It is with great remorse that the IKKU, International Karate Kobudo Union reports that Sensei Kiyoshi Aihara has passed. Aihara Sensei, 85, of Honolulu, Hawaii, passed on July 1, 2017. He was born in Takasaki, Gunma, Japan on May 27, 1932. A Celebration of Love, Visitation and Services occurred on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kaimuki. The Burial occurred following the event at Moiliili Cemetery.
It’s said that Aihara Lived life to the fullest! With a law degree from Waseda University, he came to the islands to pursue–not law–but his love of Martial Arts & pass on what he learned from the Founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi. He truly believed “the spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit” and lived that way for 85 years treating all with kindness and aloha.
He married his #1 student, Mary Louise and his spirit lives on in his son Jonn (Seiko) & daughter Kathy-Lou (Douglas) & granddaughters Rosalina (Nathaniel) & Karly-Lou. In lieu of flowers the family asked that you all Live life to the fullest & set your heart & spirit free.
Sensei Kiyoshi Aihara, while at Waseda University in Japan was a member of the Waseda University Karate Club. The club trained under Master Gichin Funakoshi and practiced the Shotokan style of Karate. In addition, Aihara was also involved with weightlifting and trained for the olympics. Aihara was promoted to the Director of the Waseda University Karate Club in 1954 and graduated from the University in 1955.
Aihara Sensei originally moved to Hawaii because of an invitation of a weightlifting club owner. After staying in Hawaii for a period of time Aihara Sensei and the club owner allowed for Karate Classes to be introduced and taught at the club. The original name of the Dojo was Butoku Karate Club and this gave Kiyoshi Aihara the opportunity to become the first Shotokan Karate instructor in Hawaii. Close students of Aihara affectionately nicknamed him “Popeye” because of his huge forearms that he had developed from weightlifting.
Kiyoshi Aihara had a big impact on Soke Joseph Ruiz from an early age. Soke still tells stories of Aihara Sensei and teaches the Odori Katas that Aihara developed. It’s important to note that Aihara Sensei may be gone, but his Karate Spirit will live on in the IKKU, because of the positive impact that he had on our own Soke Joseph Ruiz.