59th Annual Ginza Holiday

August 8, 9 & 10


Featured in the festival will be ongoing stage performances with the entertaining taiko drumming by Hoetsu Taiko Group and the Midwest Buddhist Temple Taiko group, the Midwest Buddhist Temple Minyo Troupe, Fujima Ryu of Chicago, a Japanese Classical dance troupe, martial arts demonstrations, and the Na Kupuna Ukulele group.

Self defense tactics will be demonstrated by Aikido and Judo schools, while Kendo (Japanese fencing) will entertain the crowd.

Inside the temple, the exhibit hall will be filled with demonstrations and exhibits of bonsai, ikebana (flower arranging), calligraphy, brush painting, Samurai swords, and Japanese arts and crafts. Many of the products will be offered for sale.

435 West Menomonee Street
Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-943-7801

Download flyer with two discounted admissions here.

For more information visit the Ginza site.

Posted in Community | Tagged , | Leave a comment


photo: Andrew Vitale

photo: Andrew Vitale

“Samurai” Jack Diego Kim 義賢 Salud Sora

Son of Czerina Salud and Dwight Sora
Joined the dojo July 5th
6 lbs 4 ounces
19 inches

In his relatively short time with us he has already achieved the rank of 1st Kyute.

Posted in Dojo News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Michi Calligraphy

michi by Mitsugi Saotome

Chicago Aikido Club is assisting former Illinois Aikido Club member Jordan B. Lome in the sale of several Aikido-related items in his possession prior to relocating to India.

Mr. Lome is currently offering a framed 32 x 32 inch calligraphy by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. If you are interested in purchasing the calligraphy, please visit the dojo’s eBay page.

Mr. Lome first joined the Illinois Aikido Club when he was 17 years old, and was awarded a Nidan in 1992 from Midwest Aikido Center.

Posted in Community | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bon Odori Festival – July 12th


SATURDAY, JULY 12th at 7:30 p.m at the Midwest Buddhist Temple. No charge. Much fun.

Obon (お盆) or just Bon (盆) is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.

Parking can be tough for Obon. The Sedgwick stop of the Brown Line is within walking distance.

Posted in Community | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wendy Whited Helps Return Flag

Last year, friend of the Chicago Aikido Club and local instructor Wendy Whited of Inaka Dojo in Beecher was instrumental in the return of a wartime Japanese Rising Sun flag to the family of its original owner. The flag had been in the possession of a friend of Wendy’s, who entrusted her with bringing it back to its rightful place. Wendy used her contacts in Japan through aikido, and eventually the flag’s owner was identified (Hiromasa Sakamoto, killed in battle) and the flag was returned to the owner’s son Susumu in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture. The story was summarized in a news segment broadcast on the RKK television network in Kumamoto Japan, thanks to information provided by Munetsugu Sakabe, head instructor of Aikido Aishinkan dojo.

Posted in Community | Tagged | Leave a comment

Living Our Culture: Bringing Legacy to Life

Japanese American Service Committee

Join us in honoring a rich community of remarkable people! The evening begins with live music by honoree Tatsu Aoki and a quartet assemblage from his Miyumi Project group. Come enjoy the sounds of Miyumi Project’s unique blend of Asian American jazz. Tatsu is indeed a living example of creative expression (“hyo-ugen-ryoku”)

Doug Tono Sensei representing Tohkon and Dwight Sora representing the Chicago Aikido Club will both have displays highlighting our contributions to the JASC community.

When: Thursday, June 12th, 6 – 9 pm
Where: The Floating World Gallery | 1925 North Halsted
Tickets: $125 per person for general admission
$100 per person for groups of 5 or more
$65 per person for young generations (21-35)

If you can’t attend but still want to support click here to buy a raffle ticket.

Posted in Community | Tagged | 1 Comment

Jo Takehara Sensei featured on Nikkei Chicago (Japanese Migrants and Their Descendants)

photo of Dr. Miyagi, "Red" Sakamoto, Jo Takehara

(L-R) Dr. Miyagi, “Red” Sakamoto, Jo Takehara at the Illinois Aikido Club

Our friend Erik Matsunaga of the nearby Ravenswood Shorin-ryu Karate Dojo interviewed Takehara sensei about his life, as a Japanese nisei in America and as one of the first aikidoka in the Midwest. This is what Erik had to say about the interview.

