Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki Family fonds


general material designation


[graphic and textual material]


64 digital images, 24 negative copies, 6 invitations, 6 newspaper clippings, 1 photograph, 1 certificate, 1 booklet, 2 objects, and 2 16mm moving images.






scope and content


The fonds consists of seven series. The first series consists of photographs relating to Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki and Judo. The second series consists of images of textual material such as newspaper articles, certificates and invitations. The third series consists of images of large events, small gatherings and Vancouver, BC landmarks. The fourth series consists of paraphernalia relating to Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki and Judo. The fifth series consists of items from Nagami Confectionary Store such as booklets and books. The sixth series consists of personal items belonging to Shigetaka (Steve Sasaki) including a tin and booklet. The seventh series consists of two 16mm moving images.




Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki has been referred to as the "Father of Judo in Canada." He came to Canada in 1922 in order to fish, after being invited by his aunt and uncle who owned a small bakery in Canada, and established the first amateur judo clubs in Canada in Vancouver, BC and the surrounding area.



His first judo club, called Tai Iku, opened in 1924 on 500 Block Alexander street in Vancouver, BC with the help of sponsor Ichiji Sasaki, a restaurant owner. A second location was later opened on Powell street in Vancouver, BC and its chief benefactor was Etsuji Morii. Morii owned the Showa club at 380 Powell street in Vancouver BC. Showa club was an illegal gambling parlor and Mr Morii was known, by some, for criminal activity such as this. Another judo club was opened in Steveston, BC, a branch of Tai Iku, with two instructors, Tamoaki Doi and Takeshi Yamamoto. Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki helped out at this location twice a week.



In 1932, the RCMP commissioner, being impressed by Sasaki's judo, requested that police boxing and wrestling training be replaced by judo. The request was granted. In the same year, Steve traveled to Japan to study judo and was promoted to 3rd dan and his judo club on Alexander street in Vancouver, BC was visited by Dr Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, and he renamed Steve's Dojo Kidokan (House of Intrinsic Energy in English).



In 1936, Shigetaka (Steve) Sasaki toured with Dr Jigoro Kano to promote judo for an Olympic bid and, in 1954, Sasaki became the first president of Canada's Kodokan Black Belt Association (known as Judo Canada today). By 1975, Steve had risen to the rank of 7th dan black belt and reached 8th before his death. He was inducted into the Canadian Amateur Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.








Nikkei National Museum