Remembering Keiko Fukuda, the Mother of Judo

The World

Keiko Fukuda, the woman who earned the distinction of becoming the highest ranking woman in Judo, has died at the age of 99. Fukuda joined the sport when women were expected to learn the Japanese tea ceremony and calligraphy.

Host Katy Clark talks with Yuriko Gamo Romer. She’s director of “Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful,” on the life of Fukuda.

Romer talks about how when Fukuda was 21, she was invited by judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano, to join the newly formed women’s division of the Kodokan — the home of Judo.

Fukuda taught judo to women and opened her own dojo (studio).

She was still coaching just a few weeks until her death.

Fukuda advanced to the highest rank, the 10th dan, which in Judo is honored with a red belt.

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