The first Akita dog is believed to have arrived in the United States around 1937, when the famous Helen Keller received, as a gift, an Akita dog named Kamikaze-go from Ichiro Ogasawara of Odate, an official of the Akitainu Hozonkai (Akiho). [Read more]

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OFFICIAL JUDGE: Mr. Shinkichi Tanaka

For this year's show, we are honored to welcome Mr. Shinkichi Tanaka, who was sent to judge the Los Angeles Branch Show by the Akitainu Hozonkai Headquarters in Japan. I arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport on the evening of the 13th of August. As soon as I arrived, members of the Los Angeles Akiho Club greeted me and took me to a Japanese television station for an appearance. At the TV studio, I had to rehearse with a lady announcer. The duration of the broadcast was eight minutes. I talked about the dog show on the 15th and about the Akitainu in general. I feel that there was no way I could explain the Akitainu and have people understand the Akiho intentions in eight minutes.

On the 14th of August, the Judge's Welcome Dinner was held. About thirty members attended. During dinner, I was worried about the following day's weather.  Members of the LA Branch told me that it only rained between seven to ten days in a year, and it wouldn't rain during the summertime. so I was relieved. Unfortunately when daybreak came, it started to sprinkle. In Japan, this kind of rain would not be a problem, but in this country, everyone was worried about the number of contestants. Fortunately, the show location was the multi-level parking lot in Little Tokyo, so even though it was a little dark, it was sheltered and dry.

On August 15, 1976, the show started a little before 11:00 a.m. with the National Anthem of both countries. There was a message from the Chairman of the club followed by my speech. When the opening ceremony concluded, the judging began.

There were about fifty dogs entered in this year's show. The judging started from the yohchiken class.  As soon as the first part of the judging ended for each class, the dogs remained in the ring and the second part ensued. This type of judging saves time. In Japan, if there are a lot of entries, this type of judging is impossible.

The content of the show was much better than I expected. Tomonobu-Go won the Tokuyu Award. I am sure that if this dog entered a Branch Show in Japan, he would place high. Other dogs such as Mikasahime-Go , who also received the Tokuyu Award, and additional dogs who received first place in their categories, could possibly place high in Branch Shows in Japan.

The first round of the judging was regrettable because they had weak temperaments, and they nervously moved their ears and tails. From now on, I hope that handlers will be more careful. Problems which cause this may be the location, daily
maintenance or innateness. Whatever it is, I feel that it should be one of the topics of the Evaluation Meeting.

A few thin dogs were seen, (he was referring to the coat condition). It would be the best thing for your pet dog if you showed him/her when it's coat condition is at its best, but since there is only one show a year, the owner of the dog probably entered his/her dog regardless of its coat condition. In Japan, during the spring and fall there are over eighty shows at different locations, so the owners watch for his/her dog's best coat condition time and enter an appropriate show. I feel sorry for these LA dogs who do not have these same opportunities.

People at shows in Japan could learn a thing or two from their American counterparts.  Mainly their show mood and contestant's manners.  Between the judging, I was interviewed by the Miss Nisei Week Queen and Her Court. They made
the atmosphere even more delightful. I admired the dogs, but admiring the beautiful Queen was not bad either.

About 5:30 p.m.. the show ended without any incidents. I finished my duty as a Judge, and felt relieved. I had one week in LA before I had to leave for Japan, so Branch members took me around. The things that I saw and heard while sight seeing were quite uncommon to me.

(The Basics Of The Akitainu by Hiroshi Kuwabara, 2nd Edition)


On the 20th of August, the Evaluation Meeting was held. About thirty members attended. There were energetic questions asked.  Following the question period, members watched a slide show of a Headquarter Show. I explained different aspects until about 11:00 p.m.

On the 21st of August. I left for Japan on a 12:30 p.m. flight. In the end. I think the LA Branch may have some managerial problems, but with the support of the officers and members all pitching in. I foresee development for the club. I appreciate the kindness of everyone during my stay

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