Judo Nippon

Toward the 2016 Rio Games

© The Yomiuri Shimbun


Japan won just one gold medal in judo at the London Olympic Games — a very disappointing result. As the Rio Games approach, the nation's judoka are determined to put Japan back on top of the judo world.

The following photos from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s archives show how hard Japan’s judoka fought at the World Judo Championships in Astana in August last year, with their sights set on the Rio Olympics.

Kaori Matsumoto, Japan's sole gold medalist in judo at the London Games, jumps while preparing for a match.

Matsumoto defeats Romania’s Corina Caprioriu in the final of the women’s 57-kilogram class.

After the London Games, Matsumoto was under additional pressure as Japan's sole gold medalist in judo. She flashes a smile after winning gold at the Kazakhstan meet.

Misato Nakamura composes herself before the 52-kilogram class gold medal match.

Nakamura, the 2009 and 2011 world champion, has struggled since having surgery on her left knee after the London Olympics.

Nakamura defeats Andreea Chitu of Romania to capture the women’s 52-kilogram class title.

Haruna Asami competes against Argentina’s Paula Pareto in the final of the women’s 48-kilogram class. The Japanese judoka settled for silver.

Japanese judoka celebrate winning the women’s team competition.

Shohei Ono bows before a men’s 73-kilogram class match.

Ono faces compatriot and London silver medalist Riki Nakaya in the 73-kilogram class final.

Ono captures the title with a stunning move.

Ryunosuke Haga explodes with joy after capturing the 100-kilogram class title.

London bronze medalist Masashi Ebinuma holds down his opponent during a men’s 66-kilogram class match.

Ebinuma goes on the offensive.

Ryu Shichinohe, who won the silver medal in the over 100-kilogram class, defeats Austria’s Daniel Allerstorfer in their third-round match.

Japanese judoka celebrate securing the men’s team title.

The men hold up their medals after the team competition...

... and the women hold up their medals. Japanese judo fans are hoping Japanese judoka will be smiling again in Rio.

Photos and production by The Yomiuri Shimbun
© The Yomiuri Shimbun