News

The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com

No end in sight to Japan’s male heavyweight drought

2 Oct 2018 13:00

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    Robert Danis
20070916_Rio_Muneta_Yasuyuki74

Japan last held the men’s heavyweight world crown in 2013. Their 15-year wait for a champion is their one weakness at the elite level. Muneta Yasuyuki was the last man to hold the title and did so at home in Osaka in 2003. Japan has won all 13 other titles since then and have had a stranglehold of many categories such as U73kg.

The heavyweight category has a special status in Japan with many of their most celebrated champions coming from this category such as IJF Hall of Famers Yamashita Yasuhiro and Saito Hitoshi.   

The All Japan Openweight Championships is the pride and joy of the Japanese competition scene and its iconic one mat setup in the Nippon Budokan.   

All the winners of this event in recent years have been awarded with the opportunity to compete at the highest level on the IJF World Judo Tour but all have fallen at the World Championships and Olympics.   

Baku 2018 was supposed to be different. With Teddy Riner absent from the heavyweight competition in Azerbaijan the onus was on Japan’s two heavyweight picks to prove their worth and go out and rule the category.  

Tokyo Grand Slam winner Ogawa Yusei was eliminated in round three while Olympic silver medallist Harasawa Hisayoshi was shocked by Ulziibayar Duurenbayar (MGL) in the quarter-finals. All Japan Openweight Championships gold medallist Harasawa came back to win bronze but did little to stake his claim for Tokyo 2020.  

Harasawa won world bronze

Japan has an alternative. It's a race against time but they have a young man with judo in his genes and who is blessed with the size, frame and agility that has seen him earmarked by high-ranking officials in Japan as their great heavyweight hope.    

Kokushikan University member Saito Tatsuru, 16, the son of the late Saito Hitoshi, double Olympic gold medallist and world champion, has been picked for the Junior World Championships later this month in the Bahamas.   

Tatsuru stands at 6ft 2in and weighs 155kg and has years of growth ahead of him. The golden rookie will be making his IJF debut after an introduction to the international stage in April when he won a Junior European Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, with four ippons from four contests.   

The teenager will fight at the Kodokan Cup, a qualification event for the Osaka Grand Slam 2018, in early November and a strong performance there would secure a berth for the fifth and final Grand Slam of the season. 

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Hisayoshi Harasawa (JPN) - Grand Slam Paris (2015, FRA) - © Klaus Müller, Watch: https://km-pics.de/
  • Yasuhiro Yamashita (JPN) - Grand Prix Düsseldorf (2015, GER) - © Andre de Heus
  • Hitoshi Saito (JPN) - World Championships Juniors Paris (2009, FRA) - © Andre de Heus

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News

inoue_suzuki_2003

Relive the epic All Japan final Kosei Inoue and Keiji Suzuki with their commentary

7 Aug 2020 09:55

One of the most heroic finals in Japan was the 2003 edition of the All Japan Championships between Kosei Inoue and Keiji Suzuki. Both legends, both are involved in the men’s All Japan mens team leading up to the Tokyo Olympic Games. This competition is held in open weight and turned out to be a legendary tournament and also marked the last match of another legendary fighter Shinichi Shinohara. Read more

20070916_Rio_Muneta

Report of the Asian Judo Championships 2000 in Osaka

28 May 2000 00:00

The 2000 Asian Judo Championships acted as the only source of qualification to the Olympic Games for Asian fighters not already qualified through last year's World Championships. Naturally some of the top Japanese, Korean and Chinese fighters were rested as they had finished in the top eight at the Worlds. Four Japanese fighters, however, had failed to qualify last year and a couple of Korean former World Champions did not even compete in Birmingham so there was plenty of talent on display. Read more

20200222_dusseldorf_hve_day2_prelims_9013_shohei_ono

Japan Judo Federation announces draft Olympic team

27 Feb 2020 10:25

The All Japan Judo Federation announced for most categories the selection for the team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The host nation picked a 12-member team including reigning men’s U73kg Olympic champion Shohei Ono and back-to-back women’s U52kg world champion Uta Abe. Read more

20180427_ech_telaviv_os_day2_81_sagi_muki_podium_proud_flag

Sagi Muki concludes successful 2019 as top earner

31 Dec 2019 11:05

The IJF will continue its end-of-year tradition of awarding a prize money bonus to all 14 world number ones on the final IJF World Ranking List for 2019. The bonus, which was first introduced in 2016, will see the world number one’s in each of the 14 weight categories scoop a bonus of $10,000 per judoka. Read more

20191214_ijfmasters_ijf_final_101_medal_100kg2_podium_krpalek_lukas_harasawa_hisayoshi

Hisayoshi Harasawa knocks on the door for Olympic gold

14 Dec 2019 16:25

Olympic silver medallist Harasawa Hisayoshi (JPN) was crowned the World Judo Masters heavyweight champion after the eagerly-awaited +100kg final could not take place because Olympic and world champion Lukas Krpalek (CZE) was ruled out due to back pain. Harasawa is seen as Japan’s leading heavyweight and the current front-runner for the Tokyo berth but April’s All Japan Openweight Championships will have a bearing on the selection for next summer. Read more

Judo birthday

Result City Date
2Düsseldorf21 Feb
1Budapest2019
2Qingdao2019
1Osaka2019
1Odivelas2019
Result City Date
1Düsseldorf21 Feb
2Osaka2019
1Tokyo2019
1Tokyo2019
1Hohhot2019

Partners

First description Second description Third description Four description