|Our old friend Michio Setoguchi is a Karate Sensei.
He is "Hachi-dan"(8th dan) of Nihon Karate Shotokai, and "Nana-dan"(7th
dan) of Japan Karate-do Federation.
This month, I would like to introduce him
on my web-page.
I hope you will be encouraged by his karma.
Michio Setoguchi was born in Karatsu in 1941,
as the second son of the late Masayuki Setoguchi
and the loving mother Yuki , who is 92 years
old now and living with him. Michio's brother
Hiroyuki is also a Karate Sensei, teaching
at several universities in Tokyo.
Michio's family members are Kazuko, who has
been a patient and understanding wife for
35years, two daughters Ayako and Sayori,
and a son Takenori who is also a Karateist.
Michio is a grandfather of 4 sweet children.
After graduating from Karatsu Higashi Highschool,
he entered Hosei University in Tokyo, and
there he earnestly learned Karate which he
had started at the age of 13. Hosei University's
Karate Club had been established by a Shotokan
Karate-do Sensei who was also from Karatsu.
Finishing the studies at Hosei University,
he went to the United States and taught Karate
for some time there. Then to Martinique,
Paris, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan, he went
around the 'Dojos'. It was, I feel ,like 'Musha-shugyo' (Samurai's self -training journey).
After coming back to Karatsu in 1971, he
worked for the Chamber of Commerce of Karatsu.
He served there for 25 years, and in 2000
He is The Head Master of "Karate-do
Shoto Kensinkan Dojo" now. He teaches
at Nagamatsu Public Hall also.
I visited Nagamatsu Hall one evening and
met some pupils there. I watched them practicing
'Kata' at the starting signal of Sensei's calm
voice 'Hajime!' ( Start !)
There was no sound except the sound of air
when children pushed their fists strong and
rapid, and their footsteps were so light
and almost elegant without making loud noises.
The smallest karateist on the day, Yuki Nakayama,
2nd grader, answered to my question.
"Yes, I like Karate very much. I like
Sensei very much, too, because he is so kind
The elder ones said "Sensei is very
severe most of the time, but sometimes very
very gentle. We like Karate, because we think
Karate makes us strong in both body and soul"
Their chief aim is to get "Shodan"(Primary dan) and then to win at the National
|After Sensei said 'Ya-me!' (Finish !) at eight o'clock in the evening,
the pupils sat on the floor and bowed three
bows to the holy place, to Sensei and to
They said good-bye to me too, and here is
a message from the pupils to Setoguchi Sensei.
Children were too shy to say this to Sensei
"Dear Sensei, please continue to be
Thank you, Sensei, we will try our best,
||And the elder Kuro-obi (Black-belt) girls asked me to send a message
to the students in Martinique.
"Hi, we are Mami and Ayaka. We will
try hard here, and you will do there. But
someday we hope you will visit Japan and
see us. We will do Karate together."
This is the magical Island where Michio Setoguchi
retrieved himself after a serious surgery
18 years ago. He had a cancer on the large intestine.
One of his students of 30 years ago, Dr.
Allen Branch invited him to come and stay
with him for some time on the Island of Martinique for the
change of air after the surgery.
Michio accepted this offer, and went there
with his daughter Ayako, who was 17 at that
The Caribbean sunshine and sea of Martinique
healed his body and soul. He came back to
Japan as a strong Karateist again.
|18 years have passed since then, and this
time Dr. Branch was involved in a bad traffic
In February this year Michio
went to Martinique
again to encourage his old student.
is recovering and Michio prays
for his early
In Martinique, just like 18 years ago, 120
Karateists gathered from all over the Island
to learn from Michio.
Michio's son Takenori (4th dan) and his friend
Kondo (2nd dan) helped as instructors this
Michio left Martinique with a
return in two years.
Now Michio is back in Karatsu.
His path of Karate-do must have been harsh
But he is quite a gentle fellow. His white
short hair and white long beard make him
look much older than he really is.You will
see a true Samurai in him.
It was not a cancer that he conquered, but
he has conquered himself. Always his wife
Kazuko has been watching silently from behind.
She may have been the true Sensei for Michio.
|When I asked, "What do you want to do
after this?", he answered,"I will
just continue as long as I live, and if luck
allows me, I want to say at my last breath
'Get me my Do-gi (Karate wear)'"
And Kazuko smilingly said, "I will get
it and say,'Here you are, dear'"