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    Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:29 am

    About 5-6 years ago by accident I cam across in came across an old news paper article that mentioned that the ambassador of Japan delivered to the president of our Olympic committee a black belt from the Kôdôkan. I found this very interesting since the man, although once a great athlete active in wrestling, had never learnt or done any jûdô. So our initial guess was that this was some kind of "honorary black belt".

    But given that the person was relatively high-profile, at least at a national level, the information was sufficiently intriguing for a jûdô researcher to pursue. So, on my next visit to the Kôdôkan, I decided to stop at the Kôdôkan Rank Records Department (officially called the Kôdôkan Deliberation Department) and kind requested to its president if he knew anything about this and if he would be so kind to show me the record. Much to my surprise, the man with whom I had a good relationship  --I thought--  reacted angrily and totally stonewalled me. This intrigued me even more since the person I inquired about was long deceased and there was not much of a protection of privacy issue and the individual had been a public and politically active person, and my interest obviously was as a scholar. If I had been quoted some article from the Japanese law on privacy that would have prevented honoring my request, I would have totally understood, but no such thing happened. So, I was somewhat surprised especially given that in the past the Kôdôkan had regularly violated the rather strict Japanese privacy laws by providing information about living people without their consent to third parties, information which wasn't always correct either. Needless to say that their refusal triggered my interest even more, especially since I was not given an alternative, such as for example "please, direct a written request to the kanchô motivating your request, signing it and provide a copy of your ID" or something similar.

    Yesterday, my research on this issue finally reached an end when I discovered the original and authentic Kōdōkan rank certificate of the person. The rank certificate clearly is authentic and leaves no doubt who it was issued to, when, by whom and under what number. It clearly was not a mere "honorary black belt" rank, and even more surprising is that it was not just a shodan certificate, but a nidan certificate. As previously indicated, the person to the best of my knowledge, had never even practiced jûdô, never even been a member of a jûdô club !  In order to do justice to the individual involved himself and prevent wrong conclusions, the individual to the best of my knowledge also never claimed to have practiced jûdô either !

    I find this most remarkable, even though it is known that Kanô Jigorô had given rank himself to people who had never learnt jûdô at that point, such as notably Koizumi Gunji, and this as a clear marketing strategy to get them on his side and ascertain the power of the Kôdôkan especially in foreign countries. The case of the late Shoriki Matsutarô who twice was jump-promoted and became a 10th dan largely based on his financial donations are well known among jûdô scholars and many senior Japanese jûdôka, but the current case is not public knowledge. It also differs significantly from the known cases in two ways. The other known cases involves people who either were jûdôka or later became jûdôka; Shoriki was a jûdôka, Koizumi 'became' a jûdôka the individual here never was and afterwards also never became a jûdôka. Secondly, the other cases typically involved people who held Japanese citizenship and were of Japanese ethnicity. The individual here was neither.


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    Jonesy

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Jonesy on Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:04 am

    I did not know that the Kodokan kept detailed records for ranks as low as nidan. Let's face it, most high school/ college students who stick with judo make nidan.


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:26 am

    Jonesy wrote:I did not know that the Kodokan kept detailed records for ranks as low as nidan. Let's face it, most high school/ college students who stick with judo make nidan.

    The Kôdôkan offer the opportunity to receive a duplicate certificate in case of damage or if lost. If they didn't keep records, that process would be more risky.

    It may very well be that most high-school/college students make nidan ... IN JAPAN, not abroad, and they all still did jûdô and would have competed in jûdô.


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    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
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    NBK

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by NBK on Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:30 am

    Jonesy wrote:I did not know that the Kodokan kept detailed records for ranks as low as nidan. Let's face it, most high school/ college students who stick with judo make nidan.
    Yes, but the Kodokan has records of every single yudansha (shodan / 1dan) and above from the first days of the Kodokan in 1882. The police promote separately, and unless the individual policeman joins the Kodokan, their rank is not, but my understanding is that everyone else in Japan joins the Kodokan and gets Kodokan rank.

    Until Kano shihan died, the Kodokan printed the name of every single yudansha around the world, every year. The Judo magazine would have tiny little print in the margins of the articles, listing name after name, with city - you could track the immigration of Japanese around the world with that list - Korea, China, USA, etc.....

