For Reading

Harrison E.J., The Fighting Spirit of Japan and Other Stories, London, Foulsham, 1912

Helm Dennis, 2000 Years Jujutsu and Kodokan Judo, Rockford, The Illinois Judo Association, 1991

Masumoto David, An Introduction to Kodokan Judo, History and Philosophy, Tokyo, Hon no Tomosha, 1996





Birth of Jigoro KANO,founder of KODOKAN JUDO



Jigoro KANO enters Ikuei Gijuku boarding school in Tokyo, where all the courses were taught in English or German by native speakers. He first hears of  JUJUTSU, but  unable to find a JUJUTSU master.

Ju jutsu



Jigoro KANO enters the Tokyo School of Fereign Languages.



Graduates from the state-run English School. Enters the state-run Kaisei School.



Kaisei School is renamed Tokyo Imperial University. KANO begins TENSHIN SHIN’YO JUJUTSU training at Hachinosuke FUKUDA’s (1829-80) DOJO.



KANO and Fukushima performs JUJUTSU for former U.S. President U.S. Grant (1822-85) when he visits Japan. KANO’s first teacher FUKUDA dies.



KANO graduates from Tokyo Imperial University and stayes on another year for further study. Master MASAMOTO dies. This time he goes to train with  Tsunetoshi IIKUBO  of KITO RYU JUJUTSU.


              Eisho-ji Temple


In February he moves to EISHO-JI, a small Jodo Sect Buddhist temple int he Shimo-tani section of Tokyo. There he establishes the KODOKAN („.Institute for Study of the Way”).



KODOKAN moves to new quarters twice. The first move is to Minami Jimbocho in Kanda, where he opens an English academy. A few months later he moves to Kami Niban-cho in  Koji-machi and builds a small DOJO. IIKUBO continues to teach KANO, who receives a KITO RYU teaching licence. Only eight students formally registers.



KANO divides students into two groups, which is the non-grading (MUDANSHA) and the grading (YUDANSHA). He created three basic levels (KYU) and three advanced ranks (DAN). KANO instituts KAN-GEIKO („cold weather training”).

Kodokan bylaws were drawn up. The Kodokan name was formally established, "taking together all the merits I have acquired from the various schools of jujitsu, and adding my own devices and inventions, I have founded a new system for physical culture, mental training, and winning contests. This I call Kodokan Judo." Said Jigoro Kano.

Kodokan was, literally, the Hall (kan) for Studying (ko) the Way (do). Ju jitsu had meant gentle techniques. Kodokan Judo, was the Hall for Studying the Way of Judo. Judo meant "gentle way." The "Do" ending had enormous philosophical meaing. It was Japanese for the Chinese word "Tao.”



The Tokyo Metropolitan Police host a tournament meant to resolve the question of which was better, Kano Jigoro’s Kodokan judo club or a Yoshin Ryu jujutsu school headed by Totsuke Hikosuke. By winning thirteen of fifteen matches and drawing the other two, the Kodokan athletes firmly established their primacy. A 1943 Kurosawa movie made Saigo Shiro the most famous of the early Kodokan wrestlers. Saigo’s favorite technique was said to be the yama arashi, or mountain storm, technique of aiki jutsu, but there is debate over what this technique was. Yokoyama Sakujiro was another powerful Kodokan judoka, and his 55-minute bout with Nakamura Hansuke during the 1886 police tournament remains the longest judo match on record. (Modern matches only go 20 minutes, with the possibility of a 10-minute extension.) Uniforms of the era were similar to modern uniforms except that sleeves and trouser legs were much shorter. The dignified silence that the wrestlers and their fans maintained greatly impressed foreign visitors.



Jigoro KANO becomes a professor at Gakushuin. KODOKAN DAN-grade JUDOKA defect leading JUJUTSU teachers of the police force.

The first five groups of instruction, or gokyo no waza, are introduced to Kodokan judo. These are followed in 1920 by a second group of seventeen additional techniques known as shimmeisho no waza. The additions were due to the Kodokan wrestlers having absorbed most traditional jujutsu styles and their best techniques in the meantime.

The Kodokan won its first recorded contest with the Metropolitan police, in a shiai, pitting the police ju jitsu against Judo in organized competition for the first time. The first of many such matches that the Kodokan won.



The KODOKAN is moved to Kojimachi Fujimi-cho. Fujimi-cho DOJO students with DAN rankings first began wearing black belts as a sign of their status.

Shochugeiko, the beginning of summer training celebration, was inaugurated. Reflecting the rigorous workout in the summer heat, comparable to the Kangeiko of winter training, it became another Kodokan tradition.

An historic passage came for the Kodokan when the Tokyo Metropolitan Police hosted a showdown between the Kodokan and the ju jitsu school considered the strongest fighting school in Japan at the time, the Totsuka-ha Yoshin-ryu jujutsu.



