In 1884 Mitose's Parents being of royal decent moved from Kyushu, Japan to Hawaii. James Mitose was born on December 30, 1916. Exactly where in Hawaii, Mitose was born is debated. On October 22, 1920 at the age of 3 Mitose moved to Japan for formal training. While in Japan Mitose studied at the Shaka-in Temple, West Koyazon, Kumamoto, Japan. Also referred to as the Kinkaizan Dionkyo-ji or the Pokure-ji Temple. He training in Japan not only included Kempo, but also of religion, philosophy, writing, flower arranging, horsemanship and others. At the age of 20 on February 25, 1937 Mitose returned to Hawaii.
Shortly after the United States join World War II Mitose joined the Hawaii Territorial Guard, a section of the National Guard. Mitose, however was Honorably Discharged after three weeks of service.
In 1942 Mitose opened The Official Self-Defense Club in the United States after being coaxed to do so by Robert Trais. While Robert Trais was not a student of Mitose they are said to have spoke often and to become friends. Robert Trais was the head of Shuri Ryu. Mitose only taught in Hawaii for four years, from 1942 to 1946. During that time 6 students received the rank of Yudansha according to Thomas Young.
In chronological order:
Thomas Young (The first person to receive a Black Belt in Kempo west of Asia, promoted by Mitose)
Jiro Nakamura (Promoted by Mitose)
Arthur Keawe (Promoted by Mitose)
Paul Yamaguchi (Promoted by Mitose)
William Chow (Promoted by Thomas Young)
Bobby Lowe (Promoted by William Chow)
When Mitose stopped teaching in 1946 he left Thomas Young in charge of his school. Simeon Eli took over from Thomas Young in 1962. In 1954 Mitose moved to California. According to Bruce Juchnik at that time Mitose traveled back in forth from Japan to continue his martial training. Mitose would often stop at Hawaii to visit Thomas Young during those trips. After 1954 it is clear Mitose taught very little, according to Bruce Juchnik he only taught one student, Terry Lee (who is now known as Nimr Hassan). Other sources claim he taught a few other student in addition to Terry Lee. In 1974 Mitose was arrested in Los Angeles and convicted on murder and extortion charges. This conviction remains very controversial to this day. It appears that Terry Lee murdered Frank Namimatsu by strangling him on March 20, 1974. In court Terry Lee claimed he committed this crime after the urging to do so by Mitose. Mitose denied this, but did admit to be his Martial Arts instructor. Mitose was sentenced to Life in Prison. It was there that Bruce Juchnik was introduced to Mitose by one of his students, and a Correctional Officer at the time George Santana, in 1977. Up until Mitose's death on March 26, 1981 from complications with diabetes Bruce Juchnik trained with Mitose. Six months before Mitose passed he was reunited with his son Thomas Barro (who has now uses Mitose's last name, Thomas Barro Mitose). Thomas Barro was given up for adoption by Mitose and his wife and raised by the Barro's family.