Hokubei Karate-do Shihankai -- Japanese Karate Masters Association of North America

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Logo of the North American Association of Japanese Karate Masters - The big character in middle is SHI, the Japanese word for Teacher or Role Model


Hokubei Shihankai Founders Honored by Japanese Government

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Hokubei Shihankai Founders
Honored by Japanese Government
on Bunka-No Hi (Japanese Culture Day)

In Washington DC on November 1, 2002, His Excellency Ryozo Kato (the Ambassador of Japan) honored 12 of Shihankai's founding members as "ambassadors" of traditional Japanese culture and art. In Japan, the third day of November is known as Culture Day (Jp. = Bunka-No Hi), and a day when the Japanese government recognizes leaders in the arts and sciences. In Japan, masters of the traditional arts are considered to be the keepers of Japan's beautiful artistic legacy. The authenticity and purity of each traditional Japanese art, including the martial arts, is protected by a centuries-old lineage of teaching. 

Culture Day (Bunka-No Hi) started in the 19th century as a day to commemorate Emperor Meiji's birthday. In 1946, it became a day to commemorate the ideals articulated in Japan's postwar constitution -- the love of peace and freedom, as fostered through cultural activities. Culture Day is not only a celebration of cultural and artist endeavors, but also a celebration of peace, freedom and life.

Shihankai Founding Members at the Residence of His Excellency Ryozo Kato in Washington D.C, 2002
Shihankai Founding Members at the Residence of
His Excellency Ryozo Kato in Washington D.C, 2002

From Left: H. Kobayashi, T. Mikami, S. Sakimukai, H. Ochiai, F. Demura,
T. Kubota, His Excellency Ryozo Kato, I. Shiroma (partially hidden), T. Okazaki,
 M. Mori, K. Hirano, S. Kurobane, A. Minikami

    His Excellency Ryozo Kato said this to his honored guests:

    I want to give my appreciation to the many, many individuals who have gathered here tonight, for their sacrifices and efforts to promote Japanese culture not just in Washington, but throughout the United States. In a way, you are all ambassadors. Japan and the United States share a vision for the future. We share the belief in such fundamental values as freedom, democracy and a free market economy. We recognize the essential importance of diversity of culture and tradition. We strive for the eradication of poverty and believe in harmony with nature. We are all allies in all these aspects. So let this evening mark not only our renewed commitment to the arts and culture, but to our long-standing efforts to promote friendship and peace. <end abridged quote>

Hiroyasu Kobayashi and Ambassador Kato
On behalf of Hokubei Shihankai,
Hiroyasu Kobayashi, Shihankai's Managing Director,
accepted the award from Japanese Foreign Minister,
which was presented by Ambassador Ryozo Kato.

Certificate of Commendation from the Japanese Foreign Minister
Certificate of Commendation from the Japanese Foreign Minister

Approximate translation of the above certificate:
To Hokubei Karate-do Shihankai, your organization has been instrumental in area of cultural exchange between the United States and Japan, as well as building friendship and goodwill between the two nations. I hereby commend your effort and success on this 150th Anniversary of US/Japanese relations for your remarkable contribution.

Celebrating 150 Years of US-Japan Relations


Bunka-No Hi Celebration at the Japanese Ambassador's residence.
Bunka-No Hi Celebration at the Japanese Ambassador's residence.
From Left: S. Bowen (Shihankai lawyer), H. Ochiai, T. Mikami, F. Demura, M. Mori, T. Kubota

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