Kosei Kokuba

Kosei Kokuba’s History

1901 – October 17, 1959

Kokuba Kosei, pronounced in Japanese as Yukimori Kuniba, was born in 1901 in the Kokuba Village or what is now Naha City, Okinawa. He was the youngest son of a branch of the Okinawan Royal Family, the Sho Shi Family. At the age of 14 he began training in the art of Karate with Master Motobu Choki. In 1924 he left Okinawa and moved to Japan. For several years he lived near Tokyo in the mountain village Fuji-Yoshida-Shi, a small town located at the foot of Mount Fuji.

In 1943, Kokuba Sensei moved to Osaka where he opened a business and also began formal teaching of the Okinawan Karate style of Master Choki Motobu. On June 6th 1943 Kokuba Sensei founded the Seishin-Kan Dojo where he taught Motobu karate. He took the name partly from the Kanji of the temple located at the end of the street where he lived, Shotennoji. The character Sho can be read as Sho or Sei and the meaning is “pure”. Kokuba Sensei believed that true Karate came from the heart so he called his dojo Seishinkan or “pure heart” hall.

During the years of World War II, many of the Okinawan Karate teachers left their homeland. Some of them came to Osaka and visited the dojo of Kenwa Mabuni or Kosei Kokuba, some went to Tokyo and visited Choki Motobu or Gichin Funakoshi. Their dojos became famous meeting places for numerous martial artists of that time.

Kokuba Sensei continued to teach in the style of Choki Motobu and when Motobu sensei died in 1944, the lineage and family name of Choki Motobu passed on to the Motobu family (Motobu-ryu). But Kokuba saw himself as Motobu’s student and named his style in honor of his teacher “Motobu Karate Seishinkan”. His style was officially recorded in the Nippon Budokan Karate-Do directory. Today, Kosei Kokuba is viewed as the second Soke or “Family Head” of Seishinkai. Kokuba Sensei continued to train and teach until he became ill in 1956. He died on October 17, 1959.