Kenyu – June 2021

Volume 35, number 6
June 2021


July 2021
* 7/17: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, Sat, via Zoom.
September 2021
* 9/18: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, Sat, via Zoom.
November 2021
* 11/20: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, Sat, via Zoom.


At their November 21, 2020 meeting, the 2020/2021 Board was seated, and Officers were elected.

President – Doug Imanishi (Seattle), Vice President – Karin Feddersen (Tacoma), Treasurer – Mary DeJong (Highline), Secretary – Tom Bolling (Bellevue). UW Advisor – Darrick Lew (Sno-King) was elected at the September 12, 2020 Board meeting.

Other Board members are: Jonathan Bannister (AiShinKai), Sean Blechschmidt (Bellevue), Steve Choi (Portland), Mark Frederick (Northwest), Jane Higa (UW), Trinh Ho (Northwest), Taryn Imanishi (Cascade), Michael Mabale (Seattle), Curtis Marsten (Kent), Tiarnan Marsten (Federal Way), Vicki Marsten (Federal Way), Ed Olson (Tonbo), Hogyun Park (OSU), Russ Sinclair (Spokane), Blake Sprenger (Obukan), Stephen Ting (Northwest), Ronen Totonchi (Everett), Mark Verrey (Sno-King), Frank Wessbecher (Highline), David Yotsuuye (Bellevue).


Harold Chan Goh

On Friday, December 11, 2020, Harold Chan Goh, beloved friend, respected teacher, and loving father of two, passed away at the age of 59.

Harry was born Goh Chan-Hong in Seoul, Korea to his parents Goh Young-Hee and Ahn Ji-Young on March 1st, 1960. He graduated from Yewon University in 1984, where he studied astronomy and fine arts. In 1992, he moved to the United States with Myoungsoo, the mother of his children. They raised a daughter, Ariel, and a son, Brandon.

Harry was a lifelong practitioner of the way of the sword and achieved a sixth degree black belt in kendo and a fourth degree black belt in iaido. He was a born teacher and loved sharing his martial arts knowledge with students. He was also an appreciator of all the arts, including painting, drawing, music, and dance. Harry enjoyed entertaining at church gatherings with his guitar and harmonica, and would watch his favorite musicals every chance he got. Languages came naturally to him – he spoke five, and was a published author in Korea on the subject of English. Harry thrived in the outdoors and loved living in the Pacific Northwest, where he was surrounded by his beloved trees, mountains, and rain.

Harry was preceded in death by his father, Young-Hee. He is survived by his two children, Ariel and Brandon, his mother, Ji-Young, and countless students and friends.

A small farewell viewing was held on Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 at Flintoft’s Funeral Home in Issaquah, from 11am to 1pm. He was buried in Lakeview Cemetery near his hero, Bruce Lee. A memorial will be held in 2021 when it is safe for us to gather again. Friends were invited to view photos, share memories, and sign the online guest book at

Kendo, and Seattle Kendo Kai, were such important aspects of his life, and Brandon would like to extend his gratitude to you all for being such a loving, supportive, and enthusiastic community that he knows he was bursting with pride to be a part of. It may interest you to know that until the very end of his life, Goh Sensei dedicated every day to practicing, theorizing, and striving to improve his Kendo. He set up dummies in his garage with spare bogu that he named after certain members of the Kendo community. He was eagerly anticipating returning to practice, and although it is sad he will not have the chance, remembering the lessons he imparted on us before his passing would be a great way to bring him with us and honor his memory. We continue in mourning, and offer our deepest condolences to everyone in the family.

Volume 34, number 1/2
January/February 2020


All remaining AUSKF Education events (including the Adult Seminar, High-Rank Seminar, Women’s Seminar, 8-Dan Tour and Summer Camp) for 2020 will be cancelled. This was unanimously agreed upon by the AUSKF Board and is unfortunately the most prudent decision given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. We are hopeful that this situation will make a turn for the better in the very near future and will announce the 2021 schedule as soon as possible.

