9th JFKO All Japan Open Men’s division

The 9th JFKO All Japan Open – ready to be held 26 & 26 May, “new” weight-categories means possible new match up – and maybe some new champions!

Qualification to next years event : 1st WFKO World Championship will be the biggest reward – but one can also be able to qualify into the Karate Champion of the Champions KCC – if you participate in the heaviest category.

Official JFKO Website – for info            /       For the WOMEN’S DIVISION – HERE

Men Lightweight -60 kg

Tenshin Sawai /Shinkyokushinkai and Syonoshin/ Uomotoryu Kempo Karate. Syonoshin Uomoto has been a key player and champion in the lightest category.

Tenshin Sawai had a similar role – and that means they have collided in trying to reach the top. So far, it is Uomoto who has the heaviest merits, but it is Sawai who is the reigning champion.

Gai Beniya / Kenbukai (Left) and Haruku Go / Mugenyuushinkai are two excellent fighters, close to the JFKO top spot. Both been on the podium – and both heavily merited from other tournaments as JKJO All Japan Open, Karate Grand Prix KWF and others.

Challenging the established athletes young fearless fighters as Masamitsu Niisato, Keidai Yamakawa, Onami Genki and Ryohei Okada to name a few from the 61 fighters large category.

Men Light Middleweight – 70 kg

In this category we have close to 80 fighters, that means 6-7 fight depend on the draw – if you are going all the way. Reign champion Kaede Hiraki / Byakuren-Kaikan showed impressive skills fighting in the WKO 13th World Open Championship last year.

Yuki Otsubo / Shinkyokushinkai comes with a strong challenge – being the runner up from last years tell us the about the level he possess. If we add 3rd place in the WKO World Championship in weigh-categories – its all there.

Takuma Fukunaga / KWF, Toma Maehira / Shinkyokushinkai, also at last years podium. Not as sharp as Otsubo and Hiraki – yet, but reaching the podium last year, will set some expectations.

Other interesting fighters as Hyakutomi Yu / So-Kyokushin – reign World Champion, Yuya Konishi / Nakamura, Sho Mizutani / Kubota Dojo, Kodai Hosokawa / Uomoto-Ryu – winner of the 3rd JFKO All japan Open.

Men Middleweight -80 kg

Another solid category, 5-6 fights to be the champion. Yuto Fukuchi  / Byakuren Kaikan is one of the best middleweight fighter in the world at his best. Champion several times, including WFKO International in 2018 winning the 94 fighters large category. Really slick technician – you blink, and the fight is over.

Ryuki Ushirosako / Shinkyokushin – champion back in 2022, and earned a win in 2019 as well – winning the All Japan Open only 15 years old. Ushirosako has been one of the profiles, and possible the number one challenger to Yuto Fukuchi.

last year, a comeback of Shota Maeda made the result change from previous years, Maeda took 1st place, Fukuchi and Ushirosako came 3rd. The runner up was another star breaking trough: Hotaka Yoshizawa / Shinkyokushinkai. Lost the final vs Ushirosako in 2022 – but became World Champion in weight categories WKO later same year, and finished at 7th in the 54th All Japan Open (open weight) in December – earning the Spirit award as well.

All Japan Open Champion JKJO and winner of Karate Grand Prix KWF Gentaro Ishino / Sakura-juku haven’t manage to reach the JFKO top – but closing in. On the podium 3 times last 4 years. One of the heavier merited fighters in the category – how far will he take it this time?

This is only some of the most profile fighters in this category, others:  Yuya Tanaka / Koshikan, Naoto Kusakabe / So-Kyokushin (reign World Champion) Koki Oba / Mugen Yushinkai (All Japan Champion) Keijiro Tsukamoto / Shinkyokushin – Tsukamoto Dojo..

Men Light Heavyweight -90 kg

39 fighters and 5-6 fights including the final – and yes, we have some really strong profiles here as well. (⇓ left) Yuta Takahashi / Takahashi Dojo, (⇓ center) Kazushi Watanabe, Shinkyokushin (⇓ Right) Takashi Torihara / Shinkyokushin, Daiya Katagiri / Kembukai – to name some of them.

This category (after the JFKO expanded from 4 to 5 categories) have been dominated by Nariyoshi Tada / Shinkyokushin and Yuto Eguchi / Shinkyokushin. Both have moved up in the heaviest category this time – we suspect that it isn’t only the weight issue, the heaviest category have a spot to the Karate Champion of Champions..

Daiya Katagiri (left) made a good impression last year. Runner up in the 1st KWU World Cup, 6th place in the 5th World Championship Rengokai. Same with ( center) Rai Hayakawa / Sakura Juku – but he climbed even higher in the 5th World Championship Rengokai, and ended 3rd place. Runner up in the 2nd Open Tournament All Japan Kyokushin Karate Championship. Shortly said: both keep a decent level. Quite similar record for Yudai Ishimine / Ryudo Kaikan, top 4 in 4th and 5th World Championship Rengokai.

Men Heavyweight +90 kg

This category is packed with star-fighters from different organizations. As mention, this category is strengthen by fighters that could enter the category below – but the category below have no qualification to the KCC .. Nariyoshi Tada / Shinkyokushin at 90 kg, and Yuto Eguchi / Shinkyokushinkai at 84 kg – and the “worst” thing, is that these two might end up among the absolute top.

Yuta Goto / MAC will be one of the heavy favorites, and If he had won, it would have been a long-awaited and deserved victory. If he could be the one qualifying to KCC – it would be extremely interesting to see him go up against for an example Maciej Mazur or Eventas Gužauskas.

Yusaku Watanabe / Shinkyokushin – extremely explosive and a insane speed at that size. 8th in the 13th World Open Championship last year, and was awarded the title at the 8th All Japan Open JFKO – vs Yuto Goto. One could easily given extension in that final, that was not the case. Will we see them in the final – again?

Kyokushin Rengokai held their 5th World Tournament last year. The winner Yuhei Ashitaka AND the runner up Sho Shigematsu are both in this category. Ashitaka  competed a very strong year, taking All Japan Open JKJO titles as well, and even taking the title in the 39th All japan Open Rengokai. Sho Shigematsu starts of with a victory at the He starts of this year with a win at 2nd Open Tournament All Japan Kyokushin Karate Championship this year.

Ryuji Toda / Shinkyokushin and Yuki Okada / Shinkyokushin made their best result up to now in the 13th World Championship WKO 2023. Toda placed 7th and Okada 5th. Ryuji Toda  was given Technical  Award, and Yuki Okada the Spirit  Award. Yuki Okada together with Watanabe er all ready picked for the Karate Champion of the Champions – meaning they can win this 9th JFKO, but someone else (runner up) will go.

This is only some of the strong line up, no doubt that this category will be one – if not the most exciting to follow.