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February 27, 2020 (JST)

Prof. Kanō's Villa in Abiko 


By Roberto Pedreira

Jigoro Kano (Kanō Jigorō,  嘉納治五郎) was an active man. When he needed a rest, he went to his second home, or villa (bessō, 別荘) in Abiko (我孫子), in Chiba-ken. At the time, it was a "country estate." He built it in 1911, complete with a farm, or plantation (野園). Kanō's villa is gone now, but Abiko hasn't forgotten him. 

Abiko was a village (町) when Kano had his villa there. It's a city () now, but still in the middle of nowhere, despite being 30 minutes by Joban Line from Ueno Station in Tokyo. There isn't a lot to do in Abiko which is probably why Prof. Kanō liked it. There is a miniscule cultural center. There are some small bars and convenience stores and fields and splendid views of the national topographic treasure, Mt. Fuji (富士山). Abiko was popular among writers. With few or no distractions, it was, apparently,  a good place to write. In 2010 the Abiko City Physical Education Committee (我孫子市教育委員会) put up some plaques to memorialize one of their most illustrious former residents. Below are six recent views of Abiko City.


1. View of Mt. Fuji (富士山). Abiko was then a village (町) rather than a city.(市). As seen from 天元神山.



2. 達必力 (left);  i鏡為入以 (right). The writing is in the Chinese kanbun (漢文) style, read right to left. The Japanese kunyomi pronunciation would be つとむれば必ず達す(left); and 人以て鏡と為す (right). The approximate meanings are "accomplishment through effort" (left), and "learning from the example of others" (right).


3. The main attraction is the driveway leading to the plaque. Prof. Kanō's house is gone.



4. Plaques were put up by the Abiko City Physical Education Committee in March 2010..



5. Shady trees, possibly remnants of Prof. Kanō's botanical park (野園).



6. Lake Teganuma, shallow but home to carp and eels.



Thanks to  服部勝 for sharing these pictures and some background details from his day-trip to Abiko in 2015, and to 近藤洋子 for clarifying the meaning of the kanbun in picture 2. (近藤洋子 is the esteemed translator of many of GTR's interviews with various Japanese and Brazilian heroes including Sakuraba Kazushi and Helio Gracie; see Interviews for more).

(c) 2020, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.



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Judo vs. Gracies Pt. 2

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Myths about Mitsuyo Maeda

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Remembering George Mehdi

Gracie Judo Challenge 1 January 13, 1987

Gracie Judo Challenge 2 July 27, 1988

Keith Swartz Judo rev.

Oswaldo Alves Judo Interview

Judo Training for BJJ in Fujisawa, Japan

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Conversation (対談) between Yamashita Yasuhiro and Masahiko Kimura 







GTR Archives 2000-2021