News Release

2024 New Year's Message from Kancho Shokei Matsui

Happy New Year. Thank you for your continuous support of the International Karate Organization KYOKUSHINKAIKAN. Without your support, we could not complete all annal events in 2023 and celebrate 2024 New Year. 

In 2023, we organized our pinnacle every-4-year event, the 13th World Open Karate Championships to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of IKO KYOKUSHINKAIKAN founder, Sosai Masutatsu Oyama's birth. 

The global pandemic interrupted our activities for approximately 3 years. In 2023, we resumed a pre-pandemic event schedule, however, international conflicts, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the Israel-Gaza conflict, persist in clouding the world's vision for peace. Despite international uncertainties, we could successfully organize the 13th World Open Karate Championships. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all for your support. 

216 men and women competitors from around the world participated at the 13th World Open, to test their skills, mind, and spirit. With international conflicts spreading, the World Open provides a unique opportunity to appeal for World Peace, which is our organization's main purpose. 

The 13th World Open was the eighth World Open I organized after succeeding the IKO KYOKUSHINKAIKAN from Sosai Masutatsu Oyama. Sosai founded the IKO KYOKUSHINKAIKAN and declared its purpose, which I always retain,"We in KYOKUSHIN Karate-Do do not promote any discrimination or prejudice based on ethnicity, race, nationality, politics, philosophy, religion, gender, or age, and recognize that everyone has the same rights. Our greatest pursuit is to reach for the goal of international friendship and World Peace."  

In addition to the exciting matches at the World Open, we strive to present Japanese culture to a world audience, through a special performance (halftime show). This year, we were honored to have Grammy Award winning instrumentalist, MASA TAKUMI, perform. He performed his Grammy-winning song "Sakura", which embodies the essence of Japan, and as I asked him to include a song for antiwar and world peace, he chose John Lennon's "Imagine". Everyone in the arena responded collectively to his "Imagine" as a call for antiwar and World Peace. I clearly remember that moment, and was deeply touched. 

Additionally, we organized a KYOKUSHIN demonstration by all attending IKO Branch Chiefs to remind ourselves and express to the public, that we are eternally students of Sosai Oyama's KYOKUSHINKAIKAN. To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Sosai Oyama's birth, we communicated our determination to continue Sosai's KYOKUSHIN spirit, "Keep your heads low, eyes high, reserved in speech, be kind in heart and base yourself on filial piety and benefit others", and Sosai's pragmatism, "Without real fight, there is no proof. Without proof, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no respect."

Alexandr Eremenko, IKO Russia, and Nanami Sato, IKO Japan, each respectively won the Men's and Women's World Open titles. Both were 2nd place finalists at the 12th World Open in 2019. It is very challenging for competitors to keep focus for 4 straight years. These two went through the adversity of the worldwide pandemic and achieved a huge accomplishment to become superb and excellent champions. 

I hope all competitors who represent IKO KYOKUSHINKAIKAN, continue to practice KYOKUSHIN as role model for all. We will continue our efforts in 2024 by utilizing the successful 13th World Open, as a steppingstone. 

Year 2024 will herald very significant milestones for the IKO KYOKUSHINKAIKAN, as we recall the 30th Memorial of Sosai Oyama's passing, and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the IKO KYOKUSHINKAIKAN. 

Both years 2023 and 2024 are very important turning points. In 2023, we were able to normalize activities interrupted by the pandemic, and in 2024, we will continue this momentum and future development. I hope you will continue to support and encourage our endeavors in 2024 and into the future. 

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.


Kancho Shokei Matsui
President, International Karate Organization KYOKUSHINKAIKAN

January 1st, 2024

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