Jigoro Kano (1860-1938) was a prominent Japanese educator, martial artist, and founder of judo. His contributions to the world of martial arts and physical education were revolutionary and continue to shape these disciplines to this day. Through his tireless efforts, Kano not only achieved personal success, but also left a lasting legacy that has inspired countless people around the world.
Early life and education:
Jigoro Kano was born in Mikage near Kobe on October 28, 1860. Growing up in a time of social and political change, he witnessed Japan’s transition from feudalism to modernization. From an early age, Kanou showed extraordinary intelligence and a passion for learning.
After completing his elementary school education, Kano entered Tokyo Imperial University. There he studied literature and political science, but his true passion was martial arts. Kano diligently continued his training in the traditional Japanese martial art of jujutsu under the guidance of experienced masters.
Birth of Judo:
Inspired by his love of jiu-jitsu and his desire to reform, Kano aimed to develop the martial arts with an emphasis on self-improvement, personal growth and mutual respect. In 1882 he founded his own school and named it after himself.
Chronology of Jigoro Kano:
Jigoro Kano was born in Mikage near Kobe on October 28th.
Kanou begins training in the traditional Japanese martial art of jujutsu.
Kano majored in Literature and Political Science at Tokyo Imperial University.
Kano named his school “Kodokan” to teach the new martial art, judo.
Kano published a textbook, “Kata of Judo,” which covered the principles and techniques of judo. 1889:
It was largely due to Kano’s efforts that judo was officially recognized as a sport in Japan.
Kano becomes the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Judo has been adopted as a demonstration sport at the Stockholm Olympics in Sweden.
Kano is appointed a member of the Supreme War Council by the Japanese government.
Kano was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, one of Japan’s highest honors. 1938:
Jigoro Kano passed away on May 4th, leaving behind a great achievement in the martial arts world.
Realizing Kano’s vision, judo officially debuts as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Olympics.
Kano was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal by the IOC for his sporting achievements.
Jigoro Kano’s legacy continues today through the popularization of judo and its impact on martial arts education around the world.
5 interesting facts about Jigoro Kano:
- Education Visionary:
Jigoro Kano was not only a martial artist but also an educator. He believed in using judo as a means of promoting personal growth, character building and promoting physical education.
- Philosophy Synthesis:
Kano incorporated philosophical principles into judo practice, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect, self-discipline, and a balance between physical and mental health.
- Founder of Kodokan:
In 1882, Kano founded the Kodokan, the first modern judo dojo. It became the world headquarters of judo and remains a renowned martial arts training institution to this day.
- Olympic impact:
Kano played a key role in establishing judo as an official Olympic sport. As a result of his efforts, judo was introduced as a demonstration sport in his 1964 and became a full-fledged medal sport at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
- Judo Legacy:
Kano’s philosophy and teachings transformed judo from a combat-focused martial art into a global sport that emphasizes personal development, respect and physical strength.
5 Quotes from Kanō Jigorō:
- “The ultimate aim of judo is not victory or defeat but the perfection of the individual’s character.”
- “Judo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength.”
- “It is not important to be stronger than someone else but to be stronger than yesterday’s self.”
- “The mind and body are one. You cannot separate them.”
- “Study the past if you would define the future. The way to do is to be.”