Since we are all suspending regular practice, seminars and events, we all feel that new rule to adopt Bokutoniyoru Kendo Kihon Keikoho (BKKK) for 2 Kyu and below testing from this month of April 2020 is not practical at this stage.

The new rule to adopt BKKK is now officially postponed until October 1, 2021 to allow ample time to practice and be familiar with this technique. We all hope that COVID-19 pandemic fades away soon enough so we can comfortably adopt this new rule. Wish you all stay safe and able to practice Kendo again soon.

The Foreign Kendo Leaders’ Summer Seminar scheduled from August 14 thru August 21, 2020 has been cancelled. The AUSKF will use the same priority order of the regional Federations next year in the selection.


March 2020
* 3/14: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, members’ homes and offices, via Zoom.
* 3/21: Highline Kendo Taikai, Sat, doors open 8:30am, opening ceremonies 9:30am, White Center Community Center, 1321 SW 102nd Street, Seattle, POSTPONED. TENTATIVE NEW DATE: Saturday, June 6, 2020.
* 3/21-22: 24th Annual Harvard Shoryuhai Intercollegiate Kendo Tournament, Sat/Sun, Malkin Althletic Center (MAC), 4th floor basketball courts, on Holyoke Street, Boston. CANCELLED
* 3/28: PNKF Nippon Kendo Kata and BKKR Seminar, Sat, 9am-1pm, Chinook Middle School, 18650 42nd Avenue S., SeaTac, WA 98188. CANCELLED
* 3/28: PNKF Iaido Seminar and Shinsa, Sat, CANCELLED.
* 3/28: 32nd Cleveland Kendo Tournament/GNEUSKF Championships, Sat, CANCELLED.
April 2020
* 4/4: AUSKF Junior Open Championships, Sat, Marina High School, 15871 Springdale Street, Huntington Beach, California 92649. CANCELLED
* 4/18: UW Taikai, Sat, Intramural Activities (IMA), UW campus, Montlake Boulevard NE.CANCELLED
* 4/26: Cherry Blossom demo, Sun, Seattle Center CANCELLED.
May 2020
* 5/2: Rose City Kendo Taikai, Sat, Portland, CANCELLED.
* 5/9: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, members’ homes and offices, via Zoom.
* 5/16: Bellevue Junior Kendo Taikai, Sat, 9:30am start time, Highland Park Community Center, 14224 Bel-Red Road, Bellevue CANCELLED.
* 5/30: 55th Annual Vancouver Kendo Tournament, Sat, 10am-6pm, doors open 9am, Byrne Creek Secondary School, 7777 18th Street, Burnaby, B.C. V3N 5E5. CANCELLED.
June 2020
* 6/6: Highline Kendo Taikai, Sat, doors open 8:30am, opening ceremonies 9:30am, White Center Community Center, 1321 SW 102nd Street, Seattle, CANCELLED.
* 13th Annual US Nito Kendo Summer Camp, CANCELLED — held 9/15/2020 via Zoom.
July 2020
* 7/17-19: AUSKF 2020 National Kendo Championships, Fri-Sun, CANCELLED.
* 7/18: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, members’ homes and offices, via Zoom.
August 2020
* 8/15: PNKF Kendo Shinsa, Sat, Kent Commons Recreational Center, 525 4th Avenue N., Kent CANCELLED.
September 2020
* 9/12: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, members’ homes and offices, via Zoom.
* 9/25-9/27: PNKF Iaido Seminar, Tournament, and Shinsa CANCELLED.
October 2020
* 10/3: Kent Kendo Taikai, Sat, TBD, Kent Commons Recreational Center, 525 4th Avenue N., Kent.
* 10/17 or 10/24: Tacoma Kendo Taikai, Sat, CANCELLED.
November 2020
* November visit of Pam Parker Sensei to Tonbo Dojo CANCELLED.
* 11/7: PNKF Taikai, Kent CANCELLED.
* 11/14-15: AUSKF Board meeting.
* 11/15: AUSKF Kodansha Shinsa CANCELLED.
* 11/21: PNKF Board meeting, 9-11am, members’ homes and offices, via Zoom.
March 2021
* 3/20-21: 25th Annual Harvard Shoryuhai Intercollegiate Kendo Tournament, Sat/Sun, Malkin Althletic Center (MAC), 4th floor basketball courts, on Holyoke Street, Boston CANCELLED. Special Zoom keiko and lecture held instead on 3/20.
May 2021
* 5/27-30: 18WKC, Thu-Sun, Paris, France CANCELLED.


