44 Professional Best Judo Players in Japan of All Time

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Japan is renowned for its martial arts, particularly judo. Judo is a modern form of the ancient Japanese martial art of jujitsu. It involves techniques that involve both striking and grappling and is a major competitive sport.

Judo is one of the most popular martial arts in Japan, and many of the best judo players call Japan their home. In this article, we will look at the best judo players in Japan and explore their impressive accomplishments.

From Olympic and World Champions to All Japan Judo Champions, these judokas have achieved the highest levels of success and are the cream of the crop.

1. Kanō Jigorō

Kanō Jigorō was a significant figure in the development of Japanese martial arts. As an educator and athlete, he was instrumental in the formation of Judo, a martial art that quickly gained international recognition.

Ju-Jutsu, another Japanese martial art, was also popularized by Jigorō, and both Judo and Ju-Jutsu were among the first Japanese martial arts to gain widespread recognition.

The success of Jigorō’s work in popularizing Japanese martial arts was further solidified when Judo became the first of these martial arts to become an official Olympic sport.

This recognition was a testament to the impact that Jigorō had not only on the Japanese martial arts community but the international martial arts community as well. His influence was so great that he is still revered as the founder of Judo today.

2. Yasuhiro Yamashita

Yasuhiro Yamashita is a world-renowned Japanese judoka who is highly respected in the sport. He has achieved an impressive list of accomplishments, including a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games and four gold medals at the World Judo Championships.

He is also a nine-time All-Japan champion. Yamashita has used his expertise in judo to become an advisor and instructor for several organizations.

He currently works as an advisor or instructor for Tokai University, the International Judo Federation, and the All Japan Judo Federation. He has been instrumental in helping these organizations promote judo and grow its popularity.

He has also been active in helping to develop rules and regulations that help judo athletes to compete safely and fairly. Yamashita is also an advocate for the development of judo around the world.

He has been actively involved in the organization of international judo events and has been a vocal supporter of judo in countries outside of Japan. His commitment to the sport has earned him respect from judo practitioners around the world.

Yasuhiro Yamashita’s contributions to the world of judo have been invaluable. His dedication to the sport and his commitment to helping it grow and expand have made him an invaluable asset to the judo community.

He is an inspiring figure and a true ambassador for the sport of judo.

3. Tadahiro Nomura

Tadahiro Nomura is a legendary figure in the world of judo. He has achieved a remarkable feat in the sport, becoming the only judoka in the world to have won three consecutive individual Olympic gold medals in the extra lightweight division.

His success in the sport has made him one of the most renowned judo competitors in Japan. Nomura has had an impressive career in judo, earning a total of seven Olympic medals in the lightweight and extra-lightweight categories.

He first competed in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, where he won his first gold medal.

He then went on to win gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, making him the first judoka to have won three consecutive Olympic gold medals. Nomura has also won numerous other titles and medals in the sport.

He won the All-Japan Judo Championships eight times, the World Championships three times, and the Asian Games three times. He also won the Kodokan Cup four times and the Jigoro Kano Cup twice. Nomura’s success in judo is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the sport.

He has set an example for other judoka to strive for and has become an inspiration to many. Nomura is a true champion and his accomplishments will be remembered in the history of judo for generations to come.

4. Hitoshi Saito

Hitoshi Saito was a Japanese judoka who achieved a remarkable accomplishment in the Olympic games. He won two gold medals in consecutive Olympic games, a feat that has not been replicated by any other judoka in Olympic history. Hitoshi Saito was born in 1968, in Nagano, Japan.

He was a student of the renowned judo instructor, Yamashita Yoshitsugu, who had previously trained two Olympic champions.

After graduating from high school in 1986, Hitoshi began to focus on his judo career and soon became a member of the Japanese National Judo Team. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Hitoshi won his first gold medal in the lightweight men’s division, defeating his Ecuadorian opponent, Carlos Figueroa, in the final match.

Four years later, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he achieved the rare feat of becoming a two-time Olympic champion by winning the gold medal in the same weight division.

With this victory, Hitoshi became the first judoka ever to have won two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same weight division. Hitoshi Saito’s success in the Olympic games earned him great respect and admiration from the Japanese people.

He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor given to a civilian in Japan, and he was inducted into the International Judo Federation Hall of Fame in 2000. Hitoshi Saito’s legacy will live on forever, as he is remembered as one of the greatest judoka of all time.

