Judo, a Japanese martial art based on throwing and submission techniques, is widely regarded as a symbol of Japanese culture and identity. The history of judo dates back to the 19th century, when Jigoro Kano, a teacher of physics and philosophy, created the sport by combining existing jiu-jitsu techniques with educational and philosophical principles.
In Japan, judo is practiced at all levels of society, from elementary schools and universities to professional sports clubs and adult recreational centers. Judo competitions are also very popular, with local, regional and national tournaments held throughout the year.
Judo is taught in dojos, which are training facilities specifically designed for the practice of martial arts. Dojos are often considered sacred places and are held in high regard in Japanese culture. Judo practitioners wear a white uniform called judogi, which is designed to be durable and resistant to grabs and throws.
The philosophy of judo emphasizes self-development, physical and mental improvement and respect for others. Practitioners are encouraged to work together to achieve their goals, rather than focusing on competition or individual victory. This approach is often seen as an application of the Japanese philosophy of bushido, which advocates honor, loyalty and discipline.
Japan has been a world leader in the development and promotion of judo. In 1964, judo was introduced for the first time at the Olympic Games, which were held in Tokyo that year. Since then, judo has been included in every edition of the Olympic Games and has become one of the most popular sports of the Games.
Many great judo champions have come from Japan, including legends such as Jigoro Kano, Yasuhiro Yamashita and Tadahiro Nomura. Japanese judo competitions, such as the All-Japan Judo tournaments, also attract thousands of spectators each year.
Judo is also closely linked to Japanese culture. Expressions such as “getting thrown” or “throwing in the towel” are used in the Japanese language to describe defeat or surrender, referring to the throwing techniques of judo. Images of judo and other Japanese martial arts are often used in advertising, television and film to represent Japanese culture.