Connect with us


Kosei Inoue: Reflections on Innovative Approaches to Convey Judo Values

A nursery school judo festival, an elementary school tourney with parents sitting in coaches' seats and a mall demonstration of the sport highlight its appeal.



Taiyo Hoikuen is a nursery school group that has incorporated judo into its activities. We conducted a judo class at the Little Kids Judo Festival it staged on January 13. (ⒸKosei Inoue)

Greetings, fellow readers of JAPAN Forward. This is judoka Kosei Inoue, here to update you on the latest news from the world of Japanese judo

Since this is our first newsletter for 2024, I wish you all the best for the rest of the year.

Well then, let me start by saying that recently I have been getting increasingly busy with various judo-related activities. So, in this column, I would like to tell you about our exchange activities related to judo. 

The first such event I took part in the new year was the Little Kids Judo Festival held on January 13. It was sponsored by Taiyo Hoikuen ("Sun Preschools"), which operates several nursery schools in Saitama Prefecture north of Tokyo. These nursery schools have incorporated judo into their daily childcare program and this event was a presentation on the results of that approach. 

Kiddies put on a lively display of what they had learned in terms of judo etiquette, falling (ukemi) and other techniques. The faces of their parents told how impressed they were at how their children were growing and being looked after.

Incorporating Judo into Taiyo Hoikuen's Nursery School Program

The Taiyo Hoikuen organization is run by Mr Daikatsu Nakajima, who was a senpai mentor of mine at Tokai University. During his opening remarks, Mr Nakajima explained the reason judo was incorporated into their nursery school program. 


"It was because we wanted to use judo to hone a spirit of perseverance and commitment during childhood, which is the most important period for character formation," he said.

I myself began judo training when I was only 5 and I am convinced that it is an excellent way to build a strong body and mind. And I am sure that the children who are now learning judo at Taiyo nursery schools will find in the days to come that they can utilize the things they have learned in their daily lives. 

Also active behind the scenes at the event was Mr Nakajima's son Takushi Nakajima, who is one of my students. I was very delighted to see one of my students doing a job like that as a responsible member of society. All in all, it was a day that made me feel truly grateful to be able to connect with other people through judo.

A commemorative photo showing participants in the 13th Sports Hinomaru Kids Kinki Region Elementary School Judo Tournament in Osaka on January 14.​ (ⒸKosei Inoue)

Fostering Bonds Between Parents and Children

The following day (January 14) I was in Osaka to participate in the 13th Sports Hinomaru ("Rising Sun") Kids Kinki Region Elementary School Judo Tournament. This tournament is based on the concept of fostering bonds between parents and children through judo. A unique feature of the tournament is that parents sit in the coaches' seats and watch the matches together. Another appealing feature of this tournament is the various ingenious touches besides the matches themselves 

Among the attractions staged this time were an ukemi contest, physical fitness tests, massages administered by professionals and clown acts. It seemed everywhere I turned in the venue some kind of enjoyable event was going on amidst a festive atmosphere. It was all very exciting.

I understand that around 800 people attended the tournament this year. Seeing how it was an event that did not emphasize just winning or losing, I thought that great turnout certainly showed it had received the support of many people.

A scene from the demonstration event held at Aeon Mall Kochi in December 2023. Many shoppers stopped to watch the event. (©Kosei Inoue)

Judo at a Shopping Mall

I would also like to discuss an event that took place in the Aeon Kochi Shopping Mall in Kochi Prefecture on Shikoku island in December 2023. Since at that time I was serving as general manager of the Japan Elevator Service Holding's judo club, and the club happened to be holding a training camp in Kochi, we decided to participate in the mall event. The upshot was that our judoka had the opportunity to show off their skills at a special venue set up inside the mall.

Although it was my first experience of a judo event staged in a shopping mall, it seems that the appearance of our group of athletes in judo uniforms in itself had quite an impact. Shopper after shopper stopped in their tracks and soon a crowd of spectators had gathered. 


Every time a judoka successfully demonstrated a technique, the onlookers responded with applause. We ended up a bigger hit than I ever could have imagined. 

Learning judo in nursery school, a tournament with a lot more than just competition and a demonstration in a shopping mall, I believe that all three of these initiatives proved useful in bringing out the inherent appeal of judo from a previously undiscovered angle.

I , for one, would like to take inspiration from these innovative approaches, and this year continue to refuse to be tied down by rigid concepts, but instead rely on flexible thinking to convey judo values.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Learn more about Certified NPO JUDOs and how to support or become involved in the sport of judo on the Certified NPO JUDOs homepage.

judo Kosei Inoue
Kosei Inoue, President, Certified NPO JUDOs
judo Kosei Inoue
井上康生 理事長, 認定NPO法人 JUDOs

Our Partners