Taro Miyake

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Taro Miyake
Taro Miyake.jpg
Miyake visiting Maitrot’s Academy in Paris, 1914
Okayama, Japan
Professional wrestling career
Billed height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Billed weight165 lb (75 kg)
Billed fromJapan
Trained byMataemon Tanabe
Yataro Handa

Taro Miyake (Miyake Taruji) (c. 1881–1935)[1] was a Japanese jujutsu and judo instructor and professional wrestler. He is credited for helping establish judo in the United Kingdom at the start of the 20th century.[2]


Miyake started his training under Fusen-ryu jujutsu master Mataemon Tanabe, as well as Osaka master Yataro Handa. In 1899 he started working as a teacher in Nara, and two years later he was appointed police instructor in Kobe. However, in 1904 he was fired for taking part in a brawl, so Miyake departed Japan for London.[3] Miyake toured through spectacles and music halls, and he famously defeated the reigning champion in the jujutsu style, Yukio Tani.[4] Miyake and Tani then joined forces, opening a jujutsu school and co-authoring a book titled "The Game of Ju-Jitsu". In London, he sat for the well-known English artist and lithographer Albert de Belleroche.

Beginning in 1908, Miyake toured Europe along countrymen Sadakazu Uyenishi and Mitsuyo Maeda, and he once launched a challenge to famous Great Gama. In 1914, he reached United States and stayed there for 20 years, settling down in Seattle, where he set his school.[5] On October 20, 1917, Miyake had a famous challenge match against professional wrestler and catch wrestling practitioner Ad Santel. Miyake fought bravely, but he lost the match after receiving a half Nelson slam so contundent that Miyake remained dizzy for half an hour after the bout.[6]

Now interested in professional wrestling, Miyake started working at Ed "The Strangler" Lewis's wrestling promotion, learning the art and having matches against names like Toots Mondt, Clarence Eklund and some others. In 1928 Miyake returned to Japan and toured there with three other wrestlers, but professional wrestling was not popular in Japan back then and the shows did not sell tickets. He returned to United States along with Danzan-ryu trainee Oki Shikina, who became his apprentice. As of 1932, in his 50s, he was still competing in bouts at Madison Square Garden.[2] He died in 1935.[1]

Career highlights[edit]

  • Lost to Ad Santel in Seattle, WA on October 20, 1917 (KO from Half nelson slam)
  • Won over John Berg in Spokane, WA on March 15, 1918
  • Lost to Canadian Jack Taylor in Vancouver, BC on January 23, 1919
  • Lost to Jim Londos on April 8, 1920
  • Lost to Canadian Jack Taylor in Casper, WY in April 1921
  • Lost to Ed "Strangler" Lewis" in Chicago, IL on December 31, 1923
  • Won over Fred Bilger in St. Louis MO on February 19, 1924
  • Lost to Oresti Vadalfi in St. Louis MO December 4, 1924
  • Won over Bull Montana in Columbus, OH on March 2, 1927
  • Won over Ray Carpenter in Columbus, OH on March 9, 1927
  • Won over Jack Kogut in Columbus, OH on March 16, 1927
  • Lost to Ray Carpenter in Columbus, OH on March 23, 1927
  • Lost to Jim Londos in Brooklyn, NY on March 11, 1931
  • Lost to Jim Londos in Louisville, KY on May 16, 1931
  • Lost to ”Tiger” Nelson in Washington DC May 28, 1931


  1. ^ a b Green, Thomas A. and Joseph R. Svinth, eds. Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. Vol. 2. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010. (pg. 446) ISBN 1-59884-243-9
  2. ^ a b Green, Thomas A. and Joseph R. Svinth, eds. Martial Arts in the Modern World. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003. (pg. 64) ISBN 0-275-98153-3
  3. ^ Racine Journal-News, March 6, 1915
  4. ^ Butler, Pat (1963). "Judo Complete". Book Reviews. BestJudo.com. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
  5. ^ Archer, Jeff; Joseph Svinth (January 2005). "Professional Wrestling: Where Sports and Theater Collide". InYo: Journal of Alternative Perspectives. EJMAS.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
  6. ^ John Stevens, The Way of Judo: A Portrait of Jigoro Kano and his Students