Masataka Mori

masataka mori

September 18, 1932 ~ September 8, 2018

Masataka Mori of Closter, age 85, born in Fukuoka, Japan, he attended Takushoku University and became captain of the Karate team. He came to the United States in 1963 as a karate instructor for the Japan Karate Association of Hawaii. In 1968, he and his family moved to New York City, where he became the Chief Instructor of the JKA of New York and the Chief Instructor of JKA-Shotokan Karate-do International and attained the 9th Dan. In addition to teaching at his dojo, he had taught for years at New York colleges, including SUNY at Stony Brook, Columbia University, and CUNY, as well as a local schools, the Japanese Children’s Society. He often travelled abroad, acting as tournament arbitrator or judge, or teaching at various seminars. This year marks his 50th year of teaching in New York City. He was an avid golf enthusiast and often participated in locally hosted Japanese American events. Masataka Mori passed peacefully at his home in Closter, where he lived and gardened for forty years, surrounded by his devoted family. He is survived by Keiko, his wife of 61 years, his daughters Mayumi and Sayuri, their spouses Stephen and Alex, his four grandchildren, Allison, Kimiko, Andrew, Natalie, and Alexa and Kaitlin.

Friends will be recieved Friday 5-8 pm Buddhist wake service will take place on Friday 6pm to 7 pm. Funeral serice Saturday 10 am in the funeral home.


Funeral Service: September 15, 2018 10:00 am

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Visitation at Funeral Home: September 14, 2018 5:00 pm - September 15, 2018 8:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Cremation: September 15, 2018 1:30 pm

Rosedale Crematory
408 Orange Road
Montclair, NJ 07042

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Mori Family,

    We are so saddened by the passing of Mori Sensei and for the loss of this great man. We hope that wonderful memories of him help ease the pain of his loss as we hope they will for all of us who trained under him.

    Marilyn & Ed
    JKA Boston

  2. Mori Sensei meant so many things to so many people. For some, he was a spiritual guide. For others, a kind of father figure. And for all of us, our beloved karate teacher. He managed to bring so many walks of life together under one roof, providing an ideal toward which to strive and patiently taking us on that never-ending journey. Indeed, his best talent may well have been to take someone that others wrote off as a complete lost cause and forge him day after day into a respectable karateka. He never gave up on a student so long as the student showed up. But, he never compromised his ideals. He was a perfectionist…often expressed through a shinai. He had an aura that was obvious as he commanded his class but was absolutely palpable when he was near you. Indeed, to this day, nothing has made me try harder or more sincerely than his presence. And I am sure this has been the same for all his students.

    I have only caught a glimpse here and there throughout the years of Mori Sensei as a family man, but from what I have observed on his many trips away from home to teach us, he has been faithful to his wife of many years, provided a home and education for both of his successful daughters, and karmically has been the recipient of that same attentiveness and care in the end of his life.

    There were so many things I would have liked to know about him. What were the war stories of training 50 years ago in Japan? What exactly did he do to get that good? Alas, he was a man of few words, and as such, enigmatic, always leaving you guessing. And that was his way to the very end. But make no mistake, he knew keenly what he was doing, what you were thinking, and I am certain had a purpose in his quietude.

    Karate-do has many embodiments. Most of us will never truly experience or understand it. But we have witnessed it in its most developed form in Mr. Mori. Like so many off-spring from Mr. Nakayama's dojo, Mr. Mori was an original, uniquely charismatic, intensely talented teacher and leader who will never be replaced. For those of us who have trained with him even for a short time, may we take comfort that he lives on in us all. This is our promise to our teacher: Never to stop heeding your call to better our karate and ourselves.

    Osu!!! Aringato gozaimashita!

  3. Dear Mrs. Mori, Mayumi and Sayuri

    There are no words that can properly express how saddened we are to hear about the loss of Sensei Mori, your beloved husband and father. Please know you have my deepest sympathy.

    I had the honor to know Mori Sensei, to be one of his many students in the late 1960`s. Since I was just a teenager in High School in Manhattan, I had the greatest respect for him and will always continue to have the greatest respect for him for the rest of my life.

