“Hiroshi Kato, 8th dan, passes,” by Stanley Pranin

This morning we were contacted by French colleague Leo Tamaki with the sad news that aikido master Hiroshi Kato (1935-2012) passed away earlier today at the age of 77. Kato Sensei began training at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo in 1954. While working as a printer, he regularly attended classes at the Aikikai for over 50 years. In 1987, Kato Sensei established a private dojo called the Suginami Aikikai in Ogikubo in Tokyo. After retirement, he began teaching in the USA, conducting seminars in branch schools in California and Texas.

Hiroshi Kato Wikipedia entry
Read interview with Hiroshi Kato Sensei


  1. Rick Rodriguez says:

    I had several opportunities to train with Kato Sensei in Houston Texas, Laredo, TX, Harlingen TX, and Monterey NL Mejico…aside from teaching Aikido he opened an avenue to meet and train with many great people…what a great loss for the Aikido Community…

  2. Tom Collings says:

    Although I was never formally a student of his, Hiroshi Kato was one of my heroes and will always remain for me a role modle of humility and commitment to training. For decades after he reached Shihan level he could be seen training regularly in the Doshu’s class at Hombu. For some reason, it took me 20 years to get up the courage to bow in and train for an hour with him. When I finally did It was one of the highlights of my life. I join Mr.Rodriguez in mourning the loss of a great man.

  3. Nelson Requena says:

    Tuve la fortuna de conocer y entrenar con Kato Hiroshi, siendo mi invitado en Venezuela para dictar un Seminario en la Ciudad de Pto. La Cruz. Kato Sensei, llegó al corazón de todos, con su carisma, su particular simpatía, su auténtico y particular estilo de enseñar. Dejó una huella de sinceridad y honestidad en su paso por nuestro Pais. Se va uno de los Grandes! Bendiciones y Paz para su espiritu!

  4. Thiago Vegi says:

    I had the opportunity to participate on three seminar of Kato Sensei in Brasil and all of us were really amazed of how fast and powerful he was even in his last years. We will miss him.

    • Hiroshi Kato Shihan was Old School, he was New School. He personified the best traditions of his days training with O Sensei, and he led by example training daily with those relatively new to Aikido study, all with the same equanimity of calm, competence, control and unmitigated joy. Thank you Sensei, for the unforgettable memories and lessons of life and love of Aiki. Rest in the Peace you so richly deserve!

  5. Thirza Schraa says:

    What a great shock to hear this news.
    Only 6 weeks ago we were honored by a visit from our great Shihan and he gave us a 3 day seminar.
    He was his powerful and smiling self and open to all the participants to teach at their own level.
    I had the great honor to see and feel his outstanding knowledge of Aikido during 4 seminars in Holland and travelled two times to San Francisco to train with him, in one of his bigger Dojos around the world.

    Thirza Schraa
    Itten Suginami .nl

  6. Mohamad Soleh Joko Santoso says:

    I ever attend Kato sensei seminars in Indonesia twice. First time in Medco Energy Building at 2011 and in Indonesia Presidential Security Head Quarter at 2012. And also he ever visit to our dojo in Kyoto Cluster Dojo, Cibubur ( )

    He was very kind and nice person outside the dojo although he had good discipline when he taught us inside the dojo. We really missed him so much.

    Mohamad Soleh Joko Santoso

  7. Steve Curley says:

    I had the opportunity to train with Kato sensei twice a year for a dozen years. I attended one of his seminars just two weeks before his passing. It was such a shock. He was just a powerful as ever and then he was gone. I was always impressed how humble he was and that he made an effort to train with everyone in his seminars regardless of rank. He was a kind and generous man. I will always remember trying to carry his luggage for him at the airport and refusal to let me help him. He just wanted to be himself and didn’t want anyone to fuss over him. I miss him and I wish their were more like him in the aikido community.

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