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Official Mas Oyama Website

The History of
Mas Oyama

Step into the world of Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. Our chronological timeline highlights the key events and achievements that shaped his extraordinary journey. Explore the defining moments that made Mas Oyama a legend in martial arts history. Dive in and get inspired by his legacy of strength, discipline, and perseverance.

Chronic

1923
June 4th

Masutatsu Oyama, later to become Kancho of the International Karate Organization Kyokushin Kaikan was born on July 27th.
(June 4th by reckoning of the old Japanese calendar)

1931

Mas Oyama entered junior high school in Seoul, Korea, where he started his study of Chinese Kempo.

1937
April

Mas Oyama entered the Yamanashi School of Youth Aviation, Japan.

1946
April

Entered the Department of Physical Education, Waseda University. Mas Oyama had already met Ms. Teruko Fujimaki, who was later to become Mrs. Chiyako Oyama. It is said that he always wore the uniform hat of Waseday university.

1946
October

Mas Oyama went to Mt. Minobu for training.

1947
September

Mas Oyama entered and won the first post-WWII All Japan Tournament held at Maruyama Gymnasium, Kyoto.

1948
April

Mas Oyama decided to devote his life to Karate and did 18 months training alone in Mt. Kiyosumi of Chiba Prefecture to perfect his techniques and form his Karate way.

1950
November

Fought against a bull in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture. After that he acquired a room in an abattoir (animal processing plant) and trained by killing bulls. Altogether he killed 47 bulls, 4 of them dying instantly.

1951
May

Started teaching Karate to the US Army personnel stationed at Camps Zama, Fuchu, Tachikawa, Yokosuka, Tokorozawa, Yokota and Yokohama, Japan.

1951
July

Began training in Judo at the Sone Dojo in Asagaya, Tokyo.

1952
March

A Karate Organization in Chicago invited Mas Oyama to the USA, and over an eleven-month peroid he did 32 demonstrations, taught in various states, and participated in 7 fights.

1953
April

Mas Oyama was invited by a Karate organization to Chicago, U.S.A where over an eleven-month period he conducted 32 demonstrations, as well as teaching in various states and participating in 7 fights.

1954
January

After returning from the United States, and at the request of the press; Mas Oyama filmed a documentary called “Karate: Fighting Fierce Bull”.
The death match with the 450kg bull lasted some 30 minutes.

1954
April

Mas Oyama opened his first dojo in Mejiro, Tokyo located at an outside grassy area that had been badly damaged by fires in the war.

1955
February

Mas Oyama visited the U.S.A for the third time as well as traveling around South America and Europe. During his travels, he fought many people from different styles and snapped the neck of a whiskey bottle with a knife hand strike. It was from this time that he came to be referred to as God Hand.

1956
June

The Oyama Dojo was started in a small ballet studio behind Rikkyo University. The dojo started with 300 students and was the beginning of "Kyokushinkai".

1957
March - June

Mas Oyama travelled to Europe.

1957
July

Fought a bull in Mexico city. The number of students in the Oyama Dojo had risen to over 700 by this time.

1958
January

Mas Oyama's book "What is Karate?" was published for overseas karate fans and become the first best-selling book on Japanese Karate with 500,000 copies printed. Mas Oyama visited New York at this time.

1958
September

The F.B.I. In Washington invited Mas Oyama to teach and demonstrate karate.

1958
October

The Westpoint Army School invited Mas Oyama to teach and demonstrate karate.

1959
July

The First Hawaiian Tournament was held and Mas Oyama attended as the Supreme Judge. He also gave a demonstration at the tournament.

1960

72 branches of the Oyama dojo were started in 16 countries.

1962

He received his Japanese citizenship.

1963

Mas Oyama travels to America, Europe and South Africa. The Oyama Dojo was relocated to Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo and construction started on the building to become the Kyokushinkaikan Honbu.

1964
January

Muai Thai Kick Boxing challenged Japanese Karate, but this challenge was not accepted. The Oyama dojo then sent Noboru Osawa and other three students to Thailand, won 2 out of 3 fights.

1964
April

Eisaku Sato, former Prime Minister of Japan, who had recently won a Nobel Prize, became Kaicho (President) of the Kyokushukaikan. Mas. Oyama became Kancho (Director).

1964
June

Tokyo Honbu was officially opened, and the International karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan was established.

1965
March

"This is Karate" was published, and became known as the Bible of Karate.

1965
August

The Middle East I.K.O was started. Kancho gave private lessons to then His Majesty, the King of Jordan.

1969
September

The 1st All Japan Open Karate Tournament was held in Tokyo, the winner was Terutomu Yamazaki. Since then, the tournament has been held every year.

1971
January

"Karate Baka-Ichidai", a famous cartoon about Karate, appeared as a series in "Shonen Magazine" which is a popular Japanese cartoon magazine.

1972
October

Sosai trains King Juan Carlos of Spain.

1974
May

Mas Oyama gives a karate demonstration at the Okura Hotel for the Shah of Iran.

1975
November

The 1st World Open Tournament was held in Tokyo and continued to be held once every four years.

1976
May

"The Strongest Karate", a documentary film about the first world tournament, was released and gained great populality. The film was shown in more than 30 countries and was viewed by 7,000,000 - 8,000,000 people.

1976
December

"The Strongest Karate Part 2" was released.

1979
July

A grand demonstration was held at the embassy of the Soviet Union in Tokyo. As a result, Kyokushin was recognised by The USSR Accademy of Science.

1979
November

The 2nd World Open Karate Championships took place in the Nippon Budokan. 146 fighters from 60 countries participated. The tournament was akin to the Olympics of Karate.

1979
December

Kancho was given Order of Merit by the royal family of Jordan.

1980
January

Tha last "Strongest Karate", the movie about the 2nd World Tournament was released.

1981
July

H.R.R Prince Faizal of Saudi Arabia came to Honbu to meet Kancho for a private discussion. After seeing the demonstration by the Honbu Black Belts, the Prince asked instructors to be dispatched to Saudi Arabia.

1983
February

The demonstration was took place at the French Navy's Aircraft Career Jean d'Arc. After that, this demonstration was held every year.

1983
June

The First Hungarian Championship was held. It was the first Kyokushin tournament in the Communist Block.

1983
December

The Crown Prince of Nepal visits Japan and meets Mas Oyama.
Demonstrations were held for the Crown Prince.

1984
January

The 3rd World Open Tournament was held at Nippon Budokan.

1985

Oyama Kancho was given a Cultural Award by the Brazilian Government.

1985
November

In Barcelona Spain, Kancho met with the IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

1987
November

The 4th World Open Tournament was held at Nippon Budokan. 207 fighters from 76 countries participated.

1988
September

The Kyokushin organization is established in all of Japan's prefectures.

1989
July

In an effort to enhance the standard of Karate in Japan and improve skills reciprocally, Kancho requests that fighters from other styles participate in the Japan Tournament held by Kyokushin Kaikan.

1990
May

Delegation sent to a martial arts festival in the Soviet Union-Ukrainian Republic

1991
November

The 5th World Open Tournament was held at Tokyo Metroporitan Gymnasium. 250 fighters from 105 countriesparticipated. Oyama Kancho demonstrated "Entensho-no-kata", and he said that this was his last demonstration.

1994
June 26th

At the age of 71, Mas Oyama passes away at St. Luke's Hospital, Tokyo due to lung cancer.

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