1st Group
1st Place - (25) L. Tsybert (Bellevue)
2nd Place - (21) E. Lau (Bellevue)
Fighting Spirit - J. Cox (Bellevue)
2nd Group
1st Place - (26) E. Marsten (Highline), K. Forssen, G. Forssen, M. Forssen
2nd Place - (24) B. Lusby (Bellevue)
Fighting Spirit - D. DeJong (Highline), M. DeJong, (Highline)

15th ANNUAL PACIFIC INTERCOLLEGIATE KENDO TOURNAMENT – January 11, 2020, University of British Columbia

Non-Bogu                             Women’s
1st place - Brenna Short, Langara    1st place – Tamana Koike, UBC
2nd place - Feifei Yang, UBC         2nd place – Betty Park, UW
3rd place - Alex Golab, UBC          3rd place – Sara Lowes, UBC
3rd place - Viet Hoang, UBC          3rd place – Becca Hsu, SFU

Men’s Kyu                            Men’s Dan
1st place - Rory Long, UBC           1st place – Masachika Ando, UVic
2nd place - Brian Hong, UW           2nd place – Tiarnan Marsten, UW
3rd place - Jason Tang, Langara      3rd place – Minh Dao, UVic
3rd place - Brian Wong, UW           3rd place – Mitsuki Yoneda, UW

Men's Alumni
1st place - Ellis Cheng, UBC
2nd place - John Magaling, SFU
3rd place - Michael Hong, SFU
3rd place - Pat Hung, UVic

Team Match
1st place - UW A (Betty Park, Andy Yuen, Brian Hong, Connor Mulcahy, Masataka Murakami)
2nd place - UW C (Jane Higa, Juno Lee, Brian Wong, Mitsuki Yoneda, Tiarnan Marsten)
3rd place – SFU (Sean Lu, Gina Gu, Gene Ju, Michael Hong, Becca Hsu)
3rd place – UVic (Masachika Ando, Minh Dao, Matthew Pomeroy, Pat Hung, Tiffany Huang)

Fighting Spirit
Brian Wong, UW
Kanami Suzuki, UBC

Special Fighting Spirit
Tamana Koike, UBC

Bogushop sponsored the prizes

58th ANNUAL STEVESTON KENDO TOURNAMENT – February 8, 2020, Hugh McRoberts Secondary School, Richmond, BC

10 Years and Under                   11 to 13 Years                       14 to 15 Years
1st place – L. Ido, Butokoden        1st place – T. Ariga, Butokuden      1st place – K. Squance, Renbu
2nd place – K. Yoshimura, Renbu      2nd place – A. Mabale, Seattle       2nd place – C. Robillard, Steveston
3rd place – V. Chen, NCKF            3rd place – I. Hwang, Renbu          3rd place – Y. Lee, Renbu
3rd place – S. Ara, Renbu            3rd place – J. Yu, Northwest         3rd place – M. Hong, NCKF

0-4 Kyu                              1-3 Kyu                              Women 1 Dan and Under
1st place – B. Staub, NCKF           1st place – B. Miki, Steveston       1st place – K. McIntosh, Federal Way
2nd place – K. Kim, Chinook          2nd place – B. Wong, UW              2nd place – J. Lee, UW
3rd place – A. Lee, Langara          3rd place – N. Shimabukuro, Hawaii   3rd place – M. Matsuno, Hawaii
3rd place – R. Ang, UBC              3rd place – D. Wu, Langara           3rd place – K. Acoba, Everett

