I’ve recently been watching a ton of judo videos, specifically videos from past and present All Japan Judo Championships. Something really draws me to these tournament videos. I explain below.
This tournament is very special because it’s not like other international tournaments. It has only one weight class: Open. Having no weight categories makes for some epic matches, see Koga vs. Ogawa, and personally, I think it adds to the overall prestige of the event.
The All Japan Judo Championships is one of the three crown jewels in Japanese judo, with the other two obviously being the Olympic Games and the World Championships. Not only the gravity of this tournament, but also the high level of technique and skill, are what draws me to the event. Anyone can win it and it’s the best of the best. The lightest champion was Isao Okano at 79KG. The youngest winner was Satoshi Ishii, aged 19 years and 4 months.
I’m drawn towards the prestige of the event. The entire country gathers to watch the top Japanese judoka go head to head in a tournament that has been run since 1930. Win it, and your name goes in the record books, with notable champions that include such judo legends as Isao Okano, Masahiko Kimura, and of course, 9x winner, Yasuhiro Yamashita. The entire culmination of your judo career can be cemented in one tournament.
Below are some of my favorite matches. Enjoy.
2013: Hirotaka Kato vs. Syouta Morimoto
2012: Hirotaka Kato vs. Ryuta Ishii
2008: Yasuyuki Muneta vs. Satoshi Ishii
2003: Kosei Inoue vs. Keiji Suzuki
2001: Yasuyuki Muneta vs. Hidekazu Shoda
Also, watch this entire documentary covering the All Japan Championship rivalry between Olympic Champion and 4x World Champion, Yasuhiro Yamashita vs. 2x Olympic Champion and World Champion, Hitoshi Saito.