It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news of the passing of an unknown “little giant” of Aikido in America, Robert “Red” Sakamoto, in Phoenix, Arizona.
I just received confirmation from his lovely bride, Johanna “Ninjin” Sakamoto, that her beloved husband had passed away after a prolonged illness. Red was a Shihan level aikido instructor in his own right, affiliated with M. Saotome of the ASU, and an accomplished Iai master as well.
Red was a key founding member of the original Chicago Aikido Club back in the early 1960’s, that oversaw a succession of historic instructors represent Aikikai Foundation. Red preferred to work in the background, downplaying his undeniable role of support for Messrs. C. Sasaki, K. Hirata, F.Takahashi, I. Takahashi, A. Tohei, K. Choate amongst others over a 30 plus year span.
Red is survived by his wife Ninjin, son Joey, nephew Alan Nagahisa, 7th dan Aikikai of the Ohana Aikido Dojo in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is already sorely missed. May he indeed, Rest in Peace!