Atsushi Hori, 79-year-old Tokyo, Japan-born resident of Orange County, Calif., died on January 30, 2021.
He was a Kendo Hanshi 7th Dan at Long Beach Kendo Dojo. He is survived by his wife, Gayle Hori.
Atsushi Hori graduated from Azabu Junior High School in Tokyo, Japan and transferred from Azabu High School to Fukuoka Kaho High School. He attended Waseda University and graduated in 1964, having served as taisho for the Waseda University Kendo Team. Upon graduation, he worked in the insurance industry in Japan for several years, and moved to the United States at the age of 28. Hori sensei started his long kendo teaching career in Pasadena, Calif. and then moved his residence to Long Beach, Calif. He owned and operated his own grocery and liquor store in Costa Mesa, and had just recently retired in 2020.
For over 45 years, countless students from all over the United States, especially local children whom among many were of Nikkei heritage, have studied under his tutelage at the Long Beach Kendo Club. One of Hori sensei’s highlights was serving as manager for Team USA at the 2006 World Kendo Championship, where he guided Team USA to an unprecedented victory over Team Japan for the very first time in WKC history. Hori sensei’s gentle personality and strong connection with Japan allowed him to invite numerous top Japanese competitors and instructors to visit and teach in the United States, which has helped contribute towards the development of kendo in America.
Among his notable positions include: president of the All United States Kendo Federation (2006-2009); honorary advisor, All United States Kendo Federation; former officer, International Kendo Federation (FIK); founder of Southern California Kendo Organization (SCKO); honorary master (Shihan), Long Beach Kendo Dojo.
A family funeral was held at Fukui Mortuary on February 7, followed by a private, invitation-only service on February 8. Due to COVID restrictions, we deeply regret not being able to hold a fully public event for all of Hori sensei’s many dear friends to attend. However, the funeral event will be posted on Long Beach Dojo’s Facebook page at a later date: