Congratulations Japan, JKF and WKF

Takashi Sasagawa

At the International Olympic Committee (IOC) 129th Congress August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro became karate, the world’s largest martial art, included in the Olympic program. It was a historical moment when IOC President Thomas Bach said: “This proposal is unanimously approved. Congratulations to Tokyo 2020. This is a milestone in the innovation of the Olympic program,”

A whole-hearted campaign
Never before has there been such a whole-hearted campaign to get karate on the Olympic program. In Japan the Japan Karate Federation (JKF) got support from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympics 2020. 110 members from both Houses of Parliament were involved. Support was also given from Japan Budo Association and Nippon Budokan. In charge of the karate campaign was the JKF President Takashi Sasagawa (picture) and WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura.

The campaign was coordinated with the World Karate Federation. After the announcement from IOC declared WKF President Antonio Espinós: “It is an incredible day for Karate. It is a moment of great joy and it will be on our minds forever,”

WKF President Antonio Espinos surrounded by 4th Vice-President Gunnar Nordahl; Norway (right) and Swedish Karate President Urban Andersson.

Seven times down, eight times up…
There is a Japanese proverb “Nana Korobi Ya Oki” (七転八起); “Seven times down, eight times up..,”! The meaning is “never give up” and it has never WKF done despite numerous setbacks in the attempts to get on the Olympic program. This shows one of the cornerstones of karate: Good spirit!

Three times before has the World Karate Federation (WKF) failed to win Olympic inclusion, for the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio Games 2016. In 2005 in Singapore karate failed to get two-thirds majority for 2012, in 2009 in Copenhagen karate fell on the finish line as golf and rugby were elected for 2016 and in 2013 was not karate not among the nominees. But through hard work, not least from the Japanese politicians, in coordination with WKF President Antonio Espinós, it now went the way.

Japan has now two sports in the Olympics
Since karate is a Japanese martial art it feels natural that the debut takes place in Tokyo at the Olympic Games in 2020. In 1964 judo debuted as a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games also in Tokyo. This means that Japan now has two sports in the Olympics, with roots in the Japanese martial system. In the last 70 years karate and judo have evolved into global modern sport for all ages and genders.

WKF has 188 member countries
WKF has today 188 member countries that all are very happy that karate is now included on the Olympic program. .