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Who were the first female judo players? When did they train?

Keiko Fukuda was promoted to fifth degree in 1953

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I suspect that these questions are probably more accurate to ask on a history stackexchange, although your first aside would probably make a great set of questions on here. The second aside might be better off on some sociological stackexchange.. :) –  Trevoke Apr 29 '13 at 18:14
    
Quite possibly true on all accounts. I thought that I'd be more likely to get an answer here. –  Mark C. Wallace Apr 29 '13 at 18:37
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...it would also be easier if the aikido/judo "who was first" were separate questions. Someone may well know very detailed information for one art, but little about the other. –  Craig Constantine Apr 29 '13 at 20:46
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I like the question but I think there are three there: first female judoka, first female aikidoka, and how to do techniques against giants. I would up vote all three! On the latter part, I always suggest to smaller people doing kote-hineri on larger ones to carefully and with control use one or two or three fingers instead of the whole hand. –  Sardathrion Apr 30 '13 at 6:37
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Spiting hair, we could say that Tomoe Gozen (巴 御前?) was one of the first known ones although she would have trained in the ancestor martial arts that gave rise to those that might have influenced the ones that were used to derive judo/aikido. ^_~ –  Sardathrion Apr 30 '13 at 10:14
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2 Answers

According to "just another judo page", the first woman judoka was Sueko Ashiya, who started training in 1893, which (if true) would be 11 years after the official founding date of the art:

First female Judo students started to train in Kodokan in late years of 19th century. First Kodokan female student was Sueko Ashiya in 1893 and joshi-bu (woman's section) of Kodokan was open in 1926.

No further reference is given. A direct inquiry to the generally fastidious records-keepers at the Kodokan seems called for to achieve a definitive answer.

Note that women's judo was highly modified, with more emphasis on kata and less on shiai. Women were not allowed to compete in the world championships until 1980, after protracted agitating.

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Takako Kunigoshi is a possibility; she started training in 1933.

Edith Margaret Garrud started studying Judo in 1899; combine that with Dr. Liepmann's answer below, and it appears that women started studying Judo in both Japan and Europe at about the same time, which is somewhat surprising.

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Doctor Liepmann? That's my father! :) –  Dave Liepmann Apr 29 '13 at 19:28
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