Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato
Judan/10th Degree Grandmaster Okinawna Karate-do Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan
Shugoro Nakazato was born in Naha city, Okinawa, on August 14, 1920. In 1935, at the age of 16, while attending normal school in Osaka, Japan, he began his lifelong karate study under the direction of Ishu Seiichi. Nakazato studied under Sensei Ishu for six years. During World War II, he was in the Japanese cavalry. Following the surrender of Japan, Nakazato returned to his home in Okinawa to find his family a casualty of the war. In June 1946, he began his study of karate under Chosin Chibana, who was the Menkyo inheritor of Anko Itotsu. In 1948, Chibana's Shuri Dojo closed, but Nakazato continued his study with Master Chibana, being personally tutored for over a year in Chibana's own home. In 1951, Nakazato was instrumental in helping Chibana open his new Dai Ichi Dojo in Naha city at Matsuo. Chibana continued his personal teaching of Nakazato at the Dai Ichi Dojo until January 10, 1954, when Nakazato received his Shihan Menkyojo and became Master Chibana's Shihan Dai (Main Assistant). After working as the Shihan Dai in the Matsuo Dojo under Chibana's direction for one and a half years, Nakazato was commissioned by Chibana to found the Shorin-Ryu Shorin Kan Nakazato Dojo in Naha city at Aza. Nakazato was appointed as one of the directors of the Okinawan Karate Federation when it was formed in 1956, associating the four major (shiryuha) systems of karate in Okinawa (Goju-Ryu, Ueichi-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu (Ko), and Shorin-Ryu (Matsu). During this time, Nakazato devoted all of his time and energy to teaching and perfecting Shorin-Ryu karate. In 1960, the Okinawan Karate Federation promoted him to Eighth Degree Black Belt and titled him "Kyoshi." Seven years later, Nakazato continued his progress in karate when Master Chibana and the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate Do Kyokai promoted him to Ninth Degree Black Belt and bestowed the title "Hanshi" on him.
Nakazato began his study of weapons almost from the beginning of his training in 1935. He was trained in the sai, bo, nunchaku, tonfa, and nicho kama, but specialized in bojutsu for four years. Throughout his career, he has given of his knowledge willingly. He has demonstrated his technique of karate all over the world and has made many trips to America in the furtherance of Karate Do. When Master Chibana passed away in February, 1969, Shugoro Nakazato inherited the leadership of Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Do, thus becoming a Tenth Degree Black Belt.
Hanshi Nakazato has spent most of his life in the martial arts and in 1967, after nearly twenty years of training, was awarded 9th Dan by his eminent instructor Chibana Choshin. Upon Chibana Sensei's death in 1969, Nakazato Sensei became the president of the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu ShorinKan Karate-do Kyokai and was promoted to 10th Dan in 1980. Nakazato Sensei is one of the most influential living karate Grand Masters in Okinawa and travels many times a year to promote the traditional Okinawan Shorin-Ryu ShorinKan Karate (Kobayashi-ryu) system. Hanshi JuDan headed the Okinawan karate delegation and was asked to give a special performance at the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia. Most recently in May 1999, he led an Okinawan seminar delegation of Grand Masters to the United States promoting The "1st Okinawa Traditional Karatedo & Kobudo World Tournament."