The distinctive Shikukai logo/badge and the colour associated with it has an interesting backstory.
I recently had a long conversation with Sugasawa Sensei our chief instructor, and as author of the Shikukai logo in its current form, he is better placed than many to tell the story.
Sensei explained that all Japanese universities placed a great importance upon their Old Boys/Girls associations, these are similar to our university and schools Alumni associations, but seem to be so much more active and carry a greater kudos.
In this case the name ‘Shikukai’ is associated with the Old Boy/Girl group connected to Sensei’s old university in Tokyo, this is Meiji University.
The importance of the colour.
For many of the Japanese universities colour holds a great significance as a brand identifier. The Meiji colour is quite unique and is best described as a kind of purple/navy blue, difficult to pin down in the normal western spectrum. This is the same colour found on our Shikukai badge.
I asked Sensei where this colour tradition came from? He was unsure, but suspected it might have come from the Ōendan 応援団 , these are the cheerleading squads, they fulfil a similar purpose as what Americans call ‘cheerleaders’ but tend to be much more robust, noisy and, Sensei suggested, even aggressive, as well as being mostly male dominated (although in more recent times Meiji appointed a woman as leader (Dancho) of the cheerleading group).
These groups held a lot of power within the university structure, as well as promoting group rivalry they were often called in to act as mediators when disputes between different university sports teams broke out.
The characters (Kanji).
Breaking the name into three parts, each with their own Kanji, Sensei explained that these kanji are quite nuanced and take on different meanings when juxtaposed or adjacent to other characters. There seem to be overt and obvious meanings, but also meanings by association or subtle implication.
The first character which we pronounce as ‘Shi’ at the most obvious level describes that very unique Meiji colour, which in Japanese is known as ‘Murasaki’, the character is the same, but when associated with the other characters it becomes ‘Shi’.
This character also has the suggestion of the courageousness associated with the Bushi, and because of the colour connection, Sensei thinks that it may also refer to a small section of the wording of the Meiji university song, a part that refers to a ‘blue sky’.
The second character is ‘Ku’.
This is the same character we see as ‘kara’ in ‘karate’ and it takes on the meaning of ‘empty’, but also ‘sky’ (as in ‘open sky’) ‘sky’ in Japanese is ‘sora’ and in this instance is a reference to the elemental relationship between the sky and the ocean. Thus ‘Ku’ refers to the openness of the great expanse.
The final Shikukai character is much easier to explain, as ‘Kai’ is just ‘Group’.
The distinctive shield shaped purple (Murasaki) and white Shikukai badge, which was designed by Sugasawa Sensei is based upon the Meiji University logo. If divided vertically into three parts, the central strip for us uses the full kanji described above, but the Meiji version would just say ‘Daigaku’ which is ‘University or College’. For both our Shikukai logo and the university logo the outer thirds are stylised versions of the characters that read ‘Meiji’. Thus, any Japanese person noticing our Gi badge may well recognise it as originating from Meiji University.
To me it is clear that a large part of Sensei’s identity is wrapped up in his experiences and loyalty to his old university. Also, it is not inconsequential that the second grandmaster of Wado Ryu, Otsuka Hironori II, was also an Old Boy of Meiji University, with a long association with the Meiji karate club. Also, Meiji is proud to have had a long relationship, going way back, with the original grandmaster, Otsuka Hironori.
 Sensei told me that the colour for the Nichidai university is a kind of white/pink, which he believes is associated with the cherry blossom.