KOIZUMI GUNJI (1885-1965)

Gunji  Koizumi

Caption: London, England

1960: Gunzi Koizumi poses for the camera during his 75th year

(Copyright: The Bowen Collection)

Japanese JUDO master (8th DAN) who was the father of European JUDO, founding the BUDOKWAI in 1918. He was first proficient in JUJUTSU but switched to JUDO. A dedicated instructor, he founded clubs all over Europe, leading to the establishment of both the British JUDO Association and the EUROPEAN JUDO UNION. He was an Oriental art expert, practiced calligraphy, and helped to introduce Buddism into Britain. He taught at the BUDOKWAI until the day before he died. (See Sec. BOOKS on JUDO)



1.Koizumi Gunji. (1947, April), Judo and the Olympic games. Budokwai Quarterly Bulletin (pp.7-8).

2.Bowen, Richard. (2002b) Koizumi Gunji, 1885-1965: Judo master. In Hugh Cortazzi (Ed.),

Britain and Japan: Biographical portraits 4 (pp. 312-322). London: Japan Society.

3. Bowen, Richard. (in press). Gunji Koizumi. In Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.



Koizumi Gunji establishes the Budokwai at 15 Lower Grosvenor Place in London. This was not Britain’s first judo club. That was probably Barton-Wright’s school. It was not even the first Kodokan judo school. That was the Cambridge University Jujutsu Club, which was organized about 1906. However, it was the first British judo club open to the general public that continued to operate into the 21st century. Koizumi’s chief instructor was Tani Yukio, the music hall wrestler whom Barton-Wright had brought to England in 1899.


TANI YUKIO (1881-1950)

TANI YUKIO (1881-1950)

Japanese JUDO pioneer. With Gunji Koizumi, Tani introduced JUDO to England and Europe. He studied  the shin-no-shindo style of jujutsu and went to England in 1989, where he gained fame by defeating all comers in wrestling  matches. When in 1918 Koizumi founded the BUDOKWAI he appointed Tani Chief instructor. Tani remained at the BUDOKWAI until his retirement in 1937 following a stroke. Toni and Taro Miyake wrote one of the first English-language books on jujutsu, The Game of Jujutsu, published in 1906.



Noble, Graham. (2000b). The odyssey of Yukio Tani. InYo, http: // ejmas.com/jalt/jaltart_ Noble_1000.htm.