Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
Thank you for your daily efforts to further develop and promote WKO. In Japan, the cherry blossom season has finished, and we are now enjoying the fresh green leaves of May. I hope you are all doing well in your country and region.
April 26th marked the 22nd anniversary of the death of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. I participated in the 23rd Memorial Service (Chief Mourner: IKO Kyokushinkaikan Custodian Kikuko Oyama) organized by IKO Sosai at Gokokuji Temple on April 23, 3 days before the actual anniversary date of his passing. Although I had been invited to the annual memorial service in the past, due to WKO/JKO events scheduled at the same timing, I had not been able to participate in past events. This year, I was able to adjust my schedule and participate in the memorial service. The day of the memorial service was blessed with great weather, and Custodian Kikuko Oyama and Kancho Yoshikazu Suzuki greeted us with great smiles at Gokokuji Temple, where Sosai Oyama’s grave is located, and I was able to reunite with Kyokushin-kan Kancho Hatsuo Royama and other senior Shihans who also participated in the memorial service. The service was filled with a strict, but also peaceful and warm atmosphere. I closed my eyes and made a silent prayer in front of Sosai’s grave, and expressed my deep appreciation to the strong bond now shared with our friends around the world, and the important time we can spend together with like-minded people who all love Kyokushin Karate founded by Sosai, regardless of organizations. At the ceremonial meal after the memorial service, we offered a drink to Sosai Oyama, senior Shihans introduced themselves, and I can still remember the smiles on everyone’s faces. At this memorial service, IKO Sosai mentioned the importance of the spirit of harmony and unity. After the passing of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, our master, the unfortunate reality is that members have split into different organizations, and we understood IKO Sosai’s viewpoint, as a call for everyone to make efforts to reach out to each other, and for areas/issues where cooperation is possible, actively harmonize and unite efforts, and we expressed our agreement with such viewpoint. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to IKO Sosai for their organization of this memorable event. Let us continue to enhance the activities of WKO, and with the goals of lifetime training and lifetime Budoka in our hearts, keep moving forward in our daily training.
As for WKO, various activities are being held in various regions and countries. Last year, we established the international cooperative partnership with KWU (Kyokushin World Union) for the further development of both organizations, and with the exchange of competitors in the World Championship held by each organization, actual exchange/relations have started. While we promote the founding of the international federation (IF) for Full Contact Karate, we also need to be self aware of our identity, and I strongly believe that we need to stand out within the Full Contact Karate world, in terms of both quality and quantity. To achieve such goal, we need to further develop and enhance our activities around the world, and especially for our Championships, which is a good opportunity to promote WKO to a wide audience, we need to make it a stage where the strongest competitors carry out the greatest battles. I strongly wish for WKO to be the one and only unique organization in the world, with the goal to become the strongest and largest Budo organization. I wish for all of us to set our goals and make daily efforts to stand out and be a unique figure in this great trend for international cooperation within the Full Contact Karate world, without losing sight of our WKO identity.
Kenji Midori
WKO President