Saturday, December 26, 2020

Dojo of the Seiko Higa lineage

Seiko Higa was a prominent teacher of Goju-Ryu on Okinawa. He initially began learning Naha-te from Kanryo Higashionna. After Kanryo passed away in 1915, Higa continued training with his senpai Chojun Miyagi. Higa opened his own dojo and began teaching in 1931. His final dojo which he opened in 1960 was known as the Shodokan. In the same year he also founded the Kokusai Karate Kobudo Renmei. Later, “Goju Ryu” was added to the organization name by Seikichi Higa. Many of the dojo on Okinawa founded by Higa’s students still belong to his organization. I wanted to go over some of the dojo from the Higa lineage and give a quick description.

Senbukan (Kanki Izumikawa)

Kanki Izumikawa was the first student of Seiko Higa to begin teaching Goju-Ryu. He opened the Senbukan in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture in 1939. He was recognized as Renshi, and eventually Hanshi in 1957 by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. Izumikawa had many successful students who opened dojo of their own. Today it is one of the major Goju Ryu lineages in Japan with over a dozen different organizations, The Senbukan dojo itself is run by Kanki’s son Katsuya Izumikawa today. The Senbukan has had a close relationship with the Goju Ryu Kokusai Karate Kobudo Renmei. Kanki Izumikawa’s oldest son Kanbun also spent over 10 years training with Juei Tamaki.

Kanki Izumikawa in the Senbukan dojo with his students

Seigokan (Juei Tamaki)

Juei Tamaki was the oldest student of Seiko Higa, having been born in 1905. He was awarded Hanshi Judan, by Seiko Higa himself in 1960. With permission from Higa he opened the Seigokan in 1965. Besides Goju Ryu, Tamaki was also a master of Ryuei Ryu Kobudo. Some of his senior students included Seitoku Matayoshi, Zensei Gushiken and Akira Gushi. The Seigokan has played a major role in Seiko Higa’s organization. The current president of the Goju Ryu Kokusai Karate Kobudo Renmei is Akira Gushi. The previous president, Zensei Gushiken was also from the Seigokan.

The Seigokan dojo

Shoreikan (Seikichi Toguchi)

Seikichi Toguchi was one of Higa's most senior students. In addition, he was a student of Goju Ryu founder Chojun Miyagi as well. Toguchi opened the Shoreikan in 1954 in Koza city. Some of the earliest students were Ryugo Sakai, Masanobu Shinjo, Zenshu Toyama and Katsuyoshi Kanei. The Shoreikan was eventually relocated to the mainland by Toguchi, with the honbu being in Tokyo. Toguchi was well known for the extra kata he created like Gekiha and Kakuha to be able to teach the Goju system more progressively. Like the Senbukan, the Shoreikan was independent from Seiko Higa's organization but enjoyed a close relationship. 

Seiko Higa visiting the Shoreikan dojo

Senbukan (Seiko Fukuchi)

Though it has the same reading as Izumikawa’s Senbukan, it’s important to note the kanji are different. Seiko Fukuchi was a senior student of Higa going back to the 30s. When Seiko Higa opened the Shodokan, he acted as an assistant. He opened his own dojo in 1964 in Naha. Fukuchi unfortunately died at a young age in 1975. Following this Iken Tokashiki became the second president of Seiko Fukuchi’s organization. Later it was renamed to the Gohaku Kai. The group still continues to use the Senbukan name for the dojo. The other senior student of Fukuchi was Tetsuhiro Hokama who continues to teach his Goju Ryu without the addition of Tomari te.  

Seiko Fukuchi and his students. Tetsuhiro Hokama is to the right

Gojukan (Eikichi Fukumoto)

Eikichi Fukumoto was a senior student of Seiko Higa who trained with him at the Shodokan dojo. The Gojukan is one of the dojo that is a member of Seiko Higa’s organization. Besides Okinawa, he also had several students on the mainland Japan and there is a Gojukan dojo there still operated by one of his students. On Okinawa one of his senior students was Hideo Ishiki. Fukumoto sadly also died at a fairly young age. His dojo is carried on by his senior students.

Eikichi Fukumoto (far left) with students

Kobukan (Choshin Ishimine)

Chosin Ishimine was one of the more senior students of Seiko Higa and began training with him well before the Shodokan dojo was established. Most of the information on him comes from Akio Kinjo. Kinjo was a student of Higa at first and then later learned Goju Ryu from Ishimine. Kinjo stated that in 1953 he was one of few people to know Suparinpei and had the best kata out of Higa’s students at the time. The Kobukan continues to be a member dojo of the Goju Ryu Kokusai Karate Kobudo Renmei. Otherwise there is not much known about them.

The Kobukan dojo of Ishimine

Eikikan (Eiki Kurashita)

Eiki Kurashita was a student of Seiko Higa at the Shodokan dojo. He is currently one of the last living students of Seiko Higa. When Seiko Higa passed away, he continued his training with Seikichi Higa and the other seniors at the Shodokan dojo. He was president of Seiko Higa’s organization following the death of Seikichi Higa in 1999. His Eikikan dojo was another dojo in the Goju Ryu Kokusai Karate Kobudo Renmei.


Eiki Kurashita in the Eikikan dojo

There are several other dojo within Seiko Higa’s organization such as the Gowakan, Mushikan, Gyobukan, Raijinkan, Kobukan (different kanji from Ishimine’s). There is not enough information to write about any of them however.

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