Masao Yamashita
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A life well lived! Masao Yamashita savored his 92nd birthday on Jan. 5, 2008, and then passed away quietly on Jan. 9, 2008.
One of nine children, he was born on Jan. 5, 1916, in Kent, Wash. He married Rina Yamamoto on Dec. 18, 1940, and with her raised three children - Ted, Carol and Nancy.
Beyond his devotion to family, he had two passions: judo and service to youth. For more than 70 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 68 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 numerous students under his wing for private instruction at no charge. He was instrumental in bringing Judo notables to the Boise Valley and hosted some of the Keio University Judoka, thereby providing the impetus for beginning the College of Idaho Judo curriculum, with Mas as the instructor.
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. He was inducted into the USA Judo Federation Hall of Fame in 1994 and served as the sole northwest representative on the US Olympic Committee for 8 years, 1968-1976. Having attained the hachi-dan (eighth degree black belt), he set the example for excellence in his own dojo and throughout the Northwest.
Mas' sense of service was not been 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 53 Board of Trustees for six years; and belonged to the Japanese American Citizens League Boise Valley Chapter since 1944, 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.
The family expresses deep gratitude to all the warm, helpful personnel at Legacy Hospice and Karcher Estates for their loving and respectful care in Dad's final hours.
Dakan Funeral Chapel, 504 S. Kimball Ave. in Caldwell, is handling arrangements. The family will receive friends at the Chapel on Monday, Jan. 14, from 6-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15. Friends may send condolences to the family at .

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Jan. 12, 2008.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
January 23, 2008
Kay Harris Dietary Manager
January 18, 2008
I remember when I was seven years, old going to judo practice with my three older brothers in our 1959 yellow mercury station wagon. John Tavares lived a block down the street, and we would all get in the car and head out for practice. Over the years, we went on many trips to Judo Tournament around the Pacific Northwest – from Salt Lake City, Ogden, Spokane, Portland, and Twin Falls. The road trips were always interesting and I made many new friends along the way. One of my best memories of judo was when Saki Kamasaki came over from Japan (Kao University) to attend the College of Idaho and he helped Masao Yamashita and George with the Judo Club. Saki was a great instructor and friendly to all. One of the best memories was watching the “king of the intertube battle” in the Tavares’s swimming pool. My older brother Brad and John Tavares would try to get Saki off of the inner tube but to no avail –Saki was the king of the tube. Masao and George taught a lot of students over the years, and touched a lot of people lives. On behalf of the Brauner boys, thanks for all the memories.
Robert Brauner
January 14, 2008
We lost a wonderful Sensei. Mas Yamashita spirit will contiue on earth as he will rest in peace in Heaven.
It was my honor to serve on the USA Judo promotion board with him for many years.
Thank you to his family for sharing him with us.
With my deepest condolences.
Rusty Kanokogi
January 13, 2008
Our local judo community feels a great loss with Yamashita sensei passing. His dedication and decades of service will continue to leave a perpetual impression on generations of students to come as it has in the past. Thank you for all your sacrifice and passion for judo and your students.
Intermountain Yudanshakai
Bryan Matsuoka
January 12, 2008
Dear Nancy and Family,
We were so sorry to hear about your father passing away. Sue and I were so very fortunate to make contact with your parents at Karcher Estates while Sue's parents were residing there. Your dad has quite a legacy that will be hard to match! Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Mike and Sue Sasaki
January 12, 2008
Yamashita Sensei, no words can express the loss the judo community will feel with you gone. With that said, you gave so much to everyone for which we will always be in your debt for everything you taught and shared. The Lima family sends it's deepest Aloha and Mahalo for having known you and for being lucky enough to be taught by you. Sensei Mas, we know Dr. Kano greets you with gratitude and pride for sharing the art and sport of judo for over 75 years. Domo Arigato Gozaimasu Yamashita Sensei, we will miss your wisdom and kindness. - The Lima Family (Rocky & Moana, Keoni & Lisa, and boys)
Keoni Lima
January 12, 2008
My sympathy to you and your family, Rena. Fond memories will out weigh the sorrow you feel today. Bonney
Bonney Welker
January 12, 2008
Jim and I so enjoyed talking with Mas and being with him...he was such a gentlemen...he will be missed at Karcher Estates...
Jim/Elaine Corradini
January 12, 2008
Our mother also lives at Karcher Estates and we had many occasions to visit with Masao. Our sincere sympathy to Rina and the family on their loss.
Larry & Edith Hawley
January 12, 2008
South Sound Judo - Cole, Christian, Angela Pratt and Crystal Pratt
I first meet Mas and Rina in 1971 as an excited 5 year old ready to get on the mat. Eleven years later Mas had helped me placed 4th in high school nationals and get my black belt in Judo. Sensi's legacy to Sensi Kano (3rd generation) and now I (5th generation) is continuing onto the sixth generation. Mas and Rina have always been my third set of grandparents. Seeing them both in August of 2007 after 20 years of writing was a great blessing and reward. 1,000's of young men and women are rejoicing for Sensi Mas lived a life very few ever enjoy. The legacy will continue and may God's blessing be with Rina and the family as we celebrate a great life!!!
Ken Pratt
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