His achievements at the Olympic games are a testament to his hard work and dedication to the sport of judo, and his record of two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same weight division will likely never be broken.

5. Masato Uchishiba

Masato Uchishiba is a world-renowned Japanese judoka who has achieved great success in the sporting arena. In 2004, he won the gold medal in the men’s under 66 kg division at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

This remarkable feat was repeated four years later in Beijing, China, where Masato once again won the gold medal in the same weight division. Throughout his career, Masato has exhibited excellent technique and skill in judo.

He has demonstrated strong determination and commitment to the sport, which has enabled him to reach the pinnacle of success.

His impressive performance in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics is a testament to his hard work and dedication. Masato Uchishiba is an inspiration to all aspiring judokas.

His success is a reminder of the potential of those who are willing to put in the hard work and dedication necessary to achieve their goals. His example should certainly be taken into consideration by those looking to follow in his footsteps and strive for greatness.

6. Satoshi Ishii

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Satoshi Ishii is an impressive athlete who is actively competing in a variety of different sports. He is a judoka from Japan, a mixed martial artist, a kickboxer, and a submission grappler.

His impressive skills have earned him a place in the world of martial arts and combat sports.Since 2019, Ishii has held Croatian citizenship. This is an indication of how much respect and recognition he has earned in the world of martial arts.

His skill and dedication have made him a sought-after athlete, earning him the respect of his peers and fans around the world. Ishii has had an impressive career, with many impressive wins and titles.

He is a world-class judoka, having competed and won medals in both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

He has also won numerous titles in the mixed martial arts world, including the Dream Light Heavyweight Championship. In addition to his impressive achievements in the world of martial arts, Ishii is also an accomplished kickboxer and submission grappler.

He has competed in events such as the K-1 World Grand Prix and the World Combat Sambo Championship.

His dedication to mixed martial arts has earned him recognition and admiration from fans and peers alike. Overall, Satoshi Ishii is a remarkable athlete who has achieved impressive success in a variety of different sports.

His dedication to martial arts and combat sports has earned him Croatian citizenship and respect from martial arts fans around the world. His impressive career has earned him multiple titles and medals, further proving his skill and commitment to excellence.

7. Hidehiko Yoshida

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Hidehiko Yoshida is a renowned Japanese athlete who has achieved great success in both judo and mixed martial arts. He is a former Olympic gold medalist in judo, having won the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in the men’s –78 kg weight class.

He is also a longtime veteran of Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships, having competed in both the Middleweight and Heavyweight divisions. Yoshida’s Olympic achievement in judo is a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport.

He was an active competitor and coach in judo for many years, and his Olympic gold medal win in 1992 was a crowning achievement in an already impressive career.

He has also had considerable success in mixed martial arts, having competed for many years in PRIDE Fighting Championships.

He has fought in both the Middleweight and Heavyweight divisions, demonstrating his versatility as a fighter. Overall, Hidehiko Yoshida is a highly accomplished athlete who has achieved great success in both judo and mixed martial arts.

His Olympic gold medal in judo and his years of competing in PRIDE Fighting Championships are a testament to his skill and dedication to the sports he has competed in.

8. Anton Geesink

Antonius Johannes Geesink was an exceptionally talented judoka from the Netherlands. He was awarded a 10th dan in judo, the highest rank a judoka could achieve. He made history by being the first non-Japanese judoka to win gold at the World Judo Championships.

This groundbreaking feat was accomplished in both 1961 and 1965, making him a two-time World Champion.

Geesink’s achievements are considered to be a major milestone in judo, as he was the first non-Japanese judoka to win gold in the World Championships, an accomplishment that had previously been considered impossible.

His success was a major source of inspiration for judokas around the world and opened the door for other non-Japanese judokas to compete at the highest levels of the sport. To this day, Geesink’s legacy continues to be remembered and celebrated in judo circles.

9. Toshihiko Koga

Toshihiko Koga was an impressive and accomplished Japanese judoka. He held a 9th degree black belt and was an Olympic champion in the –71 kg and –78 kg divisions. He was widely regarded as having an extraordinary mastery of the ippon seoi nage, a judo technique.

Sadly, his life was cut short by cancer, and he passed away on 24 March 2021 at the age of 53. Koga was a symbol of the highest level of success in judo. His skill and accomplishments earned him great respect among the judo community.

