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The Kyokushin Shogakukai (Kyokushin Foundation)




In Japan it is possible to “buy-in” to a charitable foundation by contributing significant funds to support its public service mission. In 1964, Sosai Mas Oyama “acquired” the Yama No Uchi Shogakukai (Yama No Uchi Foundation), a preexisting foundation in Japan, originally founded in 1944 with the intent of supporting the education of university students. At that time, Sosai’s goal was to gain government recognition for his organization, Kyokushinkaikan, so that it might stand on equal footing with the All-Japan Karate Federation (JFK) an umbrella foundation that was formed over the 4 traditional sundomei karate styles in Japan (Shotokan, Gojuryu, Sitoryu and Wadoryu). At that time, it was impossible for Sosai to form his own foundation due to the vast cost involved; instead he “acquired” one. Interestingly, whereas it is possible to change the name and “ownership” of a Japanese foundation (foundations are run by the board of directors and there is actually no “owner”), at that time it was not possible to change its mission. Therefore the  Yama No Uchi Shogakukai became the Kyokushin Shogakukai  (Kyokushin Foundation), but its mission remained aiding young people to receive university education. This fact was largely not known until after Sosai’s death.




By 2003, when Kancho Royama and Fuku-Kancho Hiroshige founded Kyokushin-kan, the charter (registration) of Sosai’s Kyokushin Shogakukai had expired, and one of their first steps was to try to renew this government registration. This effort was taken because it had been Sosai’s desire that all of Kyokushin be organized under the foundation, just like multiple styles of sundomei karate are organized under the JFK foundation. Interestingly, the other Kyokushin Organizations, including especially the original IKO, were not interested, because the common desire among them all was for each of them to re-acquire all of Kyokushin under themselves, personally (as it had been under Sosai), and being answerable to a foundation was therefore not an attractive idea. Kancho’s desire, from the very beginning, however, has been to establish the foundation as a vehicle by which all of Kyokushin might be fairly united WITHOUT having to force other members to follow him, or any other chairman, directly. The vision was that of cooperation, not domination. Although the effort to reestablish the Kyokushin Shogakukai was successful after 2003, after five years the law in Japan changed to where all nonprofit organizations had to prove that they were fulfilling their stated missions, or the registration could be lost. Just this year, in 2014, Honbu was successful in defending the government registration of the Shogakukai again. This step was taken both with great relief, and great optimism, because the change in Japanese law also now states that nonprofit foundations can legally change their original mission statement. Hence for the first time, Honbu will succeed in orienting the Kyokushin Shogakukai towards Kyokushin-kan’s karate-related mission, rather than university education.  Interestingly, as in so many other areas, other Kyokushin organizations are now wishing that they had the foresight to reestablish Sosai’s foundation. 


A Recent Meeting of the Kyokushin Shogakukai Board of Directors

A Recent Meeting of the Kyokushin Shogakukai Board of Directors


Kancho Royama’s dream is that other (or even all) Kyokushin organizations will eventually be organized under the embrealla organization, Kyokushin Shogakukai, as was Sosai’s wish. Kancho points out that the foundation’s board members could be changed over time so that other organizations would feel protected. Let us remember that is NOT Kancho’s desire to organize other organizations under him, personally. Thanks Honbu’s success, additional autonomous organizations could become organized under the foundation, while each retaining their own independent leadership. Last year’s successful organization of the KWU (Kyokushin World Union), in which four Kyokushin organizations came together to host a world tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria is an example of how this future organization might be achieved.