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Big Karate Kata do-gi review

Do-gi Review for 10 Kata Model Dogi from 8 Brands

All Gojuryu Network (www.gojuryu.network) & SKSV (Gojuryu.net) cross-post

By Johnpaul Williams – August 29, 2023

Before my trip to Japan in August 2023, I decided to undertake the task of reviewing 10 Kata model dogi from 8 different brands. As someone who stands at 6’3″ (190.5 cm) tall, finding the right-sized dogi is crucial, especially for travel and competition. Preordering custom-sized suits can be time-consuming and requires some finesse, but it’s essential for a comfortable fit. There may be a few additional thoughts after this post goes live so I’ll add additional data here and there over the next few days.

August 2023 - JP Williams at the 49th JKF Gojukai Taikai in Osaka Japan wearing the Arawaza Black Diamond dogi

August 2023, JP Williams: the 49th JKF Gojukai Taikai in Osaka in the Arawaza Black Diamond

Here’s a list of the dogi I reviewed:

  1. Hirota Takumi tailored cut
  2. Shureido NW2 tailored cut
  3. Arawaza Black Diamond
  4. Shureido NW2 Standard cut
  5. Hirota MH12 standard cut
  6. Hayashi Katamori
  7. Kamikaze New Life Shihan
  8. Tokaido Kata Master
  9. Tokyodo JKGA
  10. Mugen (from KI International) Orange
  11. KI International Black do-gi with the 0419 canvas

I’ve included detailed measurements and insights into each dogi to help fellow martial artists make informed choices when it comes to their training gear. The right dogi can significantly impact your performance and comfort during training and competition.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need additional information about these dogi models.

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Hirota Takumi: The Hirota Takumi dogi is a standout. It’s made from a Poly/Cotton blend that’s highly breathable, making it perfect for warm weather environments like Okinawa and Japan. I had the opportunity to try it on while in Japan, and it’s near perfect for me. The fabric feels similar to the Shureido NW2, which I always find comfortable. Custom-tailored dogi are the way to go, as they allow for unrestricted movement and comfort. I’m considering ordering one of these for myself.

Shureido NW2: The Shureido New Wave 2 (NW2) is my gold standard for comfort. It’s also a polyester and cotton blend, lighter than the NW3. Custom-tailored suits are a great choice, but they do come at a cost. Detailed measurements of your current gear are essential for getting the right fit. A well-fitting dogi enables your body to move freely without any resistance from the clothing.

Arawaza Black Diamond: The Arawaza Black Diamond is a heavyweight dogi with a slightly tight fit. If I had known it ran small, I would have ordered a size larger. Despite the snug fit, it performed well. The heavy cotton fabric provided excellent sound during movements, and the vented jacket made it more bearable to train in hot conditions during the summer in Japan. I even wore this dogi for the competition and placed 9th out of 32 participants, despite being the only competitor over 6 feet tall.

Shureido NW3: The off-the-rack Shureido NW3 fits quite well in terms of general sizing, but it may need some adjustments, especially in length. It’s not cut for Western body types, so you might want to buy a larger size and make alterations accordingly. The product itself is recommended, but it’s crucial to find a skilled seamstress or tailor to make the necessary modifications. Shureido can also perform these modifications for you, although it comes at a premium.

Hirota MH12: The Hirota MH12 has a similar cut to the Shureido NW3 but is more adequately designed for those with longer legs. It doesn’t require alterations and tailoring for length.

Hayashi Katamori: Unfortunately, we had to return the 100% cotton Hayashi Katamori dogi as it was too small for a size 6.5, as indicated by the chart measurements. It’s possible that this dogi might fit better at a size 7.5, and it seems to share similarities with the Arawaza Black Diamond, albeit missing some finer details, which is reflected in its lower price.

Kamikaze New Life Shihan: The Kamikaze New Life Shihan boasts a modern cut designed for Westerners and is made from a nearly heavyweight canvas of 100% cotton. It pleasantly surprised with its comfortable brushed fabric and 3D cut pants. This German brand delivers excellent value for the price.

Tokaido Kata Master: The Tokaido Kata Master dogi has been sitting in the closet for months due to its unusual cut. It appears to be designed with a style reminiscent of 1970s Karate enthusiasts. It might be worth contacting the distributor to inquire about the age of this product.

Tokyodo JKGA Label: Similar to the Tokaido Kata Master, the Tokyodo JKGA Label features an old-school cut that might not align with modern preferences. It might be a good idea to consider selling both of these on eBay.

