List of judoka
This is a list of highly notable judoka (judo practitioners).
- 1 Founder
- 2 Highest grades
- 3 Pioneers
- 4 Notable competitors
- 5 Others
- 6 See also
- 7 Footnotes
- 8 External links
- Jigorō Kanō (Japan, 1860–1938) founded judo, and established the Kōdōkan in 1882. Judo was the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Kanō was also a pioneer of international sports. Accomplishments included being the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). His official honours and decorations included the First Order of Merit and Grand Order of the Rising Sun and the Third Imperial Degree. He was inducted to the IJF Hall of Fame on 14 May 1999.
Only fifteen people have been promoted to 10th dan by the Kōdōkan. Twelve were promoted between 1935 and 1984. The other three were promoted together on 8 January 2006, and they are the only living 10th dan-holders recognized by the Kōdōkan.
Other judoka have been promoted to 10th dan by the IJF, though not recognised by the Kōdōkan, which recognises no grades other than its own. Some national (country) associations, continental unions and independent (often multi-style) bodies have also promoted judoka to 10th dan.
Male – Kōdōkan 10th dan
- Yoshitsugu Yamashita (Japan, 1865–1935) (his first name is sometimes mispronounced as Yoshiaki) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1935, the first person ever awarded 10th dan by the Kōdōkan. Although he was promoted posthumously his promotion was antedated to be effective two day before his passing. He was also a pioneer of judo in the United States, where he taught judo to President Theodore Roosevelt.
- Hajime Isogai (Japan, 1871–1947) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1937. He was the first person to receive and actually hold this rank while still alive.
- Hideichi Nagaoka (Japan, 1876–1952) (his first name is sometimes mispronounced as either Hidekazu or Shūichi) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1937. He was the last of only three people to be promoted to 10th dan by Kanō-shihan himself.
- Kyūzō Mifune (Japan, 1883–1965) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1945 under the presidency of Jirō Nangō. Mifune is considered to be one of the greatest judo technicians ever. Mifune also held the title of Meijin and the rank of 10th dan awarded by the Kokusai Budō Renmei/IMAF.
- Kunisaburō Iizuka (Japan, 1875–1958) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1946.
- Kaichirō Samura (Japan, 1880–1964) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1948.
- Shotarō Tabata (Japan, 1884–1950) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1948.
- Kotarō Okano (Japan, 1885–1967) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1967.
- Matsutarō Shōriki (Japan, 1885–1969) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1969. He was also known as the father of Japanese professional baseball.
- Shōzō Nakano (Japan, 1888–1977) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1977.
- Tamio Kurihara (Japan, 1896–1979) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1979.
- Sumiyuki Kotani (Japan, 1903–1991) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan in 1984.
- Ichirō Abe (Japan, c1923–) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan on 8 January 2006, at age 83. Abe was international chairperson of the All Nippon Judo Federation and has strong links internationally through the coaching he has done in Europe.
- Toshirō Daigo (Japan, 1926–) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan on 8 January 2006, at age 80. Daigo is a two-time winner of the All Nippon Judo Tournament (1951 and 1954), and a former manager of the Japanese national team, and until his retirement was the Chief-Instructor at the Kōdōkan. Daigo is known by the nickname Mr. Kōdōkan.
- Yoshimi Ōsawa (Japan, c1927–) promoted to Kōdōkan 10th dan on 8 January 2006, at age 79. Ōsawa is also still coaching at the Kōdōkan, and is recognised for his support of women’s judo. Ōsawa was known by the nickname Current Ushiwakamaru (Ushiwakamaru was the childhood name of a legendary twelfth-century samurai who was small but quick.)
Male – International Judo Federation 10th dan
- Charlie Palmer (United Kingdom, 1930–2001), IJF 10th Dan (promoted in 1996), was the first non-Japanese to be the President of the IJF. He was inducted to the IJF Hall of Fame on 8 September 2003.
- Anton Geesink (Netherlands, 1934–2010), IJF 10th Dan (promoted in 1997), was the first non-Japanese ever to have won a World Championship. He was inducted to the IJF Hall of Fame on 8 September 2003.
- George Kerr (United Kingdom, 1937–) IJF 10th dan (promoted in 2010).
- Yoshihirō ‘Yosh’ Uchida (United States, 1920–), USA Judo 10th dan, July 19, 2013 - subsequently acknowledged and recognised by the IJF. Head judo coach at San Jose State University for over 60 years.