The KODOKAN is moved to Kami-NI-bancho area, he had more than 1,500 full time students.



September 16, KANO went on his first overseas visit to spread the good word about JUDO. He visited Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam and London.



January, KANO returned to Japan. He had been abroad for 16 months. He married Sumako Takezoe. KANO left his new bride behind in Tokyo.


KANO returned to Tokyo where he became principal of the No 1 Junior High School. And later, he was appointed to the same position at the Tokyo Higher Normal School. His wife gives birth to their first daughter, Noriko. In December a new 100 TATAMI DOJO is opened at the KODOKAN.



The first version of the GOKYO NO WAZA were officially introduced at the KODOKAN.



SHOCHU-GEIKO („mid-summer training”) was formally instituted.-The first of the  modern Olympic Games is held in Athens, Greece. Kano’s second son is born.



In January 1898, Kanō was appointed director of primary education at the Ministry of Education, and in August 1899, he received a grant that allowed him to study in Europe. His ship left Yokohama on 13 September 1899, and he arrived in Marseilles on 15 October. He spent about a year in Europe, and during this trip, he visited Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, and London. He returned to Japan in 1901



The Kodokan suffered a school defeat in a contest with Fusen Ryu ju jitsu. Fusen Ryu specialized in ne waza or grappling techniques, and this specialty carried the day.



KANO visited China on an official inspection tour of educational institutions. Upon his return, KANO expanded the academy for Chinese exchange students that he had founded a few years earlier.



An American  industrialist named Samuel Hill invited Yoshiaki YAMASHITA (1865-1935) to teach his son KODOKAN JUDO int he United States.



The 3rd Olympic Games are held in St. Louis, USA.



During the Russo-Japanese war, a number of senior KODOKAN members died in battle.



The KODOKAN expanded again, this time to a new 207-mat (TATAMI) DOJO in Shimo-Tomisaka-cho. The JUDOGI (practice uniform) was standardized in the form we see today.



The 4th Olympic Games are held in London. The Japanese Diet approves a bill requiring all middle schools (in Japan) to provide instruction in Gekiken (swords-manship and jujutsu).



In January 1909 Jigoro Kano was nominated to serve on the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In May 1909 at its meeting in Berlin, the IOC under the leadership of Baron de Coubertin unanimously elected Jigoro Kano as the first member of the IOC from an Asian country.




Members of both houses of the Japanese Diet are invited to the KODOKAN to view demonstrations of JUDO.



In July 1911, Jigoro Kano founded and became the first chairman of the Japan Amateur Athletic Association (today's Japan Sports Association). Olympic qualifying events were held that November and two athletes were selected to represent Japan for the first time in the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912.

The Japanese establish an International Olympic Committee under the leadership of Kano Jigoro. While only two Japanese athletes went to the Olympics in 1912, 15 went in 1920, 18 in 1924, 43 in 1928, 130 in 1932, and 154 in 1936. Although the Japanese won medals in many sports, including wrestling, equitation, and tennis, as a team they did best in swimming and running.



Jigoro Kano leaves to attend the 5th Olympiad in Stockholm, Sweden. Japan competed at the Summer Olympic Games for the first time. The delegation, two athletes accompanied by four officials. Kano makes his fourth trip to Europe.

Kano called together the remaining leader masters of Ju Jitsu to finalize a Kodokan syllabus of training and kata. Aoyagi of Sosusihis Ryu, Takano, Yano, Kotaro Imei and Hikasuburo Ohshima participated from Takeuisi Ryu. Jushin Sekiguchi and Mogichi Tsumizu participated from  Sekiguchi Ryu, Eguchi from Kyushin Ryu, and Hoshino from Shiten Ryu, Inazu from Miura Ryu. Takamatsu, a Kukkishin Ryu.




World War I breaks out in July. The KODOKAN JUDO Association is founded. In 1914, The All Japan Special High School  championships were started at Kyoto Imperial University. These championships emphasized the trend toward NEWAZA or (grappling techniques), and the schools that participated became so proficient at this approach that they earned for it the name "Kosen Judo" or grappling Judo. This form of Judo was becoming so predominant that by 1925 Kano began to see throwing techniques as disappearing from the syllabus of effective Judo skills.



The 6th Olympiad in Berlin is cancelled.



Foundation of the BUDOKWAI in London. KANO attends the opening of a KODOKAN branch DOJO in Korea. End of World War I.

Jigoro Kano 1918



KANO explains the principles of JUDO at the KODOKAN to Dr. Dewey from Columbia University.(He was the founder of the American educational system, who was then a guest lecturer at the Imperial University of Japan.



