Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Born in Kapaa, Kauai on December 9, 1911, Shuichi (or Suichi) Agena moved to Tengan Village in Okinawa at the age of 4 or 5. He was educated in Okinawa and also studied Bojutsu and Karate. His instructor was his grandfather, Buhiko Agena of Gushikawa. Agena returned to Hawaii around the age of 19 or 20, and worked in Kekaha, Kauai, where he was a member of the Kekaha Karate Club. That club practiced Ichiji-Ryu (the style of Anko Itosu). Ichiji was a nickname of Itosu. Senior members of the club had learned from Itosu before immigrating to Hawaii. The head instructor of the club was Kenyu Kina. A member of the club was Kizo Teruya.
A person born in America but raised and educated in Okinawa is called a kibei.
Agena was well-known in the Okinawan community for his skill at playing the sanshin. He was an active musician and also supported the arts. In martial artis circles, he was known for his expertise in bojutsu (with the roku shaku bo). He demonstrated bojutsu at special events. One such event was the first Okinawan Sumo tournament held after the end of World War Two. This was at the Japanese Consulate in Nuuanu on July 18, 1948.
The Kekaha Karate Club, January 1937.
Agena is the third man in the back row.
Rodney Shimabukuro, a Matsubayashi-Ryu instructor (student of Tommy Morita), remembered seeing Agena demonstrate bojutsu. He said that Agena swung the bo so quickly that it could not be seen. It appears that Agena did not teach bojutsu in Hawaii -- his style of bojutsu was only supposed to be taught to members of his village in Okinawa.
In a publication entitled Mai Gokoro: The Spirit of the Dance (date unknown), Agena was profiled:
"Mr. Agena said that through training with the Bo, almost anyone can achieve a higher level of spiritual awareness. People who have learned to face themselves have their self honesty to carry over to other aspects of their life. This, he feels is very important."
Shuichi Agena was a respected member of Hawaii's Okinawan community and had many friends in the martial arts, dance and music fields. One of his close friends was Goju-Ryu instructor Tomu Arakawa. Agena expressed his support for Arakawa by a congratualtory message in the inside front cover of 35th Anniversary journal for Seibunkan Dojo. Agena was shown in a Goju-Ryu pose and the members of the Kekaha Karate Club in 1937 were shown in a formal photograph.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Shuichi Agena.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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