Kendo in the Imanishi family began with Umajiro Imanishi at the turn of the 20th century.
Umajiro Imanishi -Sensei's "coming to America" story is a story of struggle. Before World War II he was married with three children, worked as a laborer, and taught kendo as a means of sharing his culture and serving his community. On December 8th, 1941, one day after Japan declared war on the United States, Umajiro Imanishi was arrested by the FBI under suspicion of military ties to Japan because he was a martial arts teacher. When questioned by the FBI about the purpose of kendo he replied, "Kendo is to make strong the mind, heart and character." He was taken from his family and friends, held prisoner for several years, and was forced to labor for the US government. Umajiro Imanishi-Sensei was never found guilty of any crime and was never able to practice kendo again. Despite the many injustices he faced, Imanishi-Sensei persevered due to the strength instilled in him by the practice of kendo.
Today, four generations of Imanishi descendants have continued Imanishi-Sensei's legacy of pioneering kendo in the Pacific Northwest, including his grandson, Gary Imanishi-Sensei, and great-grandson, Bryan Imanishi-Sensei, at Cascade Kendo Kai. He also has a grandson, Doug Imanishi-Sensei who is the head of Seattle Kendo Kai. His life serves as an inspiration to his family and to many kendo practitioners.
At Cascade we aim to build an inclusive yet rigorous environment of learning and self reflection.
We share our present understanding of kendo through a unique Japanese-American perspective while paying homage to the values and spirit of the pioneering kendo sensei who came before us.