matsubayashi-ryū
- Outstanding in the field of competition Ryūei-ryū [with Mr. Sakumoto Tsuguo]
- Interview with Okinawa Prefecture Karate Promotion Division’s manager (Part I) [with Mr. Yamakawa Tetsuo]
- Interview with Okinawa Prefecture Karate Promotion Division’s manager (Part II) [with Mr. Yamakawa Tetsuo]
- Okinawa Shogaku's attempt [With Mr. Nashiro Masaichiro]
- People attracted to Okinawa karate from Kyokushin (Part I): Mr. Kinjō Kenichi
- People attracted to Okinawa karate from Kyokushin (Part II): Mr. Takaku Masayoshi
- People attracted to Okinawa karate from Kyokushin (Part III): Mr. Ishimoto Makoto
- Kobudō (Part I) Native weaponry cultivated in Okinawa [with Mr. Nakamoto Masahiro]
- Kobudō (Part II) Native weaponry cultivated in Okinawa [with Mr. Kinjō Masakazu]
- (Special edition) Zaha Shindō-ryū: Chibana karate preserved in mainland of Japan [with Mr. Zaha Jinkichi and Mr. Yamada Junya]
- (Special edition) Shinjinbukan: In search of Te, the source of karate [with Mr. Onaga Yoshimitsu]
- The next generation of Okinawan karateka (Part I) [with Mr. Nakamoto Yūichi, Mr. Uema Takeshi and Mr. Nagamine Tomoichirō]
- The next generation of Okinawan karateka (Part II) [with Mr. Shimabukuro Zenshun, Mr. Yogi Katsuya and Mr. Makishi Tetsuo]
- The next generation of Okinawan karateka (Part III) [with Mr. Uechi Sadanao, Mr. Iha Mitsutada and Mr. Shinjō Takahiro]
- Okinawa Dentō Karatedō Shinkōkai: interview of the new director of the board Mr. Arakaki Kunio
- Did Okinawan martial arts “Te” exist? (Part I)
- Did Okinawan martial arts “Te” exist? (Part II) [with Mr. Katsuren Seihō]
- Did Okinawan martial arts “Te” exist? (Part II) [with Mr. Nohara Kōei]
- Interview with Iwasaki Tatsuya, an professor of Okinawa ancient martial art karate
- (Final episode) Extra edition: Why were karate styles born?
- Special Edition-1: “Karate is a martial art unique to Okinawa that was formed in the early modern era” (From an Okinawa Karate Academy lecture given by Mr. Dana Masayuki)
- Special Edition-2: Exploring the origin of Shurite [with Mr. Oshiro Toshihiro]
- Special Edition-: Miguel Da Luz from the Okinawa Karate Information Center
For the first fiscal year of the Reiwa era (April 1st 2019 to March 31st 2020), the Okinawa Karate Information Center has offered its support to 216 requests which represents a total of 682 people from 39 countries.
These people trained in Okinawa karate and kobudō with 62 dōjō owners and instructors.
In addition, the number of dōjō owners and instructors who have been involved in instructing through our center since its establishment in May 2017 is 111 people.
This year, the number of requests came for 37.5% from Europe, 35.2% from Asia, 18.5% from the Americas, and 8.8% form Africa and Oceania.
Countries from where originated the largest number of requests are Japan, the USA, France, Australia and Germany.
If you are interested in training in Okinawa, feel free to contact us anytime.
Below are some photos of some visitors who train this year in Okinawa.
Australian group training with Shōrin-ryū Maeshiro Morinobu sensei at the Okinawa Karate Kaikan.
An English karateka training in kobudō with Yoshimoto Kagemasa sensei in Kume Island.
A German group training in kobudō with Ishiki Hidetada sensei.
Italian visitors experiencing karate with Shōrin-ryū Uema Takeshi sensei.
A groups from mainland Japan experienced Shurite/Tomarite with Shōrinji-ryū Oyakawa Hitoshi sensei.
Thailand Gōjū-kai members training with the Okinawa Gōjū-ryū Karatedō Association.
USA senior high school students experiencing Okinawa karate with Shōrin-ryū Higa Kōyū sensei.
As part of a JICA-sponsored program, South American students experienced karate with Uechi-ryū Higa Susumu sensei.