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JANM Mourns the Passing of Yoshihiro Uchida

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) mourns the passing of Yoshihiro Uchida, a former chair of the JANM Board of Trustees, a successful San José businessman, and the judo coach at San José State University. Born in 1920 he grew up on his family’s strawberry and tomato farm in Garden Grove, California, and was introduced to judo when he was ten years old. 

After graduating from Garden Grove High School, he studied chemical engineering at San José State and joined the wrestling team. During World War II he served in the medical corps while his family was incarcerated in Idaho and at the Poston concentration camp and Tule Lake segregation center. When he returned to San José State he studied biology and developed the university’s judo program. After graduating in 1947 he started his own business in San José and continued to develop the judo program, organizing the first national collegiate judo championships in 1962. In 1989 he sold his chain of medical laboratories for $30 million. 

“Yoshihiro Uchida was a force to be reckoned with in the Japanese American community and on the judo mat. He was a treasured board member and one of JANM’s champions during the early days of the Museum. His kindness and determination as well as his grace and generosity made him one of the leaders of his generation. He will be sorely missed,” said William T Fujioka, chair of the JANM Board of Trustees.