Judo Pioneer - Inducted 2008
Yoshio Katsuta (1904-1997) was born in Okayama, Japan, and by the age of about 24 had earned a 4th degree black belt in judo, training at the Kodokan in Tokyo where he also studied chiropractic. When he was 30, he moved to Vancouver and taught judo in BC. In 1942 he was forcibly removed from his home and evacuated to Raymond, Alberta. He opened the first judo club in Alberta, the Raymond Judo Club, in 1943 and taught for 23 years. His wife, Misa, learned judo and was a strong supporter. She assisted him by teaching the women’s judo group for a few years. The Club still operates along with 21 other clubs in Alberta, which total over 1,000 registered members.
Mr. Katsuta was the “Pioneer of Judo” in Alberta. He travelled across Alberta giving judo demonstrations and encouraging the opening of clubs in many cities and towns. In 1952 he established the provincial Judo Association - The Alberta Kodokan Black Belt Association - the sport’s governing body (Judo Alberta) and was its first president.
Yoshio was awarded the 5th & 6th dans from Judo Canada in 1961 and 1994 respectively. He continued to attend judo events until his passing in 1997. Many of Mr. Katsuta’s students continue to promote the sport.
His main goal in teaching was to integrate the mind, spirit, and body so that the individual would evolve into a good human being who would become a valuable asset to family and society. It was more about self-mastery that would be reflected in all aspects of one’s thoughts and behavior in daily life. He considered this as equally important as developing technical skills and excelling in sport.
Yoshio Katsuta’s volunteer hours for judo were many, and he has received a number of awards and honours for his outstanding contributions to the sport. They include a lifetime membership in Judo Canada in 1983, the Hokkaido Challenge Cup in 1987, induction into the Raymond Sports Hall of Fame in 1987, and into the Judo Canada Hall of Fame in 1996. He was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in 1992, and the Alberta Centennial Salute for Sport and Recreation in 2005. In 1988, the Raymond Judo Club established the annual Katsuta Kup tournament in his memory.