Male – 10th dan, National Governing Body or Continental Union
- Mikinosuke Kawaishi (Japan/France, 1899–1969) FFJDA (French Judo Federation) 10th dan
- Seok Jin-gyeong (Korea, 1912-1990) (his surname is also sometimes spelled Suk), Korean Judo Association (KJA), 1990. First Korean to be promoted to the rank of 10th dan.
- Shin Do-hwan (Korea, approx. 1920-2004), KJA 10th dan, promoted approx. 2000.
- Chae Jung Gyum Suhn Sang Nim (Korea, date of birth currently unknown) (his name is also sometimes spelled Lee Suhn Sang Nim), KJA 10th dan, May 20, 2007.
- Henri Courtine (France, 1930–), FFJDA 10th dan (promoted in 2007).
- Jeremy L. Glick (United States, 1970–2001), USJA Honorary 10th dan, September 17, 2008. A press release in 2011 from the USJA mentions George Harris' 10th dan promotion as the first USJA 10th dan promotion hence suggesting that Glick's promotion was an honorary promotion.
- Jaap Nauwelaerts de Agé (Netherlands, 1917-), Dutch Judo Federation (JBN), 10th dan, November 15, 2008.
- Yi Bang-geun (Korea/USA, 1924-) (his surname is also sometimes spelled Lee), KJA 10th dan, January 2010.
- Jang Kyeong-sun (Korea, date of birth currently unknown) (hs name is also sometimes spelled Chang Kyan Soon), KJA 10th dan, date or promotion unknown.
- George Harris (United States, 1933-2011), USJA 10th dan, January 15, 2011. First 10th dan recognized by the three major judo organizations in the US. Placed 5th in the 1956 World Championships, won six Air Force judo championships, four US National titles, two Gold Medals in the Pan-American Games, and represented the United States in the 1964 Olympics, and was one of the leaders of the Armed Forces Judo Association (AFJA) that later evolved into the United States Judo Association (USJA), founded in 1968.
- Yosh Uchida (United States, 1920-), USA Judo 10th dan, an American businessman, entrepreneur, and educator who is best known for his contributions to judo. Uchida has been the head judo coach at San Jose State University for over 60 years, was instrumental in the development of the martial art into an Olympic sport and served as the Coach of the first US Olympic Judo Team at the 1964 Games held in Tokyo.
- Karl Geis (United States, 1933-2014), USJA Judo 10th dan, March 12, 2014. Geis is one of the founders of the USJA. During the late 50's and early 60's Geis studied with Japan’s top senseis including Osawa, Daigo, Kotani, Otaki, Kobayashi, Mifune, and Tomiki. Upon his return to Houston he started his own dojo which he ran till his death on April 7, 2014 where he developed several U.S. Olympians and many well known American judo leaders.
Independent Bodies, 10th dan
- Kazuo Itō (Japan, 1898-1974), Kokusai Budō Renmei/IMAF, 10th dan Meijin (promotion date unknown). Itō, a student of Mifune, also held the rank of Kōdōkan 9th dan.
- Taksasue Itō (Japan, 1887-1981), Kokusai Budō Renmei/IMAF, 10th dan Meijin (promotion date unknown). Itō, a previous personal secretary to Jigorō Kanō, also held the rank of Kōdōkan 9th dan.
- Tokuji Oshita (Japan, date of birth unknown) (in some sources his first name omitted and instead substituted by the initial K.), Kokusai Budō Renmei/IMAF, 10th dan Meijin (promotion date unknown).
- Philip S. Porter (United States, 1925–2011), USMA 10th dan, January 1, 2005.
Female – 10th dan, National Governing Body
- Keiko Fukuda (Japan/United States, 1913–2013), USA Judo and USJF 10th dan (promoted in 2011), Kōdōkan 9th dan. She was part of a group of three women, including also Masako Noritomi, who were the first to be promoted to 6th dan after a glass ceiling prior to 1972 apparently held back women from being awarded promotions above 5th dan. Fukuda also was the first, and so far only woman, to be promoted to 9th dan by the Kōdōkan and the 32nd or 33rd person in the world ever to be promoted to the rank of 10th dan in judo.
- Kenshirō Abe (Japan, 1915–1985), Kōdōkan 8th dan, was the youngest student to gain his 4th Dan in Judo. Founded the British Judo Council. He also founded the British Kendo Council, the British Karate Council, and the International Budo Council, and is credited with the introduction of aikido to the UK and Europe.