Women 2 Dan and Over                 1-2 Dan                              3 Dan
1st place – H. Yamada, Vancouver     1st place – B. Pae, Northwest        1st place – T. Marsten, UW
2nd place – A. Fukushima, Vancouver  2nd place – R. Kim, Renbu            2nd place – M. Price, Seattle
3rd place – W. Robillard, Steveston  3rd place – J. Kim, Federal Way      3rd place – P. Lee, Steveston
3rd place – K. Arai, Butokuden       3rd place – K. Higo, Renfrew         3rd place – M. Ando, UVic

4 Dan and Above
1st place – K. Unzei, Tozenji
2nd place – K. Hamayama, NCKF
3rd place – G. Suzaka, Seattle
3rd place – R. Asato, Vancouver

Junior Team
1st place - NCKF (I. Lancelot, M. Hong, Y. Onitsuka, J. Huang, A. Delgado)
2nd place - Renbu B (I. Son, E. Cho, Y. Kawabe, K. Yoshimura, H. Tominaga)
3rd place - Steveston A (A. Iwai, J. Hung, C. Robillard, R. Nakano, D. Chui)
3rd place – Butokuden (L. Ido, L. Yang, T. Miyamoto, F. Ido, T. Ariga)

Senior Team
1st place – NCKF (D. Williams, M. Uto, S. Park, K. Hamayama, K. Fujimoto)
2nd place – Hawaii (R. Umetsu, M. Matsuno, B. Fukutomi, ,Y. Goya, L. Hancock)
3rd place - Youshinkan (K. Takeuchi, J. Chien, A. Xie, J. Schmidt, K. Kobayashi)
3rd place – Vancouver (G. Gao, S. Jung, R. Asato, N. Fukushima, H. Yamada)

Moment of Silence – in remembrance and thankfulness for Kendo Hanshi 8th Dan Mitsuru Asaoka of Youshinkan Dojo, who passed away on December 27, 2019 at age 74.
Introduction and Congratulations for Toshio Murao, Ray Murao Sensei’s father, whose 100th birthday was on January 23, 1920.
Sportsmanship Pledge – Emily Chui, Steveston.
Head Judge – Ray Murao.

2020 EAST COAST IAIDO TAIKAI – February 16, 2020, Jersey City, NJ

4 Dan Kishimoto Cup
1st place - Hanna Ikeda-Suen, Etibicoke
2nd place - Keiko Miyamori, Ken Zen
3rd place - JiYou Ni, Nichibukan
Fighting Spirit - Kevin Thibedeau, Ken Zen

5 Dan Nakanishi Cup
1st place - Takanori Furuta, Itto Kai
2nd place - Patrick Suen, Tokushikai
3rd place - Barry Poitras, Doshikai
Fighting Spirit - G. Ronald Beck, Sei Zan

Teams Haga Cup
1st place - “Sweet Sixteen” (Robert Shin, Shidogakuin; Paul Maeda, Idaho; Michael Buanadonna, Shidogakuin)
2nd place - “Musashi” (Curtis Lu, Cherry Hill; Phillip Markunas, Ken Zen; Noriko Ambe, Ken Zen)
3rd place - “Tonbo” (Sarah Cherr Agassiz; Danny Chau Mu Mon; Dave Dudek, Ken Zen)
Fighting Spirit - “The Beans” (Collin Lu, Cherry Hill; AoJie Zheng, Ken Zen; Francis Domingo, Tokushikai)


Mitsuru Asaoka

It was shocking – devastating – when we learned that the teacher who had befriended us at UBC’s gasshuku on April 28, 1979, essentially the first day we ever put on bogu, had suddenly died.

Kendo Kyoshi 8th Dan and Iaido Kyoshi 7th Dan Mitsuru Asaoka was born September 13, 1945 in the small port town of Fushiki on the edge of Toyama Bay, having a famous view of the Tateyama mountain range across the bay. He grew up playing baseball and swimming at nearby sandy beaches, and skiing in the mountains, while helping with the family meat business owned by his father Nishida Ninsako and mother Asaoka Taki. At the age of 10 he started Kendo, and by the time he was in high school he was captain of the school Kendo club. His plan to attend Kokushikan University became impossible with the sudden death of his father. His Kendo development was postponed as he worked full time in the family business, and at night played drums professionally.

