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Getting a Grip: Judo in the Nikkei Communities of the Pacific Northwest, 1900-1950

by Joseph R. Svinth

Getting a Grip: Judo in the Nikkei Communities of the Pacific Northwest, 1900-1950

First published in 2003 by Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences, with financial support from King County Landmarks and Heritage Commission. Trade paper, 300 pages, with glossary, index, and 53 illustrations. ISBN 0-9689673-0-2

Writing a column is simple. Writing a book is something else.

So, when someone puts together a book which obviously took a lot of research, I marvel at the effort.

Joseph R. Svinth produced a book entitled "Getting a Grip." It chronicles the history of judo in the Nikkei communities in the Pacific Northwest circa 1900.

I haven't had the time to read it all but just thumbing through, it indicated to me what a massive project it was for Svinth. It covers all the dojos in the various Pacific Northwest communities as well as the individuals who played key roles in judo in the areas.

Anyone interested in the subject should pick up a copy.

-- George Yoshinaga, in "Horse's Mouth," Rafu Shimpo, August 12, 2003, page 3

It was a real pleasant surprise to get Getting a Grip. This is an almost unique book, based on original research, and the history would have been lost to us completely if you hadnít done this. The chapter on Tokugoro Ito is very valuable.

-- Graham Noble

"I marvel at the depth of your research and your diligence. Thanks for enriching the record of our history. Your book is priceless."

-- Bill Hosokawa, author of  The Two Worlds of Jim Yoshida

About the Book (from the Foreword, by Homer Yasui)

Many articles and books have been written about Pacific Northwest Nikkei (people of Japanese ethnicity) and a few of them have discussed the sports (particularly baseball) that we Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) played. Yet none of these stories have focused on the influence of judo in the lives of young Nisei males in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. That is, until Joseph R. Svinth wrote Getting a Grip: Judo in the Nikkei Communities of the Pacific Northwest, 1900-1950.

But as this book shows, Seattle had a judo club by 1907. By the middle 1920s, even villages in Hood River County, Oregon -- places like Oak Grove, Dee, and Parkdale -- had small gatherings of judo enthusiasts. And by the 1930s, for the Hood River Nisei that I grew up with, the playing of judo was second only to baseball in popularity.

Joseph Svinthís book is deserving of every support, because not only is it highly readable and meticulously researched, but also because it fills a void in the history of a people.

Ordering Information

Cost: US $24.95.

Shipping and handling for a single copy: $4.00 USA, $5.00 Canada and Mexico, $8.00 elsewhere. Washington State residents, add $2.10 (8.4%) for sales tax.

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