- Masahiko Kimura (Japan, 1917–1993), Kōdōkan 7th dan, defeated Helio Gracie, founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and only lost four times in his entire career.
- Gunji Koizumi (Japan, 1885–1965), Kōdōkan 8th dan, introduced judo to England. President and founder of the Budokwai. He spent over sixty-four years in judo, teaching it until the day before he died in April 1965.
- Tsunejirō Tomita (Japan, 1865–1937), Kōdōkan 7th dan, teacher of Mitsuyo Maeda. One of the first two students to be awarded Kōdōkan first grade (shodan). One of the four Guardians of the Kōdōkan.
- Shirō Saigō (Japan, 1886–1922), Kōdōkan 5th dan. One of the first two students to be awarded Kōdōkan first grade (shodan), and the very first student to be promoted by Jigorō Kanō to Kōdōkan 4th dan. One of the four Guardians of the Kōdōkan. Inspiration for Akira Kurosawa's 1943 directorial debut, Sugata Sanshirō.
- Sakujirō Yokoyama (Japan, 1864–1912), Kōdōkan 8th dan. First person to obtain the rank of 8th dan (was also the first 6th and 7th dan but shared this honor together with Yoshitsugu Yamashita), and one of the earliest disciples of Jigorō Kanō, considered the most formidable of all judo experts of his time. One of the four Guardians of the Kōdōkan.
- Mitsuyo Maeda (Japan, 1878–1941), Kōdōkan 7th dan, pioneer of judo in Brazil, the UK, and other countries, teacher of the Gracie family, fundamental to the creation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was also a prize-fighter in no holds barred competitions.
- Kenji Tomiki (Japan, 1900–1979), Kōdōkan 8th dan and Aikido 8th dan. Tomiki is perhaps best known in the judo world for development of the Kodokan Goshin Jutsu kata. His work Judo, published in 1956, is considered a classic.
- Minoru Mochizuki (Japan, 1907–2003), Kōdōkan 8th dan and Aikido 10th dan. Under the tutelage of Jigorō Kanō, the founder of judo, Mochizuki became the youngest member of the Kobudō Kenkyūkai – an organization for the study, preservation and development of classical martial arts – established within the Kōdōkan. In 1930, he was sent by Jigorō Kanō to study aikijujutsu with Morihei Ueshiba. He was the uchi-deshi of Morihei Ueshiba at the Kōbukan dōjō for one year before opening his own dōjō in Shizuoka City in 1931.
- Anton Geesink (Nederland, 1934-2010, Word Champion 1961 as first Judoka not from Japan, Olympic Champion 1964 in Tokio, 20-times European champion, First European Judoka with highest Dangrade 10th Dan.
- Ilias Iliadis (Greece, 1984-),Olympic gold and bronze medalist and Gold medalist on Masters and three times world champion).
- Teddy Riner (France, 1989–), Olympic gold medalist and seven-time World Champion (youngest person ever to become World champion).
- David Douillet (France, 1969–), two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time World Champion.
- Kosei Inoue (Japan, 1978–), Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion.
- Ole Bischof (Germany, 1979-), Olympic gold and silver medalist.
- Udo Quellmalz (Germany, 1967-), Olympic gold and bronze medalist and two times World Champion).
- Jeon Ki-Young (South Korea, 1973–), Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion.
- Toshihiko Koga (Japan, 1967–), Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion.
- Wim Ruska (Netherlands, 1940–2015), two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time Olympic World Champion.
- Hitoshi Saitō (Japan, 1961–2015), two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Champion. Coached 2004 Japanese Olympic judo team.
- Peter Seisenbacher (Austria, 1960–), two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Champion.
- Yasuhirō Yamashita (Japan, 1957–), the most successful competitive male judoka of all time; four-time World Champion and Olympic gold medalist. Compiled a streak of 203 victories (with 7 draws) up until his retirement.
- Hidehiko Yoshida (Japan, 1969–), World Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and MMA fighter.
- Tadahirō Nomura (Japan, 1974-), 3-times olympic gold medalist and one-time World Champion (under 60 kg)
- Detlef Ultsch (Germany, 1955-), two-times World Champion
- Noriko Anno (Japan, 1976–), Olympic gold medalist and four-time World Champion.
- Ingrid Berghmans (Belgium, 1961–), six-time World Champion.
