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Founder of judo movement in the Dominican Republic passes away

Mamoru Matsunaga, the Japanese immigrant who is credited with being the founder of the practice of judo in the Dominican Republic, passed away early on Tuesday, 20 December 2016 at the age of 81. He originally came to the Dominican Republic to work as a fisherman in 1957, part of the forced migration that brought dozens of Japanese families to the Dominican Republic and that set up residence in Dajabón, Pedernales and Jarabacoa.

Almost from the start, Matsunaga shared his knowledge of judo creating the first center at the Gimnasio Camila in Santo Domingo and later becoming the instructor of thousands at his Matsunaga Dojo, the National Police and the Armed Forces.

A year ago he was elevated to the rank of 9th Dan, an all red belt of which there are few in the Western Hemisphere.

His early judo students included Thimo Pimentel, Maximito Gómez, Luis Midence (a contributing editor to DR1 Daily News), Moisés Abkarian, and Tony Wittkop, among other legendary judo athletes. He was recognized as an Immortal of Dominican Sports.

He is also the creator of the iconic Japanese Garden at the National Botanical Gardens in Santo Domingo.

He was married to Michiko, with whom they had the songs Chikayoshi, Yuyi, Minoru, Norio and Hiroschi.

The wake took place at the Blandino Funeral Home on Av. Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday. On Wednesday, 21 December at 10am, his casket will be viewed at the Casa Nacional del Judo in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center where he will be honored for his contributions to the sport. Afterwards, his body will be cremated.

Source: DR1, Listindiario

Dec 21, 2016

Category: DR News |

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Last updated January 14, 2018 at 12:43 AM
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