He was a seven-time All-Japan Judo Champion, five-time World Judo Champion, and a four-time Asian Judo Champion. He also won gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. Koga’s ippon seoi nage, a judo shoulder throw, was renowned as one of the best ever.

He is remembered for his mastery of the technique, having mastered the balance and timing needed for this difficult move.

His skill allowed him to dominate his opponents in the –71 kg and –78 kg divisions. Koga’s death has been met with great sadness throughout the judo community. His legacy will live on in the hearts of those who knew him and admired his skill.

He will be remembered as a great judo champion and an inspiration to many.

10. Shohei Ono

Shohei Ono is a Japanese retired judoka who is widely recognized as one of the best judo fighters of all time. Ono has achieved remarkable success in his judo career, having won two Olympic gold medals, three World Championships, and five Grand Slams.

His impressive accomplishments have made him one of the most dominant fighters in the lightweight division, having won in every major championship he has competed in since 2015.

Ono’s success has placed him in a league of his own, and he stands out as a shining example of how dedication and hard work can lead to success.

11. Yamashita Yoshitsugu

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Yamashita Yoshitsugu, also known as Yamashita Yoshiaki, was a renowned Japanese judoka. He was a highly respected figure in the world of judo and was recognized as the first person to have been awarded the 10th degree red belt rank in Kodokan judo, although posthumously.

He was one of the four people to be selected as a Guardian of the Kodokan, a prestigious position in the judo world, and was also an important pioneer in introducing judo to the United States. Yamashita Yoshiaki dedicated his life to the art of judo, and his contributions to the sport are still remembered today.

He was an innovator, setting an example for others by being the first to receive the 10th degree red belt rank. He was also a leader, taking on the responsibility of one of the Four Guardians of the Kodokan.

As such, he was responsible for the promotion and practice of judo, and he used his influence to spread the sport to other countries, with the United States being one of them. Yamashita Yoshiaki’s legacy still lives on today.

He was an important figure in the history of judo, and his accomplishments are still held in high regard by those in the judo community. His dedication to the sport and his pioneering role in introducing judo to the United States are still remembered and respected.

He truly was a remarkable figure in the history of judo.

12. Keiko Fukuda

Keiko Fukuda was a Japanese-American martial artist who achieved a level of success that was unprecedented for a female judoka.

She was the highest-ranked female judoka on record, earning the rank of 9th dan from the Kodokan and 10th dan from USA Judo and the United States Judo Federation.

As an important figure in the martial arts world, she was the last surviving student of Kanō Jigorō, the founder of judo. Fukuda’s accomplishment is all the more impressive when considering the cultural context of martial arts in Japan during the 20th century.

Judo had traditionally been a male-dominated field, with women being excluded from the practice.

Fukuda’s success therefore stands as a testament to her commitment to the martial arts, having dedicated her life to its development. Fukuda was a passionate teacher, providing instruction to students of all ages and skill levels.

She was also an advocate for the empowerment of women in judo, engaging in activities such as giving seminars and leading the Women’s Judo Federation. Her legacy lives on in the countless students she influenced and the organizations she helped to establish.

Fukuda’s dedication to martial art is an inspiration to many, and her presence will be greatly missed.

13. Naohisa Takato

Naohisa Takato is a Japanese judoka, currently the top-ranked judoka in the world in the extra-lightweight division. Takato’s career in judo began when he won the 2013 World Championships, making him one of the sport’s most prominent fighters.

Takato has since continued to excel in the sport, becoming a leader among his peers. His skills have earned him numerous accolades and awards, and he is one of the top judokas in the world.

Takato is highly respected in the judo community and is seen as a role model to younger fighters. His success has been an inspiration to many, and he continues to be a source of pride and admiration for the sport of judo.

14. Shoichiro Mukai

Shoichiro Mukai is a Japanese judoka who achieved incredible success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He emerged from the competition with a silver medal in the mixed team event.

His performance was a testament to his considerable skill and dedication to the sport. Mukai has been a part of the Japanese judo scene for many years, honing his skills and competing at various events.

His hard work and dedication finally paid off when he earned a spot on the Japanese judo team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It was an incredible honor, and after a hard-fought competition, he emerged with a silver medal in the mixed team event.

Mukai’s medal is a proud moment for the Japanese judo community and a reminder of the potential of the sport. His accomplishments have shown the world the potential of judo, and the dedication of its practitioners.

It is a great achievement and one that will be remembered by the judo community for many years to come.

