(Oct 28, 1860 – May 4, 1938)
Founder of Judo.
Blackbelt Magazine’s Significant Achiever
Blackbelt Magazine’s Black Belt Award winner
Jigoro Kano was born in 1860 in Kobe, Japan into a wealthy family. In 1877, as a college student he studied Tenshin-Shinyo Jujitsu under Hachinosuke Fukuda and Masatomo Iso. Fukuda gave Jigoro Kano a heavy iron rod which Kano used to practice bojitsu techniques (stick fighting). After very hard workouts Kano massaged his aching body with a strong foul smelling liniment which he prepared himself. The other students in the dojo referred to him as “Kano the Odoriferous”. Fukuda died in 1880 at 52 years of age. Jigoro Kano, his student, tried to keep his dojo open, but realized he needed more training.
Kano then began his studies of Kito-Ryu under Tsunetoshi Iikubo. The Kito-Ryu emphasized nagewaza (throwing techiniques). These techniques complemented the grappling techniques of Tenshin-Shinyo Ryu.
In 1882 Kano founded Kodokan Judo. His system of martial arts (Judo) all but replaced the parent arts of jujitsu in Japan. Kano, was an educator and was successful in introducing Judo into the Japanese school system.
Kano traveled the world spreading judo to many nations. He visited the dojo of George Yoshida in New York City in 1920, 1936 and 1938. In 1924, Kano awarded a sandan to Henry Seishiro Okazaki, the founder of Danzan-Ryu.
Kano died in 1938 on board the ship SS Hikawa Maru on a return voyage from Cairo where he had met with an Olympic committee. It was his dream to have judo in the Olympic games.