Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes:
Clarice Tsuchiya-Hirano
May 8, 1944 - May 11, 2003

by G. Hisae Ishii-Chang
Clarice Tsuchiya-Hirano was a role model. "She has honored the name, the art, and the sport of Karate," writes Dr. Julius Thiry, the President of the USA National Karate-do Federation (USK-NKF). After her death on May 11, 2003, the USK-NKF, a member of the United States Olympic Committee, established an annual award in her name. It is called the Clarice Tsuchiya-Hirano Award. As Dr. Thiry explains, this award is given "to deserving USK-NKF members who have emulated her example of involvement, contribution, achievement and humility on behalf of American Karate."

Clarice Tsuchiya-Hirano was born in Hawaii on May 8, 1944. In 1966, she graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in nursing. She began her karate training with Kiyohisa Hirano in 1967 at the Japan International Karate Center (JIKC). In 2000, she was awarded 6th dan by the JIKC. In the same year, she was awarded 6th dan by the USK-NKF, making her the highest ranking woman in the USA-NKF at that time. She was known nationally and internationally as a USA-NKF Senior National Champion, a national USA-NKF Kumite Referee, and a Pan American Federation Regional Kumite Referee. Posthumously, she was awarded 7th dan by the USA-NKF.

During her life, Sensei Clarice touched the lives of thousands of karate students. In particular, she was there leading the way for women karateka. And she led the way with her intelligence, her strength, her kindness, her smile, and her chuckle. Katherine Thiry remembers Sensei Clarice's "little chuckle as she looked up to the skies as if petitioning providence for a bit more patience."


The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Clarice Tsuchiya-Hirano.

The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit

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