Judo is best known in the west as an Olympic sport and in this form has been practiced by a large number of students. But when it was first practiced in Japan it was as a form of self-defence. Dr Jigoro Kano was born in 1860 in Hyogo Prefecture, he studied Jujitsu for many years with a number of masters and from this wealth of knowledge formulated his method of self-defence which he called Judo to distinguish it from the original Jujitsu.
In 1882 he founded the Kodokan in Japan to teach his style of what has become known as Kodokan Judo. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University having studied literature, politics and political economy. Among his many achievements was in 1909 when he became the first Japanese member of the International Olympic Committee.
He died at sea aboard the Hikawa Maru in 1938 on his way back from an IOC meeting in Cairo.