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Oyata Lineage - 1930


Taika Seiyu Oyata used to say he was born in 1928 during the early years of his career. To match that birth year he also stated that he was a Dragon on the Chinese Zodiac.  He said this for decades and we can only speculate as to the reasons.  I personally speculate that he did this initially as a way to get a job just after the war but it could be any one of a million reasons and he never gave us the reasons for this incorrect D.O.B.

We do know, in front of numerous witnesses at his dojo in Independence, MO, as well as multiple times as well as at the birthday seminar in October of 2011 with Tasshi Jim Logue that he recanted that date.  Tasshi Logue even put it out to some people that were not there as well as updated the RyuTe web site at that time.  Taika stated he was indeed born in 1930 and that the 1928 date was not true.  In conversations I had with him along with Marvin Fankhauser, Lisa Ohmes and others he was adamant that he wanted this cleared up and was even tearful.  I do not know why he kept the lie up so long after WWII and his time on Okinawa, probably because it had been written down in a couple of books and that was the accepted story.  Taika, however wanted it cleared up before he died.  He told a lot of people before he died and stressed that this was important to him.  THAT is why I keep pushing the issue.  Out of respect for Taika, one of Taika's last wishes was that people knew his true date of birth, even if he didn't give us any reason for why he allowed people to carry on with the 1928 nonsense for so many years.

When Taika died, the slideshow specifically showed his date as 1930 because that is what he wanted.  The web site approved by Robin updated all historical references on the web site to show 1930 as well though Tasshi Jim Logue had already updated the main page prior to his own death.

Taika's immediate U.S. family knew as well as his Okinawan family. Many students knew that was Taika's wish to be known.  

Regrettably, many senior members refused to acknowledge it then and even still now, and they put the wrong date on the headstone. Since his death many of these students continue to disrespect his last wishes and put 1928 on web sites, magazine articles, et cetera.

Many people refused to believe Taika before he died, some scoffed at him behind his back and said he was senile.  After he died people refused to believe his own immediate family, Robin, Masaki and Masami.  So with Robin's permission I contacted his family in Okinawa.

Tomi (Taika's own sister) was contacted and responded to a bunch of family questions.  She definitively proved via both personal account and family records that Taika was born in 1930 and absolutely was not a dragon.  She had the records.  She has since passed away but Taika's nephew has those records now.  A bunch of people still refuse to believe Taika's own words, his sisters, his nephews, his wife, his two kids, and a host of students that also heard it and knew how important it was to him.

Tomi and Seiyu.JPG

Tomi Oyata verified that Taika was born October 19, 1930 and was indeed NOT a dragon.

If that wasn't enough, when we were cleaning up the house for Robin after Taika's death, a bunch of tubs of old documents were going out to the dumpster. In this were all Taika's original writings, in Japanese as well as various drafts of translations. All but the final version of RyuTe no Michi that went to press and was amended for unknown reasons by the people that helped translate it, all these original drafts in English and Japanese all show 1930 as his birth year. The date of the last correct version of the book was Monday, March 30, 1998 18:36:33. The software tracked the edits. After this date, the story was changed by Shiro Shintaku.

Book draft to publisher on March 30, 1998 before one of Taika's 'helpers' changed it.

All drafts in both English and Japanese show this same information.

Why did he persist so long in that story?  I cannot say for sure but can only speculate.  Maybe it gave him better chances at jobs being 2 years older. Maybe it got him better training chances.  Maybe like kids here in the U.S. who use a fake ID to get alcohol or cigarettes it provided something tangible that he needed in POST-WWII Okinawa.  We do not know.

What we do know are two things;

  • Taika Seiyu Oyata was born on October 19, 1930.

  • Taika Seiyu Oyata wanted this corrected before he died and felt it was very important.

All of the above listed evidence points to 1930 as well as every single document the family has.  Passports and other ID's and paperwork over the years all say 1930.

Taika told tons of us it was 1928 or that information was handed down from one person to another but it is simply not true.  Why does it matter to me so much, because it was one of many of his last wishes.  He wanted to set the record straight and thus I am passionate about it.  I have absolutely nothing to gain from this other than fulfilling a promise.



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