July 2022 Book Survey Part 1


 Welcome to the July 2022 book survey, part one. I decided to break this month's survey into two posts, as I did last month.


In July 2022, I (Richard) continued my reading plan. This post describes 10 books that I surveyed in July. A subsequent post will address the other 10 that I surveyed last month. Read on to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Barnett's Judo Groundplay to Win, P. M. Barnett, 1974

I bought Barnett's Judo Groundplay to Win as part of my ongoing search for newaza books. This is a large but slim 60 page black and white softcover paperback published by the U.S. Judo Association. It offers 7 short chapters, but the large format integrates pictures and text well. 

There is a lot packed into this small book, but as it is out of print it can be tough to find. It's more of a research item at this point in its history.

Best Judo, Isao Inokuma and Nbuyuki Sato, 1979

I bought my hardcover edition of Best Judo by Isao Inokuma and Nbuyuki Sato because I had heard people praise it. I have a 1980 2nd printing in a hefty black and white format. I immediately liked the extensive Japanese nomenclature and English explanations.

This book offers a clear progression of technique photos with variations. There is a helpful index of judo techniques at the end of the book with Japanese and English names. I've reproduced it here:

They are not just an English/Japanese technique and page list. Each entry, as applicable, lists a combination. The arrows show whether you go to, or from, the technique.

This book was comprehensive for the date of its first publication, in 1979. Chapter 4 includes combinations, chapter 5 offers training tips, and chapter 6 provides biographies of the authors. 

This is a great book to add to your collection, especially if you are a judoka or practice a judo-derived style. You can peruse it at the Internet Archive.

Canon of Judo, Kyuzo Mifune, 1956/1958/1963

This is the first of two versions of Canon of Judo by the "god of judo," Kodokan 10th dan Kyuzo Mifune (1883-1965). The copy here is my 1963 8th printing. The first printing appeared in 1956, according to the text in my edition. There is a 2nd printing PDF on the Internet Archive, but that electronic edition can't capture how cool it is to own a book with a cover made of judogi material! (My copy has the cloth, under a protective cover.)

This version of the book features a translation from the original Japanese by K. Sugai. It's really rough, as demonstrated by this excerpt from the preface:

"With the reputation of Judo gradually enhanced in public estimation, we think it proper and natural that the understanding as value of what Judo really is should be deepened. That things are of the correctly understood and treated is no doubt a source of delight; the better are things the more will be delight."

Ouch. I should have known the English would be a problem when I read hadakajime translated as "nude wringing" in the table of contents.

If you're really interested in learning from this book, I would seek out the 2004 revised edition, profiled next.

The Canon of Judo, Kyuzo Mifune, 2004

I bought my copy of the 2004 revised Canon of Judo Kodansha edition in early 2020, and paid dearly for it -- although not as dearly as copies now selling in the current secondary market. The translation in this book by Francoise White is much better than the original edition. While I have seen some online commentary about the photographs being inferior to the previous version, I don't see any problems. In fact, it seems this version has a few more photographs. For example, the depiction of ashiguruma has an extra picture.

1958 example

2004 example

There are some minor content problems. I caught the book leaf contradicting itself. It first says professor Mifune was awarded 10th dan in 1920. That was when he was only 27! Then, the reverse leaf says the Kodokan awarded him 10th dan in 1945. That is more believable. 

The book also claims that the first edition appeared in 1960. We know that is wrong. It more helpfully states this this 2004 edition is based on the 1965 revision by professor Mifune. This book also provides a table matching the "English" name, "original" name, and an annotation, which is the Kodokan's official name where available. In other words, Mifune provided his own names for some of these techniques and their variations.

This book is great for collectors, researchers, and die-hard judo fans. I would like to see Kodansha reprint it. Until then, it's too rare and costly for most everyone, unfortunately.

Fighting Judo, Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki and Terence Donovan, 1985

Fighting Judo is one of those books that you hear mentioned in hushed tones, because it's considered a work of art. I bought the hardcover which measures 11 3/4 inches by 9 inches. It's black and white and features some of the most artistic judo imagery available, thanks to the work of photographer Terene Donovan, himself a judo first dan. 

The book consists of an introduction, then 64 techniques, then a personal history of the author, competitor Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki (1951-). He conceived of the book while staying in the UK in 1983 and 1984. He writes that among his many injuries, a serious one at ages 16-17 caused him to focus more on newaza and less on big throws. 

Thus, this book is an advanced judo newaza text, complemented by beautiful photos on big pages. 

This is another book that should be reprinted, and unfortunately it's even rarer and more expensive than the previous title. Again, devoted fans would love it.