15. Aaron Wolf

Aaron Phillip Wolf is a remarkable athlete who has achieved a great deal in just a few years. He is a Japanese judoka who won a gold medal at the 2017 World Judo Championships in Budapest and a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

He comes from an international background, with a Japanese mother named Mikako and an American father, James, who teaches English at a Japanese university. This is an extraordinary achievement considering his young age, and Wolf has become an inspiration to many.

He is a perfect example of what hard work and dedication can bring. Despite his young age, Wolf has already achieved remarkable success in the world of judo.

He has shown incredible courage in the face of adversity and has used his skills to bring glory to Japan in the international arena. Wolf’s success has also been a source of pride for his parents, who have supported him throughout his journey.

His Japanese mother and American father have provided a strong foundation for him to build upon, and have undoubtedly contributed to his success.

This is a testament to the power of family support and the importance of having a supportive environment in which to pursue one’s dreams. Wolf’s success is a reminder of the potential of all young people, regardless of their background.

His story is an inspiration for any aspiring judo player, and it is a reminder of the importance of dedication and hard work. Aaron Phillip Wolf’s success is a testament to the power of ambition and determination.

16. Uta Abe

Uta Abe is a Japanese judoka, a martial artist who practices the sport of Judo. She is a world-renowned athlete, and at the 2020 Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan, she was able to achieve great success.

In the half-lightweight event, Uta Abe won the gold medal, showcasing her skill and determination in the event. She also won a silver medal in the mixed team event, further demonstrating her excellence in the sport.

Uta Abe’s success at the 2020 Olympics is a testament to her hard work and dedication to the sport of Judo. Her accomplishments are a source of pride for the nation of Japan, and she is an inspiration to aspiring judokas around the world.

17. Ryuju Nagayama

Ryuju Nagayama is a Japanese judoka who has achieved great success in the sport. He has participated in two World Championship events, in 2018 and 2019, and managed to win a bronze medal at each.

This is an impressive accomplishment, and it demonstrates Nagayama’s skill and commitment to judo. Nagayama is a highly respected competitor in the judo world. He has worked hard to master the sport and is a great example of dedication and hard work.

His achievements have inspired other judoka to strive for excellence, and he is considered a role model to many. Nagayama has also been praised for his ability to stay focused and motivated.

Despite the intense training regimen necessary to succeed in judo, he has never lost sight of the goal of winning a medal at the World Championships.

This is a testament to his mental strength and determination. Nagayama’s success is an inspiration to any athlete who is looking to reach the highest levels of their sport. He has shown that it is possible to achieve the highest honors in judo through hard work and dedication.

His story is one that should be shared with all athletes as an example of perseverance and determination.

18. Sumiyuki Kotani

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Sumiyuki Kotani was a renowned martial artist and a member of the 1932 Japanese Olympic wrestling team. He was a highly acclaimed judoka and an expert in the martial art form. In April 1984, he was awarded a 10th dan by the Kodokan, the highest rank given to a judoka.

This made him the oldest 10th dan at the time until Ichiro Abe was awarded the same rank at the age of 83 years. Kotani was an incredibly accomplished martial artist and his legacy still lives on in the world of judo.

19. Joshiro Maruyama

Joshiro Maruyama is a Japanese judoka, a martial artist specializing in the sport of judo. He had a remarkable career, winning a gold medal at the 2019 World Judo Championships. The World Judo Championships is one of the most prestigious tournaments in judo.

It is held every two years and showcases the best judoka from all over the world. Maruyama’s gold medal victory was an impressive achievement, as he competed against some of the most talented judokas in the world.

His performance was a testament to his dedication and hard work in the sport of judo. Maruyama is an inspiration to many aspiring judokas and has shown that excellence in the sport can be achieved with determination and hard work.

20. Kōsei Inoue

Kosei Inoue is a renowned Japanese judoka known for his remarkable sporting achievements and expertise. He is most renowned for his gold medal win in the under 100kg category at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

His specialty throws, Uchi Mata and Ōuchi gari, are well known within the judo community, and he is widely regarded as one of the best competitive judoka in the world. Inoue’s career has been marked by many successes.

He has won several medals at the World Championships and All Japan Judo Championships. Aside from his Olympic gold medal win, he also won the gold medal in the Asian Games in 1998, as well as multiple bronze medals at the World Championships.

He has also held the rank of 6th dan in judo. Inoue has had a great impact on the judo community. He is known for his technical ability, particularly his Uchi Mata and Ōuchi gari throws. He has also been an influential coach and mentor to many aspiring judoka.

