Dear Branch Chiefs and Contacts,
This will be the last newsletter for this year. In Japan, the gingko leaves that decorated the cities with beautiful colors, have spread throughout the streets like a yellow carpet due to the cold wind. The weather is getting colder, and the season has changed quietly from late autumn to winter. I believe that the Branch Chiefs and Contacts around the world are currently busy with various year-end activities, but I hope that you are in good health and that everything is going well.
This year was highlighted by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the confusion in the international community symbolized by the situation in Ukraine, and the slowdown in growth of the world economy, all leading to a stagnant mood throughout the year. However, as WKO, we organized the long-awaited 7th World Championship in Weight Categories, and we sensed a light of hope for the resuming of activities and events worldwide. Thanks to the cooperation of the Branch Chiefs and Contacts worldwide, we will be able to get through this eventful year.
In Japan, in relation to the postponement of the World Championship in Weight Categories, the traditional All Japan Open Karate Championship was also postponed to December, and the venue was changed from the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium to the Yoyogi National Stadium Second Gymnasium. By the time you will read this newsletter, the Japanese competitors participating in the tournament will be carrying out their last training and conditioning for the competition. I hope that the competitors will take extra care in the last preparation for the tournament, and demonstrate brilliant kumite at this sacred stage. I have high expectations for your great performance. Since this will be the first selection tournament to decide the Japan National Team for the 13th World Open Karate Championship that will be held on October 14-15, 2023 in Tokyo, fierce battles are expected. I kindly ask for your warm encouragement and support towards the Japan Region competitors that will face the strong non-WKO competitors in the last big tournament of the year.
I believe that the activities related to the World Championship are also being held in other countries and regions around the world. I sincerely hope that various issues can be cleared, so that the Branch Chiefs and Contacts worldwide can be reunited at the World Championship next year. For the comrades that are not able to participate in international events due to the international problem related to the situation in Ukraine, you are always in my heart, and I will continue to wait for the moment we can be reunited. The WKO Headquarters has already started the preparation work for the World Championship. I believe that the Board Members around the world are busy with the selection tournaments and related events, but I ask for your kind support so that the competitors can shine. At this tournament, we will organize the Kata Championship for the first time, so for the competitors who are especially focusing on the art of Kata, please polish and train your mind, body, and techniques to prepare for the event. Let us promote to the world, a new appeal of Full Contact Karate, through the solid and powerful techniques, polished and trained through the exchange of full contact offense and defense. The information related to the competition and operation will be announced when the details are fixed, so please give us some more time to provide you with the related information.
In October of this year, the WKO Headquarters office was relocated and expanded. On the other hand, nothing has changed with the Sohonbu Dojo, which is continuing various activities in Shinjuku. In recent years, in addition to the existing activities and events related to the organization, the scale and content of the operations have expanded, especially with the administrative and operational work related to JFKO/WFKO. We inherited the Kyokushin spirit founded by Sosai Oyama, and we have overcome the difficult times after the passing of Sosai.
Since it will mark the 20th year since we started our new history and path as Shinkyokushinkai in 2003, this relocation was planned and executed. The new office is located near the foot of the Tokyo Tower, which is the symbol of Tokyo, and is close to many of the embassies in the world.
The view from the window is great, and is fitting for the Headquarters of WKO, which is spread across the world. I hope that you will visit the new office at the occasion of the World Championship next year.
Although this is a personal matter, my mother passed away in November, and I received many messages of encouragement and sympathy from around the world. I would like to express my sincere appreciation towards your kindness and warm support. It became an opportunity for me to reconfirm and hold deep inside my heart, the importance of the Kyokushin spirit and the teachings of Sosai Oyama, “keep your head low, eyes high, mouth shut; base yourself on filial piety and benefit others”. I hope that all of you will take good care of your parents, and even more than before, be devoted and kind to them.
I mentioned this in the beginning as well, but the eventful 2022 will soon end, and we are starting to hear the footsteps of 2023, a year full of hope. I wish for WKO, as the largest Full Contact Karate organization in the world with 103 affiliated countries and areas, to be an organization that is able to adjust and respond quickly to various changes that will occur with the passing of time. I also believe that our organization needs to be full of smiles from all of the related members. The international community is still in a difficult situation, but it is important for such hardship to be shared, and with the kindness to consider and sympathize, I hope that we can join hands and continue efforts so that Full Contact Karate can contribute to world peace.
I would like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for your kind support throughout the year. I hope that you will enjoy your holiday season, and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.