AFP journalists have visited Kano’s hometown to meet members of his sake-brewing extended family, interviewed female champions past and present to gauge the standing of women’s judo in Japan and profiled the extraordinary Ueno dynasty, where three daughters won Olympic or world championship Gold.
Other stories include a look at the niche world of judo therapy to treat ailments and an ancient judo uniform factory that still weaves its own materials.
The series is not limited to Japan. There is also a profile of a Bali-based self-styled “judo missionary”, who has spent his life traveling in some 20 countries to teach judo and who offers a salutary message for the coronavirus era.
The key tenets of judo, says 75-year-old Tsuneo Sengoku, are patience and compassion, both needed during this time of lockdown and disease.
“It’s time to exercise grand master Kano’s spirit of Jita-Kyoei (mutual prosperity for oneself and others),” he said.
“I want to call on people to hang on and work together.”