November 23, 2017

Message from Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita, new President of All Japan Judo Federation

President Yasuhiro YAMASHITA

In June of 2017, the Board of Councilors and the Executive Board have come to a decision to appoint myself as President of the All Japan Judo Federation.
First, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the former President, Mr. Shoji Muneoka for his courageous decision to save Judo in Japan, regardless of his arduous duty as Representative Director, Chairman and CEO of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation.
Under Mr. Muneoka’s strong leadership numerous reforms have been enacted. Making Judo broader minded, having honorable perspectives and to eliminate flaws which had remained in the Japanese Judo society. The biggest change was the reorganization of the Board of Councilors as well as the Executive Board. We were able to observe open-minded discussion with valuable guidance from Judo and non-Judo experts; we credit this greatly to the reform. I also had the precious opportunity to learn and profit from these experiences. The fruits of these efforts were demonstrated when our federation was praised by the Cabinet Office two years ago as an “admirable example as a sports organization”.
I also have to admit there have been hardships and difficult decisions along the way. The series of unfortunate incidents in the past have led to officials who were not directly accountable having to resign due to collective responsibility. I understand their pain; because I was also a member of the Executive Board. I am convinced that is my duty as President to carry on their legacy through the establishment of a flourishing Judo community.
When we want to achieve something, we must have a goal and vision. My dream is to make children proud judoka; excitedly holding their judogi going to the Dojo. The children themselves will illustrate the fundamental goal of our sport “Judo as human education”. Beyond winning and losing, I truly believe the life lessons through Judo will contribute in building a society full of real winners.
As one of my favorite quotes states: “One cannot do anything alone. However, nothing can be done if the one does not begin”. In order for us to realize these goals; continuous support will be vital in our success. All of us need to unite as one; Senseis across Japan who teach Judo everyday on the tatami, along with scholars, experts, and specialists from outside the Judo realm. This will indeed be my life work.
Last but not least, Tokyo will host the World Judo Championships in 2019 and 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I will do everything in my power for the success of these events, the advancement of Judo, and for the next generation of aspiring Judoka.