Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes:
Kiyoshi Aihara
May 27, 1932 - 2017

Kiyoshi Aihara was born in Takasaki, Gunma-ken, Japan, on May 27, 1932. He attended college at Waseda University and was a member of its Karate Club. The club practiced the Shotokan form of Karate and was under Gichin Funakoshi. Aihara was also a weight lifter and actually trained for the Olympics. When Funakoshi was going to visit the Waseda dojo, Aihara would run to his house and carry him on his back to the University and up to the second story of the building where the dojo was located. Aihara became a director of the club in 1954 and graduated the next year.

Waseda Karate Club, 1954. Aihara is in the third row,
seated third from the left. To his right is Mitsusuke
Harada. Seated next to him is Shigeru Egami.

In July 1959, Aihara came to Hawaii at the invitation of Mits Kawashima, the owner of a weightlifting club. He soon started to teach Karate classes at the club's facility under the name of the Butoku Karate Club. He was the first Shotokan instructor to teach in Hawaii. Some students who remember him from this time say that his nickname was Popeye, because of the size of his forearms!

Around late 1960, Aihara decided not to teach any longer. The owers of the Butoku Karate Club sought a replacement and contacted the Japan Karate Association. Hirokazu Kanazawa arrived in January 1961. He in turn, was succeeded by JKA instructors Masataka Mori (in Hawaii from 1963 through 1966) and Tetsuhiko Asai (in Hawaii from 1966 through 1969).

Aihara settled in Hawaii. One day, Charles C. Goodin of the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai was speaking to Aihara's wife, who then worked in the office next to his. The conversation turned to Karate and Mrs. Aihara mentioned that her husband had studied under Funakoshi Sensei. "Kenneth Funakoshi?" asked Goodin. "No, Gichin Funakoshi," she replied.

Aihara met with Goodin and described his many years of Karate training. He conveyed his respect for Funakoshi Sensei and remembered that Funakoshi so revered life that he would not even step on an insect. He said that Funakoshi's students who were Naichi (mainlanders) learned to respect Okinawa and its culture because of their teacher. Aihara summarized his feelings about Karate by saying that "The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit." This has become our motto.

The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Kiyoshi Aihara.

The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit

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