PROFESSOR HENRY SEISHIRO OKAZAKI
Founder of Danzan Ryu JuJitsu
Photo compliments Danzan Ryu JuJutsu Home Page
Henry Seishiro Okazaki, was born in the town of
Kakeda, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on January 28, 1890. He migrated
to Hawaii in 1906 and settled in Hilo, Hawaii. At the age of 19
he was diagnosed as having a lung disease thought to be tuberculosis.
As a desperate measure to combat depression, he began his study
of Judo under the tutelage of Master Yoshimatsu (Kichimatsu) Tanaka
at the Shinyu Kai Dojo in Hilo. The arts fascinated him and eliminated
his frustration over his illness. He practiced with all his strength
and being. Strangely, his devotion led to a complete recovery from
his illness. In his own words, he became the "owner of a body
as if made of iron." Thereafter, he dedicated his entire life
Professor Okazaki studied various arts including
Namba-Shoshin Ryu, Tenshin-Shinyo Ryu, Yoshin Ryu, Kodokan Judo,
Iwaga Ryu, Kosogabe Ryu, Ryukyu Karate Jutsu, etc. He returned
to Japan in 1924 traveling from as far north at Morioka City to
as far south as Kagoshima City, visiting more than 50 schools.
He studied the "Okugi", considered the "very secret
techniques." He eventually acquired six hundred and seventy-five
techniques and earned a third rank in Judo.
Professor Okazaki eventually returned to Hawaii
and formed an eclectic system which he called "Kodenkan".
This system included Judo, Jujitsu, Hawaiian Lua, Okinawan Karate,
Chinese Kung Fu, and American Wrestling. Breaking with tradition,
not only the Japanese, but any and all races.
He gave the name "Danzan
Ryu" to his school of Jujitsu. He gave it that name
for two reasons. One was in honor of an old Chinese man who Professor
Okazaki was indebted to (Wo Chong). At that time, the Chinese
referred to Hawaii as "Danzan". The second reason was
that most of Prof Okazaki's studies had taken place in Hawaii.
also studied Health Sciences and Physical Therapy. In 1929 he bought
an office on South Hotel Street and opened the Nikko Sanatorium
of Restoration Massage Thus the Okazaki Seifukujutsu Institute
was established. Students of his were also expected to excel in
the Okazaki system of restorative massage.
In 1939, Professor
Okazaki organized the American Jujitsu Guild which enjoyed a tremendous
membership. The onset of World War II brought distressing times.
The Professor was interned and interrogated, and later found to
be loyal. Many military and government officials testified on his
At the present
time, several of Professor Okazaki's original students are still
affiliated with the American
Jujitsu Institute. They include: Professor
Antone Gonzales, Professor
Jack Wheat, and Professor
Wally Jay. All of these professors are of the rank of Judan.
In July of 1948,
Professor Henry Okazaki suffered a stroke which left him partially
paralyzed. His students came and applied his own restorative massage
techniques on him. Slowly, the paralyzed side of his body was brought
back to vitality. Although he was able to return to teaching, his
disability continued to haunt him. He suffered another stroke in
September of 1950, and another massive stroke in June of 1951,
which left him totally disabled. This led to his death on July
S. Okazaki found great satisfaction in knowing his American Jujitsu
Institute of Hawaii was fulfilling his dreams. Before his death,
he expressed his contentedness with his accomplishments. At his
death, thousands of citizens who were his students, patients and
friends mourned this most successful and humble man.
interest in Kodenkan Jujitsu today, along with the growing number
of organizations attributing their roots to him, is a testament
to the impact that Prof. Okazaki left in this world. On April 6,
1967, the AJI Standards
Committee awarded Professor Henry. S. Okazaki the rank of Judan,
10th Dan, posthumously.
of Danzan Ryu
Meaning of Kodenkan