“Passing of Red Sakamoto,” by Francis Takahashi

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!


  1. Bob Gardner says:

    Our prayers are with you and your family. Keep you head up.

  2. Mike Celeste says:

    If Ninjin picked him, he must have been a great guy, as she is one of the best.
    May he now rest and await all of us to join him.

  3. My name is Justin Hager and I am the student of Gene Magin who was a student of Sakamoto Sensei.
    I am saddened to hear of his passing as I never had an opportunity to meet him. I learned Iai from Sensei Magin and his unique approach to it was pivotal in understanding the true nature of the art.
    I regret that I have never met him. I had so many questions.

Speak Your Mind