"If you want to cry, cry on the green mats of Kôdôkan" : expressions of Japanese cultural and national identity in the movement to include Judo into the Olympic programme

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:"Wenn Du weinen willst, weine auf den grünen Matten des Kodokan" : Ausdrücke japanischer Kultur und nationaler Identität in der Bewegung um Judo in das Olympische Programm zu integrieren
Author:Niehaus, Andreas
Published in:The international journal of the history of sport
Published:23 (2006), 7 (Olympism: The Global Vision: From Nationalism to Internationalism), S. 1173-1192, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Electronic resource (online) Print resource
ISSN:0952-3367, 1743-9035
Online Access:
Identification number:PU201806003763

Author's abstract

Kôdôkan judo was included in the Olympic programme for the first time in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Japanese efforts to have judo staged as an Olympic discipline had failed earlier. When judo was accepted as an Olympic sport during the 58th IOC meeting in 1960 at the Excelsior Hotel in Rome this was symbolically tantamount both to the fundamental rehabilitation of Japan as a nation and to the reintegration of the Axis powers into the ‘Olympic family’ that began in 1952. The inclusion of judo was the first occasion when a non-European sport was adopted as an Olympic event. The high level of ability in three out of four weight classes that was demonstrated by Japanese judo athletes helped fulfil Japan's wish to demonstrate its own physical strength to the world and to strengthen its national identity through judo performance at the 1964 Games. Despite these victories, however, the defeat of the Japanese Kaminaga Akio by the Dutch Anton Geesink in the fourth weight class, the open class, ironically became the lieu de mémoire. In this article I will address the degree to which judo as an Olympic sport played a dominant role in the reconstruction of the post-war cultural and national Japanese identity. The Western image of judo and the internationalization or Olympification of Kôdôkan judo will also be discussed.