Judo Blog: Collecting the History of Judo in the US


Featuring Jerry Hays (jrhays@cox.net) and Cheryl Harai (cherylharai@gmail.com)

Jerry Hays, 6 Dan of San Diego was recently featured on the US Judo Federations Zoom Webinar Series. He share this article with me.

Prior to the publication of the book Judo in the U.S. A Century of Dedication by Michel Brousse and David Matsumoto a call was put out to the judo community asking for judo historical documents.

I, along with other judokas, had some documents that were shared with the authors. I had recently obtained many issues of Official Judo Bulletin by National Yudanshakai Amateur Judo Association USA 1954. Later this publication changed to “Official Judo Bulletin” by the JBBF (Later the USJF). With this collection of these publications I searched the Internet and other sources for judo historical documents.

Today I have passed the 340,000 pages mark of judo historical documents! With the help of other judokas, we obtained a collections of many judo magazines from the USJA, USJF and USAJ.

In 2004, USJF formed judo historical committee, which I was appointed chair for that group. The memberships on this committee included judokas from USJA. From 2004 to 2018, this committee was able to obtain over 280,000 pages of judo historical documents. Around 2010, USJF tried to place some of these publication on their website, but due to copyright issues, we were unable to post some publications. In addition, the cost of hosting these publication on a web site was not in the budget.

In 2018, I turned over the chair of this committee to Ms. Cheryl Harai. She is in the process of reorganizing these documents and hopefully she can find a way to place some of these publication on a website.

I still search a couple of internet Newspapers web sites. I have collection of over 15,000 newspaper articles that date back to early 1900. Some are a few lines, others a few pages in length. Once concern when searching the newspapers, is the font size. Since some of the newspapers are over one hundred year old, you get many words that are not judo. I share new newspaper articles with Ms. Harai. Both of these newspapers sites are always updated their inventory. In addition, I subscribe to Google News for daily articles, worldwide, on judo.

We obtained some publications from Canada and United Kingdom that reported on US Judokas. Around 2005, I purchased a collection of “Kodokan Review” from 1951 to 1969. After scanning over 140 magazines, these magazines were donated to the Kodokan Library. These magazines were in French in one column and the other column in English. They also reported, by time to time, on US Judokas.

There is not one listing of all the winners in major judo shiais (tournaments) in the US. We have made a dent and are getting close, but we still have a ways to go.

Continuing the work started by Jerry Hays has been an honor. The work is both slow and sometimes fast and overwhelming. Jerry digitized most of the documents that he has been able to collect, and I have continued to collect and digitize items as well.

The items that I obtained are scanned and originals stored in a climate-controlled setting with archival processing to preserve them. Cataloging and assigning keywords to all the digital files is in process. My goal is to have the digital files available for research as well as protect the physical documents we have. I am also in the process of identifying the providence of each document, including the location and ownership of the originals.

A website that will allow access to our judo historical documents is in the process. We are identifying copyright ownership to further the goal of research access to the items.

The USJF and USA Judo have many items of historical significance stored in boxes and files. A future goal is to bring them together, archivally preserved and digitized, available to those that are interested in the history of judo in the United States.

These documents contain information on the development of judo and its history throughout the United States, along with a lot of information and ideas that could be used to grow our clubs, our athletes and judo participation. I am pleased to announce that the United States Judo Federation (USJF) will be hosting the Judo Archives on their website.


June - 2022

July - 2022
December - 2022

I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to gary@garygoltz.com, thanks.

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