A friend of mine contacted me a couple of weeks ago and he told me that he received a invitation to Kise’s spring seminar located in Washington state soon. He also told me that the paperwork he received read that those attending this seminar would be expected to give Kise and his son some form of monetary tribute. It states that it is customary that the Kaicho (in this case, “Isao”, Kise’s son), should also be given a tribute equaling 50% of the total given to Kise. The notice also states that you are to include a photograph of yourself within the envelope that you place the money that you are giving to him. This enables Kise to see just how much or how little each person is giving to him. This way he can tell rather not to come up to you and pat you on the shoulder and smile or to snub you because you did not give enough. On the paper it also states things like, when coming face to face with sensei kise or approaching him you are not to look him in the face, if you have a drink you are not to show him the bottom of your glass. For the life of me I can’t figure out why the American people fall for this crap and are so gullible. Does sensei kise deserve top honor and respect? Absolutely… but he is not a God, he is a human like the rest of us.
My questions are:
1. Just what do these people expect to get from Kise and/or Isao for giving them money. All of those that attend the seminar not only have to pay for the seminar cost but also shell out a monetary gift, and then half again for his son.
2. Do these people expect Kise will give them some kind of secret, or a special consideration? That will never happen!
3. Do these people think that the one to two weeks that they are going to be exposed to Kise that some magical thing will happen? That doesn’t happen with out hard work and practice.
4. Do they think that this will help them with their promotions to a higher belt rank? (Although THAT might be entirely possible)
5. Or are people simply that gullible?
This sort of cult-like practice started years ago back in the 80’s when Kise would come to the states, students wanted to give him some form of gift. It used to be simply a nice gesture, and something that people wanted to do upon either seeing kise, or meeting him for the first time. Did everyone give him a gift? No, they didn’t! Were they expected to? No, of course not. Well all this was soon to change. Of course, the next thing out of kise’s mouth was don’t give me a gift, give me money. Now one can understand this because carting a bunch of gifts back to Okinawa is a pain, and it’s much easier to simply carry money, but today it seems to have escalated to the point where it is mandatory that you give Kise a some kind of money tribute, plus give Isao money as well?
Let’s take a look at one of Kise trips to the US. First of all, his flights, hotels, food, drinks, and entertainment are all paid for, as well as all of the expenses mentioned above for his son Isao. He is paid for the seminar by the revenues generated through the attending students, promotions, etc. plus now he all but demands tribute in the form of money. So let’s look at it this way, Kise is paid several thousand dollars for the seminar, plus of thousands of dollars paid to him in tribute each visit. This doesn’t include association dues, or all of the promotion money paid each year. What a money making scam! Don’t get me wrong, I think Kise is an extremely knowledgeable and skilled man. He has worked very hard building his reputation here, as well as around the world. Does he deserve top honors?
Does he deserve some type of payment? Does he deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy? The answer to all these questions is a resounding ….yes.
I see nothing wrong with giving Kise some form of tribute each trip to the United States as a group. What I find incredible is that you are expected to pay Kise a tribute in the form of money inside an envelope with your photograph! In this economic climate, if you haven’t the ability to do this, will be looked down and frowned upon. We here in the United States are free people, never had a king, an Emperor or a dictator. Sensei Kise is not a king. Kise is loved and highly respected by many of us around the world, but he is not a king, therefore does not deserve to be treated as one. Kise is a very smart man and has built a large Association and has become very good at manipulating people. I’m sure this is happening all around the world within his association, and it’s incredible to me! Whatever happened to the honor, respect and dignity that used to be, I repeat, ….used to be a part of karate. It would appear that there is no honor left in today’s karate. Parting words, wake up America!
To me this sounds ridiculous!
James H. Coffman
Shorinji Ryu 1960 – Present
Matsumura Seito 1961- Present
7th Dan-, Jikideshi
Hohan Soken’s first American student