Judo is one of Japan’s most famous exports, but it remains quintessentially Japanese partly due to the principles on which it was founded. Jigorō Kanō declared that judo should be free from ‘external influences, political, national, racial and financial, or any other organised interest. All things connected with it should be directed to its ultimate object, the benefit of humanity’.
Gunji Koizumi maintained strong links between the Budokwai and Japan. He also worked to build friendly relations with judo communities in mainland Europe. In 1951 Koizumi helped to set up the International Judo Federation. Today over 200 countries are members.
As the world’s best-loved martial art, judo has a strong international profile with participation at all levels and ages on a global scale. It first became an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Games in 1964 and has been a Paralympic sport since 1988. Since then jūdoka representing 55 nations across five continents have won Olympic medals. No country has won more, though, than Japan.
Click on the images below to find out more or visit the exhibition gallery by clicking on the link to the right.