Kenji Tomiki Shihan

15th March 1900

Kenji Tomiki was born in the town of Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture. He was the eldest son of Shosuke and Tatsu Tomiki. When he was about 6 years old he began wielding a wooden sword. At the age of about 10, after entering the local primary school, he joined the town's judo club.

1913
He entered the Prefectural Yokote Junior High School. He was active in the judo club and, on graduating from school, was awarded prizes for excellence in both academics and physical education. In November 1919 he received his 1st dan in judo. After graduation he became ill and took three and a half years to recover. During this time he received encouragement and support from his uncle Hyakusui Hirafuku who was a famous artist.

1924
He entered the Political Economics Department of Waseda University. This was the golden age of the Waseda Judo Club and he was famous for his brilliant judo skills. He was the secretary of the Student Judo Association in Tokyo and had the pleasure of meeting Jigoro Kano of Kodokan who had a great influence on him.

1926
He met Daitoryu Aikijujitsu's Morihei Ueshiba in the autumn. He was fascinated by Ueshiba's techniques and joined his classes. Later Ueshiba started his own style and changed the name to Aikido. Tomiki's lifelong aikido training had begun.

1929
Whilst working for the Department Of Electricity in Miyagi Prefecture, he was chosen to represent the prefecture in the first tournament in front of the Emperor (the All Japan Tournament began from this in the following year).

1931
He returned to his home town and took up a post at the Kakunodate Junior High School. He met Hideo Oba (formerly Tozawa) who began a lifelong effort to help Tomiki realise his budo ideals. Nine years later, he left and moved to Tokyo living near to Ueshiba so that he could study aikibudo.

1936
He moved to Manchukuo (the japanese pre-war puppet state in Manchuria) as a teacher at the Daido Institute. He taught aikibudo to the Kanton army and the Imperial Household Agency.

1938
He became an assistant professor at Kenkoku University in Manchukuo. He taught aikibudo as part of the regular curriculum and gave lectures on budo.

1940
He received the world's first aikido 8th dan from Ueshiba and began his research into modernising aikido. Every summer for the next 4 years he instructed senior grades at Kodokan on a committee that researched into techniques where there is some distance between the two participants.

1945
He continued to work on his ideas for budo during his detention in Siberia after the defeat of Japan in World War II.

1953
Together with Sumiyuki Kotani and Tadao Otaki he went to America as part of a judo delegation to instruct the U.S. Airforce in 15 states.

1954
He became a professor at Waseda University an d headed the university's Physical Education department. He published 'Judo Taiso'.

1956
He published a book in English called 'Judo with Aikido' which was later called 'Judo and Aikido'; the French edition was published in 1960. This helped bring aikido to the West.

1958
He founded the Waseda University Aikido Club and became the club's first director. He published 'Aikido Nyumon' which is still in print today. From about this time he made progress in his research into competitive aikido.

1964
He became head of the department coinciding with the start of a special course in physical education. He published 'Shin Aikido Text' (The New Aikido Textbook).

1967
He opened the Shodokan dojo as the first dojo exclusively for research into aikido.

1970
He retired from Waseda University, published 'Taiiku To Budo' (Physical Education and Budo), and presided over the first All Japan Student Aikido Tournament. The foundations for competitive aikido had been laid.

1971
He received 8th dan in Kodokan Judo.

1974
The Japan Aikido Association was founded with Tomiki as the first president.

1975
He became the Vice President of the Budo Society of Japan.

1976
The Shodokan dojo was established in Osaka as the central dojo of the Japan Aikido Association with Tomiki as director.

1977
In the spring he visited Australia at the invitation of the Australian Aikido Association.

1979
He died on 25th December 1979, aged 79 years.