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World Karate Federation General Secretary OfficeNews Letter vol.17

The 11th World University Karate Championships 2018 is going to be held in Kobe City, it has been decided.

It has been about a month since the previous newsletter with no publications. Various events have taken place in the world of karate, and there is a lot to be reported. First, today’s incredibly exciting news has arrived. The 11th World University Karate Championships 2018 is going to be held in Kobe City, it has been decided.

For some time the bidding was going on, and in October I participated in a presentation in Belgium. It has been 18 whole years since an Olympic event was last held in Japan, and it would give a large impetus to the success of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so we must succeed in this.

We wont join the preparations for holding the championships until next year, but as the World Karate Federation, we are fully committed to assisting the Japan Karate Foundation, and the All Japan Student Karate Foundation who are managing the event.

Additional event candidacy celebration and “pep rally”

On Friday the 30th of October, the Japan Karate Foundation held a grand party in Tokyo, and I attended together with the current federation President Mr.Antonio Espinós.

This party was both in celebration for the fact that in September this year, karate became a candidate to become an additional event in the 2020 Olympics, and a pep rally for next August’s official decision on the matter, and for karate to be officially appointed in 2024 and subsequent Olympic Games.

At the party, of course we met with everyone at the Karate Promotion Parliamentary League and the Metropolitan Assembly Karate Promotion Policy Studies Association who we usually receive support from, but on top of that we met with resident ambassadors, ministers and foreign affairs officials from various countries and appealed for cooperation. A demonstration was also carried out by the Japanese national team, adequately displaying the charm of both solo practice and sparring.

The Great Popularity of Martial Arts in Saudi Arabia

On Tuesday the 10th of November, to mark the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Japan and Saudi Arabia, a group of over 70 Japanese martial arts representatives visited Saudi Arabia to give a demonstration, and exchange practice with local martial arts enthusiasts. I attended the event as coordinator, accompanied by the vice president of the LDP, Masahiko Komura, who is also the president of the Martial Arts Parliamentary League. Serving as the representative for the party receiving us at the event was president of the Saudi Arabia Karate Federation, President Mr.Ibrahim A. Al-Gannas. Saudi Arabia is a country thriving with all sorts of martial arts, including karate, and demonstrations of any kind of martial arts were extremely well received. Unfortunately this project fell on the same day as the WKF World Junior and Cadet Tournament in Indonesia, so I could only stay in Riyadh, the capital, for half a day, before flying to Indonesia.

The entire board of directors was impressed with the campaign

In THE 9TH WORLD JUNIOR, CADET & UNDER 21 KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015, the Japanese team won eight gold medals in a record performance, placing them in first place overall, and leaving a strong performance to inspire hope for the future Olympic Games. The Saudi Arabian ambassador resident in Indonesia also came to the championships, and we spoke about my visit to Riyadh while watching karate, much to my satisfaction.

In addition, at the championships the president of the WKF gathered the directors of each country, and held a meeting. In this meeting, I explained the details of the WKF and the Japan Karate Federation’s campaign leading up to the proposal for karate as an additional event in the “General Secretary’s announcement”. All of the directors understood the full picture of the Olympic campaign, and thanked the Japan Karate Federation for their hard work with a thunderous round of applause.

The 2015 Grand Final

Over the weekend of the 28th and 29th of November, the Karate1 Premier League Okinawa 2015 was held over two days at the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts. The Karate1 Premier League began in 2011, but this was the second consecutive year it was held in Japan. This tournament was the “Grand Final”, the final competition of the season, and competitors from each class who ranked first this year won the “Grand Winner” award. President Mr.Ibrahim A. Al-Gannas, Vice-President & Sport Commissioner: Mr.Francis DIDIER, and Mr Kuang-Huei Chang (The AKF president), along with tournament management staff of the WKF and public relations staff gathered in Okinawa to attend the tournament.

The First International Tournament Following the Additional Event Proposal

This tournament was the first “international karate tournament to be held in Japan” since karate became a candidate as an additional event in the Tokyo Olympics. Currently, with a view to becoming an Olympic event, karate is being questioned not just for the excitement of the competition, but for its ability to be managed as a tournament. Thanks to the fantastic cooperation of the Japan Karate Federation, and local and Okinawa Prefectural Karate Federations, it proceeded mostly as planned, and the Okinawa Governor Yushi Onaga and Minister of State for Special Missions, Aiko Shimajiri were in attendance at the opening ceremony. Minister Shimajiri undertook the role of award presenter, and awarded the Kata Individual male Seniors winner, Ryo Kiyuna (Okinawa born world champion) with a gold medal.

On the other hand, the subject of spectator attendance remained.
Karate tournaments have an incredibly large attraction, and bring about passion and excitement. How can this be shown to people who don’t know about karate if the spectator seats are full? Karate, now aiming for the Olympics, has entered a new era which demands expansion. It is an issue we must face both as a competition venue, and as a nation.

World Karate Federation General Secretary
Toshihisa Nagura

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