This documentary film is about Keiko Fukuda Sensei, 9th dan. The film is currently being edited and is planning for release at the end of 2011.
Throwing thousands of years of tradition to the wind, Keiko Fukuda chose to follow her destiny and became the world’s highest-ranking woman in judo. This film tells the story of this diminutive and powerful woman’s lifelong journey. Fukuda was born in Tokyo in 1913, where her samurai grandfather had been martial arts master to Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. In 1934 Kano invited Fukuda to join the first women’s division. Judo became her lifelong vocation, choosing not to marry when she realized as a wife she would have to give up her passion. Kano’s inclusion of women was very progressive, nonetheless there was gender discrimination and Fukuda was stuck at the 5th degree for 30 years. Fukuda survived the WWII Tokyo fire-bombings, and taught judo abroad postwar. Immigrating to the U.S. in 1966, she encountered the women’s movement and met N.O.W. president Shelley Fernandez. So began Fukuda’s unprecedented struggle for equality within the judo rank system. 2006 she was finally awarded the 9th degree. Today at 98, she continues to teach judo.
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