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Diffusion of Judo in the United States during the Russo-Japanese War: Aiming to overcome the ‘match-based historical view’

Author:

Kotaro Yabu

Sendai University, JP
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Abstract

In Japan, the history of overseas diffusion of judo tends to be depicted with ethnocentricity. In particular, the success of the spread of it has often been discussed in the same way as the victory or defeat of war, through the historical view that the origin and legitimacy of judo was prescribed essentially. What is drawn there is nothing but the history of cultural conflict without reconciliation. The purpose of this research is to reexamine such an ossified historical view from the viewpoint of cultural transformation. In this paper, I will deal with "negotiations" by both sides of acceptance and transmission, and variations of judo “generated” through those process. What is noticed in this thesis is the United States of the Russo-Japanese War period when Judo was transmitted to foreign countries for the first time. This article will focus on three key dimensions (1) Discussing the role expected of judo in modern Japan by paying attention to the ideal of "kokushi (patriots who dedicated themselves to national development)". Also, it shows that the practitioners of judo acted as "evangelist" faithful to the founder. (2) Some meanings given to judo in the recipient society are shown in relation to jujutsu (one of the original forms of judo) or jiu-jitsu (a variant of jujutsu created by local society) which was accepted ahead of judo. (3) Two opportunities for cultural change of judo are shown. One is jiu-do based on the needs of the recipient's society. The other is a new style judo devised by judo practitioner himself.
How to Cite: Yabu, K., (2018). Diffusion of Judo in the United States during the Russo-Japanese War: Aiming to overcome the ‘match-based historical view’. Martial Arts Studies. 6, pp.41–51. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/mas.67
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Published on 23 Jul 2018.
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