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MITSUSUKE HARADA HANSHI - SHOTO KAI

Mitsusuke Harada was born on the 16th November 1928, in Dairen on the southern tip of Manchuria. The first son of Yutaka and Haru Harada, his Japanese parents whom had moved to China, as a result of Yutaka's employment with the South Manchurian Railway. As a result of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, prior to the end of the Second World War, The Harada family returned to Japan, taking up residence in Tokyo. It was here, that the young Mitsusuke began his illustrious career in the Karate. Due to his interest in the martial arts, as a result of exposure to Tai Chi Chuan whilst in Manchuria, the young Mitsusuke had requested that his father look out for a dojo on his behalf. Yutaka returned with the address of the famous Shotokan.

In November of 1943 Mitsusuke Harada, at the age of 14, took his first Karate lesson at the Shotokan. The first purpose built Karate dojo in Japan, constructed in 1936, as a result of the great efforts of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Japanese Karate-do, and his students.

Mitsusuke's first introduction to Karate came in the form of the powerful, Master Motonobu Hironishi, who then held the highest rank of 4th Dan. Even though Mitsusuke found the lesson "very, very, difficult", he paid his enrolment fee for the month, as he had decided that Karate was what he wanted.

During this period, Masters Hironishi, Hayashi, and Uemura took lessons. One or two evenings a week the influential Yoshitaka Funakoshi would teach. Even the old Master - Gichin Funakoshi would teach on occasions.

Master Mitsusuke Harada

Tragically, the Shotokan was destroyed during American bombing raids in 1945. Mitsusuke then wrote to Gichin Funakoshi, requesting he be taken on as a private student at his home. O'Sensei agreed, and for a time Mitsusuke trained, under the watchful eye of the Master. He then, entered Waseda University in 1948.

In the early fifties as a young man, he came under the influence of Masters Shigeru Egami and Tadao Okuyama; these men greatly influenced his Karate development. Harada trained one to one with Egami for 3 hours daily, 7 days a week. This continued for nearly 2 years, and was a great period of experimentation and development for the innovative Master Egami. However, soon after this period Egami fell ill; as a result, Harada alone, had physically experienced these important new developments. After graduating with at Masters degree in Commerce in 1955, Harada worked for a Tokyo bank and in 1956 he went to Soa Paolo, Brazil, to work at the Bank of South America.

Whilst in Brazil, under the instruction of O'Sensei, he set up the Karate-do Shotokan Brazileo, the first organisation of its kind in South America. As an endorsement of Master Funakoshi's faith in him, Mitsusuke Harada was awarded his 5th Dan at the age of only 28. After several years in Brazil, Harada took an extended leave of absence, and travelled to Europe in 1963.

Initially in France, Master Harada instructed some courses at the request of others involved in the Martial Arts, but after some troubled times, he came to Great Britain later in 1963; at the invitation of Kenshiro Abbe, the extremely highly respected Judo and Aikido Master. After appearing in a Martial Arts exhibition at the Albert Hall in November of that year, Master Harada was in demand to teach Karate in Britain. Master Harada made Britain his home, and became the first resident Japanese instructor to teach in the U.K. A small local group soon began to grow into a national organisation. So, in 1965 he formed the KDS (Karate-do Shotokai); this organisation soon expanded throughout Great Britain and Europe.

Today, 35 years since Master Harada formed the KDS, he resides in South Wales and still regularly travels all over Europe and the U.S.A. teaching his unique way. Having recently had a book published about his life story. In 1998 Harada Sensei achieved a lifelong ambition, by taking a representative group of his KDS students to the Shotokan dojo in Tokyo.

At an international exhibition to celebrate the birth of his teacher-Gichin Funakoshi, and the formation Nippon Karate-do Shotokai, Master Harada and his KDS students made a "great impact" at the birthplace of Karate-do. This display achieved a lifelong ambition for Master Harada. Allowing the Master to come full circle in his illustrious career in Karate.

Courtesy KDS Portugal

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