    I had spent so many uncountable memorable times at the dojo with him. However one of my most favorite memories of Sensei Mori, was when I was running to school on 84th street and Amsterdam Ave. I always had to pass by the apartment building where he was living with his wife and daughters at the time. Sometimes Sensei would be standing in front of his apartment building. When he saw me, he would call out to me, and ask me to help him carry some grocery for his family before going to school. I always felt like part of his family in and out of the dojo when he did this. I remember being disappointed when I didn`t see him on my way to school. But, I always saw him at the dojo.

    I had spend so many uncountable memorable times at the dojo with him, He kept me away from the streets of New York City in the late sixties, gave me a purpose and goal to follow which I have lived up to this day. I will truly miss him. 

    I hope the passage of time will help ease your sadness and leave you with happy memories. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all in this time of great lost

    Frank and Maiko (Kudo) Valentin family

    Tokyo, Japan

  4. For 27 years, Mori-sensei was my karate teacher. But, he was also my spiritual guide and a second father. To his family: I give you my sincerest condolences, and grateful thanks for sharing him with us.

  5. Although we did not know Sensei Mori personally, we do know him through his classes and the karate organization that he built. The SKDI, its instructors and members are a testament to the person that he was.

    Sensei Mori's high standards were unwavering, his criticism was always correct, and though his compliments were few, you knew he meant them and that you had earned them. May we continue to train in this tradition.

    – JKA Rochester

  6. Mori Sensei was more than our karate instructor at Haiti JKA. He was our role model and our guide. We will value forever the true essence of karate that he taught us. He will be deeply missed.

    Our sincere condolences to the family.

    Haiti KKA

  7. Sensie Mori was my favorite instructor and he was true Zen man. I had privilege to train under him from 1999 to 2006. I left karate when my first son was born and due to family commitments.

    My best memories are with him when I had no car he used to give me a long ride to the tournaments in Connecticut. Just me and him in the car and he gave me secrets to balance family life and practice. In form of that special advice he is always alive in my heart.

    Sending peace and love to the Mori family.

  8. It was terrible to hear about Mori Shihan passing. I wish I could find the words to comfort and ease the heartache you must be experiencing right now, but may you be comforted and surrounded by the outpouring of Universal Love and Peace. Hopefully after all the tears have dried and the goodbyes have been said, all we have to hold on tight onto are the happy memories that we all have shared with Mori Sensei, this is what will keep him alive in our hearts and in our minds, and he will continue to live on, through us.

    It was an honor and great privilege to train under Mori Shihan for past 12 years or so after coming from another style of karate of 25 years. He changed my entire perspective on martial arts. I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by me and thousands of karateka around the world. May he rest in Peace. Osu.

    Our most sincere condolences go out to Mori Shihan family.

    Robert B Terlikowski
    UNITY Karate & Holistic Arts ( 統誠会 )

  9. My most sincere condolences to Mori Sensei’s family.

    I had the privilege and honor to meet Mori Sensei back in 1996 at my first NY camp. And I have been attending his seminars ever since. I have always been moved for his charisma and knowledge and will never forget his teachings but most of all his presence.

    He will be very much missed but his legacy will stay with us forever.

    Pablo Metz, Nun’s Island JKA Montreal, QC, Canada

  10. Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss.
    To me Sensei Mori was the instructor of instructors. His teachings will be followed for many generations to come.

    Warmest regards,
    Ashraf Ismail, Montreal, Canada

  11. I am saddened to hear of the death of Mori Sensei. I was privileged to train under him at the New York Karate Club in the 1970s, and his teaching and guidance changed my life in so many ways. He set an example for how to live with honor and dedication that I have tried to emulate to the best of my ability. I regret that I am unable to attend the funeral as I live at a long distance. My deepest condolences go to his family.

  12. On behalf of the JKASKTESPAÑA group (Spain), I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of Mori Masataka Shihan. Ossu.

  13. Takayuki Mikami and the JKA American Federation extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family during this period of mourning.

  14. I will remember Sensei as a generous man; as generous as he was strict.

    I offer my condolences to Mrs Mori, to Mayumi, to Sayuri and the rest of the family.

    He was a great man!

