The latest Judo News offered by

A comeback after injury is a challenge for mental health

11 Sep 2020 09:40

 Sankei Shimbun and JAPAN Forward    Robert Danis
20070211_Paris_ Inoue_Kosei

The Sankei Shimbun and JAPAN Forward took the opportunity of the one-year delay in the 2020 Games to catch up with Japan’s national judo team men’s coach, Kosei Inoue, to talk about the satisfaction of coming back as an athlete after serious injury and rehabilitation, and the competitions and events that shaped the timing of his decision to retire.

You overcame a torn right pectoralis major (muscle) injury and achieved your aim by making a comeback and winning the Kodokan Cup in 2006. Did that put you back on track to qualify for the Beijing Olympics?

Inoue: I was so happy to be practicing again. I’d just started doing basic practice throws, but I was back, I’d made it. At first I was afraid to use my uchi-mata throw, the technique I’d used when injured. I struggled with mental aftereffects, and was afraid to extend my arms and legs. I became disgusted with myself. I knew my judo career was over without the uchi-mata. I figured even if I tore a tendon again, I could just retire, and so I prepared for the worst to overcome my fear.

 I started doing practice bouts with university students to regain my intuition in matches. I had seen a lot of university students, but when I paired with a certain one coached by Shinichi Shinohara at Tenri University and he suddenly threw me, all the other students were shocked. The atmosphere was intense and I was desperate. It was an embarrassing but unavoidable part of the process.

Losses at the 2007 world championships in Rio and 2008 Tournoi de Paris put the dream of the Beijing Olympics out of reach. Both losses were to the up-and-coming Teddy Riner (France), who went on to win at two consecutive Olympics and eight consecutive world championships in the over-100-kg class.

Inoue: Physically he was very large and had amazing balance. He was a difficult opponent, but back then I thought I would win.

More than losing to Riner at the Tournoi de Paris, for me it was not producing results at international competitions. That was the moment I knew Beijing was off the table. I was thinking about the others I was contending with to get on the team for Beijing, like Satoshi Ishii and Yasuyuki Muneta.

You pulled off a strong win at the National Invitational Weight Class championships in April, but were defeated in the quarterfinal round at the All-Japan Championship where you contended for the final selection for Team Japan for Beijing. Is that when you decided to retire?

After I lost in Paris , I had mentioned to a few people that I was thinking it might be the time to call it quits. But, I wasn’t sure, and maybe I still had 1% left of my career. Since there was still a place to compete, I resolved to keep going, competing at the National Invitational Weight Class Championships and All-Japan Championship.

On the positive side, it was like the gods were on my side, and I won at the invitational. I didn’t give up and my hard work had paid off.

Then, when I suffered that loss to Yohei Takai at the All-Japan Championship, I ended up retiring. As a risk-taker, I did of course suffer some regret, but when I heard the applause and cheering of the spectators, I was glad I had kept going. And that made me feel like I had done all I could.

For my first two bouts at the All-Japan, I was holding back. Then I said to myself, “This is no good. I need to go all out.”

So, in my last bout, I gave it my all and applied aggressive judo. In the end, my signature uchi-mata move was countered, but I used the aggressive style of judo I learned from my father right up to the end.

Check the original article

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Kosei Inoue (JPN) - Grand Slam Düsseldorf (2020, GER) - © Christian Fidler
  • Kosei Inoue (JPN),  RESPECT (IJF) - World Championships Juniors Paris (2009, FRA) - © David Finch,
  • Teddy Riner (FRA), Kosei Inoue (JPN),  RESPECT (IJF) - World Championships Rio de Janeiro (2007, BRA) - © Reuters

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News

OS 2000 Kosei Inoue of the tatami

Throwback to one of the most beautiful ippons ever

21 Sep 2020 20:25

There was never any doubt from the moment that Kosei Inoue stepped off the mat at 21 September 2000 in Sydney, 18 seconds after his first contest had begun, that Kosei Inoue of Japan would dominate the limelight on this special day of the 2000 Sydney Judo competition. JudoInside was with Inoue in a closed area just in advance of the press conference to share some magic moments of that day. In my imagination Inoue launched one of the most beautiful ippons ever. We look back to 21 September 2000, drawn up by Barnaby Chesterman on behalf of The World of Judo Magazine, 20 years ago. Read more


Trendy throw: floating elbow morote-seoi

23 Aug 2020 21:55

We at JudoInside with our partner, JudoCrazy, like to spot new trends as well as old trends that have gone largely unnoticed. A good example of an emerging trend that we spotted early on was the "Reverse Seoi-Nage". Read more



22 Aug 2020 09:30

In 2003 Japan had three World Champions with Yasuyuki Muneta(+100), Keiji Suzuki (Open) and Kosei Inoue (U100). The pre Olympic year is important for the qualification of the 204 Olympic Games in Athens, but the main event was the 2004 All Japan Judo Championship in the open weight category, which was the final selection event for the 2004 Olympics. Read more


Kosei Inoue: hard to do any focused activities

21 Aug 2020 09:30

As head coach, Kosei Inoue, now 42, led the Japan men’s national judo team to win medals in all weight divisions at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in 2016. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were supposed to be a world wide sports party but it was rudely spoiled by the corona virus. Read more


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

Judo birthday

Yunseo Ji

Yunseo Ji (KOR)
28 years

Result City Date
2Düsseldorf21 Feb
Result City Date
1Düsseldorf21 Feb


First description Second description Third description Four description