Gene LeBell's Handbook of Judo, Gene LeBell and L. C. Coughran (uncredited), 1962/1966/1996

I was reading Gene LeBell's Handbook of Judo when the great man himself passed away, a few months shy of his 90th birthday. This paperback is a 1996 Pro-Action Publishing reprint of the original 1962/1966 book titled The Handbook of Judo by Mr. LeBell and L. C. Coughran. Mr. Coughran's name is dropped from this edition, which removes a few front matter pages from the original and begins with Acknowledgements.

There is a version of the 1966 edition available at the Internet Archive. It has clearer photos than this reprint, which makes me think the publishers did not have access to original source material. The book features a combination of photographs and drawings.

The text features 13 chapters on standing and ground techniques. Mr. LeBell's wrestling prowess appears in chapter 12, where we see "noncompetitive neck locks," and in chapter 13, where "locking the legs" appears. 

The small pages of this edition hamper conveying the material. It's tough to see any details in newaza, but there is a lot of content here. 

Illustrated Kodokan Judo, Risei Kano (preface), 1955

I bought a 1955 edition of Illustrated Kodokan Judo because it is the precursor to the "official" Kodokan judo manual, profiled in the next two entries. This book bears no author, although I log it with the name Risei Kano, son of the professor Jigoro Kano, founder of judo.

My copy is a black and white hardcover measuring 10 3/8 inches by 7 1/2 inches. This book uses the title "Dr. Kano" in the preface, no doubt contributing to the idea that professor Kano earned a PhD (he did not).

This book provides 17 chapters, covering history, principles, basics, techniques (40 throws and 16 grappling techniques), contests, forms (including striking), and resuscitation. 

The small photos in this book make it best suited as a reference, not as an instruction manual. In some cases, you can find videos of footage from which photos may have been derived. I'm thinking of one showing Kano doing kata, for example.

This book is a continuing source of controversy, as apparently some versions, also dating from 1955, feature a page 32 mentioning 11th and 12th dan judo ranks, at least according to some online sources. My copy from 1955 has no such text. There is a mention of ranks on page 184, but nothing about 11th and 12th dans. 

However, I was able to find a colleague with a 1955 edition and the weird text. Llyr Jones shared these photos of his copy in a Facebook group:

This book is useful for judo historians. Pay attention to pages 32 and 184, and let us known what you find.

Kodokan Judo, Jigoro Kano (attributed), 1986

Kodokan Judo is the first revised "official" hardcover, published in 1986. The Kodokan attributes it to judo founder Kano, but it is the work of many authors. It states that it is a revised edition of the book first published in 1956. That is odd, as we have a 1955 edition in the previous entry.

This book features 20 chapters on topics similar to those of the 1950s version, along with a foreword by Yukimitsu Kano (1932-2020), grandson of the founder. I liked how page 12 explained the sources from which material by Jigoro Kano was drawn, some of which was indeed first written in English.

This book provides a mix of previously used and new photographs. Again, many are too small to be used for anything other than a reference. 

If you are a serious judoka, you will probably buy the edition featured next.

Kodokan Judo, Jigoro Kano (attributed), 1994/2013

I own a 2013 paperback of the edition previously described, also titled Kodokan Judo. After the original 1986 edition, the Kodokan published another hardcover with a new cover in 1994. That 1994 edition and this 2013 copy are exactly the same, and those two are exactly the same as the 1986 version, aside from the different covers.

There is a copy of this book on the Internet Archive if you wish to check it out, but I recommend buying a copy if you are a judoka.

Judo (Jujutsu), Tourist Library 16, Jigoro Kano, 1937

The last book in this survey might be the oldest item in my (Richard's) library. Japan's Maruzen Company published Judo (Jujutsu) in 1937, and attributed it to the founder Jigoro Kano. This is a small 5 1/2 inches by 7 3/4 inches pamphlet with heavy cardstock covers. The book is mostly black and white, although there is a color plate at the front. The total book is about 70 pages.

This book features text that I recognizes from other sources, so they may have used previous Kano writings here. There is not much judo technique; by page 58, only break falls (ukemi) are covered! Furthermore, the last photo shows a judoka demonstrating a kick with the ball of the foot -- ashiate, art of attacking vital points with the foot.

Here are a few images I found online:

This little book is strictly a collectors item. I sought it out because it was probably the last text published while professor Kano was alive. He passed away in 1938.


Overall, this post has a lot of titles for judo aficionados. I recommend the 2004 Mifune book foremost, if you can find a copy that doesn't break the bank. If you don't have the Kodokan Judo book and practice judo, I recommend buying that as well. 

Stay tuned for part two, later this month!

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  1. Really awesome information. When I read your blog, I learn more new things thanks.


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