Henry Seishiro Okazaki

Founder of Danzan Ryu JuJitsu

Henry Seishiro Okazaki, was born in the town of Kakeda, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on January 28, 1890. He migrated to Hawaii in 1906 and settled in Hilo, Hawaii. At the age of 19 he was diagnosed as having a lung disease thought to be tuberculosis. As a desperate measure to combat depression, he began his study of Judo under the tutelage of Master Yoshimatsu (Kichimatsu) Tanaka at the Shinyu Kai Dojo in Hilo. The arts fascinated him and eliminated his frustration over his illness. He practiced with all his strength and being. Strangely, his devotion led to a complete recovery from his illness. In his own words, he became the "owner of a body as if made of iron." Thereafter, he dedicated his entire life to Judo.

Professor Okazaki studied various arts including Namba-Shoshin Ryu, Tenshin-Shinyo Ryu, Yoshin Ryu, Kodokan Judo, Iwaga Ryu, Kosogabe Ryu, Ryukyu Karate Jutsu, etc. He returned to Japan in 1924 traveling from as far north as Morioka City to as far south as Kagoshima City, visiting more than 50 schools. He studied the "Okugi", considered the "very secret techniques." He eventually acquired six hundred and seventy-five techniques and earned a third rank in Judo.

Professor Okazaki eventually returned to Hawaii and formed an eclectic system which he called "Kodenkan". This system included Judo, Jujitsu, Hawaiian Lua, Okinawan Karate, Chinese Kung Fu, and American Wrestling. Breaking with tradition, Prof. Okazaki taught not only the Japanese, but any and all races.

He gave the name "Danzan Ryu" to his school of Jujitsu. He gave it that name for two reasons. One was in honor of an old Chinese man who Professor Okazaki was indebted to (Wo Chong). At that time, the Chinese referred to Hawaii as "Danzan". The second reason was that most of Prof Okazaki's studies had taken place in Hawaii.

Professor Okazaki also studied Health Sciences and Physical Therapy. In 1929 he bought an office on South Hotel Street and opened the Nikko Sanatorium of Restoration Massage. Thus, the Okazaki Seifukujutsu Institute was established. Students of his were also expected to excel in the Okazaki system of restorative massage.

In July of 1948, Professor Henry Okazaki suffered a stroke which left him partially paralyzed. His students came and applied his own restorative massage techniques on him. Slowly, the paralyzed side of his body was brought back to vitality. Although he was able to return to teaching, his disability continued to haunt him. He suffered another stroke in September of 1950, and another massive stroke in June of 1951, which left him totally disabled. This led to his death on July 12, 1951.

Professor Henry S. Okazaki found great satisfaction in knowing his American Jujitsu Institute of Hawaii was fulfilling his dreams. Before his death, he expressed his contentedness with his accomplishments. At his death, thousands of citizens who were his students, patients and friends mourned this most successful and humble man.