IBSA Grand Prix Tokyo 2023 saw another day of beautiful judo in J1 and J2 categories. We had the opportunity to talk to a person who made the competition possible here in Tokyo. President of the Japan Blind Judo Federation, Mr Yoshiki Takeshita, told us his story and what is being done to promote judo and its values in Japan among blind people.
Judo is a tool of empowerment.
Mr Yoshiki Takeshita

Can you please tell us about yourself?

I am an avid sports enthusiast but I am not a judo practitioner. However, I am aware of how to run organisations and have the privilege of being the president of the Japan Blind Judo Federation. I've held this position for 11 years and am also a leader of the blind organisation in Japan. We hold various activities inside and outside of Japan.

Mr Takeshita enjoying the competition

How is the Japan Blind Judo Federation organised and what is being done to promote blind judo in Japan?

JBJU has a history of 31 years. In the first 20 years we achieved a lot of success on the international scale. Unfortunately, for the last 10 years, the popularity of blind judo in Japan has not yielded top results. However, we are now working to attract more young people to judo. We currently have around 100 judo players.

To bring in more people, we have partnered with blind schools and other organisations to promote our sport and the values of judo.

Olympic and Paralympic judo have a lot in common but what makes para judo very specific is that you start with a grip. We started activities named ‘kunde judo,’ which means starting with a grip. We use those activities to promote blind judo in Japan.

What is the goal of organising the IBSA Grand Prix in Tokyo?

Holding these kinds of big events will promote blind judo in Japan. Judo is a tool of empowerment, especially for blind people; it has a special role. So our main goal of the organisation as a whole is to deliver empowerment; that is the reason why we chose to host this competition.

Mr Takeshita and Mr Tardos at the opening ceremony

How do you collaborate with the IJF and IBSA?

Through collaboration with the IJF and IBSA we were able to host this event and top IBSA athletes from all over the world came to take part. We are very happy to host the event with everybody. We have a long-lasting partnership with IBSA judo. Special thanks to Mr Janos Tardos, the chairman of the IBSA judo committee, for the support. We are working together to promote the kunde judo project.

Mr Takeshita awarding the medallists

Why is it important for you personally to promote blind judo in Japan?

As I said before, I am not a judoka, but I have vast experience in running organisations. I believe that blind judo has a very special role in society; you are able to train with able-bodied people and through this training all judoka can train their bodies and minds. It has been a privilege to run the organisation for a long time and to carry on this legacy.

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