KANO receives an award from the Japanese Government for his diligent services to Society. Kano attends the 7th Olympic Games in Antwerpen, Belgium. Japan sent fifteen Olympic competitors to Antwerpen – the first Olympic medals ever awarded to athletes from Japan (tennis players were awarded two silver medals)



In March Kano resigns from his post as chairman of the Japan Amateur Sports Association and becomes honorary chairman. He attends an IOC meeting.



The Kodokan Dan Grade Holder's Association was formed.



Japan’s Ministry of Home Affairs announces the establishment of a national athletic festival called the Meiji Jingu Championship Games. Its purpose of mobilizing Japanese youth. Games included judo, kendo, archery, and sumo.



The Kodokan opens its women’s section. In accordance with contemporary medical theories, the women’s judo was, in the words of Rusty Glickman, a New Yorker who trained in the Kodokan’s women’s dojo in 1962, "a much more refined, milder form than the men."



The first All-Japan Judo Championships are held in Tokyo. As competition was categorized by age, the so-called All-Japan champions before 1948 were actually first in their age class. After 1948, there was an overall champion, too, and this person is now the sole All-Japan champion.



In September 1932, Kano attended the IOC Session in Los Angeles and explained Tokyo’s bid for the Olympics after handing the official letter of invitation to the IOC President Count Henri de Baillet-Latour. Kano travels to USA (Los Angeles, Seattle) and Canada (Vancouver). In Los Angeles he attends the 10th Olympiad..



Seventeen-year old Kimura Mashiko wins his first All-Japan Collegiate Judo Championship. Kimura then went on to win the All-Japan Judo Championships for his age group in 1938, 1939, and 1940. In 1949 Kimura returned to the mats and earned a draw in the finals against Ishikawa Takahiko. Kimura then tried to establish a professional judo circuit in Japan.



According to the German writer Arthur Grix, there were 66,994 judo black belts in Japan . Of these, 39,660 were first-dan, 15,060 were second-dan, 6,600 were third-dan, 3,661 were fourth-dan, 1,615 were fifth-dan, 346 were sixth-dan, 44 were seventh-dan, five were eighth-dan, two were ninth-dan, and one (Kano Jigoro himself) was tenth-dan.   





After attending the International Olympic Committee meeting held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1937, he later visited several European cities, then New York, Seattle and finally Canada.  On April 23, 1938 Kano headed home and left Vancouver Harbor on the Hikawamaru, which was scheduled to arrive at Yokohama on May 6.  However, he did not live to see his homeland again.  En route, at the age of 77; he succumbed to pneumonia and died on this vessel on May 4, 1938.


Kano professor on board of Hikawa Maru



The 12th Olympic Games cancelled because of  the WWII.



The 13th Olympiad is cancelled.





The Allied occupation government of Japan prohibits the teaching of judo and kendo in Japanese public schools and bans the words (and concepts) budo and bushido. In November 1946 an All-Japan Judo Yudanshakai ("Grade Holders’ Association") was organized.



In May the first All Japan Judo Championship since the Second World War is held. In November the first All Japan Police Judo Championship is staged.



The All Japan Judo Federation is established in May. In November judo is added to the List of official sports at the 4th Japan Sports Championships. The All-Japan Judo Yudanshakai is reorganized into the Japan Judo Federation, and then made part of the Japan Physical Education Association.

Kyuzo Mifune in action



In October judo is reintroduced in Japan’s secondary school curriculum.



In June judo is reintroduced int he high schools’ curriculum.



Kodokan judo instructors are sent to both the U.S. and Europe.



Japan joins the International Judo Federation. Head of Kodokan, Risei Kano (1900-1986) becomes president of the International Judo Federation (1952-1965).



In 1954, the first SAC Judo Tournament was held at Offutt AFB the Grand Champion was Airman Morris Curtis. Also in 1954, 26 SAC Air Police went to the Kodokan to study judo fourteen weeks. The curriculum consisted of police tactics, aikido, karate and, of course, judo.



The first edition of the world championships took place in Tokyo,  Japan There were no weight classes at the time and Japanese judoka Shokichi Natsui became the first world champion in history, defeating fellow countryman Yoshihiko Yoshimatsu in the final.

Twenty-one countries participate. (The World Judo Championships are the highest level of international judo competition, along with the Olympic judo competition. The championships are held once every two years by the International Judo Federation, and qualified judoka compete in their respective categories)



In November a bronze statue of  Jigoro Kano is erected at the entrance of Tokyo

University of Education.

The second world championship was also held in Tokyo, with the Japanese winning the top two spots in the competition for the second time. Eighteen countries are represented.

