HARUO IMAMURA
1933 - 2017
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Haruo Imamura was born on September 4, 1933. He was raised in Tamana, Japan. Haruo started judo training at age ten. He quickly ascended to prominence leading his Tamana High School judo team to national recognition. Having been recruited by a number of traditional powerhouse judo universities, Haruo decided on the upstart and little known Tenri University. He was honored by the position of captain for the very first Tenri University Judo Team. Under the intense training of Yasuichi Matsumoto, Tenri University won their first national championship in only their second year of inception. Haruo served as captain for four years, the only Tenri captain to ever do so. Tenri University is currently recognized as one of the most famous judo universities in the world, having produced numerous Olympic and World judo champions. Judo served as a vehicle for Haruo to visit the United States as part of an All Japan Collegiate Judo Team in 1955. He was captivated by the American culture and found the love of his life, Sumiko Kurokawa. Haruo and Sumiko were married in 1962, and settled in Fresno, CA. Haruo continued his judo career in America winning United States titles in 1960 and 1962. His subsequent years were spent teaching judo to countless students at the Fresno Judo Club, California State University, Fresno, and other clubs around the San Joaquin Valley. His intense style of training in combination with the highest standard of superb judo technique garnered the utmost respect from the judo community. He taught judo to everybody that was willing regardless of color or creed, claiming that the only prejudice he had was against lazy people. His coaching success also included National Collegiate Judo titles for Fresno State in 1985 and 1988. He continued to teach judo for the Department of Kinesiology at Fresno State until months before his passing. Haruo Imamura is considered an American judo icon, having been recently promoted to ninth degree black belt and a recent induction into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame. He is survived by his eldest son, Robert Imamura and wife Sheryl; grandsons, Ryan and Kyle; second son, Richard Imamura; third son, Rodney Imamura and wife Lori; grandsons, Isaak, Kai, and Eli; fourth son, Randy Imamura and wife Delva; and granddaughters, Miranda, Marissa, and Megan. A Funeral Service will be held at the Fresno Betsuin Family Dharma Center, 2690 E. Alluvial, Fresno, CA 93720, on Sunday, September 24, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. Lisle Funeral Home, 1605 'L' Street, Fresno, California (559)266-0666

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Published in Fresno Bee on Sep. 22, 2017.
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Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
September 29, 2017
Thank you Sensi for all you did for judo and for me personally
Charles LaVerne Twist
September 27, 2017
Thank you for allowing the Hoopes Family to have been included in the Judo family. Blessings and peace, please for to all. Rest in peace, Sensei.
Steven Hoopes, D.C.
Friend
September 25, 2017
He was a fantastic judo sensei who will be greatly missed everyone who knew him.
Arigatou Sensei and Sayounaya.
Eiji Watanabe
Friend
September 24, 2017
My deepest sypathy to the Imamura family. He was greatly respected by all who knew him and both parents did a great job raising fine boys and gentlemen.
September 23, 2017
My condolences to the entire Imamura family. Mr. Imamura was a true gentleman. He will be missed by many.
Janene Lamanuzzi-Marsella
September 22, 2017
Thank you Sensei for your years of continued instruction both in judo and humanity. You are greatly missed.
Jeff McGuffey
September 22, 2017
We are very sorry to hear of Sensei's passing.He was an inspiration and a great teacher. His knowledge of Judo and life was beyond his teachings. He gave so much to others and I am sure had much more to give. His passing is a huge loss not only to the Judo community, but to family and friends. We wish you all well at this time of loss.
Frank Wolverton
September 22, 2017
I have know Sensei for many years. Sensei taught my 3 sons in Reedley. My one boy became a black belt and his dauaghter became a brown belt. It was an honor to have known him. I went to Japan with him when he had a team to compete with the Japanese team. He will be missed here in the US and in Japan where he was honored.
Yvonne Sasso
September 22, 2017
It was a true honor to meet Imamura Sensei many years ago. I was in my early teens and he took the time to teach me some Judo in my uncle's back yard! Haruo Imamura was a good friend and colleague of my uncle, Kikuo Nishii. I heard many great and often funny stories about their friendship while I was growing up. Last year, while reading Imamura Sensei's biography, I was surprised and excited to learn that he got his start in Judo in Japan under my grand uncle, Hiroyuki Nishii. The Judo and martial arts world has suffered a terrible loss with his passing but I am happy to know that his legacy will live on through his students, children, grand children and future generations. He will be missed!
Rick Matsumoto
September 21, 2017
It was an honor to have met you and my children received so much wisdom from you! Thank you Sensei for teaching and your friendship! We will miss you at the New Year's party!
Family Litke
Friend
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