The founder of Kodenkan and the American Jujitsu institute of Hawaii was born in Fukushima prefecture, on the island of Honshu, Japan, January 28, 1890. Henry Okazaki came to Hawaii when he was 17 years old. Studying under various masters in Hilo, Hawaii, he mastered the Yoshin, Iwaga, and Kosogabe schools of jujitsu by practicing diligently six nights a week. In addition, he studied Okinawan karate, Chinese Gung-fu, Hawaiian Lua, and Filipino knife play, as well as American boxing and wrestling.
In 1924, he toured Japan, making an exhaustive study of the Shibukawa-Ryu, Yoshin-Ryu, and Namba-Shoshin-Ryu, as well as kodokan judo, in which he was ranked Sandan (3rd degree) . During his tour of Japan, he visited more than 50 dojos and acquired 675 different kinds of techniques or forms. He also made a special study of kappo and Seifukujitsu (restorative massage), because he recognized that the virtue of jujitsu lay in the possibility of reversing the effects of deadly or disabling arts by restoration and treatment.
Gradually, Professor Okazaki evolved a system of self defense jujitsu comprising courses for men, women, and children, and including methods of defense against the knife, sword, club, gun, and bayonet. In this system, called Danzan-Ryu, Professor Okazaki stressed the ancient system of philosophical and moral training while retaining the best of the arts of self defense and of restoration together with the system of physical, cultural, and mental cultivation. Thus, he achieved a true synthesis of ancient and modern elements-a complete system of judo and jujitsu.
In 1930, Professor Okazaki opened the Nikko sanatorium of restoration massage in Honolulu, where he subsequently earned an international reputation for his skill as a physical therapist. That same year, he opened his school- now known as the American Jujitsu Institute of Hawaii. His life from that time forward was devoted to instructing worthy Americans without regard to national origin in the arts and sciences of judo and jujitsu, and to developing disciples who would introduce his system throughout the United States.
It is safe to say that when Professor Okazaki died in July 1951, thousands of students had studied in his school. His system of Danzan-Ryu remains today the most widely taught system of self-defense jujitsu in the United States.
This page last updated on Wednesday, June 16, 1999