by Charles C. Goodin

After a 50-year absence, I recently re-established the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai ("Youth Group"). The Seinenkai was originally established in Hawaii in 1933 during the visit of Mizuho Mutsu (of Tokyo Imperial University) and Kamesuke Higashionna (of Toyo University). Local instructors Seishin Uehara and Thomas Shigeru Miyashiro, along with Mutsu and Higashionna, were the association’s original instructors. The original Hawaii Karate Seinenkai remained in existence until about 1948.

In the course of doing research for a book on the early history of Karate in Hawaii, I met with the families of Seishin Uehara and Thomas Shigeru Miyashiro, along with many others. With the permission and blessing of Mrs. Uehara and Mrs. Miyashiro, as well as Katsumi Hokama, the original president of the Seinenkai, I decided to re-establish the Seinenkai as a way of honoring the early instructors. The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai is committed to:

• encouraging the practice of Karate by young people;

• fostering peace and health through Karate training and education;

• encouraging research and writing about Karate;

• preserving the legacy of and saluting Hawaii's Karate pioneers;

• establishing the Hawaii Karate Museum (see details below);

• maintaining Karate’s connection to the community; and

• maintaining Karate’s place as an important aspect of Okinawan culture.

The Seinenkai has already developed a website — www.Seinenkai.com — which contains many historic photographs and articles.

One of the first projects being undertaken by the Seinenkai is the creation of the Hawaii Karate Museum. In my research, I found that many historic items had been lost over the years due to fire or water damage, or by simply being misplaced or thrown away. That convinced me of the need for a place to preserve Hawaii's Karate history. Many people have already donated historic Karate materials which are being cataloged, scanned, archived and stored. Karate photographs and books are especially sought, as are any early Karate items.

When you donate a photograph to the museum, you will be given a high resolution copy of the photo in return. The copy is often as clear as the original photograph. In this way, the donor can still view the photograph and it will be preserved for future generations. Images can also be provided on a computer disk or CD.

Can you help preserve Hawaii’s Okinawan Karate history? I am now seeking photographs, books and artifacts for the Hawaii Karate Museum. I know that it will take some time before a permanent facility is established. Until then, there’s a lot of work to be done to prepare the collection. I also plan to create exhibits that can be displayed at cultural centers, cultural events and schools.

The Hawaii Karate Seinenkai and the Hawaii Karate Museum are divisions of the Hikari Institute, a Hawaii nonprofit corporation and a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Donations to the Institute are tax deductible. The Institute's website is: www.tanega.com/hikari/.

Editor’s note: Karate historian and instructor Charles C. Goodin teaches the Matsubayashi-Ryu form of traditional Okinawan Karate at the Hikari Dojo. Classes are held at Halawa District Park on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

Goodin's article, The Roots of Okinawan Karate in Hawaii, appeared in “Okinawan Mixed Plate: Generous Servings of Culture, Customs and Cuisine,” which was published last year by Hui O Laulima. He has also written numerous articles about Karate that have been published in Hawaii newspapers as well as local and national martial arts journals.

Charles Goodin can be contacted at:

Hikari Institute
98-211 Pali Momi Street, Suite 640
Aiea, Hawaii 96701
Phone: (808) 488-5773
Fax: (808) 488-5778
Divisions: Hikari Dojo (HikariDojo.com), Hawaii Karate Seinenkai (Seinenkai.com)