Master Hidetaka Nishiyama

ISKA mourns the loss of Grandmaster Hidetaka Nishiyama, our mentor for more than 50 years.

Master Nishiyama passed away November 8, 2008, after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.

Five years ago, on November 1, 2003, Master Vincent Cruz and the Yudansha of the International San Ten Karate Association formally recognized Master Hidetaka Nishiyama as Judan, the tenth and highest rank in traditional karate. In retrospect, we are proud to have extended the highest honor in karate while he was able to enjoy it. As far as we know, ISKA is the only organization to have made this gesture during the master's lifetime.

Master Nishiyama at first tried to turn aside the honor, but was moved by the heartfelt affection of the ISKA leadership. The framed certificate celebrated his life-long devotion to traditional karate, his research, and his continued search for the truth. (The judan certificate is shown below.)

On November 3, 2000, Master Hidetaka Nishiyama, Chairman of the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) and President of the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF), was commended by the Japanese government for his worldwide promotion of Japanese culture as a Master Instructor of Traditional Karate.

His half century of meritorious contributions were then honored personally by the Emperor of Japan in a special ceremony conducted at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo where the "Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette" was awarded to him. It was the first time in the history of Japanese national awards that such recognition was granted to Traditional Karate, and reflects Master Nishiyama's lifelong contributions to the development of the superior physical, mental and spiritual aspects of Traditional Karate.

Furthermore, Master Nishiyama was one of only eleven recipients from outside Japan that was honored at this year's ceremonies for their contributions to Japanese culture.

Vincent Cruz is proud to have been a student of Nishiyama Sensei for the last 50 years. ISTMAF/ISKA sponsors an annual Masters Seminar weekend each November in memory of Nishiyama.