In August 1968 he married his childhood friend from nearby Hime City, the beautiful and gracious Maki Ryoko. They were both 22 years old and had met in elementary school in the 4th grade, continued as classmates, and then had been dating in their last year in high school. The two of them opened their first meat store in Toyama City.

Soon after, Asaoka Sensei began his study of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido under Masaoka Katsutone Ikkan in Toyama, and resumed his Kendo.

Two sons were born, Motoki in December 1972, and Suguru in April 1974.

In 1978 the ham company Ito Ham hosted a tour to San Francisco, Disneyland, Denver, Niagra Falls, and New York City, and this trip gave Asaoka Sensei the idea of moving to North America for a life of better opportunities for his family. One day he saw and ad in a Kendo magazine recruiting Kendo people to Canada, whereupon he sold his stores and rented out his home, and in January 1979 arrived in Vancouver.

At first he assisted with Kendo instruction at Renbu Dojo and UBC. After three years, he was considering moving back to Japan, but Uegaki Takuo Sensei and Mr. John Schwermer convinced him to stay and continue teaching the children he’d been working with. So in 1982 these three families separated from Renbu and started Sunrise Dojo at the Hastings Community Centre. As Asaoka Sensei was often absent with trips to Japan, Uegaki Sensei took over instruction at Sunrise.

After passing 6th Dan in Japan, Asaoka Sensei felt he needed an ongoing mentor, so in the summer of 1986 he invited Kendo and Iaido Hanshi 8th Dan Haga Tadatoshi from Shizuoka to come. He had originally been introduced to Haga Sensei by his earlier teacher in Toyama. Asaoka Sensei continued to invite Haga Sensei every summer for 13 years, and they developed a strong father and son relationship.

Every summer, Asaoka Sensei very generously shared Haga Sensei with the PNKF, sending him down to stay at Koike Shinichi Sensei’s home in Seattle, so that everyone in this area would have the benefit of extended opportunities to study with this incredible teacher. Many fortunate among us studied with Haga Sensei, and through him met such greats as Narasaki Masahiko, Nakanishi Yasushi, and Yamazaki Takashige Sensei, who attended the opening of Asaoka Sensei’s Unison Dojo in North Vancouver. In the fall of 1998 when Asaoka Sensei’s Dojo had to move, Haga Sensei bestowed the name of his own Youshinkan Dojo on it, thus permanently signalizing the direct transmission from Nakayama Hakudo, whom Haga Sensei had learned from. For the 1991 8th World Kendo Championship in Toronto, we accompanied Haga Sensei’s entourage, and sat with him in the VIP section, learning from his rich commentary. All those who have known and studied with Haga Tadatoshi Sensei count themselves among the most fortunate kenshi in the world.

The two sons, Motoki and Suguru, gradually moved into the role of main instructors, and they also became world famous for their powerful performances on Team Canada at several World Kendo Championships.

On December 11, 2019, Asaoka Sensei had been rushed to the hospital when he complained of pain in the abdomen. The following day the pain continued so he received emergency surgery after another CT scan revealed that the small intestine was getting tangled with the scar tissue from the large intestine cancer surgery he’d had back in September 1997. Matters were further complicated by the fact he had not yet fully recovered from the triple bypass surgery in July. On December 15 he was transferred to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre since Burnaby General did not have a kidney dialysis machine. After the dialysis treatments, his condition improved, but on December 27 bleeding from the large intestine recurred which resulted in deteriorating blood pressure and eventual heart failure.

The celebration of life was held on January 24, 2020 at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, BC. Asaoka Sensei is survived by his second wife Miyuki and daughter Yuzu, and also by his son Motoki, (wife Anda, granddaughters Nozomi and Hikari) and son Suguru. We continue in mourning, and offer our deepest condolences to everyone in the family, and in Youshinkan Dojo.


