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About Mister Ken Takakura

Kawaraban No. 93


by the head of Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu Sensei

I respectfully wish you a Happy New Year, and this year, too, I wish you with all my heart that you stay in good health.

Lately in autumn last year I was heavily touched remembering the actor Ken Takakura, who received the cultural award. In 1983 I met him at then Tendokan Dojo in Setagaya/Sangenjaya. That happened about 30 years ago. He was recommended to me by a certain person, and he wanted to rent the Dojo. As he is a fellow countryman from Kyushu I thought we should meet some time or other once …

At the very day of the arrangement Uchi Deshi Koutarou Nagai rushed in and shouted: “Sensei, Mr. Takakura arrived!” Because I was busy with something I told him: “Please, go and ask him to come in”, but although Nagai tried two or three times, Mr. Takakura sent the message: “I am sorry, but I cannot enter because I have not yet been introduced to Shimizu Sensei!” Shamefully I remember how Mr. Takakura showed his modesty with this resolute attitude. When I asked him to come in at the entrance he said: “I am Ken Takakura. Nice to meet you!”, and with this attitude he embarrassed me, because I was not supposed to teach him Aikido, and he only wanted to use the Dojo.

Thereafter we met for a second time on the following day and we could talk relaxed. After that we did not meet for 30 years, but we had some contact in between on various cultural occasions. Every year he sent me a barrel of Sake for the Kagamibiraki ceremony in time. Regarding such worry I only can bow my head.

In whatsoever society they are living, humans, who are strict against themselves, shine with kindness and dignity like polished gold. Mostly those people possess intelligence, courage and modesty as well. Ken Takakura not only received the cultural award as an actor, but rather as a human. I consider him as somebody, who personifies the Budo spirit.

„Overcoming the ego and resuming etiquette (are basic humanistic values)” are words from the analects of Confucius, which I appreciate very much.

© translated by Ichiro Murata and Dr. Peter Nawrot 08/2014