Shihan Makoto Gima

Yari Dama, performed with Shihan Ikuo Higuchi as ‘Uke’, Nippon Budokan, April 1967! He was 71 years old at the time!


“Master Makoto Gima was born in 1896 in Okinawa Ken. After Graduating from Okinawa Higher Normal School, Mr. Gima studied at Tokyo’s Shoka Daigaku. In 1912 under the guidance of both Masters A. Itosu and K. Yabu, Mr. Gima chose the way of Karate. Although he was weak since infancy, it was through his study of Karate that he became healthy and strong. Eventually he became an Okinawan born master of two ways of Martial Arts and studies.

In 1922 Master Gichin Funakoshi (later to be the founder of the Shotokan School) travelled from Okinawa to Tokyo. While M. Gima was following his master’s instruction, he also worked as a coach at Meisho-Juku.  At this time under the request of Judo Grand Master Jigoro Kano, (EDIT: Mr. Funakoshi and) Mr. Gima performed a demonstration at the Kodokan (Judo Headquarters). As Master Funakoshi’s assistant he drilled Naihanchi (Tekki Shodan) while Master Funakoshi drilled Kushanku (Kanku Dai). Later, for the purpose of karate expansion within Japan, Mr. Gima participated as a partner with Master Funakoshi. In March 1923, Mr. Gima was promoted to Shodan (First degree black belt) by Master Funakoshi.  During Mr. Gima’s karate history he had the opportunity to observe the establishment of Shoto-Kai as well as the Japan Karate Association. It was in January of 1956 That Mr. Gima received his Judan (tenth degree black belt) by Master K. Toyama of the Karate-do Shudokan.

After graduation from Hitotsubashi University Mr. Gima entered the teaching profession and taught at Maebashi Commercial High School and at Yamagata Commercial High.  It wasn’t until later , at Kofu Commercial High School, that he achieved the rank of principal.  Mr. Gima was also employed at the Kajima Corporation Company. While making Karate a mainstay of his life – Mr. Gima successfully held the posts of: Advisor to the Shudokan (School), President of the Okinawa Karate Association, President of the Shibuya-Ku Karate Federation, President of the Shutoken Karate-do Federation, President of All Japan Karate-do Shisei-Kai Federation and is presently the number one instructor (Saiko Shihan) of Kajima Corporation Karate Club.

Currently Mr. Gima holds posts of: Advisor for Federation of All Japan Karate-Do Organisation, Technical Advisor for All Japan Karate-do Rengokai, President for All Japan Karate-do Shisei-Kai Federation.

The master is quite a unique person, he is still active at the Kajima Corporation Company, is the grand old man of karate and is active in financial circles.  It is said that it is very rare to find someone who has done his best for karate over an extended period of time while at the same time keeping connections within the business world.  It is my hope that his young, seemingly intellectual, vigorous teacher will live a long time yet.”

Taken from: 1984 Shisei-Kai Beiju Book commemorating Gima Shihan’s 88th Birthday.