Gogen Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi was born in Kyushu, Miyazaki Ken, on 20th January 1909. As a young man he was fond of athletics and was introduced to Karate at an early age. But it wasn’t until the family moved to Kyoto while he was in his teens that he began the serious study of karate.

It was while attending Ritsumeikan University that Yamaguchi first heard of Goju karate and of Chojun Miyagi, the Okinawan who was head of the school.

Curious about the system, Yamaguchi wrote to Miyagi and invited him to come to Japan. Miyagi accepted but it wasn’t until sometime later that they met. Yamaguchi immediately fell in love with the strange and intricate patterns displayed by Miyagi. From that moment on, the future of Yamaguchi was sealed. He concentrated on the study of Goju to the exclusion of almost everything else. When Miyagi left to return to Okinawa, he left behind a well-trained and dedicated follower. Miyagi later named Yamaguchi the leader of Goju Ryu on mainland Japan.

Yamaguchi became the apostle of Goju in Japan. With single minded determination, he set about the task of spreading the word throughout Japan. The first thing he did was to set about establishing a dojo.

He organised the first Karate club at Ritsumeikan University and the first Karate dojo in western Japan in 1930. Under his indefatigable leadership the school began to attract new adherents and the Goju karate system began to fan out across the island nation.