Kiyohisa Hirano is fondly called Soke by his students. Born on January 16, 1938 in Yokohama, Japan, he was introduced to karate when he was twelve years old. He studied under Professor Hironori Ohtsuka (1892-1982), the founder of Wado-Ryu. Hirano was awarded the rank of shodan when he was sixteen years old, and often accompanied Ohtsuka when he traveled throughout Japan to promote karate. According to a January 25, 1962 article in The Hawaii Times, Ohtsuka was invited by Walter Nishioka to come to Hawaii. In January 1962, Ohtsuka arrived in Hawaii with Tatsuo Suzuki, Yoshio Kawaguchi, and Hirano. This group of high-ranking karate instructors gave exhibitions at Hilo's Civic Auditorium on the Big Island, at Baldwin High School in Maui, and at Farrington High School in Honolulu. The Hawaii trip impressed Hirano, and he returned to Hawaii.
In a July 12, 1962 article, The Hawaii Times wrote about Hirano's return to Hawaii, noting that he "arrived here on July 1 to propagate the Wado-Ryu Karate and also consolidate the eight Wado-Ryu Karate halls in Hawaii." It goes on to state that he "won the 1960 All-Japan Karate championship, captained the 1961 All-Japan Karate champion Nihon University [kumite] team and he was also voted the most outstanding athlete by the Nenkan for the 1960 - 1961 year."
In Hawaii, Hirano established the Japan International Karate Center (JIKC).. Literally, thousands of students have studied karate at JIKC throughout the years. Many of these students went on to become karate instructors such as Ronnie Woodard, Howard Takahashi, Clarice Tsuchiya-Hirano, Rusty Titus, Debbi Lewis, Henry Soares, Michael Shimabukuro, Aaron Oandasan, and Matthew Lewis. Hirano also established the International Ki Institute of Health Management and Research in Hawaii, an alternative healing center, on September 30, 1990. Today, he is the founder and president of the Japan International Karate-Ki Center. He is an inspirational leader who reminds his students "to never give up."
- Shiramizu, Harry. "Karate Experts Will Perform Here." The Hawaii Times, January 25, 1962.
- Shiramizu, Harry. "Champion Hirano Here to Promote Wado-ryu Karate." The Hawaii Times, July 12, 1962.
- "Karate Experts Here from Japan." Hawaii Hochi, January 26, 1962.
- Japan International Karate-Ki Center. November 11, 2004.
The spirit of Karate is the Aloha spirit
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