Thursday, October 15, 2015

Passing of Kenny Kuramoto


Dear Fellow Judoka,

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Sensei Kenny Kuramato. He passed away Monday evening. He was the son of Sensei George Kuramoto, one of the founders of the Denver School of Judo. On behalf of the Colorado Judo League, our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and relatives of the Kuramoto family.


In Deepest Sympathy,

Brian Levitt, President
Colorado Judo League



A celebration of his life will be held at
Advantage Aurora Chase Chapel
1095 Havana Street
Aurora, CO 80010
(303) 366-3551



Saturday, October 17, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Kenny Kuramoto Biography

1/24/1941-10/12/2015

Born on January 24th, 1941, in Sacramento, CA to George and Alice Kuramoto. They lived in Walnut Grove, CA at the time until 1942.

In 1942 the federal government built an internment camp to house thousands of Japanese Americans, forcibly removed from their homes in California. The facility was called camp Amache located in Colorado. It was one of ten relocation centers, guarded by armed military police established during World War II and designed to detain more than 120,000 Japanese; about two thirds of whom were U.S. Citizens. This was the beginning of a new chapter in Kenny's life and his family, relatives, friends and anyone of Japanese decent. They were given a few days to pack all their belongings and to board a train, not able to see out of the blocked windows, and not knowing where they were going. They left behind their homes and businesses which were later vandalized or destroyed. They lived at the camp til October 1945 after the war had ended and were released to start a new life. Kenny's sister, Michi was born at the camp.

The family found an apartment in Denver and settled there. Kenny's father was able to find an auto mechanic's job near the Denver Buddhist Temple on 20th and Lawrence which later became George's Motor Service. This area became the start of many Japanese businesses and the heart of Japanese town. In 1946 Kenny had a new brother, Arthur.

When Kenny was 5 he went to Ebert Elementary in Denver and when the family grew they moved to 3220 Gaylord St. He attended Columbine Elementary School, Cole Jr. High and Manual High School. During high school he was working for his father as a mechanic. Later, he joined the Army and traveled to Texas, California Washington and Alaska. He worked for United Airlines for 30 years and retired.

In February 1953, under the chairmanship of Bob Maruyama and sponsorship of the California Street Methodist Church, his father George and Fred Okimoto recruited 40 young boys 10 years and older and initiated judo classes in the basketball gymnasium of the 20th Street Recreation Center. In April 1953 a new dojo was established.. Both Kenny and Arthur participated in Judo tournaments over the years. Kenny earned a 2nd Degree Black Belt and became an instructor. Judo was always a big part of his life whether participating or attending tournaments.

Kenny's favorite movie of all time was"Go for Broke" He became very passionate, collecting momentos, and following anything written about the Japanese Americans who fought in World War II. He saw the movie many times over.

The movie was about "A triumphant look at the grit and guts of the Japanese Americans who made up the 442nd regiment during World War II dealing with their prejudiced commander and facing battlefront horror with true heroism and team spirit that earned themselves national respect".
Kenny's hobbies consisted of Judo, shopping, watching T.V. and keeping up with the Broncos.

At age 74 Kenny passed away on Monday, October 12, 2015. He is survived by his sister, Michi (Tom) Hoshiko and his brother, Arthur (Charlene) Kuramoto; nieces, Lynette (Chris) Sykes; Jillian (Patrick) Hamlin and their 4 children: McKenzie, Connor, William and Ashlyn; nephews, Derek (Tati) Hoshiko, their foster child Trevor; and nephew Kurtis Kuramoto.