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15th March 1900

Kenji Tomiki was born in the town of Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture. He was the eldest son of Shosuke and Tatsu Tomiki. When he was about 6 years old he began wielding a wooden sword. At the age of about 10, after entering the local primary school, he joined the town’s judo club.

He entered the Prefectural Yokote Junior High School. He was active in the judo club and, on graduating from school, was awarded prizes for excellence in both academics and physical education. In November 1919 he received his 1st dan in judo. After graduation he became ill and took three and a half years to recover. During this time he received encouragement and support from his uncle Hyakusui Hirafuku who was a famous artist.

He entered the Political Economics Department of Waseda University. This was the golden age of the Waseda Judo Club and he was famous for his brilliant judo skills. He was the secretary of the Student Judo Association in Tokyo and had the pleasure of meeting Jigoro Kano of Kodokan who had a great influence on him.

He met Daitoryu Aikijujitsu’s Morihei Ueshiba in the autumn. He was fascinated by Ueshiba’s techniques and joined his classes. Later Ueshiba started his own style and changed the name to Aikido. Tomiki’s lifelong aikido training had begun.

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