|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2010)|
June 1, 1892|
Shimodate, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
|Died||January 29, 1982
|Other names||Hironori Ohtsuka|
|Teacher(s)||Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni, Chōki Motobu|
|Rank||10th dan karate|
|Notable students||Tatsuo Suzuki, Masafumi Shiomitsu|
Hironori Ōtsuka (大塚 博紀 Ōtsuka Hironori , June 1, 1892 – January 29, 1982)[a] was a Japanese master of karate who created the Wadō-ryū style of karate. He was the first Grand Master of Wadō-ryū karate, and received high awards within Japan for his contributions to karate.
Ōtsuka was born on June 1, 1892, in Shimodate City, Ibaraki, Japan. He was one of four children to Tokujiro Ōtsuka, a medical doctor. At the age of 5 years, he began training in the martial art of jujutsu under his great-uncle, Chojiro Ebashi (a samurai). Ōtsuka's father took over his martial arts education in 1897. At the age of 13, Ōtsuka became the student of Shinzaburo Nakayama in Shindō Yōshin-ryū jujutsu.
In 1911, while studying business administration at Waseda University in Tokyo, Ōtsuka trained in various jujutsu schools in the area. Before his studies were complete, his father died and he was unable to continue studying; he commenced work as a clerk at the Kawasaki Bank. Although he wished to become a full-time instructor, he did not pursue this course at this point out of respect for his mother's wishes.
On June 1, 1921, Ōtsuka received the menkyo kaiden (certificate of mastery and license to teach) in Shindō Yōshin-ryū jujutsu, and became the fourth master of that school. Jujutsu was not to become his primary art, however; in 1922, Ōtsuka began training in Shotokan karate under Gichin Funakoshi, who was a new arrival in Japan. In 1927, he also established a medical practice and specialized in treating martial arts training injuries.
By 1928, Ōtsuka was an assistant instructor in Funakoshi's school. He also trained under Chōki Motobu and Kenwa Mabuni, and studied kobudo, around this time. Ōtsuka began to have philosophical disagreements with Funakoshi, and the two men parted ways in the early 1930s. This may have come, in part, from his decision to train with Motobu. Funakoshi's karate emphasized kata, a series of movements and techniques linked by the fighting principles. Funakoshi did not believe that sparring was necessary for realistic training. Motobu, however, emphasized the necessity of free application, and created a series of two-person kumite called yakusoku kumite.
On April 1, 1934, Ōtsuka opened his own karate school the Dai Nippon Karate Shinko Kai at 63 Banchi Suehiro-Cho, Kanda, Tokyo. He blended Shotokan karate with his knowledge of Shindō Yōshin-ryū jujutsu to form Wadō-ryū karate, although the art would only later take on this name several years later. With recognition of his style as an independent karate style, Ōtsuka became a full-time instructor. In 1940, his style was registered at the Butokukai, Kyoto, for the demonstration of various martial arts, together with Shotokan, Shitō-ryū, and Gōjū-ryū.
Following World War II, the practice of martial arts in Japan was banned. After a few years, however, the ban was lifted; through the 1950s, Ōtsuka held various karate competitions. In 1964, three of Ōtsuka's students (Tatsuo Suzuki, Toru Arakawa, and Hajime Takashima) from Nihon University toured Europe and the United States of America, demonstrating Wadō-ryū karate.
On April 29, 1966, Emperor Hirohito awarded Ōtsuka the Kun-Go-To (Fifth Order of Merit of the Sacred Treasure). The Emperor later also awarded him the Soko Kyokujitsu-Sho medal for his contributions to karate. In the next few years, Ōtsuka wrote two books on karate: Karate-Do, Volume 1 (1967, focused on kata) and Karate-Do, Volume 2 (1970, focused on kumite). On October 9, 1972, the Kokusai Budo (International Martial Arts Federation) awarded Ōtsuka the title of Shodai Karate-do Meijin Judan (first-generation karate master 10th dan); this was the first time this honor had been bestowed on a karate practitioner.
Ōtsuka continued to teach and lead Wadō-ryū karate into the 1980s, and died on January 29, 1982. His son became the second Grand Master of Wadō-ryū karate and honored his father by taking the name "Hironori Ōtsuka II."
- Wado Karate Association of Canada: Grand Master Hironori Otsuka (2002). Retrieved on April 1, 2010.
- Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai: FAQs (c. 2005). Retrieved on November 24, 2006.
- Konishi, Y. (1977): Karatedo: Ryukyu Karate no sentatsusha-tachi (Predecessors of Ryukyu Karate) (Japanese) (pp. 58–59). Japan: Sozou.
- Ōtsuka, H. (1977): Karatedo: Meisei-juku Zengo (Before and after Meisei-juku) (Japanese) (p. 55). Japan: Sozou.
- Bushinkai USA: History of Wado-Ryu (c. 2009). Retrieved on April 1, 2010.