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Japanese dressage pioneer dies at 80

Eizo Osaka at the 2008 CDI3* in Miki,Japan, at a special ceremony to celebrate his life’s work after performing his final judging role before retirement

Eizo Osaka at the 2008 CDI3* in Miki,Japan, at a special ceremony to celebrate his life’s work after performing his final judging role before retirement. © Japan Equestrian Federation

International dressage judge and jumping course designer Eizo Osaka has died at the age of 80.

Osaka died in July after a long illness. He had celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1.

Born in 1933 in Akita Prefecture, in the Tōhoku region of Japan’s largest island Honshu, he majored in law at the prestigious Chuo University where he also found time to indulge his love of horses and competed on the equestrian team.

After graduating, he became a journalist, but later came back to the equestrian community and worked tirelessly for many years as an FEI Dressage Judge in Japan and around the world.

In 1984, he was credited with bringing the first CSI to Asia, working alongside Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), FEI Honorary Vice President and International Olympic Committee member.

In 1992, he became Japan’s first international dressage judge to work at an Olympic Games, and his experiences in Barcelona spurred him on further to educate generations of Japanese judges.

“Eizo Osaka’s devotion to judging and coaching was legendary,” said Trond Asmyr, FEI Director of Dressage and Para-Dressage. “Thanks to his dedication over many years, he has left an important legacy of several generations of highly motivated national and international judges, helping to secure the future development of equestrian sport in Japan and globally.”

 

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