Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa passed away on December 8, 2019. And the karate world mourns.
For everybody, who wants to express their sympathies, we have set up a condolence board.
The facebook page of the SKIF-GB facebook page reported first about Soke Kanazawa´s passing. However, rumors spread that the announcement could have been a hoax very fast. While the post disappeared a few hours later, we received information from a high ranking source within the inner circle of the SKIF. The source confirmed that the information about the passing of Soke Kanazawa is true.
Official Confirmation of the Passing of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa
Around 1 pm central European time, the board of the SKIF published an official statement about the passing of Soke Kanazawa. The document states that he passed away peacefully.
It also states that he passed away at the “blessed ripe old” age of 88 years old. This refers to the Japanese tradition of “beiju“. Because the Chinese character of 88 looks similar to the character for rice. Rice, on the other hand, is considered to be a happy and sacred food in East Asia. That is why the age 88 is considered sacred.
Further, the announcement by the SKIF asked to abstain from attending the funeral. It will take part in the inner circle of the Kanazawa family. An official farewell takes place at the next SKIF international seminar in Tokyo in 2020.
The Karate World Mourns
A wave of condolences have been expressed by the karate world about the passing of Soke Kanazawa in the last days. Several thousand karate commented on facebook and other social media how deeply shocked and shattered they were. Many more sent blessings and best wishes to the family of Hirokazu Kanazawa.
The sympathies go thereby far beyond the community of Shotokan karateka. Also practitioners from other styles of karate expressed their mourning and grief. For instance, the Kyokushinkai channel The Martial Way published a R.I.P. post about the passing of Soke Kanazawa. Such acts display the tremendous respect Hirokazu Kanazawa enjoyed in the karate world.
The Shotokan Times also expressed its condolences by sending an email to Kancho Nobuaki Kanazawa, Shuseki Shihan Manabu Murakami, and the SKIF HQ. Thomas Prediger, Chair of the advisory board of The Shotokan Times, commented: “He was a living legend. Soke Kanazawa will be dearly missed. His guidance and character are invaluable. However, his legacy will continue in Shotokan. Because a worldwide community of students will now carry his torch.”
Dr. Christian Tribowski, Managing director and chief editor of The Shotokan Times, stated: “I had the chance to meet Soke Kanazawa last year during the 40th anniversary festivities of SKIF in Tokyo. His health had deteriorated already. But I did not imagine to see him for the last time. His death has left a huge void in the karate world. He was Mr. Shotokan, a splendid and charismatic personalty. Generations after generations have learnt from him the true meaning of karate do.”
Deteriorated Health of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa
In January 2009, Kanazawa suffered a skiing accident. Trough a badly fall he crushed three vertebra. Although already in his 70´s he recovered and taught Shotokan until 2012. Then he retired and spend most of his time in Japan.
Beside the skiing accident rumors spread that Soke Kanazawa also suffered two strokes in the last decade. Last year on the 40th anniversary of SKIF in Tokyo, he had difficulties to walk and could barely speak. Yet, he was the charismatic karate master who had a room filling presents.
The Legend Hirokazu Kanazawa
“Hirokazu Kanazawa is considered one of the most skillful karate masters of all time. A great technician and an excellent instructor, he has built up a loyal and dedicated following of students. A gentle and sincere man, he has been able to convey the concepts of karate to many generations of students. As prolific author, he has also had many instructional books and videos produced. It could be argued that many people would not have started karate if they had not seen demonstrations from this very talented master. In any case, he is a true legend of Shotokan karate.”Patrick Donkor and Dr. Christian Tribowski
Like no other, Hirokazu Kanazawa coined Shotokan karate in the 20´s century. He studied directly under Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama. His technical elegance as well as his philosophy made him an unprecedented karate master. After leaving the JKA he founded the Shotokan Karate International Federation in the late 1970´s, which chief instructor and later soke he became.
Hirokazu Kanazawa About Life and Death
Soke Kanazawa´s karate do was highly influenced by Zen Buddhism. In an interview he stated about life and death:
” My philosophy is that I try always to be true to myself and to others … I can say that I fear nothing – not even death, and this I do not say in a big-headed or conceited way. My meaning is that I always try my best in everything I do, so I will be satisfied when I do die – I think the reason that people fear death is because they want to do and accomplish so many other things that are still undone . . . they always want to do more. Also, I truly believe that life continues after physical death – all life continues … life is a circle “.AJJIF GLOBAL ALL JAPAN JU-JITSU INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION WORLD JU-JITSU GOVERNING BODY