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At 98 years of age, Sensei Keiko Fukuda (the last surviving student of Judo founder Kanō Jigorō) was officially promoted to the rank of 10th dan -the highest black-belt degree in her sport. She is the first woman to reach the rank & sixteenth person to achieve it since founded in 1882.

"Keiko Fukuda Shihan passed away at the age of 99. She was the last surviving student of the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, and the highest ranking female judoka in history. She was promoted to 10th dan (degree) black belt just last year, a rank that at the time was held only by 3 other people, all men living in Japan. Fukuda Shihan left her homeland and refused marriage to achieve her dreams of training in judo, constantly battling gender discrimination which kept her from being promoted."

Vintage strong woman

1800s Photo of a Black Woman

Feminist and revolutionary Qiu Jin was born in 1875 in China. She was vocal about women's rights and pressed for better access to education for women. At the time it was still customary for women to have their feet bound at the age of five, rendering women crippled and severely dependent on others. Qiu Jin encouraged women to resist oppression by their families and by the government, and to gain financial independence through education. She was beheaded by the authorities at the age of 31.