He has coached the Japanese national team and has been a mentor to some of the world’s top judoka. His influence and impact have been far-reaching, and his contributions to the sport have been greatly appreciated by the judo community.

Kosei Inoue is a truly remarkable and inspirational judoka. His success in the sport has been recognized and respected by the judo community, and his achievements will continue to be remembered for many years to come.

21. Toshirō Daigo

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Toshirō Daigo was an influential figure in the world of judo. He was not only the Chief Instructor at the Kodokan – the world’s preeminent judo institute – but also served as the manager of the Japanese national judo team.

At the time of his death, he was one of only three living Kodokan 10th dan, a rank that is considered to be the highest level of proficiency in judo.

This rank was bestowed upon Toshirō Daigo at a special event called the New Year Kagami biraki Ceremony, which was held on 8 January 2006. The two other judokas who achieved this rank alongside Toshirō Daigo were Ichiro Abe and Yoshimi Osawa.

22. Ichiro Abe

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Ichiro Abe was a renowned Japanese judoka. He was a respected figure in the field of judo, having served as head of the Promotions Panel at the Kodokan, the official Japanese headquarters of judo.

As well as this, Abe was also the international chairperson of the All Nippon Judo Federation, a non-profit organization that promotes the martial art of judo around the world. Throughout his career, Abe was dedicated to the advancement of judo in both Japan and abroad.

He was instrumental in the development of the Kodokan, helping to modernize and refine it in order to promote the sport.

His work with the All Nippon Judo Federation was also important, as it allowed him to spread the reach of the martial art to countries around the world. In addition to his work with judo, Abe was also a highly respected teacher.

He had a deep understanding of the philosophy and practice of judo and was able to impart this knowledge to those who sought him out.

He was a mentor to numerous judoka, and his teachings live on today in the many students he left behind. Ichiro Abe was a great contributor to the sport of judo. His dedication to its progression in Japan and abroad will always be remembered and honored.

He was a true leader in the field and an inspiration to many.

23. Mikinosuke Kawaishi

Mikinosuke Kawaishi was a renowned Japanese master of both jujutsu and judo. His mastery was so great that he achieved the rank of 7th Dan, the highest rank attainable in these martial arts.

Kawaishi was instrumental in leading the development of judo in France and much of Europe. He worked alongside Shozo Awazu to spread the practice of judo and establish it as a respected sport.

In addition to this, Kawaishi is credited with introducing the use of colored belts to differentiate early grades. This system is still used today and is one of the longest-standing traditions of judo.

It is thanks to Kawaishi’s dedication and effort that judo has become so popular and respected worldwide.

24. Hajime Isogai

Hajime Isogai was a renowned student of judo. He was the second person to have been promoted to 10th dan, the highest rank in judo.

He had a great reputation for his newaza, which is a type of ground grappling, and he was also respected for his tachiwaza, which is standing grappling. Isogai was an early promoter of the kosen judo circuit, which is a form of judo competition that focuses on newaza.

It is believed that he was instrumental in the development and success of the kosen judo circuit, as it is still popular today. Isogai was a great example of how someone can master multiple aspects of judo, allowing him to become one of the best judo practitioners in history.

25. Shuichi Nagaoka

Shuichi Nagaoka was a highly accomplished martial artist and an early practitioner of Kodokan Judo. He was one of the first students of the discipline and the third person to be promoted to its highest rank of 10th Dan.

This is a rare honor that is only bestowed upon those who have exemplified outstanding mastery and skill in the martial art. Nagaoka was born in 1868 and began his judo training at an early age.

He trained under Tsunejiro Tomita, one of the early mentors of Kodokan Judo, and eventually became one of the most successful judoka of his time.

As a result of his achievements, Nagaoka was promoted to 10th Dan in 1921, making him the third person to have achieved this rank. Nagaoka’s legacy is still remembered today. He is credited with having developed a number of techniques that are still practiced in judo today.

He is also widely recognized for his contributions to the development of the martial art, and for setting an example for future generations of judoka. Nagaoka’s work has ensured that judo will remain a powerful and respected martial art for many years to come.

26. Ryoko Tani

Ryoko Tani is a renowned Japanese politician and former judoka who made history in her sport.