CKF KENDO KODANSHA AND SHOGO, November 10, 2019, Toronto
6TH DAN: Hyoung (Bill) Kim (U of Toronto), Kyle Eun Seob Lee (Chinook), Inseo Park (Jung Ko).
7TH DAN: Samuel Cappiello (U at Buffalo), Hyun-June Choi (Jung Ko), Tony Davidson (U of Toronto).
RENSHI: Junko Ariyama (Montreal), Neil Gendzwill (Saskatoon), Paul Nakamura (Toronto), Francis St. Germain (McGill U).
KYOSHI: Brian Asa (JCCC), Shigemitsu Kamata (Etobicoke), Jin Whan Lee (Jung Ko), Matthew Raymond (U of Toronto), Julio Kenji Toida (Montreal), Gabriel Weitzner (JCCC).

2020 EAST COAST IAIDO SHINSA, February 16, 2020, Jersey City NJ
4TH KYU: Curtis Lu (Cherry Hill), Fausto Rodriguez (Baltimore-Annapolis).
3RD KYU: Naomi Okubo (Ken Zen), Marie Lawson (Seidogakuin DC Fudokan), Paul Spencer (Yama Kawa), Dennis Verzi (Ken Zen), Joseph Kwak (Cherry Hill), Sky Kwak (Cherry Hill), Eun Ju Kwak (Cherry Hill).
2ND KYU: Robert Shin (Shidogakuin NY Shidokan), Curtis Lu (Cherry Hill), James Jihyuk Kwak (Cherry Hill), Aleksandr Fromzel (Shidogakuin CT Genbukan), Tom Wendling (Ken Zen), John Burton (Washinkan).
1ST KYU: Peter Kim (Cherry Hill), Dmitriy Ovsyannikov (Nichibukan), Sara Scherr (Musoshindenryu Agassiz), Irina Kuznetsova (Shidogakuin CT Genbukan), James Kwak (Cherry Hill), Jefferson Svengsouk (Ittokai), Todd Christenson (Washinkan).
1ST DAN: Sean Hess (Ken Zen), Joseph Wong (Shidogakuin NJ Hakushikan), Kevin Ng (Sei Zan), Danny Chan (Mu Mon).
2ND DAN: Chris Kim (Cherry Hill), Joshua Stadtlander-Miller (Ken Zen), Philip Markunas (KenZen), Louis Thauvin (KenZen), Nathalie Jaspar (KenZen), Charlie Colbert (Ittokai), Soo Chul Bang (Shidogakuin CT Genbukan).
3RD DAN: Oscar Mendez (Associacion de Iaido y Kendo del Instituto Politecnico Nacional), Veronica Taylor (Baltimore Annapolis), Noriko Ambe (KenZen).

