Google’s tribute to Professor Kanō Jigorō, on his 161st birthday. The doodle published today by the Mountain View company, and illustrated by the Los Angeles artist Cynthia Yuan Cheng, celebrates the “father of judo”, the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1909.
The invention of “Judo”
Born on October 28, 1860 in Mikage (now part of Kobe), Kanō moved to Tokyo at the age of 11. Passionate about martial arts, from a young age he removed the most dangerous techniques used in Jujutsu giving life to a “safe and cooperative” sport: “Judo”, whose name means the “gentle way”. In 1882 Kanō opened his gym, the Kodokan Judo Institute of Tokyo where, for the first time, he also welcomed women. In 1909 he became the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which, in 1960, approved Judo as an official Olympic sport. Kanō Jigorō died of pneumonia at the age of 77 on May 4, 1938, while aboard the Hikawa Maru ship in the Sea of Japan. At the time of his disappearance it is estimated that there were already more than 100,000 black belts under his belt. His portraits are still displayed in several Japanese gyms.