Tokyo was awarded the 1964 Olympic Games. The Kodokan sells its old building to the Japan Karate Association, and moves to a new seven-story building that had a weight room and a 500-mat main floor. To celebrate, the Kodokan introduces 21 new techniques known as Kodokan goshin jutsu, or "Kodokan self-defense techniques." Twelve of these techniques were designed for use against unarmed attackers while nine were designed for use against armed attackers. This new interest in practical self-defense was encouraged partly by urban dwellers’ fear of attack by teenaged hoodlums, and mainly by the interests of Kodokan leaders who belonged to the Japanese military, police forces, and security guard companies.

New Kodokan Institute in Tokyo



 The 3rd World Judo Championship was held outside of Japan for the first time, and Dutch judoka Anton Geesink defeated the prior world champion, Koji Sone, in Paris, France to become the first non-Japanese world champion. Twenty-five nations participate.



The 80th Anniversary of the founding of the kodokan is celebrated.



The 18th Olympic Games are held in Tokyo from October 10 to 24.

The  judo events took place in the Nippon Budokan – the Japanese Military Arts Hall. The matches were held on a traditional Japanese tatami, set in the center of the stadium. Preliminary round matches lasted 10 minutes, and the finals were 15 minutes. Most of the competitors had spent at least some time training in Japan. The exception was the Soviet team, which brought athletes who had converted to judo from the traditional Soviet jacket wrestling sport of sambo.



In 1982, Judo celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Kodokan, and initiated construction greatly expanding the Kodokan and renaming it the Kodokan International Judo Center. Construction was completed in 1984.



After the Japanese judo team turns in a disappointing showing at the Summer Olympics (well, disappointing by Japanese standards -- the team still won one gold and three bronze medals), its coaches announce their intent to return to the fundamentals. Publicly, this meant that in future the Japanese judo team would put more emphasis on character-development than winning.

At the Seoul Olympic Games, the "open" division was dropped from the program. The "Open" was where any Judoka could prove his mettle. It was the original competition in Judo, emphasizing the idea that Judo was not a weight sport, but fundamentally a technique-oriented sport



By 1995, the World Championships, once again held in Japan, were attended by 625 competitors from100 nations, with medalists from Japan, Korea, France, Cuba, Russia, and Germany, showing that expertise in Judo was no longer limited to Japan.



Pioneers of Japanese Judo


Japanese JUDO fighter and instructor who in 1950 was promoted to 6th DAN, the youngest JUDOKA to be awarded this grade at the time. His powerful build and fine technique, particularly a neat KOUCHI-GARI brought him success in the early 1950’s. He won the ALL JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS twice /1951, 1954/ and the Tokyo Championship in 1950 and 1951. He graduated from the Tokyo University of Education, and later became the chief instructor at the KODOKAN for many years, and was the manager of the Japanese JUDO team at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, and at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1992, he received the rank of KODOKAN 10th DAN. He has published several textbooks on JUDO



He was a chiropractor and a JU JUTSU master. He was over six feet tall. He began his study of JU JUTSU in the school of Okuyama-Nen ryu. Later he studied Kiraku Ryu and ás a young mán he moved to Edo (Tokyo) and became a student of Masamoto ISO, the master of TENSHIN-SHINYO RYU: It was said that no one could beat him. Fukuda became a SENSEI in a while and was the first teacher of Jigoro KANO. Fukuda was better át the techniques than át the formai exercises (KATA).

In May 1879 former United States president U. S. Grant visited Japán. Eiichi Shibusawa, a noted politician of the Meiji éra, thought the visiting former president would enjoy a martial árts performance. The demonstration was favorably received by General Grant and his party, and widely reported in the American press. Just nine days after performing Master Fukuda died. He was 52 years old. KANO attempted tó keep the DOJO in operation by himself, bút soon realized that he needed more training. KANO continued hi study of the TENSHIN SHINYO RYU with Masamoto ISO, són of the school s founder.



KANO Jigoro ‘s second teacher of JU JUSU, ISO Masatomo took ill in 1881 and died. Later KANO met Iikubo, the master of KITO RYU JU JUTSU. Iikubo awarded KANO a licence of full transmission (menkyo kaiden) in 1883. In KANO’s time the KITO RYU focused primarily on throwing techniques (NAGE WAZA). Iikubo was already over fifty, he continued to train full time, and he was the most skilled martial artist under whom KANO ever trained. (In his memoirs KANO stated, ‘From Master FUKUDA, I learned what my life’s work would be: from Master MASAMOTO, I learned the subtle nature of KATA: and from Master Iikubo, I learned varied techniques and the importance of timing.


