First Woman to Achieve Judo's Top Rank
Among judo aficionados, 98-year-old San Francisco resident Keiko Fukuda is a legend. She is the first and only woman to hold the ninth degree in the judo world. Last week, Rafu Shimpo reports, "USA Judo promoted her to 10th dan, the highest black belt level in judo.”
The subject of a documentary by Yuriko Gamo Romer to be released next year called, “Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful,” Fukuda is the last surviving student of Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), the founder of judo in Japan. For decades she fought sexism, which prevented her from rising beyond a certain rank in the judo world. When she came to San Francisco, she established a judo club for women in Noe Valley, where she still teaches.
Andrew Lam is author of "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres."
According to Rafu Shimpo, a celebration of her promotion to judo's top rank will be held during the 13th annual Fukuda International Kata Championship in October at City College of San Francisco.