Le judo: Une éducation pour faire face à l'incertain ? Le cas des compétitions sans catégories de poids pour les enfants au Japon

Translated title of the contribution: Learning to face uncertainties through Judo: A study of competitions without weight categories for children in Japan

Thierry Colin, Hélène Joncheray, Misaki Iteya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the attractiveness of Judo was accentuated by the ideology it conveyed that the little man could, with work, defeat the big one. The pioneers of judo were motivated by the hope of endless progress and, with it, that of being able to face up to any situation, even the most uncertain - regardless of one's social background. In 1960 however, with the development of this sport and the new organization of competitions now based on weight categories, such hope disappeared. A less idealized outlook on this activity replaced the philosophical dimension of judo. Today, categories is a given, and from our western point of view, competitions without weight categories, such as the Kan Nai competition for children, seem odd at all levels. Yet they are very meaningful in Japan and since 2012, the budô, including judô, are compulsory teachings in high schools. These teachings then lead to competitions without weight categories that are emblematical of the type of education Japan wishes to promote; an education meant to prepare youngsters to face the uncertainties of life. It is the purpose of this paper to study such competitions in order to understand both their organization and their deep cultural relevance.

Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 2



  • Children
  • Education
  • Judo
  • Social sciences
  • Uncertain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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