    François Gélinas
    Montreal, Canada

  15. I had the priviledge of atending sensei Mori's course at Crystal Palace, London, in 2002 and in Lisbon 2003. I will always remember his teaching and devotion to the art of karate. May he rest in peace, Oss! Jose Lopes, Lisbon, Portugal.

  16. My sincere condolences to Sensei Mori's family. We will always remember his teachings and the memories we shared in his presence. I've had the privilege to attend his camps and dinner parties, here in Montreal and also in Connecticut, much of it back when I was a young student over a decade ago. I both feared and respected Sensei Mori. It is a great honor to have trained under his leadership. Osu.

  17. On behalf of JKA Belgium and myself I wish to express the most sincere condoleances to the family, friends and the JKA members.
    Another legend of the JKA has gone, but will always remain in our hearts.
    Sergio Gneo
    JKA Belgium

  18. I am a former student of his. Sensei was always kind, professional, caring and candid.
    Please accept my condolences.


  19. From Instructor and students of the JKA/AF Laredo, TX.
    Our condolences to Family, friends and students on the passing of Sensei, Mori. May our prayers ease you all through this difficult time.

  20. In the name of JKA Hungary and myself I would like to express our sincere condolences to sensei's Family and Students.
    János Krepsz
    JKA Hungary

  21. It is with great sadness we learn of the passing of Mori Shihan. We have many happy memories of his kind and gentle personality and his teachings in Scotland, Crystal Palace and Japan. Condolences to his family and all his students at this sad time.

    RIP Sensei

    Jim Wood MBE and Aileen Wood
    JKA Karate-Do Australia

  22. We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of legendary MASATAKA MORI Shihan. A good heart has stopped beating, a good soul ascended to heaven but his spirit will remain with us that follow JKA budo karate. He will be in our hearts and memories. May God give him eternal rest. OSS!
    General Members, Karateka;
    Governing Body Members;
    JKAWF INDIA Kolkata

  23. My deepest condolences to the family of Sensei Masataka Mori. He was a great sensei from the generation that spread Shotokan Karate to the world.

    Respect and Rest In Peace.

    Dr. Ali M. Khuraibet, (State of Kuwait)

  24. It is not easy to find adequate words to describe the impact of a person like Mori Sensei. I feel so lucky to have wandered into the classroom of such a brilliantly gifted teacher. He accepted all students as they came to him, could communicate everything necessary with few words (and sometimes no words), and commanded respect and admiration just by his way of being. I will always remember his strength, his presence, his sense of humor. I'm grateful just to have known him, and to be part of the beautiful, world-wide community he created. My sincere condolences to his family. I grieve with you.

  25. Dear Sensei,

    My deepest condolences to your family. You were like a father at times to me. I tried to follow your instructions every day of my life. I got to have three kids as you once suggested me. You one of the greatest man I have ever met and my love and respect for you will burn forever until one day we meet again.


    Antonio Treminio

  26. My deepest condolences to all the family of Sensei Mori for your great loss. He was a remarkable, unforgettable man, and a gifted teacher. I had the great privilege and pleasure of training with him at numerous camps over the years, in both Montreal and Winnipeg. He could be fierce and uncompromising, but he was also wonderfully encouraging and supportive of me. He pushed me well beyond what I thought were my limits, opening a whole new world to me. What he taught me continues to serve me well in my training, and also transformed my life in ways I would never have imagined before I met him. I owe him so much. I will remember him always and with great fondness.

  27. The Talmud advises us to "Provide for yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend…"
    Mori Sensei was a great teacher and an inspiring friend.
    I met him when I matriculated at Columbia in 1968, and his teaching and friendship were among the most memorable and important parts of my years there.

    Condolences to his family, and to his many students.
    His memory will be a blessing.

  28. My sincere condolences with the loss of Sensei Mori! I trained with Sensei Melarie Taylor in Montreal for 4 years. I had an honour to train on many seminars and occasions with Sensei Mori when he visited us in Montreal during those years or when we visited the US karate tournaments. I remember Sensei Mori taking my karate exams during those years. I am very honoured to being able to train under Sensei Mori. It was great to learn from such a wonderful instructor, great human being and awesome karate expert. Many thanks to Sensei Mori for his dedication to karate, students, teaching and perfection of martial arts. Thank you Sensei Mori! My deepest condolences to the family of Sensei Mori and to the whole karate community. Rest in peace Sensei Mori.

