Professors of DZR

Why is the title of Professor used in Danzan Ryu and where did it come from? Master Henry Seishiro Okazaki was known by his students, and the local Hawaiian community, as “The Professor.” The title of Professor is said to have originated with some of Professor Okazaki’s early American (Caucasian) students. They began calling him Professor out of respect for his knowledge, ability, and willingness to teach his ryu (system) to many different people. Professor is a western title and honor that, to them, came close to the martial art title of Shihan (Master).

Being credited as one of the first Japanese martial arts instructors to break away from many of the old Japanese traditions by teaching non-Japanese students, Professor Okazaki willingly embraced the Western title of Professor. He was the only “official” person to hold the title of Professor of Danzan Ryu until after his death in 1951.