James Mitose was a pretty complex person and difficult to get a true bio of due to the fact most of his history is shrouded in mystery. Though, there are no shortage of theories and stories.
James Mitose was born in 1916, and lived in Hawaii. The story between his birth and the time he turned 19 or 20 years old is subject of much debate.
One version of his history is that he left Hawaii for Japan in 1920 at age three and lived with his grandparents. During that time he is said to have trained in Japanese martial arts, some say under his grandfather who was a grandmaster, other say other things, he himself has said he trained at the Shaka-in temple in Kumamoto, Kyosho Japan. There is no paper trail or proof of any of the above. There are however documents to prove his travelling to Japan, but that’s about it. As it goes, he is said to have then returned to Hawaii in 1937.
Others believe he never studied Japanese martial arts at all, but was studying Okinawan Kempo under Choki Motobu, Mizuho Mutsu and Kamesuke Higaonna, all of which were in Hawaii in hopes of spreading Kempo Karate to Hawaii, and the rest of the United States.
After that the history seems pretty much in agreement.
As stated on the history page, he started and taught at his own self defense school, the “Official Self Defense Club”, for many years, producing four black belts and beginning the training of another, William Chow, before he left his own school, turning it over to one of his black belts, Thomas Young. William Chow would later be given his black belt by Thomas Young
During his teaching he wrote the book “What is Self Defense: Kenpo Jiujutsu” which is now out of print. Many say it was mostly plagerized from Mizhuo Mutsu’s book “Karate Kenpo”, and Motobu’s book “Kempo Gaisetsu”. It is said pictures of techniques are direct ripoff’s of poses in those books.
James Mitose stopped teaching in the early 1950’s and was later convicted for conspiracy to murder, subsequently died in prison on those charges.