James Mitose Trial Transcripts

Front: Andrew Lum (left) and Arthur Lee (right). Back (from left): Arthur Keawe,
James Mitose (1916-1981) (the founder of Kempo Jiu-Jitsu), Herbert Chock,
Thomas S.H. Young (1915-1995), and Lau Kim. Lau Yee Chai Restaurant, about 1952.

James Masayoshi Mitose was born in Hawaii on December 30, 1916. At age four he was sent to Japan to live with relatives and attend school. While he was growing up in Japan, it is thought that Mitose studied the martial arts under Okinawan masters. In February 1937 Mitose returned to Hawaii where he began teaching the martial arts after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In 1942 he established his own martial arts school.

Mitose used a number of different names for his style over the years. In his early days in Hawaii, he called his art Kempo Jiu-Jitsu (nerve strike method). He eventually chose the name Kosho-Shorei Kempo, which can be translated as “Old Pine Tree School of Encouragement.” The word “Kempo” is a Japanese form of “Ch’uan Fa,” the major Chinese precursor of karate. Almost all Kempo schools outside of Japan trace their lineage to the teachings of James Mitose, via William K. S. Chow and Ed Parker.

In 1953 Mitose closed his school but continued giving private lessons. In 1974 he was arrested in Los Angeles and convicted on murder and extortion charges involving repayment of a loan he made and a murder committed by his student, Terry Lee (Nimr Hassan). Mitose was sentenced to life in prison and died in Folsom Prison of complications of diabetes on March 26, 1981.

Until April 2006, the only way to view the complete transcripts of James Mitose's trial has been to purchase them in CD format. I have always felt that these transcripts should be made available at no charge to anyone who is interested in reading them. That way, people can make up their own minds about what kind of person Mitose was. With this purpose in mind, I decided to make the transcripts available for downloading from my website at no cost. To my knowledge, as of April 2006 no one else has ever done this.

To download and view the Mitose trial transcripts in their entirety, click here:

View James Mitose Trial Transcripts

Please note that this is a 3,140-page PDF file, and is almost 200 MB in size. A high-speed Internet connection is recommended. Even with a high-speed connection, the file is so large that it will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to download completely. The Mitose transcripts can be purchased in CD format from other sources, but I have chosen to make them available at no cost as a service to martial artists throughout the world.

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