Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Kitaro Kawakai (left) and
Kitatsu "Kanshun" Kawamae (right).
1895 - 1950
Born in Naha, Okinawa, in 1895, Kitaro Kawakami immigrated to Hawaii in 1910. His father, Kisaburo Kawakami, had arrived in Hawaii in 1894, six years before formal immigration from Okinawa to Hawaii had begun. Kisaburo Kawakaki "jumped ship" -- disembarked in Honolulu without formal permission.
Okinawan immigration to Hawaii began in January 1900. Among the first 26 immigrants was Chinzen Kinjo, as Karate student, whose son, Chinyei Kinjo sponsored Chojun Miyagi's 1934 visit to Hawaii.
Because Kisaburo Kawakami had been in Hawaii for almost 15 years when Kitaro Kawakami arrived, and because he had worked at higher paying non-plantation jobs, he could afford to send his son to a private school. In fact, Kitaro Kawaki appears to have been the first person of Okinawan ancestry to graduate from a private high school in Hawaii (the MidPacific Institute in Manoa). After graduating, he went to work as a accountant at the Hawaii Suisan Kaisha. His father returned to Okinawa in 1920. That same year, Yoshiko Kakazu came to Hawaii to marry Kitaro. The marriage had been arranged in Okinawa.
Kitaro Kawakamu was one of the young men who participated in the demonstration at the Nuuanu YMCA during the 1927 visit to Hawaii of Kentsu Yabu. Admiral Kenwa Kanna also visited Hawaii that year. Many of the young men who participated in the Nuuanu YMCA demonstration were Yabu's former students in Okinawa. In fact, Kawakami was one of Yabu's senior assistants. The other was Kitatsu "Kanshun" Kawamae (see photo above). During the demonstration, Kawakami performed a Pinan and the Kusanku kata.
Kitaro Kawakami passed away in 1950. His wife, Yoshiko, was a well known koto instructor in Hawaii, and lived to the ripe old age of 92.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Kitaro Kawakami. He and his family have an important place in the history of Okinawans in Hawaii.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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