Competing in the extra-lightweight class, she won a record seven world titles and five Olympic medals, two of which were gold at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Her remarkable success in judo earned her the title of “best female judoka ever” from the International Judo Federation upon her retirement. Tani was an impressive and dedicated athlete, who showed great skill and determination during her lengthy career.

She was the first woman to win five Olympic medals and was the only woman to win four Olympic medals in judo. Her seven world titles are also a record for the most by any female judoka.

Her career accomplishments are made even more impressive by the fact that she achieved them in the extra-lightweight class, which is one of the most competitive weight classes in judo. Tani’s success in judo is even more remarkable given the fact that she made history in a traditionally male-dominated sport.

She was a strong advocate for women’s sports and was a source of inspiration for many other female athletes. Her career achievements and the respect she earned from the International Judo Federation have cemented her legacy as one of the greatest judokas of all time.

27. Haruka Tachimoto

Haruka Tachimoto is a highly accomplished Japanese judoka, with a 5th Dan ranking. She is a world-class athlete who has achieved great success in her sport. In 2016, Haruka competed in the -70 kg division at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

She had an impressive performance, beating the world #1 and world #2 ranked women and taking home the gold medal. Prior to this, she had also competed in the 70 kg event at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

It is clear that Haruka is a formidable judoka, with an impressive record of success in international competition.

28. Mami Umeki

Mami Umeki is a highly accomplished female Japanese judoka. Starting at the age of 9, she has dedicated her life to the martial art of judo and has achieved great success in the sport.

Her favorite techniques are Osoto Gari and Sankaku Jime, both of which are powerful throws that can be utilized to gain control of an opponent.

Her hard work and dedication paid off in 2011 when she won the gold medal in the -78kg weight class at the World Judo Championships Juniors in Cape Town. This was an incredible feat, especially for someone so young, and it is a testament to her talent and skill as a judoka.

It is clear that Mami Umeki has a bright future ahead of her, and will be one to watch out for in the years to come.

29. Akari Ogata

Akari Ogata is a Japanese judoka who began her martial arts training at the young age of seven. She found immediate success in karate and by the age of ten was already the national junior karate champion.

However, at age thirteen, Ogata decided to pursue a different martial art and began to practice judo instead. With judo, she was able to take her martial arts skills to the next level and become a judoka, a practitioner of the martial art.

Her dedication and perseverance has paid off, as she is now a successful Japanese judoka.

30. Genki Koga

Genki Koga is a Japanese judoka who recently achieved great success in the 2019 Asian-Pacific Judo Championships.

He competed in the -60 kg category and managed to emerge victorious, taking home the gold medal. Koga’s victory at the 2019 Asian-Pacific Judo Championships is a testament to his skill and hard work.

Koga had to go up against a number of highly skilled competitors in order to win this prestigious award, and his victory is even more impressive considering the level of competition.

It is a great accomplishment for Koga and a source of pride for Japan as a whole. Koga’s victory is also a great example of the power of judo. Judo is a martial art that has been around for centuries, and it is still able to produce champions like Koga today.

It is a testament to the effectiveness of judo as a martial art, as well as the dedication of its practitioners. Koga’s victory is also a great source of inspiration for aspiring judokas.

His story of hard work and dedication is something that all aspiring judokas can look up to and strive for. Koga’s example shows that with enough dedication and hard work, anything is possible.

31. Masae Ueno

Masae Ueno is a Japanese judoka who is well-known for her Olympic achievements. She was born in Asahikawa Hokkaidō and competed in the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympics. In 2004, Ueno made history when she won Japan’s fifth Olympic Gold Medal in ten events.

She put in a tremendous amount of effort to take the –70 kg women’s judo event. Ueno’s hard work paid off again in 2008 when she won the Olympic Gold Medal in the same event.

Her achievements have been recognized and celebrated in Japan, making her a national hero and an inspiration to many.

32. Yoshie Ueno

Yoshie Ueno is an accomplished judoka from Japan. She achieved a great feat in 2009 by claiming the gold medal in the Half-middleweight division at the World Judo Championships. Her success was repeated a year later when she also won the same event.

Unfortunately, Yoshie’s winning streak was broken in 2011 when she lost the final round of the World Judo Championships to Gévrise Émane, a local hero. Despite this, Yoshie remains an impressive judoka in her own right.

Yoshie also has a remarkable elder sister, Masae Ueno, who was also a judoka and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Masae retired in 2009 and her record is a testament to the Ueno family’s judo pedigree.

