The Correspondence of Kanō Jigoro to Shimomura Hiroshi


When it met in Berlin in 1936, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to hold the 1940 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Securing the Olympics for Japan was largely the work of Kanō Jigoro, known as the father of judo and as a university professor and school principal. However, opposition to having the games in Japan grew, both domestically and overseas, as a result of the worsening of the international political situation and opposition to Japan’s policies in China. At the 1938 IOC session in Cairo, after desperate maneuvering and pleading by Kanō and others, it was agreed to proceed, for the time being, with the plan to have Tokyo host the games. On the way back to Japan, Kanō wrote a letter to Shimomura Hiroshi, a member of the House of Peers who was chairman of the Japan Sports Association at the time, in which he described his anguish about the many problems that still needed to be overcome to stage the games. Kanō died on May 4, 1938, on the ship carrying him back to Japan. Presented here is his letter to Hiroshi, from the papers of Shimomura Hiroshi in the National Diet Library. In July of that year, Japan decided to forfeit the games, which ultimately were cancelled because of the outbreak of World War II. Tokyo finally hosted the Olympic Games in 1964.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

嘉納治五郎書簡 下村宏宛

Type of Item

Physical Description

2 items ; approximately 21 x 28 centimeters


  1. “Kanō, Jigoro (1860‒1938),” in Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures, National Diet Library.

Last updated: May 31, 2016