Journal of Combative Sport, Apr 2005


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Judo in Southern and Central California, 1910-1942: Clubs Associated with Nanka Yudanshakai

Copyright © EJMAS 2005. All rights reserved.

Editor's note: The following is based heavily on the research of Ancho Mas Uchima and Larry Kobayashi. Their book, Fighting Sprit: Judo in Southern California, 1931-1940, is forthcoming.

The first Kodokan judo dojo in Los Angeles (and Southern California) was probably Rafu Dojo. Rafu is the Japanese pronunciation of the English "L.A.," and over the years, the club had various homes in the city's Little Tokyo district. Rafu Dojo was established about 1910. The club's first known instructor, Mogusa Nina, 1-dan, was a student of Hajime Isogai Shihan. From 1915-1922, the club was associated with the professional wrestler Tokugoro Ito. Toshitaka Yamauchi Sensei was head instructor in 1930.

Nanka Yudanshakai (Southern California Judo Grade Holder's Association) was organized during the winter of 1929-1930. Its purpose was to facilitate harmony, friendship, and so on via tournaments. It also standardized promotions. The first Nanka Grand Tournament took place in 1930.

Other judo clubs in Southern California in 1930 included the following. Clubs are listed alphabetically. The name of the club is followed by the names of its pioneering instructors and the approximate date of establishment.

Note that judo was taught at other venues, to include the Los Angeles Athletic Club and gyms catering to professional wrestlers. Thus, the following is only a listing of judo clubs that participated in Nanka Yudanshakai events.

Also note that with the U.S. government's forcible relocation of Japanese Americans in 1942, most of these clubs closed permanently. Known exceptions are indicated.

Subsequent clubs included:


Mid California United Judo Association

Mid California United Judo Association clubs competed in tournaments with Nanka clubs. Member clubs included:

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