IIZUKA KUNISABURO (1875-1958) Kodokan 10th Dan

Entered the KODOKAN in 1891 and was graded 10th DAN on April 5, 1946. As a young man he was very keen to go abroad but in 1906 was asked to become JUDO instructor at Keio (the oldest private University in Japan) and he remained there for more than fifty years, devoting his whole life to the work. He was a member of both the KODOKAN Council and the DOJO Consultative Group


ISO MASAMOTO (1818-1881)

He was a master of the TENSHIN SHIN’YO RYU JU JUTSU school, and son of the school’s founder (Iso Mataemon d. 1862). Iso ran a training hall in Kanda, Tokyo. He was a small man only 5 feet tall but his arms and legs were as strong as steel. In 1879 KANO Jigoro entered the Masamoto Iso JUJUTSU school. Masamoto was 62 years old at the time, he no longer engaged in RANDORI but he was still a grand master of KATA. KANO later told his own students that Masamoto’s KATA were ‘the most beautiful I ever saw executed’. When Masamoto died (1881) KANO went to train with IIKUBO Tsunetoshi (1835 -89) of the KITO RYU.



ISOGAI, HAJIME (1871-1947) Kodokan 10th Dan

Entered the KODOKAN in 1891 and practised assiduously under Jigoro KANO. In 1899, he was selected to go to the Butokukai in Kyoto where he worked for many years spreading JUDO and training new teachers. On December 22, 1937, he was awarded the grade of 10th DAN directly by Jigoro KANO (only a few months before Jigoro KANO died). At the age of 66, he was the fourth youngest person to attain 10th DAN. He is considered to be one of the great figures in Kansai JUDO (Kansai is the mid-western portion of Honshu, the main island of the Japanese group.) Isogai died on April 19, 1947.


 NANGO Jiro (1876-1951)Kodokan 10th Dan

Japanese JUDO administrator; past presidentof the KODOKAN. He began studying JUDO with founder Jigoro KANO in JUDO’s embryonic era and received his black belt in 1884 while continuing a career in the navy, from which he retired as a rear admiral.

In 1938, when Prof. KANO died, the KODOKAN board of trustees unanimously chose Jiro his successor, a post he held until September, 1946, when he retired due to bad health. While president he established a system of JUDO for juveniles, fixed the KATA (Joshi Goshinho)and self-defense for women, and founded the institute for the training of teachers of JUDO. He was one of the few juDANs, 10th-degree black belts.



KAMINAGA, AKIO (1936-1993)

Japanese JUDO champion. Kaminaga won the All Japan JUDO Championships three times, in 1960, 1961 and 1964 but lost the Olympics openweight finals in Tokyo to Anton Geesink. Altough extremely shortsighted, he was particulady proficient at the TAI OTOSHI (body drop) and UCHIMATA (inner-thigh trow) Kaminaga was an Olympics silver medalist in the open class at Tokyo in 1964.



KIMURA MASHIKO (1917-1993)

He was the greatest JUDO champion of all time, he won his first DAN at 15. He was second DAN at 16 and third DAN a year later. At the age of 20, he won the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS for the first time. He was only 5’7”, but his favourite technique was OSOTO-GARI with combination of OUCHI-GARI, and strong NEWAZA. He also used IPPON-SEOI-NAGE and UCHIMATA. He won the ALL –JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1937, 1938 and 1939. His training methods were extreme. Before he went to sleep that night he did 500 press-ups, 1 km of bunny hops, and 500 makiwara strikes. He learned Shotokan and Goju-ryu karate. In 1949, he reached the final of the ALL-JAPAN JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS. He faced Takahiko Ishikawa and fought one of the hardest matches of his life. It was declared a draw after two periods of extra time. At the age of 40, he was still fighting professionally and remained outside the central JUDO environment, because professional JUDO was against KANO’s ethics. He won all his fights – but faded, and he started another professional fighting career abroad.


Chen, Jim. (1997). Mashahiko Kimura, the man who defeated Helio Gracie, http:// www.judoinfo.com/kimura.htm


KOTANI, SUMIYUKI (1903-1991) Kodokan 10th Dan

He received the rank of 10th DAN in April 1984, the oldest person to be awarded this rank (until 2006 when Ichiro Abe was promoted at age 83). Graduated from Tokyo College of Education. He was one of Jigoro KANOs direct students, and only the 7th man to receive a 10th Degree Black Belt while he was still alive. He was very active in promoting JUDO all around the world and was the head instructor of the International Division of the KODOKAN for many years, and a professor of Tokai University. He was the KODOKANs top ranked official and Vice President of the All Japan JUDO Federation. During his student days, he would practice with every powerful and skillful JUDOKA he could lay his hands on, rather than avoid the "beating" he knew would be coming. To be thrown, immobilized, or strangled, was nothing but delight for him. The thing that really counted was practice. He died on October 19, 1991.



