Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
Jimmy Miyaji was born in downtown Honolulu in 1928. A skinny and asthmatic child, he began his martial arts training in Judo around 1949. He studied with several sensei, including Richard Takamoto (son-in-law of Henry Seishiro Okazaki) at the Aiea Recreation Center, Yasuyuki Sakabe (on Maui), and Yukiso Yamamoto at the old Nuuanu YMCA.
Around 1955, Miyaji saw an advertisement for a new dojo opened by Masaichi Oshiro. This was the Te-Ken Jutsu Kai dojo at the McCully Community Center. Oshiro had been a student of William Chow at the Nuuanu YMCA. Chow, in turn, was a student of Masayoshi James Mitose, who popularlized Kenpo Karate (or Kempo Jiu-Jitsu) in Hawaii. In 1959, Oshiro Sensei visited Japan for one year, where he studied Goju-Ryu under Gogen Yamaguchi, and Okinawa, where he studied under Yagi Meitoku. Around this time, Miyaji began to train with Richard Kim, whom he had met around 1957. Kim was a merchant seaman, and visited Hawaii often on his was to and from the orient. Miyaji trained with Kim for about the next 40 years.
Jimmy Miyaji, Robert Igarashi (back row), Winfred Ho, Tsuyoshi
Chitose, & Tommy Morita (front row), at the Yamashiro Hotel.
In 1961, Miyaji (along with Tommy Morita and Winfred Ho) co-sponsored the visit of Tsuyoshi Chitose, founder of Chito-Ryu and a student of several prominent instructors, including Seisho Aragaki, Kanryo Higashionna, Chomo Hanashiro, and Chotoku Kyan. In the 1960's he trained with Hirokawa Kanazawa (for a few months), and in the 1970's he trained with Kenneth Murakami (for 3 or 4 years).
Because of the wide range of his experience, Miyaji practices and teaches over 50 Karate and Kobudo kata. Once when he was visiting a neighbor island, he discussed Karate with some first generation Okinawans. They immediately recognized the Naihanchi Shodan kata when he performed it for them.
Early members of the Hawaii Karate Congress. Front: Jimmy Miyaji,
Kenneth Murakami, Robert Igarashi, Winfred Ho. Back: Mitsugi
Kobayashi, unknown, unknown, Walter Nishioka, Carlton Shimomi.
Miyaji was a founding member of the Hawaii Karate Congress and the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai. He is one of only a few people in Hawaii to be a member of the Dai Nippon Butokukai. On November 13, 2004, he was inducted as a member of the Martial Art Hall of Fame of the International Division of the Dai Nippon Butokukai.
On September 17, 2005, Miyaji and Bobby Lowe were recognized by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii at the 2005 Celebration of Lifetime Achievement dinner at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. They were the Karate honorees. The other honorees were: Dr. Noboru Akagi and Shigeo Yoshinaga (Kendo); Takashi Nonaka and Shinichi Suzuki (Aikido); and Albert M. Aoki and Tsuruo Fukushima (Judo). The honorees "represent the many sensei who have undergone decades of rigorous training in their arts and then given unselfishly of their knowledge to generations of students from the first immigrants till today."
Miyaji has always kept the fees for his Karate and Kobudo classes at the Kenshukan dojo in Waipahu very low. He has taught innumerable children and adults, some of whom have gone on to teach their own classes.
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Jimmy Miyaji: one of Hawaii's most senior and generous sensei.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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