Tenth Degree Black Belt (Red Belt) is the highest rank in the Judo World. The only one to obtain higher Twelfth Degree is Professor Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo.
Mifune Kyuzo (b1884-d1965)
He joined the Kodokan in 1903 and remained a member until his death. He was unbelievably energetic and stood at the head of the Kodokan instructors. The speed at which he mastered the techniques of Judo can only be matched by the rapidity of his promotion. He received the grade of Tenth Dan in 1945 and was a permanent member of the Kodokan Consultative Group.
Iizuka Kunisaburo (b1875-d1958)
Entered the Kodokan in 1891 and was graded Tenth Dan in 1946. as a young man he was very keen to go abroad, but in 1906 was asked to become Judo instructor at Keio (the oldest private University in Japan) and remained there for more than fifty years devoting his whole life to the work. He was a member of both the Kodokan council and the Dojo Consultative Group.
Samura Kaichiro (b1880-d1964)
One of the two longest living Tenth Dans he joined the Kodokan in 1898 and received the grade of Tenth Dan in 1948. In 1899 he became the head of the Judo Section of the Butokkai and later traveled extensively teaching at schools and police establishments. In 1931 he began teaching at the Kodokan and was a member of the Dojo Consultative Group.
Kotani Sumiyuki (b1903-d?)
At the time of source (1984) he was the only living Tenth Dan. He received the rank of Tenth Dan in April 1984. He was one of Jigoro Kano's direct students, and only the seventh man to received Tenth Dan while still living. He was very active in promoting Judo all around the World. He was the Kodokan's top ranked official and vice president of the All Japan Judo Federation. At the time of reference (at age 81) he still worked out every day.
Nagaoka Hidekasu (b1876-d1952)
Came to Tokyo from his birth place, Okayama at the age of 16 to seek out the Shihan. Entered the Kodokan in 1893 and practiced so hard is was said of him, "The technique of Sutemi, the man is Nagaoka." Many of his contests are still the subject of countless reminiscences and his efforts were poured into training of young teachers and he was the training assistant to the President of the Kodokan. He did much to gain for the Kodokan the secure position it enjoys today and was promoted to Tenth Dan in 1937.
Yamashita Yoshiaki (b1865-d1935)
The shihan's assistant from the very founding of the Kodokan, he is one of the greatest men in Judo. He entered the Kodokan in 1884 and gained a formidable reputation from his contest with the strong men from other Jujitsu schools during the Meiji period. He later went to the United States where he taught Judo to the President Theodore Roosevelt and altogether enjoyed a colorful life. In 1935 Kano Shihan awarded him the first Tenth Dan.
Isogai Hajime (b1871-d1947)
Entered the Kodokan in 1891 and practiced assiduously under Kano Jigoro. In 1899 he was selected to go to the Butokkai in Kyoto where he worked for many years spreading Judo and training teachers. In 1937 he was awarded the grade of Tenth Dan and is considered to be one of the great figures in Konsai Judo. (Konsai is a mid-western portion of Honsu) the main Island of Japanese group.
Tabata Shotoro (b1884-d1950)
Entered the Kodokan in 1900 and was promoted to Tenth Dan in 1948. From 1905 he taught at the Butokkai in Kyoto where he trained many new instructors and contributed greatly to the development and diffusion of Judo. Together with Isogai, Tenth Dan, he occupies a special place in Konsai Judo.
Okano Kataro (b1885-d1967)
Okano was born April 1885. He became the Ninth Dan to be promoted to Tenth Degree Black Belt in 1967. He was the first graduated student from the Budo Senmon-Gakko (martial arts school) and he became "Shihan" (master of martial art) in Sixth Okayama Higher School and Okayama police. His mat technique was one of the best among the Judo world at that time.
Shoriki Matsutaro (b1885-d1969)
Born April 11, 1885 in Toyama Prefecture, educated at Takaoda Middle School, Fourth National Higher School, and Tokyo Imperial University. Director of Police Affairs Sections of the Metropolitan Police Board, President of the Yomiuri Shimbunsha (Japanese Newspaper) and later its owner. Appointed Member of the House of Peers and selected Member of the House of Representatives. Served as State Minister. Established Japan's first commercial television station Nippon Television Network Corporation. Started professional baseball in Japan and contributed to its development. President of the Franco-Japanese University Judo Association, Chairman of Nippon Budokan, and President of National Detains Judo Federation. He was the only non-professional in the 112 year history of the Kodokan to hold Tenth Dan. He died in 1969.
Kurihara Tamio (b1869-d1979)
Kurihara was born May 1869. He became the eleventh person to be promoted to Tenth Degree Black Belt in 1979. He graduated from Kyoto Budo Senmon-Gakko (Martial Art College) and became "Shihan" (Master instructor of Judo) at Kyoto Third Higher School. One of his impressive competitions was the May 1926 Emperor's Cup final facing one of the young upcoming strong players, Ushijima Tatsukuma, a twenty-six year old Fifth Dan. He won a decision here after a hard competition to take the title.
Nakano Shozo (b1888-d1977)
Nakano was born January 1888. He was promoted to Tenth Degree Black Belt in 1978. He became master instructor at Tokyo Ikashika University (Medical School). He energetically promoted Kodokan Judo to the world. His uchimata throw was very famous. He said "my strategy is to let my opponent get his favorite satisfactory grip and then find my own what of chance to throw my opponent."
This source is over ten years old. I believe there may be a few more Tenth Dans since then. As I find the information and some biographical information, I will add it to this Page.
1984 Los Angeles Olympics
Judo Event Program
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