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Home > News > Browse Articles

News from April 15, 2019

Watahiki Yoshifumi, Student of the Founder, Passes Away
Posted 4/15/2019 7:39am [from Carl Thompson]

It is with great regret that I must inform the aikido community of the passing of Watahiki Yoshifumi Shihan. Born in 1937 in Iwama, Ibaraki Prefecture, Watahiki Sensei entered the aikido founder’s dojo in 1949 at the age of twelve. He is one of the last few aikido teachers in the world to have trained on a regular basis as a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba, over a period spanning twenty years. Rising to the rank of seventh dan, Watahiki Sensei taught aikido in the founder’s dojo (the present day Ibaraki Branch Dojo) as well as the children’s class in Iwama Budokan. For those of us who had the honor of knowing him, this is a devastating loss of an ageless, indomitable figure in former Iwama Town. He was always rushing around the dojo, repairing things, building things, cooking, cleaning and of course teaching, with a youthful vigor that left uchi deshi less than half his age struggling to keep up. He seemed superhuman to us, indestructible, and so his death comes as a great shock. He passed away on the morning of the 8th of April, 2019 at 81 years of age. after being admitted to hospital the week before for tests. It was discovered that Sensei had late-stage intestinal cancer. He leaves behind a large family, including many devoted aikido students. His traditional ‘tsuya’ vigil and funeral were held on April 11 and 12 respectively. People traveled from across Japan and as far away as the US to attend. He will always be in our hearts.

[Discussion: 3 replies]

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