I was intrigued by the fact that the first aikido dojo in the Midwest was founded as a cultural pastime by a group of Japanese American professionals. Despite worldwide popularity, across the generations interest in the Japanese martial arts from within the Japanese community itself has greatly dwindled. When I learned a Nisei from the original Illinois Aikido Club was not only still around but actively practicing, I looked for more information and wondered why, in fifty-plus years, there was nothing to be found. In my initial conversations with Joe, I found him to be a straightforward and humble man with a unique way of telling a story. Never having striven to be a public figure in the aikido community, he has nonetheless been there from the beginning, survived organizational splits and political strife, trained with the legends, and today remains the most senior student of the art form in Chicago, having unwittingly become something of a legend himself. I feel his story is important not only in terms of the greater budo community, but with regard to post-WWII Japanese American history in Chicago. I wish to offer special thanks to Dwight Sora and members of the Chicago Aikido Club for facilitating Nikkei Chicago’s introduction to Dr. Takehara and his unique story.

Here is an excerpt, the full interview can be found at Nikkei Chicago.

Born the youngest of eight children in San Diego, California, to immigrant parents from Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, Joe Takehara grew up in a barrack on the grounds of a fish cannery adjacent to Lindbergh Field (today’s San Diego International Airport). Never having known his father, who was hit by a car and killed when Joe was three years old, he and his siblings largely fended for themselves as their mother worked long days at the cannery.

“I grew up tough,” he said. “In those days, you had no one to guide you, to tell you what to do. You did it on your own. I was independent as a kid. I learned how to tie my shoes and dress myself at an early age.”

Continue on to the full article at Nikkei Chicago here.

Posted in Dojo News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Midwest Token Kai – April 25-27, 2014

Japanese Sword

The Chicago Area Japanese Collectibles and Sword Show, organized by Midwest Token Kai, will be held April 25-27, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL.  This three-day event will host dozens of vendors and hundreds of sword enthusiasts. Highlights include lectures on sword etiquette, a martial arts exhibition, and displays of important swords and tsuba provided by the American branch of Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Sword)

Chicago Area Japanese Collectibles and Sword Show
April 25-27, 2014
Hyatt Regency Woodfield (across from Woodfield Mall)
1800 E. Golf Rd.
Schaumburg, Illinois

Admission: Friday $20, Saturday $15, Sunday $8.  3-day pass $35 (early entry)/$50 (regular)

Days and Times

  • Friday, April 25: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Saturday, April 26: 9:00am – 9:00pm
  • Sunday, April 27: 9:00am – 3:00pm

For more information, visit the following:

Event mainpage: http://www.chicagoswordshow.com/
Midwest Token Kai website: http://www.midwesttokenkai.com/
NBTHK website: http://nbthk-ab.org/Japan.htm

Posted in Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Changing of The Mats – April 4th 2014


The removal of the old mats and laying of the new mats will occur April 4th starting at 9am. There will be no training until every last mat is in place. So come on by when you can and move some mats.

This will be good practice for Summer Camp In The Rockies

Posted in Community, Dojo News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Legacy Garden Benefit


Midwest Buddhist Temple are hosting two benefit concerts on Sunday, March 9 to raise funds for their new legacy garden.

The concert will be held in the temple social hall, and feature Irish musicians Paddy Homan, Dennis Cahill and Teresa Shine joining the Ho Etsu Taiko traditional Japanese drumming group.

Showtimes are 12:30 pm and 4:00pm.  Tickets are $30 in advance/$35 at the door and may be purchased by calling the temple office at (312) 943-7801 or online.

Midwest Buddhist Temple
435 West Menomonee Street
Chicago, IL 60614
phone 312-943-7801
email: office@midwestbuddhisttemple.org

Posted in Community | Leave a comment