    You'd see the same names year after year, some of the famous old people that never progressed but were listed as the senior most 5 or 6 dan, an interesting list.

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    Jonesy

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Jonesy on Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:54 am

    I knew they now offered duplicate/replacement membership cards and certificates so some sort of record must be kept. However I thought it was for 4 dan and above as a Japanese friend told me. All easier now on computer than in the old days - I wonder if all the old records are digitised?


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:43 am

    Jonesy wrote:I knew they now offered duplicate/replacement membership cards and certificates so some sort of record must be kept. However I thought it was for 4 dan and above as a Japanese friend told me. All easier now on computer than in the old days - I wonder if all the old records are digitised?

    Yep, NBK is right.

    Actually, I also have a copy of each handwritten record of everyone from the start until a certain year. They were once published, and there also is a big book that printed short biographies over everyone over a certain rank. And on top of that, there also exists an 18-volume encyclopedia-like work containing nothing that biographies of every jûdôka of some importance. I have told many times before that when it comes to jûdô there basically is nothing in languages outside of Japanese. There exist several other multi-volume reference works on jûdô, little thingies such as the bound volumes of Kokushi and Yûkô-katsudô or the dozen or so volumes of Kanô Jigorô Taikei, etc, all kinds of cute stuff which all those girlfriends who decades ago claimed did not know what to give me for Christmas or Valentine could have but of course never did, and instead gave some stupid crap piece of gadget that better reflected their brain capacity.


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    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
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    Ryvai

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Ryvai on Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:00 pm



    In 2005 Mr. ********* from Norway received honorary 1st dan for his work on Judo For Peace, who is now director of JFP (he had yellow belt or something hehe). I believe it was for representation, as hvite/yellow belt would not get "respect" in many of those countries. I am not entirely sure about the reason for this honorary belt, but its still rare :p


    Last edited by Ryvai on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:35 pm

    Ryvai wrote:In 2005 Mr. Jan *********** from Norway received honorary 1st dan for his work on Judo For Peace, who is now director of JFP (he had yellow belt or something hehe). I believe it was for representation, as hvite/yellow belt would not get "respect" in many of those countries. I am not entirely sure about the reason for this honorary belt, but its still rare :p

    At this point in time, perhaps early, but better early than late I need to remind of forum policies. Please, note that in my post I wrote about someone long deceased and who played a political role and could be considered a "public person", which makes such information not covered by privacy. Still I did not name the person.  We cannot really "discuss" living people (apart from public people such as Putin or Obama, etc) in respect of their privacy although we can mention a clinic taught by someone, or medals obtained by living athletes.

    Also note that this thread is specific about the Kôdôkan, not about other federations, and is also underpinned by documentary evidence (although I have not published it) which provides precise details as to who issued, signed, what data, what certificate number, etc. One of the points I wanted to make is that this is NOT an honorary rank. An "honorary rank" is not a real rank, meaning it does not give you access to promotion to the next rank. For example, in case someone is not a jûdôka and receives an honorary 5th dan, this person cannot claim in X number of years that he or she now wants promotion to 6th dan based on that honorary 5th dan; similarly, someone who is issued by a university an honorary Master's degree cannot on the basis of that claim access to a PhD. They are considered "honorary awards" not "qualifications". In the case I mentioned the person despite not having any jûdô experienced received a real jûdô black belt rank of 2nd dan, which also provided access to an eventual candidacy for sandan should he so have wished.


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    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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    Ryvai

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    Re: Another remarkable story of Kōdōkan rank

    Post by Ryvai on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:18 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    Ryvai wrote:In 2005 Mr. Jan *********** from Norway received honorary 1st dan for his work on Judo For Peace, who is now director of JFP (he had yellow belt or something hehe). I believe it was for representation, as hvite/yellow belt would not get "respect" in many of those countries. I am not entirely sure about the reason for this honorary belt, but its still rare :p

    At this point in time, perhaps early, but better early than late I need to remind of forum policies. Please, note that in my post I wrote about someone long deceased and who played a political role and could be considered a "public person", which makes such information not covered by privacy. Still I did not name the person.  We cannot really "discuss" living people (apart from public people such as Putin or Obama, etc) in respect of their privacy although we can mention a clinic taught by someone, or medals obtained by living athletes.

    Good point, I did not know about this rule Smile it is very public though, it's even official on the federations web page. Thanks for correcting.

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