Beware Your Sources: A Brief Look at Kano Jigoro's Paper on Jiujutsu and Jiudo-Judo



While working on the monthly Martial History Team book survey, I needed to research the famous late 19th century paper on "jiujutsu" by professor Kano Jigoro and the Reverend Thomas Lindsay. A quick Google search yielded the version hosted by Judoinfo titled "Jujutsu and the origins of Judo, by Jigoro Kano and T. Lindsay, 1887, (Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Volume 15)."

In addition to seeing the word "judo" in the title, I saw it throughout the online text, e.g., "Amongst these was the art of jujutsu, from which the present judo has sprung up."

This did not seem right to me, so I investigated further.

Going to the Source

Thanks to the wonderful Internet Archive, I was able to find a copy of the original article in its original form. It appeared in Volume XVI (16), not volume "15", of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, published in 1889, not 1887. The paper notes that the authors read it to the Society on April 18, 1888.

The title of the article is "Jiujutsu (柔術) The Old Samurai Art of Fighting Without Weapons, by Rev. T. Lindsay and J. Kano," not "Jujutsu and the origins of Judo, by Jigoro Kano and T. Lindsay." 

Furthermore, the article does not use the word "jujutsu." It says instead "Amongst these was the art of Jiujutsu, from which the present Jiudo (柔道) as sprung up." 

Note that the original text uses the correct characters for 柔術 Jujutsu and 柔道 Judo, although it spells the later "jiudo" -- most of the time.


There is one curious footnote to this article. Although the title and most of the text refers to "jiudo," near the end of the article there is a mention of "judo":

Jiudo and Judo

It is curious that the previous sentence used the spelling Jiudo that appears throughout. If you’re going to reproduce an article, you should just reproduce the article as printed. There’s no need to change the text. It’s not being translated, for example.

I hope this brief note showed the importance of working with reliable sources, or at least sources that reproduce the originals faithfully. 

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Note: edited to add a sentence in the conclusion, per the recommendation by u/mlh1996 on Reddit.


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