Over fifty years ago the founder of Tokaido, Mr. Shizuo Sugiura, started making uniforms for his friends who were practicing karate. Until that time, karateka practiced the art in judo uniforms, pajamas, and a variety of clothes since there was no “official” uniform to wear.
Mr. Sugiura was an avid fan of the martial arts and attended many demonstrations, events, formal and informal competitions. He enjoyed watching a wide variety of martial arts and became increasingly interested in karate.
At this time, Mr. Sugiura was working in the garment industry and saw an opportunity to combine his hobby with his work. The more established Japanese martial arts had a uniform so why not develop a uniform for karate and make a living doing it? Mr. Sugiura started developing and supplying sample uniforms to the instructors of the Japan Karate Association. At first, there were many complaints and criticisms and fortunately – suggestions. Mr. Sugiura spent much time making and refining the dimensions, cut, weight, and stitching of the uniform to make it just right.
Finally, after much hard work the first karate uniform was born. The uniform proved popular and many karateka began asking for one. Mr. Sugiura then established TOKAIDO, the first karate uniform company. This is how the karate uniform and TOKAIDO came about.
Today, Tokaido continues to make uniforms in much the same way as before. All our uniforms are cut and sewn by hand as they are ordered. We do this because we want you to have the best uniform possible. It may take a little longer to receive your uniform, but you will see that it is well worth it.
By the way, we still maintain our original factory in Nagoya and in some cases employ succeeding generations of our first employees. You can see in the picture above, three of our tailors stitching uniforms as we have always done. Tokaido is a family run business with the founder’s sons carrying on the tradition that their father started. We are proud to maintain our high standards and prouder still that so many companies have followed in our footsteps.
We hope that you will choose Tokaido and look forward to satisfying you with the original and we believe –the best karate uniform in the world.