News

The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com

What is the Japanese identity for multiracial athletes

9 Aug 2019 09:55

 by Joshua Miller, Japan times    JudoHeroes & IJF / Copyright: www.ijf.org
2017_jh_aaron_wolf

Amid a shifting cultural landscape, a handful of talented multiracial athletes are among some of Japan’s best chances to reach the podium at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics and consequently draw attention to an often ignored yet growing segment of the country’s population.

In judo, Aaron Wolf has been making his case to represent Japan at the 2020 Games after becoming the first judoka of American descent to win the national championships open-weight tournament in April.

Wolf, the 2017 men’s 100kg judo world champion, recently won a Grand Prix gold medal in Budapest and appears likely to follow in the footsteps of fellow Japanese American Mashu Baker, who won the 90-kg gold in Rio in 2016.

The 23-year-old has a shot at getting an official stamp of approval should he successfully capture his second title in the men’s 100-kg class at the upcoming world championships at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan.

But according to Lawrence Yoshitaka Shimoji, a lecturer of sociology with American roots at Kokushikan University in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, there is a new generation of multiracial Japanese in their late teens to early 30s born after Japan relaxed its immigration policy in the 1990s.

“There are people of mixed roots not just in sports but in every field (in Japan). It’s just that the sports world is more visible,” Shimoji said.

“The arrival of multiracial athletes has triggered the question of ‘What is Japanese?'” Shimoji said. “It’s no longer strange to see people with roots from abroad. It’s common to see people from countries like Vietnam or Myanmar working in Japan. Osaka evokes debates like ‘She’s not Japanese’ and ‘No, I disagree.'”

Shimoji said he hopes the future success of Wolf, Osaka and other multiracial athletes can change the idea of “Japaneseness” but concedes that such a task may not be so simple.

“There is also the question of whether a handful of people like Osaka can really play an active role in getting people with diverse roots recognized in Japanese society,” he said.

Osaka’s choice to represent Japan like Wolf reflects the inherent difficulty of defining nationality for those with various roots, raised all over the world in an unprecedented era of globalization.

While Shimoji could not say whether such athlete’s success at the 2020 Games will leave a lasting mark on Japanese society, he believes it will at least get people of the ethnically homogeneous nation talking about its changing identity.

Vice versa there are also quite a few Japanese born athletes who chose to represent another country. Also in judo there are athletes fighting for Canada, Brazil, Taipei and at lower level you will find Japanese in almost each country.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Aaron Wolf (JPN) - All Japan Judo Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © ejudo
  • Aaron Wolf (JPN) - Grand Prix Budapest (2019, HUN) - © IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio, International Judo Federation
  • Aaron Wolf (JPN) - World Championships Baku (2018, AZE) - © Oliver Sellner

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News

20190714_budapest_ijf_edf_100_minaskin_grigori_wolf_aaron_jpn

Aaron Wolf retains gold in Budapest

14 Jul 2019 19:20

Japan’s 2017 World Champion Wolf Aaron won his fourth Grand Prix gold medal with a win over Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Grigori Minaskin (EST). All Japan Openweight Championships winner WOLF employed his uchi-mata to devastating effect as he scored twice with the technique to start off Japan’s gold rush on the last day. Read more

2019_gp_hohhot_banner

Grand Prix Hohhot hopes to welcome Japanese top team

21 May 2019 13:15

Perhaps we can see the Japanese team in full force at the Grand Prix in Hohhot this weekend where the team of the eventual Grand Slam Baku line-up is again selected. In Baku 20 of the 28 top Japanese cancelled but are again in the draft for this Grand Prix in China. Not yet they are in the banner of the IJF for this event, let's see. One thing is sure, World Champion Uta Abe will make her return in Hohhot. Read more

20190429_tokyo_alljapan_ejudo_wolf_d5t3tusu8aaycko

Aaron Wolf shows amazing shape with All Japan title

29 Apr 2019 10:45

Aaron Wolf captured the All Japan title for the first time in his life. In the final the 2017 World Champion defeated Hirotoshi Kato in the Nippon Budokan by wazari with an excellent Sasae tsurikomi ashi. For Wolf it is a great comeback after a tough year of injuries. Read more

20190210_gs_paris_km_podium_100kg

Georgian great Liparteliani completes Paris hat-trick

10 Feb 2019 21:30

Olympic and world silver medallist Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) held up three fingers to signify his third win at at the Paris Grand Slam. Former world champion Wolf Aaron (JPN) was caught with a uchi-mata for a waza-ari score and Georgia’s captain fantastic held on to win his country’s first gold medal at the first Grand Slam of the year. Read more

2019_jh_paris_maret

Maret and Iddir eyecatchers U100kg for French home crowd

9 Feb 2019 10:30

In the category U100kg France will look to the experienced duo of Olympic bronze medallist Cyrille Maret and Tel Aviv Grand Prix winner Alexandre Iddir for inspiration. Read more

Judo birthday

Result City Date
1Fukuoka7 Apr
1Düsseldorf22 Feb
1Osaka2018
1Jakarta2018
3Fukuoka2018
Result City Date
1Montreal5 Jul
2Fukuoka7 Apr
1Paris9 Feb
7Guangzhou2018
1Baku2018

Partners

First description Second description Third description Four description