What Does Kokikai Mean?

Kokikai - kanji
A Kokikai Aikido student recently asked, "What does 'Kokikai' mean?"

Ko  "light," means "radiant" or "shining" when used as an adjective.
Ki  usually translated as something like "life force," "health," "energy." Often translated into English as..."ki."
Kai  会 "association"

Back when Sensei was trying to come up with a name for his new Aikido school, he was in the car with Dan McDougall Sensei on a dark March evening, heading for class in Princeton. Sensei suddenly said to Dan, "Look at the headlights! What do you call what the lights do?" "Oh, well...shine, Sensei?" "No! Another word! Stronger!" Dan ran through a few similes, and when he hit on "radiant," Sensei said "Exactly! Radiating, like nuclear power!"

This is why we usually translate Kokikai as "School of Radiant Ki."

A word on the character 光 "Ko"

This is an ideogram (another word for an ideogram is kanji) that derives from Chinese.  Sometimes, in Japanese, the "Chinese" reading (onyomi) for a kanji is used - in this case the pronunciation sounds like "koh." Sometimes the "Japanese" reading (kunyomi) is used, which here sounds like "hikari." So, if you use Google translator to translate "light" into Japanese, or "ko" into English, this may explain why you don't get the expected result. 


  1. he also named in honor of his instructor... Ko chi Tohe


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