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Danzan Ryu, or the “Sandalwood Mountain System”, is a school of jujutsu that was formed in Hawai’i during the 1920’s by “Henry” Seishiro Okazaki. Okazaki created his system of jujutsu by blending elements of classical jujutsu schools (Yōshin-ryū, Namba-Shoshin Ryū, Iwaga Ryū, Kosogabe Ryū) with Kodokan Judo, Hawai’ian Lua, Okinawan Karate, Eskrima, Kung Fu, and Western wrestling.
Seishiro "Henry" Okazaki
Seishiro Okazaki was born on January 28, 1890 in Kakeda, Japan. In 1906, at the age of 16, Okazaki immigrated to Hawai’i. Shortly after settling in Hilo, at the age of 19, he discovered he had tuberculosis. Rather than succumb to the disease, Okazaki decided to commit fully to his jujutsu training under Kichimatsu Tanaka at the Hilo Shinyo Kai dojo. Within a year, he had rid himself of the condition. Okazaki credited the training as well as the Lomi Lomi (massage) that he had received as the reason for his recovery. In his own words he had developed a “body of iron” and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to the martial arts and healing techniques that saved his life. As time progressed Okazaki continued studying jujutsu and other martial arts (Lua, Karate, Eskrima, Kung Fu, Western Wrestling and Boxing) under various masters that had immigrated to Hawai’i. Okazaki also studied seifukujutsu or restorative massage.
Okazaki felt as though everyone should have the opportunity to train jujutsu and in 1922 became one of the first people to teach Japanese martial arts to people of non-Japanese decent. This move would make him the target of heavy criticism from his instructors and the Japanese-American community, but this did not deter him. Between 1927 and 1928, he developed his own system of jujutsu which he would name Danzan Ryu. Okazaki chose the name Danzan Ryu to honor Wo Chong, his Chinese martial arts teacher. The term for Hawai’i in Chinese is T’an Shan, or in Japanese Dan Zan, which translates to “Sandalwood Mountain”. In his teachings, Okazaki stressed the importance of the moral and philosophical development within his students as is reflected in his Esoteric Principles.
Okazaki continued to develop and teach both martial and restorative arts until he suffered a stroke in December of 1948 which left him partially paralyzed. He suffered a second stroke in 1950 and on July 12, 1951 Okazaki passed on from the effects of a third stroke. To this day, Danzan Ryu is one of the most widely taught forms of jujutsu in the United States.
Mushinkan's Danzan Ryu Lineage
Ramon Ancho Jr.