- Karen Briggs (England), four-time World Champion. Widely regarded as the most successful British woman in the sport.
- Driulis González (Cuba, 1973–), Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion.
- Kye Sun-Hui (North Korea, 1979–), Olympic gold medalist and four-time World Champion.
- Ryōko Tani (Japan, 1976–), two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time World Champion. Youngest ever female World Champion in 2011.
- Masae Ueno (Japan, 1979–), two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Champion.
- Ayumi Tanimoto (Japan, 1981–), two-time Olympic gold medalist
- Xian Dongmei (China, 1975–), two-time Olympic gold medalist
- Tong Wen (China, 1983–), Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion.
- Ulla Werbrouck (Belgium, 1972–), Olympic gold medalist and six-time European champion.
- Barbara_Claßen, 1957-1990, 1982 Paris first German female World Champion, bronze Olympic medalist 1988 Seoul, 6 medails Word-C., 3 gold, 3, silver, 6 bronze medails European Ch.
- Kayla Harrison (United States, 1990-), Olympic Gold Medalist, World Champion, three-time National Champion and Jr. World Champion. 1st American Olympic gold medalist in judo.
- Ronda Rousey (United States, Rousey became the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo at the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and first UFC womans champion.)
- Yvonne Bönisch (Germany, Olympic gold medailist, two-time silver world Champion, two-time silver European champion, 1st German Olympic gold medailist in Judo
- Trevor Leggett (United Kingdom), (1914–2000) was one of the very first Europeans to study martial arts in Japan, and the first Western ever to hold the rank of 6th dan in judo awarded by the Kōdōkan (or any other organization) (January 1955). Leggett was also a scholar and prolific writer on Japanese culture. He was honoured for this by being awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan in 1984. He was the first person to be promoted by the BJA to 9th dan.
- Anthony Clarke (Australia, 1961–), two-time World blind judo champion and gold medalist in the paralympics. Two-time Australian champion against sighted opponents.
- Gene LeBell (USA, 1932–), two time AAU Judo Champion. Later turned to wrestling, stunt work, and refereeing matches including Mohammed Ali v.s. Inoki. Prolific author.
- Gokor Chivichyan (Armenia, 1963–), United States Ju-Jitsu Federation 7th dan in judo, mostly known from sambo, MMA, and popular Internet websites.
- Jason Morris (USA, 1967–), 7th dan with 20 gold medals in international competition, 2008 Olympic coach.
- Jan Snijders (Netherlands, 1943–), instructor and referee at the World Championships and Olympic games. Awarded a silver medal by the International Judo Federation in 2003 for his contributions to judo. 8th dan grade holder.
- Ron Tripp (USA, 1953–), 6th dan. Competed in over 2,000 Judo, Sambo, and Wrestling matches. The only person ever to defeat the BJJ champion Rickson Gracie.
- Hank Kraft – trained over 55 national and international competitors who have ranked 1, 2, or 3 in their division 
- Rena Kanokogi (USA, 1935–2009), 7th dan,dubbed "founding mother" of Judo for fighting for equal women's rights and competitions in the sport.
- Naoki Murata, (Japan, 1949–), 8th dan. Authored many books on judo, curator of the Kōdōkan Judo Museum.
- Ilham Zakiyev (Azerbaijan, 1980–), two-time World and five-time blind judo champion and two-time gold medalist in the paralympics.
- Kyu Ha Kim (Korea, 1935-) 9th dan Grandmaster
- List of celebrity judoka
- List of Olympic medalists in judo
- Records related to the World Judo Championships
- Judo founder named 1st member of IJF Hall of Fame – Kyodo World News Service.
- The IJF Hall of Fame was established in 1999. Only three people have ever been inducted into it. See IJF Hall of Fame
- American Judo – a Journal of the United States Judo Association – article IJF Hall of Fame in Paris, pages 11–12, Fall/Winter 2005
- Profiles of Kōdōkan 10th Dan Holders
- Kodokan 10th Dan Promotions – by Llyr Jones, PhD
- "いわてゆかりの人々". Iwate Prefecture.
- Michel Brousse, Le Judo, son histoire, ses succès, Paris, Minerva, 2002
- Goltz, Gary S. (January 22, 2011). "Press Release" (PDF). United States Judo Association. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Judo Heroes – 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games website
- "Gokor Chivichyan - Southern California Representative". United States Ju-Jitsu Federation. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2015-02-08.