Professor James Mitose and Kosho Ryu Kenpo

James M. Mitose was responsible for bringing out Kosho Ryu Kenpo.  He was born in 1916 on the big island of Hawaii.  It is said that at the age of 5 he was sent back to Japan- Kyushu, for schooling in his ancestors’ art of Kosho Ryu ( Old Pine Tree system).  Some say he had learned this art while living on the Island of Maui, where his parents owned some radio stations.  I don’t really know for sure and I don’t think it really matters an more; it has already evolved into what it is today, worldwide.

Kenpo training in its entirety consisted of intensive instruction in: general education, anatomy and physiology, healing with herbal medicine, Kendo, Kyudo, swimming, climbing, horsemanship, weaponless forms of self-defense and Buddhist philosophy.  The teachings of Buddhism were fundamental to the physical manifestations of the Kosho Ryu fighting art.  The development of restraint, humbleness and integrity were the cornerstones of Kosho Ryu Kenpo.

Mitose had two standout students who were promoted to the rank of Black belt, they were Thomas Young and William K.S. Chow (Chow-Hoon).  Mitose taught for approximately ten years after promoting these two before moving to the mainland to pursue studies in Theology.  The school was then taken over by Thomas Young, who probably reflected Mitose’s teaching philosophy the most.

By this time Prof. Chow had already opened several schools.  He first opened his school at the Chow’s home on Queen Street.  When their father left Hawaii to go back to China, Prof. Chow took everything out of the house and knocked down a couple of the walls.  Next door was a piano shop that he included in this remodel in order to open a regular dojo at their home. 

William would later open up dojos on Young St., at the Kapahulu Japanese School, and later on at the Nuuano YMCA.  Mitose joined the Hawaii Territorial National Guard after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  In 1942 Mitose formed the “Official Self-defense Club” at the Beretania Mission in Honolulu.

– Professor James Muro