Hatashita 2008 article in the Globe and Mail

Thursday November 13th, 2008

Globe and Mail Update

The Hatashita International judo tournament, formerly known as the Ontario Open, has drawn a field of more than 575 judokas to Mississauga's Hershey Centre Sportzone for this weekend's competition.

One of North America's largest events for the Olympic sport, the tournament, which includes Olympians and a strong contingent of 175 from the sport's Canadian hotbed of Quebec, takes place Saturday and Sunday. For the first time, spectators will be able to follow the tournament live on the Internet at www.splitdraw.com.

Saturday features the under-17 cadet classes and international juniors while Sunday is the showcase for the under-15 juveniles and the seniors.

The event retains a historic flavour, named for one of the cornerstone families of Canadian judo. Roman Hatashita, a four-time Canadian champion and 1988 Olympian, is title sponsor.

The role of the Hatashita family in the sport goes back to the 1920s when Frank Hatashita, Roman's uncle, along with the founder of the sport, Japan's Jigoro Kano, pioneered the introduction of judo to Canada. The Hatashita Cup, which goes to the tournament's Grand Champion, was bestowed in the 1930s by the Japanese Kodokan, the legendary home of the sport, as St. Andrews is the home of golf and Cooperstown the home of baseball.

In the Second World War's dark days of the internment of Japanese Canadians, judo grew quietly in the shadows as Frank Hatashita and 22,000 other Japanese Canadians were rounded up by a suspicious government.

Frank Hatashita, who died in 1994, went on the become a three-time Canadian champion and was the coach at matside when Doug Rogers won Canada's first Olympic medal in the sport in 1964 at Tokyo.

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