Hawaii Karate Seinenkai
The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai Salutes:
Kentsu Yabu
1863 - 1937

Kentsu Yabu, also known as Yabu Gunso ("Sergeant"), Yabu Chusa ("Lieutenant"), and Yabu No Tanme ("elder"), arrived in Hawaii in March, 1927. He was on his way back to Okinawa after spending the prior 8 years in California, where his eldest son, Kenden Yabe and his family, resided. This raises the amazing prospect that Yabu might have taught Karate in the United States as early as 1919! A student of Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura and Anko Itosu, Yabu was one of the first teachers to conduct karate classes in the Okinawan school system. He also taught at the Teacher's College and the Police Academy.

At the end of March, 1927, Yabu gave a small Karate demonstration at the Nuuanu Y.M.C.A. (in Honolulu) for the Thursday Luncheon Club. On Friday, July 8, 1927, he gave another demonstration at the Y.M.C.A. which was attended by about 700 people. A newspaper account of the demonstration stated that "Five little boys opened the program with demonstrations of the 'Karate.'" Yabu obviously taught children as well as adults. One of these children was Thomas Shigeru Miyashiro. Yabu also taught on Kauai and travelled to Maui with Admiral Kenwa Kanna. One of the people he met there was Oki Shikina. He left Hawaii at the end of December.

Yabu was truly the elder statesman of Okinawan Karate. The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai salutes Yabu Sensei and expresses its gratitude to him for coming to Hawaii to spread the art of Karate.

Books by Yabu:

Books and Articles about Yabu:


The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit


Copyright © Hikari Institute, a Hawaii non-profit corporation and federally
tax exempt organization under IRC 501(c)(3). All rights reserved.