Shiro Saigo

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In this Japanese name, the family name is Saigō.
Saigō Shirō
西郷四郎
Saigo-Shiro.jpg
Born February 4, 1866
Aizu Wakamatsu, Japan
Died December 22, 1922(1922-12-22) (aged 56)
Native name 西郷四郎
Nationality  Japan
Style Judo, Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu
Teacher(s) Saigō Tanomo Kanō Jigorō
Rank Judo: 6th Dan

Shiro Saigo (西郷四郎 Saigō Shirō?, February 4, 1866 – December, 1922) was one of the earliest disciples of Judo. Saigo, together with Tsunejiro Tomita, became first in history of judo to be awarded Shodan by the founder of judo Jigoro Kano, who established the kyu-dan ranking system.[1]

Biography[edit]

Shiro Saigo was born in Feb 4, 1866 in Aizuwakamatsu, in the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan, the third son of a samurai, Shida Sadajiro. In 1882, Saigo moved to Tokyo and in August of that year, he enrolled at the Kōdōkan, becoming Jigoro Kano's second student.[2] In 1883, along with Tsunejiro Tomita, he became one of the first two to be awarded yudansha rank in any martial art. Saigo was responsible for an early surge of popularity for Kodokan Judo, when he demonstrated its superiority by easily defeating a much larger opponent:

Saigō took part in the 1886 Tokyo Police tournament in which students of Kano demonstrated their superiority over the Yōshin-ryū jūjutsu.[4] In 1890, Saigo left the Kōdōkan and retired to Nagasaki, devoting the rest of his life to Kyūdō.[5]

The main character in Akira Kurosawa's 1943 directorial debut, Sugata Sanshirō, was based on Shiro Saigo, the film being based on the novel of the same name written by Tsunejiro Tomita's son, Tsuneo.

Four Guardians of the Kōdōkan[edit]

For more details on Four Guardians of the Kōdōkan, see Kōdōkan Shitennō.

When Jigoro Kano began to develop Judo from Jujutsu, his efforts met with opposition from Jujutsu practitioners. However, Kano drew a loyal following that included exceptional fighters. Hence the term "Four Guardians of the Kōdōkan" came into existence referring to Shiro Saigo along with Yamashita Yoshiaki, Yokoyama Sakujiro, and Tsunejiro Tomita.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Linhart and Fruhstuck (1998) p85
  2. ^ Kano (2008) p20
  3. ^ Kano (2008) p42
  4. ^ Takahashi (2005) p ix
  5. ^ Stevens and Shirata (1983) p5; Ohlenkamp, Neil, "The story of Shiro Saigo", Judoinfo, retrieved March 15, 2010 
  6. ^ Takahashi (2005) p ix

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kano, Jigoro (2008), Watson, Brian N., ed., Judo Memoirs of Jigoro Kano, Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing 
  • Linhart, Sepp; Fruhstuck, Sabine (June 1998). The Culture of Japan As Seen Through Its Leisure. State University of New York Press. p. 85. ISBN 0-7914-3791-4. 
  • Stevens, John; Shirata, Rinjiro (1983), Aikido, the way of harmony, Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala Publications, Inc. 
  • Takahashi, Masao (2005), Mastering Judo, Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics 

External links[edit]