After several decades of rapid worldwide growth, several competitions started to attract karate athletes from several countries during the 1960s.
The different styles of karate, diversity of the rules and lack of unified protocols that govern any type of competition indicated a need to create an international governing body comprising unitedNational Karate Federations that could start to address these issues from a unified global perspective.
Ryoichi Sasakawa, President of the Japan Karate Federation (JKF) and Jacques Delcourt, President of the European Karate Union (EKU) jointly proposed a series of meetings that would produce not only the first amalgamated international rules for sport Karate, but also the establishment of the World Union of Karate Do Organizations (WUKO) on October 10, 1970.
Tokyo was the site where WUKO was inaugurated and where the first WUKO World Championships were held. Portland, Oregon hosted the first meeting of the fledgling WUKO Directing Committee, the objective of which was to lay the foundation for the future of unified sport Karate.
National Karate Federations recognized by their National Olympic Committees and Highest Sport Authorities soon became members and thus WUKO became the most important world governing body for Karate.
The integration of several new organizations during the 1990s saw WUKO membership increase to 150 National Federations. Therefore, a new name that would more accurately reflect the size and scope of the organization was needed. The name of the first International organization representing sport Karate was thus changed to World Karate Federation (WKF) on December 20, 1992.