2011, Volume 7, Issue 3

Kōdōkan Jūdō’s Inauspicious Ninth Kata: The Joshi goshinhō ―“Self-Defense Methods for Women”– Part 1

Carl De Crée1, Llyr C. Jones1

1International Association of Judo Researchers, United Kingdom

Author for correspondence: Carl De Crée; International Association of Judo Researchers, United Kingdom; email: prof.cdecree[at]earthlink.net

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Background and Study Aim: The purpose of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive review of Joshi goshinhō (“Self-defense methods for Women”), the now reclusive ‘ninth’ kata of Kōdōkan jūdō, once part of the standard women’s jūdō curriculum in Japan.
Material and Methods: To achieve this, we offer a careful critical analysis of the available literature and rare source material on this kata.
Results: The Kōdōkan’s historic women’sjūdō curriculum was driven by health promotion-oriented calisthenics and paternalistic attitudes. Women practiced a less physical jūdō than men, and were instructed in etiquette. The creation of Joshi goshinhō was ordered by Nangō Jirō, who led the Kōdōkan after Kanō Jigorō’s death in 1938, and was completed in 1943 by a team among whom: Noritomi Masako, Honda Ariya, Mifune Kyūzō, Sakamoto Fusatarō, and Samura Kaichirō. Joshi goshinhō would meet the increasing demands for self-defense from female jūdōka. It also matched popular fascist views of body image. Its current state of decay is caused by: unavailability of competent teachers, a misconstrued perception that links it to gender discrimination, the sportification of jūdō, concerns about the effectiveness of its techniques, and reminiscences to the jingoist ideologies of Nangō Jirō. Therefore it has become victim to the long-established self-critiqueless and revisionist practices of the Kōdōkan leading to a silent exit.
Conclusions: Joshi goshinhō is worthy of a place in contemporary jūdō. As a series of technical skills rather than a ceremonial performance exercise it helps installing self-confidence, situational awareness and mastership of simple escape kills which may be effectively combined with randori techniques during an emergency situation. Jūdōka have a right to a critical analytical and non-revisionist approach to jūdō’s history in its every aspect as an integral part of the pedagogical aims of jūdō.

Key words: angō jirō, ata, goshinhō, kōdōkan, noritomi masako, ō jigorō, ukuda keiko