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Tribute to Kancho Kenneth Funakoshi

Kancho Kenneth Funakoshi

Kancho Kenneth Funakoshi passed away on July 3, 2024.

Kancho Kenneth Yoshinobu Funakoshi, born on September 4, 1938, in Honolulu, Hawaii, was a prominent karate master and the founder of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association (FSKA). A fourth cousin of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of modern Shotokan, Kenneth Funakoshi dedicated his life to teaching and promoting Shotokan karate.

During his high school years, Kenneth Funakoshi was a member of the varsity football team and the captain of the Territory of Hawaii championship swim team. He served four years in the United States Air Force while continuing his martial arts training. His martial arts journey began in 1948 with judo training under Sensei Arakaki and continued throughout high school and college. At the University of Hawaii, he started training in Kenpo with Sensei Adriano Emperado from 1956 to 1959.

In 1960, he began Shotokan training when the Japan Karate Association (JKA) assigned Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa to teach in Hawaii. Kancho Funakoshi continued his training under renowned masters such as Masataka Mori and Tetsuhiko Asai.

In 1969, after a decade of intensive training and competitions, he was appointed Chief Instructor of JKA in Hawaii. In 1986, he moved to San Jose, California, to teach karate, and in 1987, he founded the FSKA, a non-political organization with affiliates worldwide.

Kenneth Funakoshi was widely recognized for his contributions to martial arts. He received numerous accolades, including being named “Instructor of the Year” by Black Belt magazine in 1978 and various honorary black belt ranks throughout his career.

For Kancho Funakoshi, karate was not just a job but a true calling. He was passionate about sharing his love for Shotokan karate with the world. His legacy continues through the many students and dojos affiliated with FSKA globally. His dedication to martial arts and the perfection of character will remain in the memories of all who had the privilege of knowing and training under his guidance.

Rest in peace, Kancho Kenneth Funakoshi. Your spirit and teachings will continue to inspire generations of karate practitioners.

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