Keiko Fukuda – A Judo Pioneer

December 22, 20120 Comments

On July 28th, 2011, Keiko Fukuda sensei attained something that most people only dream of… 10th Dan in Judo (by USA Judo).

She is the first woman, and only the 4th person in the world to have been bestowed this honor in the art of Judo.

Fukuda sensei’s grandfather, Fukuda Hachinosuke who was a teacher of the art Tenjin Shinyo-ryu Jujutsu (the “Divine True Willow School”), and one of Jigoro Kano’s teachers (Jigoro Kano was the founder of Judo).

Jigoro Kano established the school “Kodokan Institute” in 1882 and opened the school to women in 1926 (this branch was called the ‘joshi-bu’).

Keiko Fukuda sensei, who was born in 1913, started her training at the Kodokan under Jigoro Kano and the legendary Kyuzo Mifune (known as one of the most skillful judo practitoners to have ever lived) in 1935.

She became a 5th dan in 1953 and began teaching internationally in the 50s. In 1966 she started teaching at Mills College in Oakland, California.

She was also the first woman to attain the rank of 6th dan in 1972 and to 9th dan in 2006 (she holds the rank of 9th dan from 2 different organizations).

Even at the age of 98 (at the time of receiving her 10th Dan) she was still teaching 3 times per week.

If you are interested in donating to the making of the documentary (in the clip above), you can do so by visiting

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