Posted on Leave a comment

Who got Promoted in the JKA? The Official List

The JKA held its annual Spring Camp on April 11 to 14, 2019. During the event, the official award ceremony for the promotion of higher Dan ranks took place. We reported about the promotion of a 10th Dan to Ueki Masaaki.

Beside Ueki Masaaki several other instructors were promoted. Due to fact that the names of the awardees were not announced publicly we inquired at the JKA HQ and received the following list from the press office. The Shihankai Meeting on February 16, 2018 decided to award:

10th Dan

  • Ueki Masaaki

9th Dan

  • Sakai Ryusuke
  • Kano Tadahiko
  • Koyama Shojiro

8th Dan

  • Kawasaki Isao
  • Mera Junichi
  • Machida Yoshizo
  • Inoue Mitsuo
  • Kawazoe Masao
  • Aoki Osamu
  • Ogura Yasunori

Congratulations to all awardees, oss!

Posted on 8 Comments

Official Answer of the JKA-HQ about Ueki Masaaki´s 10th Dan

Ueki Masaaki Shihan might had become the the first 10th Dan holder in the history of the JKA, as we have reported last week. We came to this conclusion because the website of the JKA indicated the award. However, no public announcement was made.

Speculations About Awarding of 10th Dan to Ueki Masaaki

Right after our report speculations occurred. Some supposed that it was high time for Shihan Masaaki to receive the award because Hirokazu Kanazawa and Teruyuki Okazaki already had been awarded 10th Dan. They are the same generation like Ueki Masaaki. Thus, the award was only consequential.

Others asserted that the award was given because of internal promotions within the Shihankai of the JKA. Takeshi Oishi, for instance, was awarded the 9th Dan. In order to maintain the hierarchy within the organization the promotion of Shihan Masaaki was a necessary step.

Message to JKA HQ: Why Did Ueki Masaaki Received the 10th Dan?

We wanted to know it directly from the JKA-HQ. That is why we wrote an email to the headquarter and asked about a statement. Yesterday, we received the short answer. The JKA-HQ wrote:

“Shihan Ueki was awarded 10th dan by recommendation of Shihankai. The first and second chief instructors were given the award too.”

As the most of you have speculated, it was an internal decision. Why the JKA did not report about it, is still up for speculation. But it seems theoretically plausible that such a forced promotion due to hierarchical and/or seniority reasons is not deemed as prestigious and honorable by the JKA in comparison to a granting of a 10th Dan by the Kokusai Budoin like Hirokazu Kanazawa received.

Why Was Decided This Way?

One would expect the JKA to utilize and explain this huge step. Because it is an important selling-argument for such an organization and a decision that only takes place every few decades. In the history of Shotokan, only a handful of people have hold a 10th Dan. The awarding should therefore be something special and highly valued. Under those kind if circumstances it seems odd that the JKA did not announce the award. We again requested an official press release by the JKA in which they might explain the decision and to prove all speculations wrong. The answer is still pending.

However, for many JKA members this might also been sad. The social media response on our report showed that many had wished to celebrate the award with Shihan Masaaki. Some might also be disappointed because the JKA did not inform its members about the decision. That reveals a gap between the Shihankai and the members. Some members might have felt left out although they are strongly committed to the organization, its values, and their chief instructor. We hope the JKA finds a way to solve this issue.

If we receive further information we will report immediately.

Posted on 3 Comments

Shihan Ueki Masaaki of the JKA awarded 10th Dan?

It would be the first living 10th Dan in the History of the JKA. According to the JKA website, Shihan Ueki Masaaki was awarded the 10th Dan. When, why, and by whom the award was overhanded is currently unknown. The Shotokan Times has contacted the JKA Headquarter in Tokyo by email for further information. Perhaps, it might be a writing mistake. But against this hypothesis stands the fact that on two different pages of the JKA website the rank of a 10th Dan. This award would come as a surprise. Up to now, the JKA has not released an official statement in English that The Shotokan Times is aware of. When we have further information we will immediately report about the topic.

The picture shows the profile of Masaaki Ueki on the website of the JKA.
The picture shows the profile of Masaaki Ueki and other high ranking instructors on the website of the JKA.