Karate 101: Venue

Karate 101: Venue
Posted at 10:30 AM, Mar 12, 2021

Nippon Budokan has been called the spiritual home of martial arts in Japan. Built as a venue for judo competition at the 1964 Olympics, it is located in Kitanomaru Park near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. At the 2020 Olympics, it will host both karate and judo competition. 

The venue has seen plenty of sports and entertainment history. The Beatles played two shows there in 1966 and Bob Dylan recorded "Bob Dylan at Budokan" there in 1979. Nippon Budokan was also the host of a bout between Muhammad Ali and Japanese pro-wrestling star Antonio Inoki in 1976.

Below are a few quotes from athletes about the Olympic venue:

Kiyuna Ryo (JPN, Men's Kata): "It's very fitting, the spirit of budo being held in Budokan. It's overall a great feeling that it's going to be held here [for the Olympics]...I felt a real strong drive to succeed since karate is part of the Olympics now." - to NBC at the 2019 Karate1 Premier League event (through an interpreter)

Tom Scott (USA, Men's Kumite -75kg): Said the Olympic venue "is like the Super Bowl for Japanese combat sports."

Uekusa Ayumi (JPN, Women's Kumite +61 kg): "Karate is the sport born in Japan, and this venue is like a mecca of martial arts, so I am fortunate to compete in this time, and I think this is my destiny to compete in this time." - to NBC at the 2019 Karate1 Premier League event (through an interpreter)