KURIHARA TAMIO (1896-1979) Kodokan 10th Dan

Kurihara was born in May, 1896. He became the 11th person to be promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death October 8, 1979. He graduated from the Kyoto Budo Senmon-Gako (Martial Art College) and became "shihan" (Master Instructor of JUDO) at Kyoto 3rd higher school. One of his impressive competitions was the May 1926 Emperors Cup final facing one of the young upcoming strong players, Ushijima Tatsukuma, a 26 year old 5th DAN. He won a decision here after a hard competition to take the title.


MIFUNE, KYUZO (1883-1965) Kodokan 10th Dan

He joined the KODOKAN in 1903 and remained a member until his death. When he came to Tokyo to attend Waseda University, and became the close disciple of Jigoro KANO, the father of JUDO. After 15 months, he achieved ShoDAN (1st Degree) in KODOKAN JUDO, and after the remarkably short time of four more months, NiDAN (2nd Degree). Though timing and speed, Mifune quickly gained a reputation, and was never defeated. By 1912, he was a RokyuDAN (6th Degree) and an instructor at a number of universities, high schools, and junior high schools. In 1945, he was elevated to JuDAN (10th), the fourth of seven men to ever be so honored. After developing many new JUDO techniques and variations, he came to be known as the “God of JUDO”. In 1956, he wrote his classic book, Canon of JUDO, still a remarkable exposition of JUDO history, philosophy, and technical description. His influence on post-war JUDO cannot be underestimated. His skill was perhaps the most elegant ever seen at the KODOKAN. He passed away in 1965 at the age of eighty-two. At his hometown, Kuji, a Memorial Gymnasium was erected in his honor, called the MifunejuDAN. (See Sec. BOOKS on JUDO)


 MOCHIZUKI MINORU (1907-2003) Mixed Martial Artist (Judo, Aikido)


He began by training in kendo at the age of five, at his grandfather's dojo in Shizuoka. Then he began Judo and joined the Kodokan in 1925 where he became an outstanding competitor. Under the tutelage of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, Mochizuki became the youngest member of the Kobudo Kenkyukai – an organization for the study, preservation and development of classical martial arts – established within the Kodokan. Here he practiced among others Katori Shinto-ryu. In 1930, he was sent by Jigoro Kano to study aikijujutsu with Morihei Ueshiba. He was the uchideschi of Morihei Ueshiba at the Kobukan dojo for one year before opening his own dojo in Shizuoka City in 1931.

He was awarded two Daito-Ryu scrolls by Ueshiba in June 1932 ("Goshinyo no te" and "Hiden ogi no koto"). He spent eight years in Mongolia where he was an active educator and entrepreneur of projects to improve communications and irrigation. His idea of combating communism with the application of the principles of "mutual welfare and prosperity" and of "the best use of energy" of Jigoro Kano contributed to the development of his region. His irrigation project was completed after the Second World War by the Chinese authorities. Mochizuki was the first to teach aikido in the West when he traveled in France from 1951 to 1953 as a judo teacher. He taught at the dojo of Shizuoka until nearly the end of the last millennium and spent the last years of his life in France with his son Hiroo.




MUNAKATA ITSURO (1866-1941) 7th DAN

Itsuro Munakata came to Tokyo in 1883, and entered Kodokan in 1884. At the same time, he also entered the Kano Juku Tutoring School and the Kobunkan.
In September of 1886, he became superintendent of the Kano Juku Juvenile School. He later taught at the Kyoto Nishi-hongan-ji Temples Daigakurins literary dormitory in Kyoto, followed by posts as a KODOKAN supervisor in September of 1891, headmaster at Omura Junior High School in Nagasaki Prefecture (1893), teacher at the Advanced Teachers Training School (Sept., 1896), headmaster at the Unebi Junior High School (May, 1900), teacher at the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School (July, 1907).
He later served at headmaster at the Shonai Junior High School and the Sendai First Junior High School where he actively promoted both education and Judo. In April of 1920, he returned to KODOKAN as a supervisor and dedicated himself to teaching JUDO and handling KODOKAN affairs.
Mr. Munakata died in 1941 at the age of 76.



NAGAOKA HIDEKAZU (1876-1952) Kodokan 10th Dan

Came to Tokyo from his birth place, Okayama at the age of 16 to seek out the Shihan. Entered the KODOKAN in 1893 and practised so hard it was said of him, "The technique is Sutemi, the man is Nagaoka." Many of his contests are still the subject of countless reminiscences. All his efforts were poured into the training of young teachers and he was of the greatest assistance to the President of the KODOKAN. He did much to gain for the KODOKAN the secure position it enjoys today and was promoted 10th DAN on December 27, 1937 by Jigoro KANO, just a few months before Jigoro KANO died. He is one of only three 10th DANs promoted to that rank by the founder of JUDO. He and Isogai were the first students of KANO to be promoted to 10th DAN while alive, and he was the youngest man ever to be promoted to 10th DAN. He passed away on November 22, 1952.