PNKF KENDO SHINSA, February 29, 2020, Tyee Educational Complex, 4424 S. 188th Street, SeaTac, Washington
6TH KYU: Mylo Cox (Bellevue), Yuken DeBlieck (Sno-King), Evan Dong (Northwest), Andrew Hsu (Northwest), Strummer Maxfield-Matsumoto (Highline), Marco Messah (Northwest), Danilo Murata (Northwest), Sean Wales (Northwest), Ryan Yasuda (Northwest).
5TH KYU: Kaito Ayers (Sno-King), Jaxon Cox (Bellevue), Saiichi Johnson (Seattle), Louis Liang (Northwest), Yuanchang Liang (Northwest), Aidan Santon (Seattle), Kalliope Santon (Seattle), Mifune Tanimura (Seattle), Koh Tapang (Highline).
4TH KYU: Ezra Corcoro Marx (Federal Way), Kenjiro Maxfield-Matsumoto (Highline), Kira Pierce (Kent), DongYun Ryu (Cascade), Braeden Tapang (Highline), Amy Vier (Federal Way), Jonathan Yu (Northwest).
3RD KYU: Zachary Armstrong (UW), Masazo Ayers (Sno-King), Derrik Best (Everett), Mitchell Booth (UW), AJ Chau (UW), Cian Chu (UW), Issei DeBlieck (Sno-King), Jeramy Gee (Tacoma), Harrison Hu (UW), Ajay Kristipati (UW), Shane Lyu (UW), Emily Mather (UW), Drew Migita (Seattle), Camille Miller (UW), Jinny Moon (Bellevue), Welson Nguyen (UW), Yin Ouyang (Seattle), Denise Quach (Seattle), DongHyun Ryu (Cascade), Brian Shin (Tacoma), Maolin Tu (Seattle), Mutsuko Wichman (Cascade), Shoko Wichman (Cascade), Joe Xie (UW), Lucy Yang (UW), Rina Yuan (Bellevue), Yiwei Zhang (UW).
2ND KYU: Nicholas Chu (Bellevue), Devin Chung (Cascade), Ashley Garr (Cascade), Daniel Kao (Tacoma), Anthony Kelsey (Edmonds), Jason Kuo (UW), Maoyang Li (Bellevue), Juah Paik (Tacoma), Rebecca Roland (Portland), Shen Ru (Everett), Hui Shen (Tacoma), Daniel Shilov (Highline).
1ST KYU: Matheus (Kai) Bandur (Honda) (Cascade), Aaron Fung (Seattle), Juno Lee (UW), Aneurin Mabale (Seattle), Conrad Slater (UW), Neo Smith (Bellevue), Abigail Tan (Cascade), William Wellborn (Bellevue), Brian Wong (UW).
1ST DAN: Yue Chen (Seattle), Aidan Chervin (Portland), Espen Hellevik (UW), Brian Hong (UW), Raymond Kao (Tacoma), Gen Li (OSU), Ffion Mabale (Seattle), Krystal McIntosh (Federal Way), Connor Mulcahy (UW), Nagato Orita (Seattle), Catherine Park (Bellevue), Michael Rea (Spokane).
2ND DAN: Josh Kim (Federal Way), Daniel Lee (Tacoma), Victor Blancarte (Sno-King), Chi Pak (Portland), Jin Ho Jeon (Bellevue), Kengo Underhill (Northwest), Victor Whitman (Seattle).
3RD DAN: Jeffrey Lundell (Kent), Gregory Vielhaber (Portland), Masako Wright (RMKIF).
4TH DAN: Jaered Croes (Portland), Tiarnan Marsten (UW), Masataka Murakami (UW), Hogyun Park (OSU), Matthew Price (Seattle), Mitsuki Yoneda (UW).

AJKF SHOGO SHINSA, May 3, 2020, Kyoto
IAIDO RENSHI: Jonathan Bannister (PNKF), Terry Fukui (KenZen).


At Busen, senior students would “shape up the underclassmen.” The head of the senior class, obtained permission from the principal, gathered the underclassman on the roof of the classroom building and would lecture to the junior, sophomore, and freshman. We would have to listen, sitting in seiza position for two or more hours. Then each of the seniors would pick on an individual student, who had not bowed to the Sempai on a particular day, and Wham! The student would get a kiai or punch to wake him up. It hurt. But he would not be repeatedly beaten, day after day or with shoes and sticks, like the Japanese Army. The whack was not considered mean, but a compassionate strike to remind you that you were at Busen, so you had to shape up. And be alert. You must have “sen”, one step ahead. Always, one step ahead in Kendo and in life.

Naito Sensei, the first Sensei at Busen, exemplified the life of Kendo as the ethical principles of Budo. Naito Sensei lived simply in an old house that he stubbornly refused to repair. A student, seeing the leaking roof, decided to help him and repair his house. Naito Sensei refused, acknowledged the student’s attention and then sent him away. During the freezing Kyoto winters, Ogawa Sensei brushed his teeth in the snow and held winter practice or kangeiko in the unheated Dojo. The true warrior (Bushi) is selfless. There is story of a Samurai who was hungry, but he gave his food to save a starving person. Then he pretended he had had a filling meal by picking his teeth with a toothpick. The life of Kendo is to be tough but live kindly; to be fearless in battle; to be trustworthy; to polish yourself both by taking care of the body and the spirit; to not be a burden to others but rather to be of service to others in the community. If you want to be rich, don’t bother with Kendo. My grandfather was not a kendoist, but he set an example of perseverance, kindness and humility. He never complained, nor did I complain or feel anger while I lived with him.</p.

