Shozo Kato has been practicing kendo and iaido for more than 45 years. He served as head coach for the U.S. national kendo team for the 10th World Kendo Championships in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and again for the 11th World Championships in Santa Clara, California, USA, in 2000. In 2012 he served as team manager for the U.S. national kendo team for the 15th World Kendo Championships in Novara, Italy.
He was selected by the International Kendo Federation (FIK) as one of the judges for the following events:
Shozo Kato was born in Hiroshima Prefecture and he moved to the United States in 1982 to study at the Pratt Institute of Art. He currently operates his own photography studio, Shozo Photo-Art Studio. He is the founder and head instructor of Shidogakuin, which is based in New York City and has affiliated dojos in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Florida.
New York City now has its own hometown virtuoso in the swordsmanship of the samurai.
Shozo Kato, 54, recently became the third person from outside of Japan to pass the notoriously difficult exam for eighth dan in kendo - the highest rank in the martial art of Japanese fencing.
The pass rate is about 1%, earning it the reputation of being the toughest test in Japan.
"I feel the real training for eighth dan is just now beginning," said Kato, a fine-art photographer by day who has been teaching kendo at the Shidogakuin dojo in Manhattan for some 25 years.