First of all, I would like to start my message by expressing my appreciation to all of you for your warm support for our organization.
Although it has been over a month since the dramatic Karate World Cup held in Lithuania in April, I hope you are all doing fine. For those who won or became prize winners in the strongest and largest tournament full of the best competitors in the world, I would like to once again express my congratulations to their achievement, and at the same time, my expectations for their further development. I would also like to express my deepest appreciation and respect to the organizers of the tournament, the Lithuania Branch led by Branch Chief Romas Vitkauskas, for organizing such a wonderful tournament. I believe it was a great opportunity to demonstrate to the world, the great unity and potential of Lithuania as a country. Although I believe the organization of this tournament was a demanding task, I believe the exceptional results of the Lithuanian competitors, and more than anything, the smooth success of the tournament, was a great reward for their hard work.
April 26, which was soon after we returned from Lithuania, was the anniversary of the death of our great master, Sosai Masutatsu Oyama. I visited his grave and reported to him the great happiness we shared with our friends all over the world in Lithuania, and the further unity and development for the future we promised to each other. On behalf of everyone, I cleaned his grave and offered beautiful flowers. With Sosai Oyama’s nice smile in mind, I made a prayer and expressed our sincere appreciation.
One of the missions given to us, inheritors of Sosai Oyama’s will, is to spread the greatness of Karate, in particular Full Contact Karate, throughout the world, and to create an attractive platform for the future of the children practicing Karate. As a part of implementing this mission, we are working on measures that will help the promotion to make Karate part of the Olympic Games. The vote to decide the competitions for the 2020 Olympics was carried out at the IOC Board Meeting held on May 29 in St. Petersburg, Russia, and as a result, Karate was unfortunately not chosen to proceed to the next round of voting. Although it is a fact that our Full Contact Karate has no direct involvement in this current state surrounding Karate and the Olympics, given this most recent voting outcome, I was strongly convinced that in order for Karate to become an Olympic category, the strong unity of all Karate organizations, regardless of the difference in competition format (WKF rule and Full Contact rule), and the mutual concessions that will be necessary to make this happen, will be absolutely essential. Therefore, the most important task for the Full Contact Karate we believe in, will be the firm establishment and unification of the genre. In order for the world to unite, Japan, the mother country of Karate must unite first, and stand together. The JFKO (Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization) introduced to all of you, will do its best to become the pioneers of such activities. Such steady activities, although they might seem like the long way around, is actually the shortcut. Our next goal, will be the Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028. In preparation for our next opportunity, let us do our best in making steady progress in steps we are able to take now. I strongly believe that this moment, is the actual start of the road to make Full Contact Karate an Olympic category. I ask that our WKO, through strong unity, make our best effort to continue our challenge towards our great dream.
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