Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes:
Tokushin Nakamoto
March 15, 1924 - January 31, 2010

by Angel Lemus

Tokushin Nakamoto was born in Hawaii. His parents were Okinawan. At a very early age he moved back to Okinawa where he lived and grew up in Yonabaru until the beginning of WWII. In 1939 he was introduced to Sensei Yuchoku Higa by his good friend and student of Karate, Mr. Taira. Mr. Nakamoto studied Karate for a short period before moving back to Hawaii in early 1941.

While in Hawaii he lived in Kaneohe and witnessed the attack of the Naval Air Station in Kaneohe Bay on December 7, 1941. He moved back to Okinawa in the late 1940s after the war and began to work for the United States Department of Transportation. He resumed his Karate training at this time with Sensei Higa at the Yomitan dojo. Mr. Nakamoto was a regular student during this time and was known for his skills in fighting at the Higa Dojo. He was known for his effective "ashi barai", and strong blocking and punching. After several years of training it was the custom that students would visit the Chibana Dojo, and Mr. Nakamoto began to train regularly with Chosin Chibana Sensei and his seniors well into the early 1960s until his duties with the Department of Transportion took him to work throughout different posts in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war era. During this time visited Okinawa when he could and trained with both Chibana Sensei and Higa Sensei. Mr. Nakamoto says that he was very close to Chibana Sensei and considered him like a father.

When Chibana Sensei passed away in 1969, Mr. Nakamoto was very affected by the loss of his teacher. He continued to work for the Department of Transportion until his retirement in the 1980s in Hawaii.

Mr. Nakamoto taught a few young kids from the neighborhood when he lived in Okinawa in Yonabaru, but he never established a dojo or had serious long term students. When asked why he never taught anyone after he retired in Hawaii, Mr. Nakamoto said that he got busy with his life and family after so many years working and traveling. He mentioned that he wished he had done so in retrospect.

Mr. Nakamoto lives in Kailua and was virtually unknown to the Karate community in Hawaii until March 24, 2009, when by a stroke of luck he was discovered by Mr. Rob Toonen (a University of Hawaii professor on Coconut Island who is also a Karate student) when speaking to Wayne Nakamoto (Mr. Nakamoto's son who also works on the island).

This lead to a chain of events and conversations that lead to an initial visit with Judy and Angel Lemus who met Mr. Nakamoto at their home and then introduced him to the Hawaii Karate community including Sensei Pat Nakata (also a student of Chibana Sensei), Sensei Fumio Nagaishi (also a student of Chibana Sensei who remembered Mr. Nakamoto from the Chibana dojo in the 1950s) and Charles C. Goodin (founder of the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai).

Mr. Nakamoto never realized that he is a true historical figure in the world of Okinawan Karate in Hawaii, and that he is the earliest known practitioner of Okinawan Karate by a Hawaii born person who was a direct student of both Chosin Chibana Sensei and Yuchoku Higa Sensei. Mr. Nakamoto is the most senior student of Chibana Sensei in Hawaii. Mr. Nakamoto stated that one must practice Karate every day and develop a strong foundation through kata training. Mr. Nakamoto's favorite Kata is Chinto.

The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Tokushin Nakamoto.

The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit

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