NAGAOKA SHUICHI (1876-1952) Kodokan 10th Dan

Nagaoka studied the Kito-ryu ju-jutsu style in Okayama under Kensaburo Noda. He came to Tokyo in 1892 and entered Kodokan at the beginning of 1893.
He subsequently taught Judo at the First Higher School, as well as in other schools in Tokyo.
In order to promote Judo in the Kansai area, he moved to Kobe in 1902, and taught at the Hyogo Prefecture Police Training School. In 1903, he taught at the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai Headquarters, and in 1912, he taught at the Bujutsu Senmon Gakko. Mr. Nagaoka assisted Mr. Isogai in promoting the development of Judo in the Kansai region.
In May of 1913, he was invited by Jigoro Kano to serve as a Kodokan coach. He also taught at the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School, and served as a Judo instructor for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and at Chuo University. After working hard to promote Judo, Mr. Nagaoka died on November 22, 1952 at the age of 77.



NAKANO SHOZO (1888-1977) Kodokan 10th Dan

He was born in January 1888. He was promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death on December 22, 1977. He became master instructor at Tokyo Ikashika University (Medical School). He energetically promoted KODOKAN JUDO to the world. His uchimata throw was very famous. He said „My strategy is to let my opponent get his favorite satisfactory grip and then I find my own way of chance to throw my opponent.”


OKANO KOTARO (1885-1967) Kodokan 10th Dan

OKANO was born April 1885. He became the 9th man to be promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt after his death on June 2, 1967. He was the first graduated student from the Budo Senmon-Gakko (martial art school) and he became "shihan" (master of martial art) in 6th Okayama Higher School and Okayama Police. His mat technique was one of the best among the JUDO world at that time.



Osawa Yoshimi (1927–) Kodokan 10th DAN

Promoted to Kodokan 10th dan on 8 January 2006, at age 79. Osawa is also still coaching at the Kodokan, and is recognised for his support of women’s JUDO. Osawa was known by the nickname Current Ushiwakamaru (Ushiwakamaru was the childhood name of a legendary twelfth-century samurai who was small but quick.)



OTAKI TADAO ( 1908-1998)

High-ranking KODOKAN instructor, is one of the Japan’ s foremost JUDOists. He has instructed many Japanese national, world, and Olympic champions: he is also a popular teacher among non-Japanese JUDOists both in Japan and abroad. As a professor of physical education at Tokyo Education University, he is engaged in historical and technical research concerning the role of JUDO in education. His long experience in teaching JUDO to everyone from beginners to Olympic champions – and his contributions to its teaching methods brought him worldwide acclai





SAIGO SHIRO (1866 – 1922)

Shiro was adopted son of Aikmijutsu master Saigo Tanomo. He was known for his great ability and strength at a young age. He was particularly well known for his powerful YAMA ARASHI (“mountain storm”) technique (this not the same technique we know today as “YAMA ARASHI”). He was recruited by KANO Jigoro to be his “showman” for the KODOKAN system. He earned the rank of SHODAN in JUDO in 1883, but he was a GODAN (5th degree ) by the age of 23. KANO Jigoro returned to Japan in January 1891. He had been abroad for sixteen months. Unfortunately, Saigo had gotten into trouble in the meantime. When KANO was informed of the incident he had no choice but to banish his most talented student. Saigo fled to distant Nagasaki. He took up KYUDO (Japanese archery, and mastered that discipline just as thoroughly as he had JUJUTSU. In a gesture of forgiveness, upon Saigo’s death KANO posthumously awarded his former student the rank of “KODOKAN JUDO Sixth DAN”. He is also is known to have been the model for the main chracter in Tomita Tsuneo’s 1942 novel Sugata Sanshiro. (The great movie director Kurosawa Akira /1920-1998/ began his career with Sugata Sanshiro /1943/, a film on JUDO.)Saigo died in 1922 at the age of 57.


SAMURA, KAICHIRO (1880-1964) Kodokan 10th Dan

One of the two longest living 10th DANs, he joined the KODOKAN in 1898 and received the grade of 10th DAN on April 5, 1948. In 1899, he became the head of the JUDO Section of the Butokukai and later traveled extensively teaching at schools and police establishments. In 1931, he began teaching at the KODOKAN and was a member of the DOJO Consultative Group


SHORIKI, MATSUTARO (1885-1969) Kodokan 10th Dan

Born April 11, 1885 in Toyama Prefecture, educated at Takaoka Middle School, Fourth National Higher School, and Tokyo Imperial University. Director of the Police Affairs Section of the Metropolitan Police Board, President of the Yomiuri Shimbunsha (Japanese newspaper) and later its owner. Appointed Member of the House of Peers and elected Member of the House of Representatives. Served as State Minister. Established Japans first commercial television station Nippon Television Network Corporation. Started professional baseball in Japan and contributed to its development. President of the Franco-Japanese University JUDO Association, Chairman of Nippon Budokan, and President of National Dietmans JUDO Federation. He is the only non-professional in the history of the KODOKAN to hold the 10th DAN. He was promoted after his death on October 9, 1969.


