Master and Highest-Ranked Woman in Judo Dies at 99

Keiko Fukuda studied under judo founder Jigoro Kano

By on February 18th, 2013 12:29 GMT

Keiko Fukuda, the highest-ranked female master of judo, has died at the age of 99, reports say. According to the San Francisco Gate, Fukuda was taught by master and judo founder Jigoro Kano.

She is pictured above teaching the sport at the Soko Joshi Judo Club in Noe Valley, San Francisco. This picture was snapped in 2011, when she was 98 years old, and Fukuda has taught judo at the club for 40 years.

The same year, she was awarded her sixth dan, a sixth degree black belt distinction which had never been awarded to a woman before. She had to wait decades for it, receiving her fifth dan in the early 1950s.

"The kind of judo I teach is an old one, it comes from the samurais, and there aren't many of the older generation left who can teach these katas," Ms. Fukuda told reporters at the time.

"She was the last living student of the founder of judo. No one else can say that," her student Shelley Fernandez says.

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