All in all, Yoshie Ueno is a very talented judoka and a great representative of Japan in the world of judo. Her success and her elder sister’s achievements are a source of pride and admiration for many.

33. Itsuki Hirata

Itsuki Hirata is a talented martial artist from Japan. She has been training in Judo since she was a child and upon graduating high school, she decided to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

Hirata is now signed to ONE Championship, where she competes in the atomweight division. She is highly skilled in martial arts, and her martial arts background has given her the ability to compete at a high level.

Hirata has a lot of experience in both Judo and mixed martial arts, making her a formidable opponent in the ring. Her focus and dedication to the sport has earned her a spot in ONE Championship and allowed her to continue to develop her skills.

She is an inspiring athlete who is an example of how dedication and hard work can lead to success.

34. Soichi Hashimoto

Soichi Hashimoto is a highly accomplished judoka from Japan. He is currently the top-ranked judoka in the lightweight division, having achieved this status through his impressive accomplishments.

Hashimoto first rose to prominence in 2015 when he became the national champion at the All-Japan Judo Championships. This success put him on the map in the judo world and since then, Hashimoto has maintained his place at the top of the lightweight division.

He has become a formidable force in the judo community, and his achievements are respected and admired by many. Hashimoto’s accomplishments are a testament to his dedication and hard work, and there is no doubt that he will continue to excel in the years to come.

35. Sanshiro Murao

Sanshiro Murao is a Japanese judoka, a practitioner of the martial art of Judo. In 2019, he achieved a great success by winning a medal in the World Judo Championships. His success continued in the 2022 Judo Grand Slam Paris, where he won the gold medal in his event.

This was a great accomplishment for Murao, as it was held in Paris, France, one of the most prestigious Judo events in the world.

Murao’s success in the event demonstrates his immense skill and dedication to the martial art, and he is now widely regarded as one of the best judoka in the world.

36. Saki Niizoe

Saki Niizoe is a Japanese judoka who has achieved remarkable success in the sport. At the 2022 World Judo Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, she won one of the bronze medals in the women’s 70 kg event.

This was an impressive accomplishment, given the caliber of competitors at the event. In 2018, Niizoe had even more success at the Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

She took home the gold medal in the women’s 70 kg event, further solidifying her status as a top judoka in the world.

This was an extraordinary achievement for Niizoe and one that she will surely remember for years to come. Niizoe’s accomplishments demonstrate her skill and dedication to the sport of judo.

She has achieved success at the highest levels of competition, and her achievements are proof of her incredible talent. Niizoe is an inspiration to other judokas, and her success is a testament to the power of hard work and dedication.

37. Takeshi Sasaki

Takeshi Sasaki is a highly talented Japanese judoka who recently achieved a great feat in his sporting career. He won the gold medal in the -81 kg division at the 2021 Judo Grand Slam Paris.

This is a prestigious event that takes place every year, and it is considered to be one of the most important judo competitions in the world. Sasaki is an experienced judoka who has been competing for a number of years.

His hard work and dedication have paid off as he was able to secure the gold medal at the 2021 Judo Grand Slam Paris.

This is the first time he has won a gold medal at this prestigious event, and it is a testament to his skill and proficiency in the sport. Sasaki’s victory is a great source of pride for both himself and the entire Japanese judo community.

He is an inspiration to young judokas who are aspiring to reach the same level of excellence. His success is a reminder to all that hard work and dedication can lead to success, no matter what the goal may be.

38. Shiro Saigo

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Shiro Saigo was an important figure in the early development of Judo. Along with Tsunejiro Tomita, he was the first to be awarded Shodan (1st degree black belt) by the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. Kano created the Kyu-Dan ranking system, which is still used today in Judo.

Saigo and Tomita’s achievement was a major milestone for the martial art of Judo. Since then, Shodan has become the standard for progressing in Judo and is the first step towards mastery of the art.

Kano’s Kyu-Dan system has provided an important structure for Judo practitioners to advance in their practice and develop their skills. The influence of Shiro Saigo and Tsunejiro Tomita in Judo is still felt today.

Through their dedication and commitment, they laid the foundations of Judo and set the standard for future generations. Their legacy lives on and is a testament to the long history of this martial art.

39. Ryunosuke Haga

Ryunosuke Haga is an incredibly successful judoka from Japan who achieved a remarkable feat in 2015. He became the world champion in the under 100 kg division, a division that requires a great deal of physical and mental strength.

