Kanazawa was born in May 1931. Before he started training under Sensei Nakayama (1951) he reached the grade of 2nd Dan in Judo.
He was one of the 3 JKA instructors who qualified from the famous JKA instructors Training course in 1956 and won the 1957 Kumite championships (the first year it was held) with a broken hand. He won both the kata and kumite events the next year, so became known as Grand Champion. After teaching in Hawaii in 1961 he returned to form the SKI (Shotokan Karate International) alongside Sensei Asano. Kanazawa was also responsible for helping with the World Tour team, that saw karate come to Britain.
He is currently 10th Dan and is the only living shotokan karateka with such grade of this in the world.