Nippon Budokan: Venue for Judo at the Olympics

Published 07/15/2021, 6:01 AM EDT


Nippon Budokan, often referred to as Budokan, is an indoor arena located in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The name Nippon Budokan itself means martial arts hall.

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The arena was first used in the 1964 Summer Olympics when they introduced Judo as an event for the first time. The arena has a long-standing history of promoting international interest in traditional Japanese martial arts. As the arena hosting Judo and Karate, this history will continue. 

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They have also used Budokan as an arena for musical concerts, with a capacity of over 14,000. This arena is the Japanese equivalent of the Madison Square Garden.

Both the arenas are located in the heart of the city and performing here is one of the highest honors for musicians and athletes alike. 

Live events at the Budokan 

They initially used the arena only for traditional Japanese martial arts. All this changed in 1966 when the Beatles performed a series of shows at the arena. They became the first Western group to perform at the arena. 

Since the Beatles, international musicians and pop stars have strutted across the arena. Artists like Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, and Diana Ross have performed here. 

Musical groups like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, KISS, ABBA and many more have also performed here. 

The greatest combat sports event this arena has ever held was on June 26, 1976. Boxing great Muhammad Ali fought legendary Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki. 

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American Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali), training in his gym, 21st May 1965. (Photo by Harry Benson/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

They billed the fight as ‘The War of the Worlds’, with special rules that were seen as a precursor to modern-day MMA. It was an exhibition match that ended as a draw.

Tokyo Olympics Schedule at the arena

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  1. Saturday 24th- Saturday 31st July 2021: Judo.
  2. Thursday 05th- Saturday 07th August July 2021: Karate. 

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Allan Binoy

69 articles

Allan Binoy is a Combat Sports Author at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in English Literature. Allan is a semi-professional football player for Diego Juniors FC.

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