Photo: Vernon Japanese Cultural Centre

Vernon Judo Club celebrates 75 years with open house

The Vernon Judo Club is the longest running Judo club in Canada

The Vernon Judo Club is opening its doors to the community, 75 years after holding its opening ceremony in the city.

The most longstanding Judo club in Canada is inviting people of all ages to an open house in celebration of its 75th anniversary at the Vernon Japanese Cultural Society Hall on Monday, Sept. 23 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

It all began in 1944, when the local Seinenkai – the Japanese Young Men’s Association – formed the Judo club and assigned co-founder Yoshitaka Mori to be its head teacher. Born in Whonnock, B.C. in 1915, Mori was for decades a passionate and respected sensei of Judo in the community. He passed away in 2012.

Mori was was allowed to relocate to Vernon with his wife when Japanese internment during World War II was enacted in 1942, and went on to study Judo locally into his later years. A supremely accomplished Judo master, Mori would eventually be inducted into the Judo Canada Hall of Fame.

While the Japanese Young Men’s Association is no longer running, the cultural society that was created in its wake is still going strong.

“We have been practicing judo on the same site ever since, making us the longest continuously running judo club in Canada,” said George Okazaki of the Judo club.

The club has also announced a gala dinner on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Vernon Lodge to continue the celebration of year 75. Tickets are $65 plus online processing fees. To register, visit the event page on trackie.com.

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