Haga’s favoured technique in judo is Uchi Mata, an offensive move that involves throwing an opponent by their hip. Haga was born in Miyazaki, Japan and began training in judo at the age of 5.

His dedication and hard work paid off when he won the gold medal in the -100 kg weight class at the 2010 World Judo Championships Juniors in Agadir.

This victory was a big step in his career and it set the stage for his eventual world championship win in 2015. Haga is an inspiring figure in the world of judo and a great example of dedication and hard work.

His story is a reminder that anything is possible with the right amount of effort and determination.

40. Yoshihiro Akiyama

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Yoshihiro Akiyama is a professional mixed martial artist and judoka of Korean descent. He was born in Japan and has two nicknames: Choo Sung-hoon and Sexyama. In 2001, Akiyama won a gold medal for South Korea at the Asian Championships.

The following year, he won another gold medal at the Asian Games, this time representing Japan. Akiyama has had a successful career in both judo and mixed martial arts, participating in several high-profile fights.

He is best known for his remarkable performance at the 2001 Asian Championships and his subsequent gold medal win at the 2002 Asian Games. He is respected in the mixed martial arts community for his dedication and skill.

41. Hitoshi Sugai

Hitoshi Sugai is a Japanese judoka who began his Judo training when he was 12 years old. His hard work and dedication paid off, as he went on to win the World Judo Championships in both 1985 and 1987.

In 1988, Sugai had the opportunity to represent Japan in the Summer Olympics in Seoul. Unfortunately, he was unable to continue his winning streak and was defeated by Stéphane Traineau in the first round.

Despite this setback, Sugai’s accomplishments in Judo have not gone unnoticed. He is an inspiration to young judoka everywhere, and a reminder of the importance of hard work and perseverance.

42. Jun Konno

Jun Konno is an accomplished judoka from Japan. He is a four-time Asian champion and has won the All-Japan Judo Championships twice, in 1994 and 1997. This is a remarkable feat as the All-Japan Judo Championships is one of the most prestigious judo tournaments in the world.

It has been held annually since 1948 and is open to all Japanese judoka of all levels. Konno has achieved great success in judo throughout his career. He has an impressive record of multiple international, continental and national titles.

His success in the All-Japan Judo Championships is particularly impressive as it is a highly competitive tournament and the title is only awarded to the best judoka of the year. Konno’s success is a testament to his skill and dedication to judo.

He is a role model for many Japanese judoka and his achievements are an inspiration for those who aspire to compete in the All-Japan Judo Championships.

43. Kaichiro Samura

Kaichiro Samura was a renowned Japanese judoka, or martial artist, who was renowned for his longevity in his practice. He began his study of judo at the Kodokan in 1898 and, after a long period of practice, was awarded his 10th dan, the highest level of the sport, in April 1948.

This made him one of the longest-living 10th dan judo practitioners in the world. In 1899, Kaichiro Samura further solidified his legacy in the judo world by becoming head of the judo section at Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, a Japanese martial arts organization.

He was also an esteemed teacher; in 1931 he began teaching at the Kodokan in Tokyo, where he had first begun studying judo. His dedication to the sport and its teachings was unwavering, and this earned him great respect and admiration from judo practitioners around the world.

44. Hirotaka Okada

Hirotaka Okada is a retired judoka, a martial art and combat sport that originated in Japan. Competing in judo involves grappling techniques, throws, and joint locks. Okada competed in two different divisions, the ‍–‍78 kg and ‍–‍86 kg divisions.

These two divisions are based on the weight of the judoka, with the ‍–‍78 kg division being for those who weigh less than or equal to 78 kilograms, and the ‍–‍86 kg division for those who weigh less than or equal to 86 kilograms.

Being a judoka requires a great deal of physical strength and skill, and Okada was successful in his judo career, having competed in both of these divisions.

Conclusion

Japan is home to some of the world’s best judo players. They have a long history of producing champions on the international level and even host the annual All Japan Judo Championships.

With their rigorous training, dedication, and commitment to the sport, Japan’s judo players are sure to continue to dominate the judo world for many years to come.

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SEYEDMAJID zareian

I am a judo coach and sports expert. I have been coaching judo for the past 10 years and have been in the sport for 20 years. My expertise is in judo, but I also know a lot about other sports as well. I am also an author who has written three books on judo. LinkedIn My goal is to help people learn more about sports, especially if they are new to it or want to pick up a new sport.