Kodokan Dictionary Of Judo

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Author: Teizo Kawamura & Toshiro Daigo
Pub: 2000 by the Kodokan
Pages: 173
Ranking:Four Star Rating
In Print


Occasionally surprised by what is included, or not included, this is an absolutely wonderful resource for English speaking Judoka everywhere. A couple of interesting examples, "Köchi" (an English loan word for "Coach") is included, but if you don't know what "Sensei" means, don't look here! This Dictionary is in two sections, the first half of the book is entirely in Japanese, and the latter half of the book is in English. It also contains the Kanji characters for all words. If you wish to purchase this, the only place I know to currently get this dictionary, is at the Kodokan Website.


I send my felicitations for the spread of Judo throughout the world. Looking back, Judo was founded in the last century in May of 1882 at a temple called Eisho-Ji, Shitayaku, Kitainari cho, Tokyo. When it started there were only nine students in a dojo of only 12 tatami (mats). But today men, women and children of all ages enjoy Judo from the bottom of their hearts, gaining much benefit from the physical endeavour of studying a martial art with a moral education included in its training and purpose.

Under these circumstances, it is my pleasure to publish the Kodokan New Japanese - English Dictionary of Judo because it will also support my advocacy that students should master skills reasonably and enjoy correct judo, following the founder's doctrine. I hope, therefore, that many people around the world will use this dictionary as much as possible.

As Judo was established in Japan and its terminology is Japanese which I am not sure could always be correctly understood in other countries, our editors took this into consideration and have made it as easy to use and understand as possible. I confidently expect that it will not take the users long to become familiar with its contents. I therefore wish and hope that all will keep and cherish this small dictionary as a close friend all their life.

August 2000
Yukimitsu Kano,
President of the Kodokan



It was in 1915 that the founder of the Kodokan Judo Institute, Prof. Jigoro Kano, formulated a precise definition of Judo as "The way of the highest or maximum efficient use of physical and mental energy" Today, we the current practitioners of Judo, have attempted to publish a small dictionary called "The Kodokan New Japanese - English Dictionary of Judo", following the definition of the founder of Judo. We had very strong motivation to publish this dictionary because judoists have always used their own terms and interpretation without a basic standardization here in Japan and this is also true for the rest of the world. But, although we had excellent motives, the writing of this dictionary went at a snail's pace because it turned out to be much harder and more complex than we had anticipated. This led to much frustration and chagrin because of our failure to finish it on schedule. For example, it took much more time to select which words should be used and whether or not they were correct for a dictionary. The sentences also came in for much revision and polishing of expressions until they were deemed suitable for inclusion. However, we at last reached the final stage buoyed up by our love and dedication to Judo. As time passes, the wider the spread of Judo throughout the world which gives us much satisfaction.

This dictionary will be introduced to the International Judo Federation at the coming Sydney Olympiad 2,000. We sincerely hope this dictionary will be used by all judoists, competitors, coaches and researchers throughout the world.

We have a dream that Judo terminology will percolate throughout the world by means of this dictionary which we hope will be used with love and affection by all in the year of the Sydney Olympiad 2,000 and for many centuries to come as a basis for the true understanding of Judo.

Naoki Murata, 7th Dan & Curator of the Kodokan Judo Museum
On behalf of the editors and staff


Explanatory Notes

Entries are listed in alphabetical order. Each includes the Japanese reading, an English gloss, and a definition or description. Every effort has been made to simplify and clarify descriptions for easy understanding even by general readers. Certain prefixes to the names of techniques (e.g. ude hishigi) have been omitted for the sake of simplicity. The number of entries selected for inclusion in this dictionary has been limited for the sake of compactness and usability, and therefore it should not be considered comprehensive.

Every attempt has been made to divide Japanese words and expressions into their most logical semantic components to assist reading and correct pronunciation. Long Japanese vowel sounds have been approximated using macrons (e.g. dojo) in order to indicate their Japanese pronunciations as closely as possible. Macrons are omitted, however. for Japanese words considered already to have become part of the English lexicon (e.g. Jigoro Kano, judo). Proper names are listed in the conventional Japanese order, surname first, given name second (e.g. Fukuda Hachinosuke), the only exception being for individuals such as Jigoro Kano who are known to have published widely in Western languages using the western name order. All entries are intended to be purely descriptive and in no way constitute proper "instructions" for performing any of the techniques, forms, exercises, resuscitation methods or other items listed. The authors, translators, and publishers assume no responsibility or liability for their use.

For the sake of clarity, descriptions of techniques assume application from a particular side of the body (left or right, generally clear from the context), however most could obviously be applied just as easily on either side.

Masculine pronouns have been used throughout since the English language still offers no elegant gender-neutral alternative. No discrimination whatsoever is intended toward female judo practitioners.



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