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Sporting life: Judo

The Japanese invented judo and believe that they should control the sport. But the forces of globalisation are not so easily vanquished

By David Goldblatt   November 2010

As the British know to their cost, codifying sports and defining them in your own image is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it offers a subtle but immense form of soft power. Few things are more emblematic of the reach and standing of Britain’s formal and informal empires than the worldwide diffusion of football, cricket, tennis and golf.

On the other hand, the empire can strike back. An early advantage is soon lost to bigger, more inventive competitors and global bureaucracies eventually come to control the sport. Football is now run by Fifa; the Royal and Ancient Golf…

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