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Yasuyuki Sakabe

Yasuyuki Sakabe

Inducted 1993

from the archive – a program from 1978

Professor Yasuyuki Sakabe


The Judo Black Belt Association of Hawaii dedicates the 1978 National Championships to PROFESSOR YASUYUKI SAKABE.

A distinguished international judoka, Professor Yasuyuki Sakabe, 8th dan (eighth degree black belt). has devoted over 27 years of his life to Judo in Hawaii. In recent years, through his guidance, the Judo Black Belt Association of Hawaii (JBBAH) has been able to organize and establish a sound high school Judo program. For his guidance, teachings, and contributions to Judo in Hawaii, the JBBAH extends its warmest appreciation.

Born and educated in Tokyo. Professor Sakabe started learning Judo at the age of seven in a neighborhood dojo. There was hardly a record of defeat as he grew older and participated in tournaments. He enrolled at the Kodokan Judo Institute during his early teen years, and received his 1st degree black belt when he was sixteen years old. Shortly thereafter in recognition of his outstanding ability as a judoka the Kodokan skipped his 2nd dan rating and awarded him the 3rd dan black belt. When he was promoted to 5th dan, he competed in the 5th Dan tournament and attained a remarkable record—he defeated five 5th dans in a row finally drawing with the sixth. Awarded his 6th dan red and white belt by the time he was 28 years old, Professor Sakabe had an enviable tournament record and was still competing.

His teaching experiences in Japan included teaching physical education and Judo in the Japan Navy and at the Japanese Naval Academy. He is also Judo instructor at the Nippon Columbia Company before coming to Hawaii.

In 1951 Professor Sakabe, Masahiko Kimura, and Toshio Yamaguchi came to Hawaii to spread interest in Judo outside of Japan. At that time these three men were Japan’s foremost Judo champions. In 1952, after being asked by the Big Island Judo Clubs to teach Judo, he taught on the Big Island for a year. After several trips between Hawaii and Japan during 1953 through 1958, he stayed in Hawaii – teaching Judo on Oahu. He is currently the chief instructor for the Kaneohe, Nuuanu Soco, Pearl City, Wahiawa YMCA, and Waipahu Soto Judo Clubs.

Professor Sakabe served the JBBAH as Referee Committee Chairman in 1961 through 1963 and 1964 through 1965. Since 1966 he has been Chairman of the Review and Kata Committees. Currently he also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the JBBAH.

He conducted seminars as special technical instructor for the United States Judo Federation, served on the USJF Promotion Committee, and was a judge for National Women’s Kata Contests for several years.

Professor Sakabe is a living example of Judo and its “gentle way.” Modest and sincere, but persevering in his aims; his contributions shine with Judo greatness.

Professor Yasuyuki Sakabe (front row, right side), at 17 years old.

Professor Yasuyuki Sakabe (front row, right side), at 17 years old.

The late Eisaku 5akabe (brother of Professor Y. Sakabe)

The late Eisaku 5akabe (brother of Professor Y. Sakabe)