• Brooklyn, New York


In the March 15 editorial “Reason to skip judo class” — which expresses concern over the introduction of judo and other martial arts as mandatory sports in Japanese junior high schools — there is some confusing information.

The writer states: “Mr. Ryo Uchida, an associate professor of education sociology at Nagoya University, has found that in 28 years through fiscal 2010, 114 students died and 275 others suffered serious physical damage because of accidents during club activities and physical exercise classes at junior and senior high schools. The death rate is said to be much higher than with other sports.”

Do these statistics refer just to martial arts, or all club activities? It seems likely to be the latter, which would be more inclusive of clubs like baseball, track and field, volleyball, tennis and swimming, since they are more universally common at Japanese schools.

Along those lines then, it seems that the problem is not the introduction of martial arts like judo and kendo — which are, I think, demonstrably among the safest sports out there — but rather the overall lack of safety considerations in Japanese school activities. Martial arts may not need to be mandatory, but it is misguided to single them out as more dangerous than other sports.

The deaths of “114 students” and the serious physical damage suffered by “275 others” refer just to judo-related accidents. — Editor.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

benjamin singer

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