TABATA SHOTARO (1884-1950) Kodokan 10th Dan

Entered the KODOKAN in 1900 and was promoted to 10th DAN on April 5, 1948. He was the third youngest person to receive a 10th DAN. From 1905, he taught at the Butokukai in Kyoto where he trained many new instructors and contributed greatly to the development and diffusion of JUDO. Together with Isogai, 10th DAN, he occupies a special place in Kansai JUDO. He died on May 25, 1950.


TUKU SANBO (1887-1945)

After being discovered by Jigoro KANO, Sanbo Toku came to Tokyo in 1906, and entered KODOKAN in May of that year.
In 1909, Mr. Toku entered the Tokyo Advanced Teachers Training School (literature and physical education fields, specializing in Japanese and Chinese classics) while continuing his keiko (training) at KODOKAN. He withdrew from school in 1911 in order to devote all his time to Kodokan.
He was known for arriving earliest at the dojo for keiko despite the fact that trains were not yet running at that hour, forcing him to walk 10 kilometers from Komatsugawa (Edogawa Ward). In addition to being the first in the dojo, Mr. Toku achieved a perfect attendance record.
He later became a JUDO instructor at Waseda University, Nippon University, and Takushoku University. Although he founded his own facility for training apprentices, he was killed in a Tokyo air raid on March 10, 1945 at the age of 59.


Tokio Hirano (1922-1993)

Tokio Hirano (5’5”, 75 kg), obtained Godan (5th dan) at age 19, is perhaps the greatest JUDO technician of all time. He is probably the best known Japanese JUDOKA in Europe. In 1952, Hirano went to teach JUDO in Europe. Within six years, he had accumulated over 4,300 wins.

Hirano revolutionized the order to tsukuru, kumu, kakeru and nageru. This is the current European style JUDO. This is a proven method to defeat bigger opponents, as demonstrated by Hiranos stunning success. Wilhelm Ruska (Holland) 192 cm, 115 kg, was his most accomplished student. Ruska was the world heavyweight champion in 1967 and 1971 and runner up in 1969 (open weight). Wilhelm was the dual gold medallist in heavy and open weight class at the 1972 Munich Olympics.




KANO Jigoro ‘s second teacher of JU JUSU, ISO Masatomo took ill in 1881 and died. Later KANO met Iikubo, the master of KITO RYU JU JUTSU. Iikubo awarded KANO a licence of full transmission (menkyo kaiden) in 1883. In KANO’s time the KITO RYU focused primarily on throwing techniques (NAGE WAZA). Iikubo was already over fifty, he continued to train full time, and he was the most skilled martial artist under whom KANO ever trained. (In his memoirs KANO stated, ‘From Master FUKUDA, I learned what my life’s work would be: from Master MASAMOTO, I learned the subtle nature of KATA: and from Master Iikubo, I learned varied techniques and the importance of timing.


YAMASHITA YOSHIAKI (1865-1935) Kodokan 10th Dan

The son of a minor samurai he received some martial art training as a youth. In 1884, he became the nineteenth member of JIGORO KANO’s KODOKAN. After three months he earned his first DAN ranking at KANO’s school. After two years he received his fourth DAN. In 1898, he received sixth DAN. He was a member of the KODOKAN teams that wrestled the Tokyo Police JUJUTSU club in 1883 and 1884. He was an excellent instructor. He spoke very good English and wrote beautiful Japanese. In 1903, he went to the USA where he taught JUDO to President T. Roosevelt. Three years later he left the USA for Japan, he attended an important JUDO conference held in Kyoto. JIGORO KANO awarded him the first 10th DAN after his death on October 26, 1935, although he dated the certificate two days before the death.

For Reading

Yamashita, Yoshiaki. (1903, August 26). Letter to Sam Hill in Maryhill Museum of Art collection.



After studying the TENSHIN SHINYO RYU style under Keitaro Inoue of Yushima Tenjin, Mr. Sakujiro Yokoyama entered KODOKAN in April of 1886.
Naturally adept at Jujutsu, Mr. Yokoyama had both a powerful physique and a diligent attitude toward training, and he quickly became a skillful JUDO practitioner. In 1887, he became a zealous JUDO instructor, taking positions as supporter of the JU-JUTSU department for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and as a KODOKAN supervisor.
He also trained instructors by teaching Judo at the Tokyo Advanced Teacher Training School, etc.
Mr. Yokoyama died in 1912 at the age of 49.