Vale Akira Yamada 8th Dan
On Saturday the 3rd of March one of the giants of Australian judo, Mr Akira Yamada 8th Dan, passed away after a long battle with illness.
Akira coached judo in Melbourne since the 1960's at the Yamada Judo Academy that started in Black Rock, later moving to Caufield South, and more recently at its successor club Auscore Judo.
Mr Yamada contributed actively to the development of coaching, kata and schools judo.
Anyone who has spoken with Mr Yamada or attended any of his classes will have witnessed his life long passion for judo.
Mr Yamada was the long time Kodokan representative in Australia and was a strong supporter of the traditions and values of Japanese judo in Australia.
Mr Yamada arranged for his teacher, Professor Diago 10th Dan, to come to Melbourne to run a very successful kata course that led to the OJU taking up the initiative of bringing out high grade kata teachers to Australia every two years. He did this because of his love for kata and desire to see it grow and develop in Australia.
It is a sign of the respect that Mr Yamada was held in by the Kodokan that Australia was one of the few countries to have its own Kodokan Grading Commission that can issue Kodokan grades. Mr Yamada was the Chair of this commission.
Last December while he was in remission from his illness Mr Yamada went to the Tokyo Grand Slam and loved every minute of it. He also went to his beloved Kodokan, where he was presented with his 8th Dan.
With the passing of Akira Yamada we have lost one of the greats of Victorian and Australian judo. His legacy will live on through his club and through all of the students he has coached over the last five decades. He will be missed.
Mr Yamada is survived by his wife Gina, daughter Jacqueline and much loved granddaughter Georgina.