Masatoshi Nakayama (中山正敏 Nakayama Masatoshi, April 13, 1913 – April 15, 1987) was an internationally renowned Japanese master of Shotokan karate. He helped establish the Japan Karate Association (JKA) in 1949, and wrote many textbooks on karate, which served to popularize his martial art. For almost 40 years, until his death in 1987, Nakayama worked to spread Shotokan karate around the world. He was the first master in Shotokan history to attain the rank of 9th dan while alive, and was posthumously awarded the rank of 10th dan.
Nakayama was born on April 13, 1913,in the Yamaguchi prefecture of Japan. He was descended from the Sanada clan, who were known as kenjutsu instructors, from the Nagano region. Nakayama's grandfather was Naomichi Nakayama, a surgeon in Tokyo, who had also been the last of the family to teach kenjutsu. Nakayama's father was Naomichi Nakayama, an army physician and a judoka (practitioner of judo).His father was assigned to Taipei, so Nakayama spent some of his formative years there.Apart from his academic studies, he participated in kendo, skiing, swimming, tennis, and track running.
Nakayama entered Takushoku University in 1932 to study Chinese language, and began learning karate under Gichin Funakoshiand his son Yoshitaka (also known as Gigō). He had originally planned to continue his training in kendo, but misread the schedule and arrived at karate training instead—and, interested by what he saw, ended up joining that martial art group. Nakayama graduated from Takushoku University in 1937. That same year, he travelled to China as a military interpreter during the Japanese occupation of China. By the time World War II began, Nakayama had attained the rank of 2nd dan.[ Nakayama returned to Japan in May 1946, after the war.