Yamashita Yasuhiro (山下泰裕)
talks about Judo and the Spirit of Olympism
Gendai (ゲンダイ), February 14, 202, p.
By 春日良一 (Kasuga
JOC Chairman Yamashita's Mission
should be to Spread Olympism, rather than to Win a Certain Number of Gold Medals (山下JOC会長の使命はメダル数よりオりンピズム普及だ)
The author, Kasuga
was born in Nagano-ken and graduated
from the philosophy department of Jōchi
In 1978 he joined the
Nihon Kyōiku Kyōkai (Japan Physical Education Association). In 1989 he
moved to the newly formed JOC and was in charge of public relations with
or for the IOC. In 1990 he was involved in making the arrangements for the
Nagano games. In 1995 he left the JOC and established a sports consulting
company which he represented. In (from) 1998 he was the main author of an
Olympic criticism "Thinking about Sports" (スポーツ思考).
Chairman's Objective is 30 Gold Medals (金３０個を目標に掲げる).
Individual Athletes should pursue
The Olympic Charter
is being clearly denied. According to item 6 of the Olympic Charter,
the games are not supposed to be a competition between countries. Regrettably,
the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC, 日本委員会)
is oblivious to this fact. last month on January 30, in a meeting of
the Domestic and Foreign Conditions Investigation Association (内外情勢調査会),
the Chairman of the JOC, Yamashita Yashuhiro, promised to select at least
30 athletes who could win gold medals in the Tokyo Games (in 2020). It
might have seemed that this was "lip-service" for important people in the
political and business world, but on March 3 at a press conference in
Tokyo regarding the plan for achieving the objectives of the games the JOC
announced that its mission was to win 30 gold medals. When Yamashita was
the General Manager of the Athlete Development section of the JOC he said
exactly the same thing. This isn't what he should be saying as the JOC
There is no doubt that the
success of the Tokyo Games to a large extent will depend on the performance of
Japan's representatives. But as the "leader" in the movement to
spread "Olympism" in Japan, medal hunting isn't what he should
be emphasizing.1 According to the Olympic Charter, contests are
supposed to be between
individual athletes, not countries. Not to prove who can run fastest, jump
highest, or is the strongest, but to show friendship even more so than
dignity or victory, a friendly feeling that surpasses nationalism. Thereby athletes
will be messengers of peace. The medal result is a matter for the
individual athletes. Chairman Yamashita should be aware of
Last year if I'm not mistaken, in episode 37 of the special
NHK historical drama series, Taiga (大河), called
Jigorō's participation in the International Olympic
Committee's meeting in Cairo.2
was high-lighted. Kanō
made an emotional speech to the General Assembly to bring the Olympics to Tokyo in
1940. Sadly, he died on board the ship Hikawa-maru (永川丸)
while returning home to Japan.3 In an epilog, Yamashita appeared, talking
about Kanō. Yamashita said: "Judo was
created by Kanō. When we think
about Kanō sensei as a
member of the IOC, judo was presented in the 1964 Olympics judo was
shown.4 Now as the Chairman of the JOC I'm the inheritor of Kanō's
意志) and mentality (精神). I want to be one of his successors."
Yamashita became teary-eyed. (目には光るものがあった).
If Chairman Yamashita inherited Kanō's
shouldn't he be more focused on creating a
"peace society" (平和な社会)
through sports rather than winning 30 gold medals?
aspiration was to successfully host the Olympics in Tokyo to avoid a great
war.5 Winning gold medals might demonstrate a country's national power, but
that is not the true spirit of the Olympics. That will depend on how much
someone is committed to the goal of peace.
1.The author is saying that Yamashita,
as JOC Chairman, should be following the example of Kanō
who Yamashita said he admired and wanted to emulate, and therefore should be
looking at the bigger picture, i.e., the spirit of Olympism, leaving the
pursuit of medals up to the individual athletes.
In March 1938.
In May 1938, at age 78, of pneumonia (New York Times, May 4, 1938).
As a demonstration sport.
The war wasn't avoided and the Olympics were cancelled completely until
1948, where they resumed in London].
Recommended Books by
The Fighting Spirit of Judo
Videos by or
about Yamashita on youtube.com
Instructional (with 佐藤宣践). Japanese title:
柔道ー基本と練習法 (Japanese only)
Yamashita in （全日本柔道選手権大会
Championships (Japanese only)
Other Judo Articles on GTR
villa in Abiko City
Judo Destroys BJJ
The Day BJJ Lost
Judo vs. Gracies Pt. 1
Judo vs. Gracies Pt. 2
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
Sanin 5-dan in France
between Yamashita and Masahiko Kimura
of the way the Olympics are going), and ２０年東京大会、これでいいのか
(are you OK with that, ChairmanYamashita?),
Gendai , February 14, 2002,
Yamashita on left. Author Kasuga Ryōichi on right.
(c) 2020, Roberto Pedreira, All rights reserved.