Judo was devised by Jigorō Kanō (1860-1938) in the 1880s derived from more ancient forms of the Japanese martial arts known as jūjutsu. He described judo as ‘not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment.’ Between May and October 1910 eight million people visited the Japan-British Exhibition in London. Designed to correct common misconceptions about Japan and foster a better understanding of all aspects of Japanese culture, the scale of the exhibition was huge. Today judo is widely practiced throughout Japan and the Kōdōkan, the school founded by Kanō in Tokyo, continues as a focus and inspiration for jūdoka around the world.
This exhibition features material from the most significant judo archival collection in the UK, which is now housed at the University of Bath. The collection was assembled by Richard Bowen (1926-2005), who represented Great Britain at the first World Judo Championships in Japan. The valuable photographs, rare books, old posters and other important documents illustrate the history of judo in the UK as well as provide fascinating insights into Anglo-Japanese relations, the role of gender in sport and the popularity of judo around the world.
With special thanks to Dr Mike Callan, Dr Amanda Callan-Spenn and Mrs Marian Woodard.
In association with University of Bath Library