Famed subject of film "Mrs. Judo" dies at 99

February 17, 2013
Keiko Fukuda greets admirer
Friends and former students greet Keiko Fukuda at San Francisco State University on November 30

Keiko Fukuda, who was honored last November at a Dilena Takeyama Center program as the highest-ranked female judo master in the world, passed away on Feb. 9 in her home in San Francisco. The 99-year-old judo teacher had sparked international headlines and a documentary about her life for bucking the traditions of her male-dominated sport.

The Dilena Takeyama Center for the Study of Japan and Japanese Culture invited Fukuda-sensei to campus for a private screening of “Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful” on November 30. The touching documentary by Yuriko Gamo Romer tells Fukuda-sensei's inspirational story of Fukuda-sensei. The granddaughter of a samurai she devoted her life to judo despite persistent discrimination against women in the sport. In 2011, with the help of supporters around the world, Fukuda broke through the glass ceiling and earned her 10th degree black belt, thus becoming the highest-ranking woman in judo history.

President Leslie E. Wong used the opportunity to issue Fukuda-sensei a commendation, calling her “a living legend and an exemplar to the students, faculty and staff of the university.”

Fukuda-sensei's death was marked by a story in The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/sports/keiko-fukuda-99-a-trailblazer-i....