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Mas Yamashita

Mas Yamashita

Inducted 1994

Beyond his devotion to family, Mas had two passions: judo and service to youth. For more than seventy years, Mas combined these two passions as an instructor of judo to the youth of Treasure Valley.

In 1939, Mas was instrumental in founding the Boise Valley Judo Club. In the years since, he has given innumerable hours of instruction to literally thousands of Treasure Valley young people in the art and discipline of judo.

Mas was a devoted sensei, routinely leading classes twice a week at the Boise Valley Dojo. In addition, he often took students under his wing for private instruction at no charge. He was instrumental in bringing Judo notables to the Boise Valley. He also hosted some of the Keio University Judoka, thereby providing the impetus for beginning the College of Idaho Judo curriculum.

Widely recognized for his contributions, he received a national award from the Japanese American Citizens League in 1966 for his service to youth in acquainting them with their cultural heritage through the sport of judo. Mas served as the sole northwest representative on the US Olympic Committee for 8 years, 1968-1976. Having attained hachi-dan, he set the example for excellence in his own dojo and throughout the Northwest.

Mas’ sense of service was not limited to judo. He also chaired camp activities for the Ore-Ida Council of the Boy Scouts of America for a decade; served as clerk of the former Maple Grove School District Board of Trustees for six years; and was a lifetime member of the Japanese American Citizens League Boise Valley Chapter, serving as president for three terms.

Having mentored many students, now grown and mentoring others, Mas’ legacy will continue to affect the lives of judo enthusiasts as many more young people choose to study this art and learn its meaningful application to the wholeness of their lives.

Source: Carol Inouye