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Masashi Numata Shihan, Chief Instructor of Princeton Aikikai, 1936 - 2023

"We are deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved Masashi Numata Sensei (1936-2023), 7th Dan/SHIHAN passed away on 05/03/2023 at home under Hospice Care in Princeton, NJ, USA. He was 87 years old. Translated to the Japanese calendar, the date of his passing was 05/04, and he was 88. He leaves behind his wife, Marie Mockers Numata (6th Dan), and his three children Taketeru Steve Numata (5th Kyu), Kiyoka Arielle Numata, and Ayaka Aurelie Numata (Sho-dan).

Numata Sensei was born in Himeji, Japan. He was orphaned early in life, and when he was 6 he was taken in and raised by the priests at Shioanji Temple. He has touched our lives through his dedication to teaching Aikido. His humility and unwavering commitment to his students both in the USA and Japan has had a profound impact on our lives.

In Japan, Numata Sensei began studying Aikido in his early twenties under Bansen Tanaka Sensei, the founder of Osaka Aikikai. Bansen Tanaka Sensei was an Ukedeshi of the Founder of Aikido, Mr. Morihei Ueshiba (O’Sensei). Over the years Numata Sensei lived in Kyoto and became the head teacher of the Yamashina Dojo upon Tomita Sensei’s departure to Europe. Additionally, Numata Sensei was one of the head Senseis at the Kyoto Aikido Embukai event. There, 40+ Aikido Dojos from the Kansai area gather every spring, and students demonstrate Aikido techniques at the oldest Budo Center in Japan in the heart of Kyoto, under the watchful eyes of all the head Senseis and Shihan (Masters). The event takes place every fall, and is organized by the Osaka Aikido Dojo.

Numata Sensei met his wife, Marie Numata, while she was residing in Japan (she lived in Kyoto for 14 years). In 2001, they moved to Princeton, New Jersey to establish Princeton Aikikai ( under the leadership of Yamada Sensei (New York Aikikai/President of the United States Aikido Federation). Numata Sensei and his wife opened Princeton Aikikai in January 2002, welcoming all people, and teaching youth and adult classes together. In March 2020, COVID closed the doors of the Dojo, and Numata Sensei's health began to deteriorate. We are unable to re-open the training center for the time being, but are hopeful we will be able to do so in the future.

Numata Sensei's final wishes are for his body to be cremated and his ashes laid to rest under a tree. As he has taught us, "There are many leaves to a tree, all unique and different where the roots are the foundation and the trunk holds us together as one–the Aikido Tree of Life." The teaching of Aikido is that foundation and the individual leaves represent each student. He encouraged all his students to “Take what works for you and develop it into something good while learning aikido.”

For his burial site, his wife has selected the Princeton Memorial Park and Mausoleum Cemetery in Robbinsville, New Jersey. He will be laid to rest under four beautiful mature cherry trees, as he cherished the yearly spring blossoms. His family and his students at Princeton Aikikai are coming together to help put Sensei at peace upon his departure from this world and celebrate his passing into the Spiritual World, a well deserved transition. They will share his Aikido legacy with the world.

His official burial will take place on June 3rd, 2023 at 10am to 11am at the Princeton Memorial Park and Mausoleum. There, his ashes will be laid to rest under the cherry trees."

Princeton Memorial Park & Mausoleum

403 Gordon Rd, Robbinsville Twp, NJ 08691

“Numata Sensei… rest in peace under the Aikido Tree of Life. Life is a celebration!

We will all miss you and carry in our hearts the compassion you share with us along with your teachings of Aikido. As your love for us permeates heaven, our love for you permeates our hearts on Earth. TEN-CHI-NAGE”.

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