_______________“The 150th Anniversary of Japan-Germany Friendship — Opening the Door to the Future through Cultural Exchange”
Monday, December 6, 2010, The Tokai University Club
Germany-Japan judo exchange
Assistant Executive Director Toshiaki Hashimoto:
On January 24, 1861, with the signing of the treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation, exchange began between Japan and what was then Prussia. Master Kano studied in Germany in 1889 (the 22nd year of Meiji) and the following year, when he was 30 years old. At that time, the German Empire and Japan enjoyed an extremely good relationship and many young Japanese traveled to Germany to study. It is well known that the Meiji Constitution was modeled on that of Germany.
Another example of the amicable relationship might be that Ogai Mori, a famous novelist, was sent to Germany to become an army surgeon; he studied medicine in Berlin from 1884 to 1888. Master Kano’s German visit occurred just after Ogai’s return to Japan. During his stay in Germany, Master Kano may have directly taught judo. I would like to elaborate on this based on certain material.
Judo, the bulletin of Kodokan, published in 1933 (July issue, the 8th year of Showa) carried a report entitled “Judo in Europe” written by Keishichi Ishiguro, who went to France in 1924 (the 13th year of Taisho) and worked mainly in Paris. He wrote in the report: “We could definitely say that judo was formally introduced to Europe when Master Kano visited for the first time in September 1889 (the 22nd year of Meiji).” He also points out that after listening to many Japanese students talk about judo and jujitsu, German people were developing a German-style judo. Actually, the German-style judo is said to have existed when Master Kano visited Germany.
In 1933 (the 8th year of Showa), Master Kano traveled to Europe via Siberia with Sumiyuki Kotani, a sixth dan at that time, and Masami Takasaki. By way of Moscow, they arrived in Berlin on June 15, and then toured through Europe including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain, spreading judo as well as having preliminary discussions to found the International Judo Federation. They also worked hard to bring the Olympics to Japan.
also contributed a travel article entitled “Memoir of Attendance” to the bulletin Judo. According to him, the purpose of Master Kano’s visit to Berlin was to spread judo, promote its proper understanding, and “observe the so-called German-style judo.” Mr. Takasaki’s memoir reports that the German-style judo had become widespread and there were 400–500 clubs throughout the country.
There is a record as well that Master Kano met with officials of the German government including Prime Minister Hitler and exchanged opinions about the educational situation in Japan
. Master Kano also visited a sports university, a police academy, and a sports school of the German army where he gave lectures on judo. The record states that Master Kano had a good command of foreign languages, and flexibly changed languages depending on the circumstances, adding explanations in German and/or English while giving lectures in Japanese.
During the one-month stay in Berlin, they gave a two-hour lecture twice a day, for 10 days. Mr. Takasaki reported that the attendees’ earnest attitude impressed them as “demonstrating a wonderful German characteristic.” Master Kano also attended the German Sports Festival held in Stuttgart, where he happened to see Hitler making a famous speech in front of the audience.
Lecture sessions by Master Kano were held in Munich as well.
Prof. Sumiyuki Kotani accompanying Master Kano wrote an essay, “Travelling Europe accompanying Master Kano,” which was subsequently incorporated in a book entitled The Straight Path of Judo published in 1984 by Baseball Magazine Sha Co., Ltd. Prof. Kotani said that Kitabatake Kyoshin, a future member of the House of Councillors who at the time was a fifth dan and studied in Germany, took them around the sights of Germany. Personally astonished, Master Kano is reported to have mentioned the huge difference between Germany where he had studied at the age of 30 and the same country he visited again in 1933 (the 8th year of Showa) when he was 72 or 73 years old.
Prof. Kotani also wrote: “Young Germans are so enthusiastic that their spirit rises to the skies. We were very surprised to hear that they wanted to learn all the judo techniques from us during our stay in Berlin.” They were police officials in the old-jujitsu style uniform, shorts and a half-sleeved jacket. Yet they stated that jujitsu originated in Germany and then spread to Japan, claiming that they are the founders of jujitsu. This explanation “astounded” Prof. Kotani. However, Master Kano smiled while listening to them and then explained the principles of judo to the German participants. What Prof. Kotani never failed to mention is the deliciousness of the beer that he enjoyed in the beer halls after judo practice. “Unforgettable” is the word he used, which is a universal, timeless impression, I suppose.
To diffuse the spirit of judo throughout the world The founder of Tokai University, Dr. Shigeyoshi Matsumae
, who laid a major ideological foundation for the establishment of our NPO, studied abroad in Germany in 1933. While reading his autobiography, I learned that he left Japan on April 1, 1933 and returned on June 1 the following year. He arrived in Berlin in early June and practiced judo in a judo school where Mr. Kitabatake also attended. This is also mentioned at the beginning of the World History of Judo compiled by Sanzo Maruyama. According to the autobiography, Dr. Matsumae worked to arrange a lecture meeting with Master Kano, who explained the essence of judo in German
and visited Siemens where Dr. Matsumae studied. Finally, Dr. Matsumae remarks that the development of judo, which was included in the Tokyo Olympic Games and has become a world sport, is attributed to the efforts of Master Kano, the founder of judo.
As you know, Dr. Shigeyoshi Matsumae stood as a candidate for president of the International Judo Federation despite his advanced age. I presume it is because the image of Master Kano held a special place in his heart, as a passionate lecturer on judo in Germany in spite of much more unfavorable travel conditions and his advanced age.
After coming back from Germany, Master Kano sent an article to a Kodokan magazine saying, “Kodokan Judo, or contemporary judo aims at not only physical training but also at an understanding of the fundamental principles of judo and their application to all aspects of social life. It is not just a few people who focus only on the techniques, forgetting the spiritual elements of judo. My work from now on is to encourage people to spiritually apply the judo principles in society. Similarly, Kodokan needs to work harder for that purpose in the future.” I think this is a sincere wish of the founder that the spirit of judo should be spread and applied in society.
It follows then that his wish can also be a guiding principle for the humble activities of our NPO. Pursuing the purpose of judo set by the founder, Master Jigoro Kano, we would like to work together with you. Today, we will hear more about our relationship with Germany, which has had a strong association with the Japanese people including Master Kano. I am trulylooking forward to it.
I would like to once again introduce today’s guest speaker, Mr. Harald Gehrig. Please welcome him with applause. Mr. Gehrig is First Counselor and Head of Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Japan and works hard for Japan-Germany cultural exchange. Thank you very much, Mr. Gehrig. Ms. Sasaki of the German Embassy will serve as interpreter.
In case somebody is interested in it: detail of a photo from members of the IOC 1936 in Berlin, published in "Olympia Zeitung" from July 31st, 1936. Kanō-shihan arm in arm with another member of the IOC:
There is another photo from the IOC members at a reception by Goering, with Goering, Goebbels, and other members of the NS-government in the issue from August 2nd, 1936. But the picture was taken from behind/above the IOC-group - therefore, like many other participants, Kanō-shihan can't be identified - if he attended at all.