  29. Please accept my sincere condolences for Mori Sensei. I heard of his passing here in Japan. I met Mori Sensei in 1977 in New Orleans. He was very precise with his instructions on Karate. I heard a tape presented on National Public Radio made by one of his students about 20 years ago…and though she did not mention him by name, I knew she was talking about him. She loved his teaching, his moral force, and his attention to detail. I am sure the North-East JKA will miss him forever. Osu.

  30. I remember looking for a karate dojo in the summer of 1980, so I watched Mori-sensei teach an advanced class above Fairway after work. I must admit, after watching his unsparing use of the shinai, I was reluctant to join Mori-sensei’s dojo.

    When I expressed my reservations with a friend, a former ballerina with the American Ballet Theater, her response was simple: he’s perfect. She explained that a strict, perfectionist is exactly what you want in a Karate instructor.

    So I joined, and soon I learned my friend was right. Mori-sensei pushed me (and everyone) very hard, but we all learned so much more from being pushed. I remember once, upon correcting a student, the student replied to Mori-sensei, “I can’t”. Mori-sensei responded, “Don’t say you can’t!” And slowly I realized that was one of Mori-sensei’s central tenants.

    On another occasion, I remember Mori-sensei’s explanation of the dojo kun after class. Of course, everyone was expecting some type of deep insight. Instead, Mori-sensei’s explanation was simple. He said, of course seeking perfection of character and all those other things are important, but spirit is number 1. Without spirit, the things recited in the dojo kun are beyond reach.

    So, although I write this entry with great sorrow, I must cast that aside. Instead, I think Mori-sensei would have wanted all of us to do something today we could not do yesterday.

    I’ll see you in class.

    Eric Kirsch

  31. I met Sensei Mori in Connecticut in 1984 as a member of the JKA club of Bridgeport. I learned to respect him through sharing not only the regular training and the summer camps but also through the different gatherings in which I met the Man.
    23 years have passed since I moved back to Lebanon and my respect never ceased and would love to share an incident that took place during one summer camp at the university of Connecticut when Sensei Mori wanted to try throwing a boomerang, I was playing with outside, inside the gym where all the student were gathering for the afternoon training. I still see the throw and how all the students in the flight pass were ducking for cover.
    My deepest condolences to his family, his supporting instructors, his students, to the JKA

    We, who learned from Sensei Mori to "Seek perfection of character, to be faithful & to respect others" will hold him in our heart and mind until our final day has come.
    With respect always
    Hammana Lebanon

  32. I read just today that Sensei passed away. I was so close to him and he was the Master to give me the black belt.
    I shall always keep him in my heart.
    With a big bow
    his student

  33. Dear Mori Family,

    I was so saddened to hear of Sensei Mori's passing. I was his student from 1985-1995 growing up in New York. Without him knowing it, his teaching and mentoring saved my spirit. I was a victim of constant bullying as a child. And one day when I was 12 years old, I decided that it had to stop. I looked up the JKA in the yellow pages and went to the dojo with my father. After that, I never stopped training. Because of him, I found the ability to courageous, powerful and humble even through the very difficult experience of slowly losing my mother to Alzheimer's Disease. 30 years later, I still believe my experience at the dojo to be one of the absolutely most important accomplishments of my life. I am deeply thankful for Sensei Mori's service to the world and wish you my deepest condolences and thanks for giving him the opportunity to have trained and taken care of all of us students. With love. Erica

  34. Dear Mori Family,
    Gracious and gentle memories of Sensei embodied in his instruction and demeanor will forever be the example with which he lead and the standard towards which I endeavor.
    With gratitude and fond memories,

    John Tuohy

  35. I am saddened to learn of Sensei Mori’s passing. He was my teacher in the 1970s at Stony Brook Long Island, and later in Manhattan. He was a wonderful person, and teacher. My belated condolences, and thanks for having known him. Steven j Blander

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