Kanazawa was born on 3rd May 1931 in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Kanazawa trained under the founder of Shotokan Karate-do, Gichin Funakoshi and is one of the few living karateka (practitioners of karate) to have done so. Kanazawa won the first All Japan Karate Championship's kumite (sparring) championship in 1957. He won the kumite competition with a broken hand. That same year, Kanazawa was among the first to graduate from the JKA's instructor training program.
In January 1961, the JKA sent Kanazawa to Hawaii to establish karate there. He established a dojo (training hall) and served as the first President of the Hawaii Karate Congress. In May 1963, he left Hawaii to teach in Europe and Japan. In 1966, Kanazawa became Chief Instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain, and the JKA promoted him to the rank of 6th dan that year. In 1973, the All Japan Karate Federation promoted him to 7th Dan.
In 1977, Kanazawa left the JKA and founded the Shotokan Karate-Do International Federation (SKIF). Since then, he has taught and promoted karate through the SKIF all over the world.