Kenneth Funakoshi was born in Honolulu on September 4, 1938. His father, Yoshio was Gichin Funakoshi's (1869 - 1957) third cousin and practiced Karate with him in Okinawa from 1915 until 1925. At the age of 10, Kenneth Funakoshi began the study of Judo at the Fort Gakuen Japanese Language School. While attending college at the University of Hawaii, he practiced Kempo under Adriano Emperado at the Palama Settlement. Emperado had been a student of William Chow. Chow, in turn, was a student of Masayoshi James Mitose, who popularlized Kenpo Karate (or Kempo Jiu-Jitsu) in Hawaii. Funakoshi trained with Emperado from 1956 until 1959.
In 1960, Funakoshi began to train in the Shotokan form of Karate under Hirokazu Kanazawa, who had been sent to Hawaii by the Japan Karate Association. After three years, Kanazawa was followed by Masataka Mori, who in turn was followed three years later by Tetsuhiko Asai. Funakoshi studied for a total of ten years under Kanazawa, Mori and Asai. In 1969, after Mori left Hawaii, Funakoshi was named as the chief instructor of the Karate Association of Hawaii.
Funakoshi taught in Hawaii until 1986, when he moved to California. There he established the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association which has its hombu dojo in Milpitas, California, and members worldwide. Please visit the association's website for more information. Funakoshi's students in Hawaii include his eldest son, Kevin Funakoshi, and G. Hisae Ishii-Chang. Funakoshi was featured in a very popular series of Shotokan Karate videos produced by Panther Video Productions. He is also a member of the Hawaii Karate Kodanshakai.
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