Mugen – Orange Label: The Mugen Orange Label offers a standard cut designed for Westerners but tends to run about half a size too small. Despite the sizing issue, this brand’s label is better than expected for those on a budget, making it suitable for beginners. The Japanese family-owned distributor, located in Los Angeles, provides embroidery services and is known for its reliability and customer service.

KI International – Black 0419: The KI International Black 0419 appears to be a basic karate do-gi suitable for workouts where you don’t mind stains or wear and tear. While the fit may not be the best for your size, it can serve its purpose if needed.

Vented Mesh shoulder insert 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 Jacket Taper ratio Jacket CUFF layers High waist Mesh waist band Strap -or- Cord 3D Pants 7 8 9 10 11 Pant Taper ratio Pant Cuff layers
Hirota Takumi Custom 7 YES NO Yes 105cm 72cm 52cm 24cm 32cm 68cm 87cm 75% 6 YES NO CORD YES 40cm 104cm 38cm 27cm 32cm 95.0% 6 10/12
Shureido NW2 Custom 7 YES NO NO 102cm 72cm 51cm 23cm 32cm 67cm 87cm 72% 6 YES NO CORD YES 39cm 104cm 34cm 26cm 31cm 87.2% 6 9/12
Items in BOLD RED contribute to the overall score! See bottom for legend
Arawaza Black Diamond 6.5 NO YES YES 100cm 67cm 48cm 20cm 29cm 60cm 81cm 69% 4 YES YES BELT YES 36cm 100cm 33cm 21cm 28cm 91.7% 4 9/12
Shureido NW3 Standard 6.5 NO NO NO 102cm 71cm 56cm 23cm 32cm 67cm 91cm 72% 4 YES NO CORD YES 39cm 123cm 30cm 26cm 30cm 76.9% 4 8/12
Hirota MH12 7 NO NO NO 102cm 71cm 56cm 23cm 32cm 68cm 91cm 72% 4 YES NO CORD YES 38cm 106cm 30cm 26cm 30cm 78.9% 4 6/12
Hayashi Katamori 6.5 NO YES YES 100cm 66cm 48cm 20cm 29cm 60cm 81cm 69% 3 YES YES CORD YES 36cm 100cm 32cm 22cm 28cm 88.9% 3 6/12
Kamikaze New Life Shihan 6.5 NO NO NO 97cm 72cm 56cm 22cm 34cm 68cm 85cm 65% 4 NO NO CORD YES 36cm 104cm 32cm 26cm 32cm 88.9% 4 3/12
Tokaido Kata Master 6 NO NO NO 98cm 70cm 45cm 22cm 31cm 63cm 80cm 71% 4 NO NO CORD NO 36cm 100cm 30cm 27cm 30cm 83.3% 4 3/12
Tokyodo JKGA 6.5 NO NO NO 96cm 74cm 48cm 22cm 32cm 67cm 87cm 69% 4 NO NO CORD NO 34cm 108cm 30cm 29cm 28cm 88.2% 4 2/12
Mugen Orange 6.5 NO NO NO 96cm 74cm 49cm 22cm 34cm 68cm 85cm 65% 2 NO NO CORD NO 36cm 104cm 32cm 29cm 33cm 88.9% 2 2/12
KI Black 0419 7 NO NO NO 99cm 72cm 54cm 23cm 35cm 67cm 88cm 66% 3 NO NO CORD NO 37cm 122cm 29cm 27cm 32cm 78.4% 3 1/12



Note 1: All measurements are in centimeters and before any washing or shrinkage and follow the Shureido measurement standards found at shureidokarate.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/measurmeent-guidelines.jpg

Note 2: Items in BOLD RED primarily contribute to the overall score!

Guide to measure jacket
1 Jacket lengh bottom of the collar to bottom of the jacket measured from the center
2 Shoulder is shoulder seam to shoulder seam
3 Sleeve is shoulder seam to wrist
4 Cuff is wrist circumference / 2
5 Armhole is measured at the shoulder seam circumference / 2
6 Slit is measured from top of shoulder to slit
12 Middle neck to wrist
Guide to measure pants
7 Hip is pant leg measured from the diameter of the seam / 2
8 Pant length is measured from the top of the pant loop to the bottom of the pants hem
9 Hem Width is the bottom hem circumference / 2
10 Pant rise is measured from top of crotch seam to top of standard pants (not high waist)
11 Waist


Wear it well!

Johnpaul Williams