History and Background
Jigoro Kano started the practice of Kodokan Judo in 1882 in Japan. He was interested in developing a way that people could vigorously practice the art of Judo and yet not be subjected to the harm and danger that is a natural part of the martial arts. He thought vigorous practice required both the discipline and good thinking necessary to produce a strong mind as well as a strong body. Professor Kano thought such a person would have a better chance at becoming a good citizen and a contributing member to society. Today, more than 130 years later, Shobukan Judo Club still accepts these as its overall goals.
2015 marked the 107th Anniversary of Shobukan Judo Club and makes it one of the oldest judo clubs in the nation. Japanese immigrants who came to work on Hawaii’s sugar plantations as laborers established the Shobukan Judo Club in 1908. These students, or "judokas", selected the name Shobukan, which was literally translated as “A Place of Challenge.”
The basement of the old Asahi Bakery on Beretania Street in Downtown Honolulu served as Shobukan’s first dojo. In 1910, Shobukan moved to the Katojinsha on Hall Street with Kakuji Fukai serving as the Club's chief instructor until 1924. It was during this 14-year period that Professor Sunao Migita joined the Club and after only 2 years of judo training, he became an instructor in 1920.
Shobukan relocated to the Liliha Daijingu in 1924 with Professor Migita serving as the chief instructor. Seven years later in 1931, the late Professor Hisashi Kochi, one of Shobukan's most dedicated and respected judo instructors, joined the club. Shobukan flourished during this period until 1941 when World War II temporarily halted all Japanese martial arts activities.
Shobukan was reactivated in 1947 at the Palama Gakuen and a year later, moved to Kuakini Street in Liliha. Faced with demolition of the dojo in 1957 because of a public highway construction project, Professor Migita together with club members and friends, purchased the present site in Liliha off Kunawai Lane.
From 1980 through 2010, Professor Sunao Migita's son, Dr. Lloyd Migita, 7th Dan, served as head instructor and as of 2011, serves as an advisor to the club.
In 2011 Dr. Lloyd Migita passed his head instructor position to Dwight Maeda, 6th Dan, his long time assistant instructor. There are also many highly qualified instructors and trainers who assist in teaching. All instructors teach on a voluntary non-paid basis.
While Shobukan offers judo classes to Hawaii youths as a sport and character building activity, Shobukan has achieved a reputation of producing many top competitors from Hawaii. There have been many students who have become Junior and Senior National champions, Olympic contenders and medalists.