TOKYO: Judo originated in Japan, but a brutal win-at-all-costs mentality, corporal punishment, and weight-loss pressure are driving a large number of children to quit, raising concerns about the sport’s future in its traditional powerhouse.
To emphasise the gravity of the situation, the All Japan Judo Federation cancelled a prestigious national tournament for children as young as 10, warning that they were being overworked.
According to a pressure group for those injured or killed while practising the martial art, 121 judo-related deaths were reported in Japanese schools between 1983 and 2016.
Japan dominates the Olympic judo medal table on a regular basis, but federation president Yasuhiro Yamashita told AFP that the sport’s values are being lost as parents and coaches pursue short-term glory.
“Judo is a sport that emphasises humanity,” said Yamashita, who won gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and is also the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee.