Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
First of all, I would like to start my message by expressing my appreciation to all of you for your warm support for our organization.
In Japan, which has four seasons, the cherry blossom season has passed, and we are starting to feel the pleasant wind of early summer. I hope everyone is doing well in their country and region.
April 26th marked the 21st anniversary of the death of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. In the early morning of this day, I went to Gokokuji Temple, where Sosai rests, cleaned the grave, and offered flowers. It was a clear sunny day, and with a pure state of mind, I made a silent prayer, and expressed my deep appreciation to the great friendship we have around the world, made possible by Sosai’s founding of Kyokushin Karate. With this appreciation to Sosai in our mind and thoughts, I hope to continue our further development, in harmony and unity with everyone around the world.
In April, I was able to visit several overseas branches. In the middle of the month, I attended the annual European Championship, hosted by Poland. The tournament was very well organized, due to the guidance of Country Representative Remigiusz Karpinski, the professional organizing work of Branch Chief Mariusz Mazur, and the strong unity of all related people. As expected, the competition level was very high, and with the emergence of new strong competitors, I have high expectations for their great performance at the World Championship this autumn. Later in the month, when I visited Moscow to have a meeting with KWU (Kyokushin World Union) Co-Chairman Yuri Trutnev, I had the opportunity to have a fruitful time with Country Representative Yuriy Shabanov and other Branch Chiefs of the WKO Russia Region. In the meeting with Co-Chairman Yuri Trutnev, we confirmed that both sides will strive to build a future oriented, cooperative relationship. While feeling the international unity of the Full Contact Karate world, I traveled to Indonesia to meet WKO Board Member Sujoto and attend the Indonesia Championship. The recent development of the Asia Region as an organization, has been seen in the remarkable improvement in the competition level. Along with the Europe Region, I have high expectations for their performance at the World Championship.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the warm hospitality I received in each country. Although the time we had together was limited, I was able to speak and exchange smiles with many people. I was also able to have many fruitful meetings with our Branch Chiefs. We shape our own future. I felt such strong passion. Let us continue to make WKO even more special, with our own hands.
In Japan, the preparation work for the 11th World Championship is entering realistic stages. There is a need to make this World Championship a Budo Karate event of very high standard. This World Championship is the ultimate stage for the Budo aspect of Karate, which is at the opposite of the sport aspect of Karate, as symbolized in the Olympic Games. In our promotion of the worldwide plan to form the international organization for the Full Contact Karate competition, we have to make extra efforts to further enhance the individuality and presence of WKO. With the high level selection tournaments currently being held around the world, I would like for the competitors to have pride and honor in their pursuit to participate in the World Championship, as a representative/symbol of the strongest and largest WKO. I have high expectations for the World Championship, in which the strong competitors from around the world will do their best to demonstrate the ultimate battle of Budo Karate.
Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,