Japan is a country of traditions. There it is taught to respect the past to continue building the future. It is also a country that has modernised and is not afraid to open its doors and show the depth of its knowledge. Proof of this is the Kodokan, receiving judoka from all over the world throughout the year, eager to imbue themselves with the national culture and to improve their judo. Japan doesn't like to brag about success, it's not their style. However, Japan does not deny it either and has learned to communicate.

The All Japan Championships is the most historical and traditional competition in Japan. There is only one category: open weight. Winning this competition together with the world championships and Olympic Games is considered the triple crown. This year it was a selection event for the World Championships Tashkent for the +100kg category. Stepping on the tatami in this event is itself an accomplishment for Japanese judoka, with qualification events taking place across all regions of Japan. 

In light of this event, the All Japan Judo Federation created a documentary focusing on the story of four judoka: Ono Shohei, Rio & Tokyo Olympic Games gold medallist, Haga Ryunosuke, 2020 All Japan Championship winner and 2015 World Championship gold medallist, Saito Tatsuru, 2021 Baku Grand Slam winner and Ota Hyoga, 2021 All Japan Championship winner 

Inoue Kosei himself, the legendary Olympic and world champion and former Japanese head coach for men, was three-time winner of the All Japan Championships. He has a special attachment to this competition as an athlete, coach and judo enthusiast. Inoue is still involved with the Japanese national team but also holds the post of Chief Strategy Officer of the All Japan Judo Federation Brand Steering Committee. 

“The All Japan Judo Championship, also known as Zen-nihon, is the most historic and traditional judo event in Japan. It takes place at the Nippon Budokan, the venue of the Olympic Games. There is no other event like it. We decided to make the documentary to promote this event to a wide audience by putting the spotlight on the judoka who work tirelessly to reach their goals and dreams. 

Through this documentary we take a look behind the scenes to the show the human side of the judoka. What are they thinking? What are their ambitions? Who supports them and how? What is their own individual story? These perspectives cannot be fully exposed by only watching the competition. 

That being said, judo and sport are more than just winning and losing. There are many ways to be involved in judo: doing judo, watching judo, supporting judo. Each of these connections has its own special experience, linking them to the judo family and society itself. We will continue to strengthen these initiatives to spark new interest in our sport,” said Inoue. 

There is not much to add, except perhaps to highlight the generosity of Japan when it comes to sharing its attachment to a philosophy that has naturally spread throughout the world. All Japanese people should be proud to know that something that was born in their country has reached all corners of the planet. Each country has its style, its way of developing its techniques, but the common link is the vision of one man, Kano Jigoro Shinhan, who had the intelligence to create a martial art that stands the test of time. It is the Japanese imprint and the All Japan Judo Championship is its constant legacy. That we can see how it develops inside and enter the intimacy of elite athletes is a priceless gift. 

See also