Judo Legend Masao Takahashi Passes Away

One of the most recognizable names in judo has passed away at the age of 90. Masao Takahashi, who represented Canada for over 70 years, died in his sleep this past weekend.

Via the International Judo Federation, Judo Canada stated: “Please join his celebration of life to be held on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at the Takahashi Dojo on 5 Melrose Ave., Ottawa. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donation to be made to the Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre ‘Building Fund’.”

Takahashi started to have interest in Judo at the age of eight. A member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Takahashi opened his own dojo in Ottawa following his retirement from the air force in 1970. He won the bronze medal at the 1979 World Championships in Paris at middleweight. Takahashi ended up earning the distinction of haich-dan, an eighth-degree black belt. That made him the highest-ranked Canadian judoka.

His school has produced hundreds of black belts. One of most famous pupils was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who earned the status of nidan (a second-degree black belt) thanks to Takahashi. Trudeau’s successor, Brian Mulroney, also trained in judo under Takahashi.

In recognition of his service to the judo world, as well as helping Japanese Canadians, Takahashi was honored by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette.

Masao Takahashi is survived by his wife June, his four children, his eight grandchildren and his three great-grandchildren.

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