Shorinji Kempo 70th Anniversary Event
2017 Shorinji Kempo World Taikai in California, USA
2017 Shorinji Kempo International Study Session
On July 30, 2017, Shorinji Kempo World Taikai, which takes place once in every four years, was held in California. Fellow members of Shorinji Kempo from 22 countries gathered together for this occasion.
The theme of the World Taikai was “Be the Bridge Make the World Better, One Person at a Time.” From the last World Taikai in Osaka in 2013, it traveled the borders, crossed the ocean, and met again in California. We acquainted, helped each other in training, established bonds, and became a bridge to the world and to the future.
July 28, 2017 WSKO General Meeting
Previous to the World Taikai, Shorinji Kempo World Organization General Meeting was held in San Francisco, and representatives from 22 countries attended to discuss WSKO projects for the coming years. At the World Taikai venue, volunteers from the US Federation worked hard to set up the site.
July 29, 2017 Special Dan Grading Examination & Preliminary Round for America
A special dan grading examination was held for WSKO members who are not of the Japanese Federation. 55 candidates for 3rd to 7th dan with permission to take their examinations gathered from the morning, and they took the written, physical, and oral tests. The preliminary round for the US Federation also took place, and those who qualified participated in the World Taikai as representatives of America. At the same time of the preliminary round, participants for the World Taikai had a chance to practice at the venue. The participants for the World Taikai on the next day gathered together, and there were many smiles of joy for reuniting over national borders.
July 30, 2017 2017 Shorinji Kempo World Taikai in California, USA
The Shorinji Kempo World Taikai was held in San Mateo, CA. This event was at the San Mateo County Event Center, and it is located on the north end of Silicon Valley by the San Francisco bay, where people enjoy its blue sky in this time of the year.
We had honorary guests such as Mr. Jun Yamada, Consul General of Japan in San Francisco, and about 1,500 people from 22 countries gathered together after four years from the last World Taikai in Osaka in 2013.
We had great embu of each national representative in the competition and exhibition divisions, and we also enjoyed seeing unique exhibitions in the disabled, elderly, group, international group (kenshi from different national federations), and essay divisions.
As an attraction during the World Taikai, a taiko performance was presented by San Francisco Taiko Dojo supervised by Mr. Seiichi Tanaka, a former member of Chiba Shoka University Shorinji Kempo Club.
When the taiko performance completed, people complemented it by saying “excellent!” and “very nice!”, Shorinji Kempo’s unique and heartwarming culture of respecting and accepting each other.
We also had some presentations of awards. For awarding 20 years of federation service, the Swedish Federation (2014), the Italian Federation (2015), and the Portuguese Federation (2017) received their recognitions. Mr. Indra Kartasasmita and Mr. Hiroshi Aosaka, both WSKO Directors, received the 70th anniversary distinguished service award, and at last, Mr. Katsuya Hirayama, President of the Americna Federation, received a letter of appreciation from Yuuki So, WSKO President, for organizing and supervising the World Taikai.
During the closing ceremony, the hosting country of the next World Taikai was announced, and Japan will host the World Taikai in 2021. The World Shorinji Kempo Organization Flag was returned from Mr. Hirayama, Executive Committee Chair, to Yuuki So, WSKO President, and then it was passed to Mr. Kazuhiro Kawashima, President of the Japanese Federation.
After the World Taikai, the US Federation hosted a celebratory event at Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Tom Torlakson from the State Ministry of Education attended the celebration and had conversations with Yuuki So, WSKO President. He presented Shorinji Kempo a title of “Champion of Peace.” A local chorus group “Kakehashi” performed beautiful music numbers, and the Cheerleaders of Oakland Raiders excited the participants.
July 31 – August 2, 2017 2017 Shorinji Kempo International Study Session
The day after of the World Taikai and celebration, 2017 Shorinji Kempo International Study Session was held for three days, and over 500 kenshi from 22 countries participated. It became a great opportunity for every kenshi to deepen understanding of both Shorinji Kempo teachings and techniques, and it was also a chance for them to cultivate and cherish friendship over the borders.
In her lecture on the theme of “Be the Bridge Make the World Better, One Person at a Time,” Yuuki So, WSKO President, focused on the world situation, particularly in Asia. She quoted the words of Kaiso, “No peace in Asia without a relationship of friendship between Japan and China, no peace in the world without peace in Asia” and emphasized that this is not limited to the relationship between Japan and China, but it applies to all the relationships in the world: between neighboring countries at the national level and neighboring houses at the community level. In order to realize a peaceful world without war, we place “human development” as our core purpose. It is the foundation of Kaiso’s thinking about the world, and we will continue pursuing his vision.
After the lecture, the participants were divided into groups of 10, and they shared and discussed their opinions while respecting each other’s thoughts and ideas. At the end of the group discussion activity, one female kenshi from Italy and another young kenshi from America had presentations on “what can we do in our daily lives to realize peace”, and “how Shorinji Kempo helps them in their daily lives.” During the technical practice under the instructions by WSKO instructors, kenshi from all over the world, both old and new friends, trained together, had enjoyable times, and deepened their relationships.
On the evening of the second day, a BBQ style social gathering outside the study session site. The US Federation prepared a quiz for the participating countries and a competition on drawing portraits of Kaiso. The Indonesian Federation also presented their tradition dance, to which participants from other countries joined, and we all had a wonderful time together.
At the closing ceremony, Shorinji Kempo Shike granted certificates to all those who passed their special dan grading examinations. In the closing remark, Mr. Hiroshi Aosaka, WSKO Director, invited all the participants to meet again in Japan in 2021. When all the events completed, all the participants were reluctant to part, and they all promised to meet again. It became a precious opportunity for all the participating kenshi to re-confirm the “One Unity World Wide – Shorinji Kempo.”