Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Born in Brawley, California on April 26, 1925, at the age of 3, Tomu Arakawa moved to Nishihara-cho, Okinawa with his parents. He was educated in Okinawa and also studied Karate there while in high school. His teacher was Katsuya Miyahira (student of Choshin Chibana, a student of Anko Itosu and the founder of the Kobayashi-Ryu form of Shorin-Ryu). Arakawa moved to Hawaii in 1947.
A person born in America but raised and educated in Okinawa is called a kibei.
In 1961, Kanki Izumigawa (1908-1969), who studied under Seko Higa, visited Hawaii. Higa had studied under Kanryo Higashionna (of Naha-Te) and trained with Chojun Miyagi (the founder of Goju-Ryu). Higa's senior student in Hawaii was Mitsugi Kobayashi.
Izumigawa was the founder of the Senbukan Dojo in Kanagawa, Japan. Impressed by the demonstrations of Karate given by Izumigawa and his students, Arakawa joined the Hawaii Goju-Ryu Senbukan School under Kenneth Murakami (who had studied under Izumigawa in Japan). In 1963, Arakawa opened his own dojo called the Hawaii Senbukan Karate Dojo at the old site of the Jikoen Temple. The dojo later moved to the new Jikoen Temple site on the corner of Likelike Highway and School Street, where classes are still conducted under Arakawa's senior student, Sensei Alan Lee. Arakawa also taught traditional Okinawan kobudo (weapons art).
Arakawa was a member of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai and served on the Ranking Committee.
Tomu Arakawa was a respected member of Hawaii's Okinawan community and had many friends in the martial arts, dance and music fields. Perhaps more than any other person, he worked to maintain the place of Karate as an important aspect of Okinawan culture. In the post-World War Two era, he was one of only a few Okinawan teachers of Karate in Hawaii, and certainly the one with the largest and most visible dojo. He was an invaluable link to the pre-War Okinawan teachers such as Seishin Uehara, Shigeru Miyashiro, Kizo Teruya, Shuichi Agena, and many others. His wife, June, is also very active in the Okinawan community and has donated many historic items to the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Tomu Arakawa and his dedication to the promotion of Okinawan Karate and culture.
Articles by Tomu Arakawa:
Articles about Tomu Arakawa:
- Karate Ni Sente Nashi (Karate is for Self Defense, Not Offense), an article that appeared in Of Andagi and Sanshin: Okinawan Culture in Hawaii, Hui O Laulima, 1988.
- A photograph of Arakawa (with Henry Fujita) demonstrating kobudo appeared in Uchinanchu: A History of Okinawans in Hawaii, Ethnic Studies Oral History Project, University of Hawaii and United Okinawan Association of Hawaii, 1981.
- Tomu Arakawa. Karate Sensei: 'The Most Important Thing is Patience', by Steve Lum. Hawaii Herald, February 16, 1990.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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