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Yosh Uchida

Yosh Uchida

Inducted 1993

Yoshihiro “Yosh” Uchida (born April 1, 1920) is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and educator who is best known for his contributions to judo. Uchida has been the head judo coach at San Jose State University for over 60 years, and has played a leading part in the development of the university’s judo program.

Uchida is the child of Japanese immigrants who worked as farm laborers in California’s Imperial Valley. Yosh studied biology at San Jose State, and in 1940 was made the student-coach of the Physical Education Department’s judo program. During World War II, while members of his family were sent to internment camps, Uchida was drafted into the United States Army during World War II and served as a medical technician. He returned to San Jose State in 1946 to complete his degree and to restart the judo program.

After graduating in 1947, Uchida remained the coach at SJSU, a part-time position, while working as a laboratory technician at O’Connor Hospital and then at San Jose Hospital, before buying and operating a medical laboratory in 1956. During this time, Uchida and University of California, Berkeley judo coach Henry Stone began developing rules to allow their students to compete against each other, including a weight class system, moving judo away from a martial art for self defense to a sport for competition. Stone and Uchida persuaded the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to sanction judo in 1953; the first AAU National Championship in judo was held at San Jose State in that year.

Uchida was elected president of the Judo Black Belt Federation for 1960–1961. As president, Uchida represented the United States at the International Judo Federation meeting in Paris in 1961. At that meeting, the IJF voted to include the weight class system for all future international judo competitions.

In 1962, Uchida organized the first National Collegiate Judo Championship, which was held at the United States Air Force Academy.[citation needed] Uchida’s San Jose State Spartans won the first of their over 40 national championships under his leadership at the inaugural tournament.

Uchida represented the United States as the team coach of the first Olympic Judo Tournament at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The team included two of Uchida’s students from San Jose State, Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Paul Maruyama. James Bregman won a bronze medal in the under-80 kg class, becoming the first American to medal in the sport.

Uchida continued promoting the sport after the 1964 Olympics. He organized the first U.S. High School Judo Championships and the first U.S. Open tournament, both hosted at San Jose State. As of 2012, his San Jose State Spartans judo teams have won 45 of the 51 National Collegiate Judo Championships. In February 2007, the San Jose State program was named one of six USA Judo National Training Sites.

He used the funds from the sale of his laboratory business to found Uchida Enterprises, which is involved in real estate redevelopment in San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood.

For his contributions to judo, Uchida was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure with Golden Rays in 1986 by Emperor Hirohito of Japan. He was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Uchida has also received many awards from San Jose State, including the university’s highest award (the Tower Award) in 1992 and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2004. Additionally, the building on campus that houses the judo dojo was renamed “Yoshihiro Uchida Hall” in 1997. Coincidentally, Uchida’s parents and brothers were processed in this building prior to being sent to an internment camp during World War II.

See USJF article: SJSU Honors Judo Legend Yoshihiro Uchida

source: Wikipedia

In 2002 the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated with a book of USJF history. In it were a number of biographies. including this:


Central Coast Judo Association

Yosh Uchida is President of Uchida Enterprises, Inc. and Uchida Travel. He is also Chairman of Miraido Corporation and a founding member of San Jose Nihonmachi Corporation. In 1996, he also founded the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Yosh founded Physicians Laboratory in 1956 and developed it into a full service medical laboratory, Laboratory Services Inc./Y. Uchida and Company Inc. When Laboratory Services Inc. was sold in 1989, it was the largest privately owned medical reference laboratory in Northern California.

Mr. Uchida is recognized both nationally and internationally for his efforts in promoting the sport of Judo. He was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1986 by the Emperor of Japan and currently holds the rank of 8th degree Black Bell. Yosh has been coaching the San Jose State University Judo team since 1946 where he began as an instructor in Physical Education and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1971. Coach Uchida is actively involved in furthering the sport of Judo, and is past presidcnL of the USJF and USJI. In 2001 the San Jose State University Judo team won its 37th National Collegiate Judo Championship Tournament. His team holds the record for greatest number of National Championships in American Collegiate sports.

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

Business: American Association of Bioanalysts; American Association of Clinical Chemists; American Society of Microbiologists

Community: Japan Sociely of Northern California; Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Citizens League (Life Member); Children’s Discovery Museum; San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Education: Phi Kappa Phi-Member with Distinction; San Jose State University President’s Council; San Jose SLate University; Spartan Foundation; San Jose State University Alumni Association (Lifc Member)

Sports: Ccntral Coast Judo Association; United States Amateur Athletic Union (Life Member); United StaLes Judo Federation (Life Member); United StaLes Judo, Inc. (Life Member); Unitcd States Olympic Committee

Honors & Awards

1997 Board of Director, United States Olympic Committee
1996 San Jose Sports Hall of Fame
1996 Elected President of the United States Judo

1996 San Jose Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce-Leadership Excellence Award

1994 Japanese American of the Biennium, Awarded by the National Japanese American Citizen’s League 1994 Appointed to the Greater South Bay Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness 1993 Profile of Excellence, Awarded by KGO TV for outstanding contributions to community 1993 The Don Golden Award presented by Rotary Club of San Jose for cnmmunjty service 1993 The Community Service Award for Exemplary Leadership, The National Conference of Christians & Jews, Santa Clara County

1993 Kodomo no Tame Ni, from San Jose JACL, Japanese American Citizen’s League in recognition of exceptional contributions

1992 Freedom Award, from AACI, Asian Americans for Community Involvement

1992 The Bert Legg Distinguished Citizen Award, from the Exchange Club of San Jose and the City Council of San Jose in appreciation for exemplary and voluntary service to the community.

1992 The Tower Award, March 18, 1992, in recognition of service to San Jose State University

1992 Commendation from the city of San Jose

1992 Resolution of Commendation from the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara

1992 Resolution from the California State Assembly and State Senate

1992 Commendation from the US House of Representatives, Norman Y. Mineta, Member of Congress

1992 Commendation from the State of California, Governor Pete Wilson

1992 Commendation from The White House, President George Bush

1991 Paul Harris Fellow for assistance in furthering the understanding and relations between people of the world from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International

1991 Appointed representative to Japan-American Conference of Mayors and Chamber of Commerce Pres/Sendai

1991 US Judo Federation Chairman Emeritus Award in appreciation for contribution to US Judo Federation and members

1990 Awarded the American Eagle Award, American Airlines for work on San Jose/Tokyo Inaugural Flight

1990 The Bud Winter Award for outstanding achievement in coaching. The Greater San Jose Sports Association

1986 Martin Luther King, Jr. Good Neighbor Award, National conference of Christians and Jews

1986 Awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, God Rays with Neck Ribbon by the emperor of Japan

1981-1983 President. National Collegiate Judo Association

1980 Appointed to The White House Conference of Small Business, Washington, DC.

1980 Received Certificate of Distinguished Academic Achievement, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, SJSU

1978-1988 President, USJF

1970 Appointed to President Nixon’s physical fitness and Sports Advisory Council

1970 Marquis, “Who’s Who in the West”

1964 First U.S. Olympic Judo Coach, Olympic Games, Tokyo. Japan

1964-1966 Silver Medallion winner of’ isei of the Biennium” Natjonal Japanese American Citizen’s League

1953 Selected Pan American Coach and Manager, First International Judo Championship. Paris, France

1946-Present Associate Professor/Head Coach Judo, SJSU