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Reinterpreting the History of Women's Judo in Japan

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This paper reassesses the role of women in judo in Japan, from its secluded and restricted beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the gradual changes in gender and social paradigms triggered by the influence of Western feminist struggle from the 1960s onwards. Judo has been considered in theory an inclusive martial art because its creator, Jigoro Kano, stressed safety, etiquette and moral teachings irrespective of age, size or gender of its adherents. However, the social and cultural environment in Japan has traditionally discriminated against women both outside and inside the dojo (training place). We treat this issue historically, considering the broader context of the Japanese social, political and cultural developments.
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Keywords: Japan; Jigoro Kano; Keiko Fukuda; judo; martial arts; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil 2: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Publication date: 01 May 2011

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