Home > New Year Message

New Year Message

President of The Kodokan

Kodokan President Haruki UEMURA

I would like to express my heart-felt new year’s wishes to you all in the beginning of year 2022. This year is the 140th anniversary of the foundation of Kodokan. For this memorial year, let us unite and go forward for furthermore promotion of Kodokan Judo. I wish for an active and energetic year to come, while having many members from home and abroad gather in Kodokan. I also hope to visit as many Dojos as possible to spend fruitful hours with you through Judo activities.

For last year, COVID-19 infections still did not show any sign of convergence and a series of state of emergency declarations and requests for voluntary restraint was issued, which resulted in drastic changes in our ways of life. Under such adverse circumstances, we continued to believe that we even more had to carry on certain types of training and practices and we still could continue certain types of training and practices. We collected our wisdom and ingenuity to take thorough measures to prevent infections and carried out Kodokan’s annual events including Kan-geiko (Mid-winter Training), Kagamibiraki-shiki, Kodokan Summer Course, Shochu-geiko (Mid-summer Training), Kohaku-shiai, the All Japan Judo Contest for High Dan Holders and the All Japan Judo Championships. I would like to express my deepest appreciation and respects for those who worked hard and cooperated to maintain the history and tradition of Kodokan.

In October, Mr. DAIGO Toshiro, 10th Dan, who had devoted his entire life to the promotion and dissemination of Kodokan Judo, passed away at the age of 95. Until right before the Olympics, Daigo-sensei was actively working in the Dojo with his Judo-gi on and dedicated himself to teaching and studying Kata and Waza. It has been great sadness for us to lose our most important role model of Judo.

During the summer period, amid the global difficulty with prolonged COVID-19 situations, Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were held with a one-year delay for the first time in the Olympic history. The Games were organized with no spectators for prevention of infections. Approximately 11,000 athletes participated in the Olympics from 205 countries and regions for 33 sports, 339 events and 4,400 took part in the Paralympics from 162 countries and regions for 22 sports, 537 events. Top and elite athletes from all over the world staged exciting matches to their best spirits, techniques and physical strengths. Kodokan also welcomed Judo teams from all over the world with the best possible preventive measures for COVID-19 infections. A lot of comments delivered to the media booth were filled with appreciation that they could fight in Nippon Budokan and practice in Kodokan. During my business trips after the Olympics and Paralympics, I also received many words of thanks and appreciation from a number of people saying that “We could hold the Games, because they were held in Japan.”

After many years of preparation, while leveraging so-called “home-town advantages,” the Team Japan achieved the best results in its history by winning 27 gold medals and 58 medals in total for the Olympics and the second-best results with 13 gold medals and 51 medals in total for the Paralympics. Judo took the lead ahead of the other events by achieving the best results in the Olympic history with 9 gold medals and 12 medals in total among 393 athletes participating from 128 countries and regions. The matches themselves were so spectacular enabling everyone to enjoy the attraction of Judo. For the Paralympics, it was the first time to host the Judo event in Tokyo with participation of 132 athletes from 41 countries and area. Since the competitive levels in each country and area have been improved dramatically in recent years, the Japanese athletes faced difficulties, but they fought well to win 2 bronze medals. I sincerely hope that this momentum will be continued up to Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

After the Olympics and the Paralympics, we had a series of tournaments and events which we could not carry out in the first half of the year. We carefully contemplated how to organize them, while taking necessary measures to prevent infections, and we could successfully complete all of them. In the All Japan Judo Contest for High Dan Holders, we could witness that senior Judokas faced matches so seriously after continuous day to day training and practices for the day of the contest while enjoying their reunion after a long interval, which was a very encouraging and unforgettable moment. Once again, we renewed our understanding that nothing is more productive than seeing each other face to face on the Tatami in Dojo while sharing the same time and space.

Most of the training sessions for the overseas countries and remote areas continued to be presented online via internet since the previous year. But the online sessions are quite important tools to follow up face to face sessions. We have upgraded both distribution methods and web content. We are currently planning to produce videos of model teaching methods for Ukemi, Uchikomi and Kihon-dosa (basic movements) and make the best use of them.

Kodokan has ever produced a series of videos featuring best techniques of eminent competitors to inherit their techniques to the future generation and we have recently videorecorded signature techniques of former Olympic and World Championship medalists who have retired from their competition careers. Those videos are not only featuring their techniques to win the matches, but you can also see the process in which how they have applied their basic techniques and creativity to complete them as their own signature techniques. We are planning to distribute them as soon as they are ready to be published. We will also continue our joint activities with IJF for proper understanding and promotion of Judo.

Up until now, we have produced and distributed the videos of 100 Judo techniques. We also have completed the production of videos for Rei-ho (bowing procedures and manners) in the matches and the vocalization and motions of the referees. The contest rules have originally been defined to enable Judo in which each practitioner can come to grips with each other fairly and properly and exercise Judo to win Ippon with reasonable techniques as well as taking safety into consideration. We will continue the discussion to deepen our proper understanding of what “to throw” or “to hold” is all about, while clarifying the definitions and the judging criteria for “Kumi-kata,” “Nage-waza,” “Katame-waza,” “Tachi-shisei” and “Ne-shisei“ which are the very basics of Judo.

For the beginning of year, we are determined that we will go back to the basics of Kodokan Judo founded by KANO Jigoro Shihan, modestly and tenaciously promote “Judo for education” and “Judo for human development” as well as developing “Judo for a competitive sport,” succeed the traditions of Kodokan Judo cultivated by our predecessors, strive to realize “Seiryoku-zenyo” and “Jita-kyoei” to build up the history furthermore and present and deliver the spirits and essence of Kodokan Judo at home and abroad.

I would like to call for guidance, support and cooperation from all the members of Kodokan for the entire year. Last but not least, I wish for your happy new year.