Yoshisada Yonezuka Passes Away


We are sad to announce that Yoshisada Yonezuka, 9th Dan passed away on late Saturday afternoon, October 18, 2014.

Yoshisada Yonezuka ‘Yone’ was born May 19, 1937 in Nakasato, Aomori, Japan.  He began to train in sumo and judo in 1954, becoming the Northern Japan High School Champion in 1955.   Yonezuka entered Nihon University in 1956. After defeating nine 2nd degree black belts in succession at the Kodokan, he received a special promotion to 3rd degree black belt. He also began studying several styles of karate; shorinji-kempo, wado ryu, and shito-ryu.  In 1959, he was a member of his university team winning the team championship.  In 1956 he graduated Nihon University with a degree in business.

Following his childhood dream he came to the United States and began teaching judo at West Point Military Academy. In 1960 he moved to  the United States.  In 1962, Yonezuka founded the Cranford Judo Karate Center. He was also the founding coach of the Judo program at New  Jersey Institute of Technology (then known as Newark College of Engineering) during the mid-60s. Additionally, he served as an instructor  at the Jerome Mackey Judo Schools.  Yonezuka was twice chosen to serve as head coach of the United States at the Olympics Judo Team, and  he coached three U.S. World Judo Championships Teams as well.  He is also founder, former President and current Executive Director of the  U.S. Sumo Federation. He was awarded the Kudan which is the Ninth Degree in judo in 2007. He also held an 8th Degree Black Belt in Karate  and is 5th Black Belt in Sumo.

Earlier this year he was diagnosed of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) the same diagnosis as Robin Roberts of Good Morning America.   MDS are a group of diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood. In MDS, the blood-forming cells in the marrow slow down, or even stop, making the three types of blood cells. Most patients with MDS will develop anemia (low numbers of red blood cells) and may need blood transfusions.

Our heartfelt condolences go out his family, friends, and judo students. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Yoshisada Yonezuka Memorial Fund, 107 South Ave., Cranford, N.J. 07016.

Painting by Andor P-Jobb 

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