Kenji Yamada (judoka)

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Kenji Yamada
Nationality United States

Kenji Yamada (1924[1]–2014) was a competitive judoka who was a two-time U.S. National Judo champion.[2]

Yamada was born in Sunnyside, Utah, but was raised in Japan. In 1941, he returned to the United States to rejoin his father in Seattle, Washington. A year later, he was imprisoned with other Americans of Japanese descent at the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. Yamada graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle and later, the University of Washington.[3]

Yamada won the 1954 and 1955 US Judo National Championships[2] where he competed at 150 lbs.[4] He lost to Heavyweight judoka Gene Lebell, who won the Heavyweight division in 1954.[5]

Yamada was a member of the Seattle Dojo[6] and was one of the key people in spreading judo around the United States.[7] Yamada obtained his 8th degree black belt in judo.[2] Yamada died on April 18, 2014.[8]


  1. ^ "NARA - Display Full Records - [Japanese-American Internee Data File], 1942 - 1946". AAD. 2005-06-30. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  2. ^ a b c "The North American Post – Kenji Yamada, National Judo Champion, Passes".
  3. ^ "Kenji Yamada Obituary - Seattle, WA - The Seattle Times". The Seattle Times.
  4. ^ Hickok, R. (1977). New encyclopedia of sports. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-028705-1. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  5. ^ Udel, J.C. (2013). The Film Crew of Hollywood: Profiles of Grips, Cinematographers, Designers, a Gaffer, a Stuntman and a Makeup Artist. McFarland, Incorporated Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4766-0226-4. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  6. ^ Franks, J.S. (2010). Crossing Sidelines, Crossing Cultures: Sport and Asian Pacific American Cultural Citizenship. University Press Of America. ISBN 978-0-7618-4744-1. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  7. ^ Nishioka, H. (2000). Judo: Heart & Soul. Literary links to the Orient. Ohara Publications. ISBN 978-0-89750-137-8. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
  8. ^ "Memorial service for Kenji Yamada - USJF.COM". Archived from the original on 2016-02-06.