Masanobu Kikukawa, or ‘Kiku’ as his friends call him, was born in Miyako Island, Okinawa, in 1954. He began his martial arts study in the Goju-Ryu style of Okinawan Karate in 1964. He later transferred to the Shorin-Ryu style, where he studied under Gibu Sokuichi, Touma Seiki, and Kakinohana Keishun Sensei.
Hanshi Masanobu Kikukawa came to Canada from Okinawa in 1994 with his wife and two young daughters. Canada had been his dream since he was a teenager at Expo in Japan 1970. It must have been fate because the line up to see the moon rock in the American pavilion was so long that Kiku opted for the short Canadian queue. In the pavilion, Kiku talked with a young man who showed him pictures and gave him information about Canada. The beauty of Canada struck Kiku. He gave up his profession as a chiropractor in Japan to train at The International College of Acupuncture in Victoria as an acupuncturist. He opened an acupuncture clinic in Victoria, BC; he works with a group of family practitioners in Surrey BC; and he has his own association - the Karate Shinkokai which sponsors 3 dojos in Canada (his association also stretches to Tokyo and Okinawa); two of the dojos are in Victoria and one is in Vancouver.
He earned his 5th Dan Black Belt in Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Kobayashi in 1985, and his Menkyo and the title of Shihan in 1990. In 1994 he was awarded his 7th Degree or Nanadan as well as the title of Kyoshi.
Hanshi Kikukawa has studied several martial arts. He also is also ranked 6th Degree Black Belt in Shorin-Ryu Kobudo, 3rd Degree Black Belt in Judo and 3rd Degree Black Belt in Aikijutsu. While the Shorin-Ryu style of Karate included ancient weapons training or Kobudo, Kiku expanded his knowledge of the ancient Okinawan weapons techniques, to include the more pure techniques of Ryukyu Kobudo. He has a 6th Dan under Kinjo Masazaku's Ryukyu Kobudo Hozonkai, of which our Dojo is a member.
Kiku definitely plays hard. When he was 10, he became interested in karate. His neighbour taught karate at night, outside in a field. By the age of 21 or 22 (he cant remember exactly) he received his black belt and now is 9th dan. His title "Hanshi" is a title only given after 9th degree and means teacher of the masters in Japanese. Although Shorin style karate was not Kiku's only training, he prefers to support and continue this style because it passes on his cultural traditions from Okinawa. He is a former world champion and placed first for his form (kata) and third for full contact sparring.
He has competed in many tournaments placing 3rd in the All Okinawa Full Contact Karate Tournament in 1983 and was the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Forms Competition Champion in 1986.
He currently serves as director for several Martial Arts Associations and is Kaicho (chairman) of the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Shinkokai, which he founded in 1985. This Shinkokai organization has the purpose of keeping pure the forms that have their roots in systems which go back many years. We believe it is important to do things this way to make sure that good form is passed on to the next generation.
Kiku serves as an inspiration to all those who have the honour of calling him their teacher. We respect him and the instructors that came before him, without whom we would not be able to enjoy the art that we have so much fun practicing.