Rusty

Kanokogi

1935-2009

"Get Up & Fight" ~ The Memoir of Rusty Kanokogi, The Mother of Women's Judo

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"In life, either you're the hammer or the nail.  Be the hammer!" ~

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Billie Jean King's Endorsement

Check out Rusty's Power moves 

Rusty was raised in Brooklyn, NY, where she joined a judo class and was hooked. In 1959, after winning her first YMCA championship, beating men in the competition, she was forced to return her medal simply because she was a woman. It was that pivotal moment of inequality when Rusty declared that no woman shall ever suffer such an indignity ever again and the fight was on.

 

In 1962, she travelled to the Kodokan in Japan to immerse herself in the sport and philosophies of judo, which is where she met her husband, Ryohei Kanokogi.

 

She spent decades fighting for equality in women's judo and all women's sports—she even mortgaged her home to sponsor the First Women's World Judo Championship at Madison Square Garden in 1980, a prerequisite to allowing women's judo in the Olympics, which she accomplished eight years later in the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea. Rusty was one of the many driving forces behind the fight for Title IX, stood up for the little guy and always raised the bar high.  

 

In 2008, Rusty was bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class (Gold Rays with Rosette), one of Japan’s highest civilian honors.  Posthumously, in 2019, Rusty was the first American woman to be inducted in the International Judo Federation Hall of Fame.

 

Rusty is interred in the Kanokogi clan's tomb in Kumamoto, Japan, with the epitaph "American Samurai".

 

Please join us in reading "Get Up & Fight - The Memoir of Rusty Kanokogi - The Mother of Women's Judo.” It is more than a journey of perseverance—it's a story loaded with passion, antics, and Brooklyn chutzpah!

Rusty speaks of the importance of youth in Judo