I thought often during these bleak times of Ogawa Sensei’s commentary on seppuku: “Live, don’t die. Live long to contribute to others.” Of course I never went so far as contemplating suicide and reminded myself often how lucky I had been to escape death so many times in the army and in Hiroshima. Everything after was a bonus. Nonetheless, negative emotions were hard to control, especially when I lived daily in an unhappy marriage.

So I worked. I was still clearing rice fields when an American walked by. I greeted him in English and thus he discovered I was bilingual. In those days, interpreting jobs were in high demand. Captain Parker of the American Occupation Forces then hired me, initially as a translator-interpreter. When he learned I could type, I was even more valuable as an employee because I could type the Japanese information directly. I never would have thought that learning to type, which was a class I hated in the ninth grade at Leilehua High School, would become one of my assets for survival. Not only did I receive small payments from the Japanese Government, but also, much more importantly, Captain Parker gave me food.

The rice from my marriage was no longer critical. That was lucky because my wife’s mother had a sharp eye and a sharper tongue and resented anything I gave to my family. She brought the rice from their farm in the country to our house and thereby controlled exactly how much we received. She was much more my boss than the American soldiers. My wife obeyed her mother and bossed me too. Neither respected me. I came from a farmer’s family, but I wasn’t a peasant! I was a student at Busen. I had assimilated the samurai culture, but the War had prevented any positive recognition of the status I had worked so hard to achieve. I was no longer hungry, but I was still seething with anger and resentment.

This all came to a head one hot summer day. While I was working for Captain Parker, I was tearing down the barracks and hauling the wood uphill. This was exhausting work, and dangerous. I fell through the second floor once, but only had a few scrapes and bruises and continued working. My relatives wanted me to build them a large two-story house. Remembering my grandfather’s help to me, I agreed to continue to help my relatives as he surely would have done were he still alive.

One day when I was hauling the old lumber up the hill in preparation for construction, my wife called out and demanded to know what I was doing. When I told her it was for my aunt and uncle, she told me that I couldn’t make a house for my relatives. Instead, the house had to be built for us alone. That was the breaking point! “Go home,” I shouted and pointed at the door. “Go home to your mother! Now!!” We never saw each other again, although her brother did search for me to right the wrong I had done to his sister and to restore the family honor. He caused me to move more than once. I added the divorce clause to the Koseki Tohon”. Thus, we were divorced. I had no regrets. My mother had spent about two weeks at my grandfather’s house, and didn’t like the way my wife and her mother bossed me. She did not criticize me for divorcing my wife. Her focus was on “Mishiya Kyo”, a religious sect she had joined in Hawaii and followed to Japan. But that was not the case with my father.

Shortly before the divorce, my father had returned to his beloved Japan and also stayed in my grandfather’s house. But I had stubbornly asserted my will and ignored custom. He was a stubborn man who renounced me. His rejection was more painful than my divorce.

The respect and duty, “Oya Ko Ko,” owed to parents is one of the traditional bonds in Japanese society. We are given life and receive our bodies from our parents, and their parents before. Our parents and our ancestors live within us. Therefore, our bodies are gifts that we must care for, to put to good use and respect. It is our duty to stay healthy and be careful so our parents do not need to worry. With this life we are given, we owe it to our parents to leave a good name for the next generation, to do well in school so that we can successfully contribute to the community. In brief, it is our duty to make our parents proud and honor our ancestors. Of course, when the parents age, the duty is reversed. Old people must take the initiative to be healthy and continue to contribute. But if that is not possible, we care for our parents just as they care for us as babies.

–Rod Nobuto Omoto, Autobiography, edited by Charlotte Omoto, 2014, p. 43-45. Available as free download at

Kenyu – Monthly Newsletter of the Pacific Northwest Kendo Federation PLEASE NOTE: Kenyu Online IS THE EDITION OF RECORD FOR THIS NEWSLETTER – Tom Bolling, Editor – 7318 23rd Avenue N.E., Seattle, WA 98115

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