Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
I would like to express my sincere condolences toward the families and related members of the more than 40,000 people who have passed away due to the recent Turkey-Syria earthquake. There are many people still trapped inside the rubble, and I hope and pray for precious lives to be saved as much as possible. I also wish to express my sincere appreciation towards the restoration work that is being carried out by the related people.
It has been 3 years since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and 1 year since the start of the problem in Ukraine. We have overcome various difficulties by joining hands and cooperating with each other. Even in this rapidly changing international situation, let us continue our efforts to contribute to world peace by spreading Budo Karate around the world.
This is the first newsletter for this year, and in Japan, according to the calendar, we have entered spring. As WKO, the long-awaited 7th World Karate Championship in Weight Categories was organized successfully by the Poland Branch in September 2022. After 5 months, we are now starting the preparation work related to the strongest and largest battle to decide the world No.1 in Karate, the 13th World Open Karate Championship, and with this newsletter, we are announcing the number of competitors for each country and region for the Kumite competition. On the other hand, we are also coordinating the competition regulations and the operation method for the Kata competition, so please look forward to the information that will be announced in future newsletters. This tournament will be held this year on October 14-15 in Tokyo. I believe that selection tournaments are starting to be held in each country and region. For the Regional Board Members and Country Representatives, it may be hard work, but I kindly request for your efforts to carry out the tournaments in success. In Japan, the All Japan Championship was held in December 2022 as the first selection, and 4 men and 2 women competitors were decided. The second selection will be carried out at the 8th JFKO Championship in May to finalize the Japan National Team.
In Europe, I have been informed that the European Championship will be held on April 1st in Sweden. I believe that organizing a tournament in the current financial situation in Europe is a difficult task, especially with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the problem in Ukraine, and the above-mentioned Turkey-Syria earthquake, but I would like to express my sincere support towards the wonderful tournament that will be organized by Shihan Howard Collins, Shihan Brian Fitkin, and Shihan Michael Soderkvist, the senior members who have protected the tradition of Kyokushin Karate from the times of Sosai Oyama. For the competitors that have been chosen to represent their country and region, and for the competitors that will be taking part in upcoming selection tournaments, I would like for you to make use of each moment of each day, continue your hard training, and prepare yourself in the best condition possible on tournament day. I firmly believe that whoever goes through the hardest and toughest training in the world, will be the one to win the honor of becoming the world No. 1 in Karate. I wish you the best in your preparation for the tournament. For the Branch Chiefs and Contacts, I feel that various preparation work for the World Championship by the WKO Headquarters will proceed at a fast pace, so I kindly request for your cooperation in following the deadlines and submitting the necessary documents. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in Tokyo.
This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. On January 8th, we solemnly held the annual Kagami Biraki training at Gokokuji Temple, the resting place of Sosai Oyama. Under the clear blue winter sky, and in our pure white dogi, we carried out our Tsuki and Keri techniques with full force, with strong Kiai. What we have now, is all because of this wonderful Kyokushin Karate founded by Sosai Oyama. Let us always have this feeling of appreciation, each and every day we train at our dojos. In the martial arts world, various martial arts are suddenly introduced, regardless of professional or amateur, and such activities are brought to our eyes with their wide promotion around the world through social media. The Full Contact Karate we train, begins and ends with Rei (courtesy), and there is a strong foundation of simplicity and fortitude based on the Budo spirit. Without being carried away by the trend in the martial arts world, let us continue our Kyokushin path with our endless Karate training and pursuit to become the strongest.
Lastly, in December 2022, as the dogi recycle campaign, with the support of Shihan Koen Scharrenberg as the WKO Vice President and Europe Region President, and the Board Members of the various regions around the world, part one of the project was started. This activity had started in 2009, but as a part of the SDGs advocated by the United Nations, we have decided to restrengthen this activity. In such social contribution activity and daily training, and through the holding of competitions and events, let us join hands and continue to spread Full Contact Karate as Budo education around the world, and contribute as much as possible to create a peaceful society.