• The life of Jigoro Kano
  • The life of Jigoro Kano :  5. A life of "Seiryoku zenyo" and "Jita Kyoei" ("maximum efficiency" and "mutual benefit")

The life of Jigoro Kano

5. A life of "Seiryoku zenyo" and "Jita Kyoei" ("maximum efficiency" and "mutual benefit")

A desire for world peace

Seryoku zenyo and Jita kyoei

Based on the lessons learned from his mother in early childhood, and on his father's philosophy of action, Jigoro had formed a spiritual outlook that called for maximum use of the mind and body, coupled with a desire to improve society (maximum efficiency). And through the practice of Judo, he had learned that in showing an opponent respect and gratitude, one fosters mutual trust and mutual assistance, and that one should not strive for one's own gain, but for mutual gain (mutual benefit).

These were the two guiding principles had stayed with Jigoro throughout his life. Jigoro had dedicated himself to the study of Judo, and even when honor and position came to him, arrogance did not. Whether in Judo or scholastics, he never lost his burning desire to learn and improve. He was a man who constantly set new goals for himself, and who always strove to play a useful role in the world. His famous creed of "mutual benefit (Jita kyoei)" and "maximum efficiency (Seiryoku zenyo)" might even be said to show the way toward world peace.

Jigoro, who influenced so many youths, taught them that the power acquired from Judo training was not for the purpose of pinning down or overpowering an opponent, but rather to move the world in a positive direction. Moreover, Jigoro realized that in order for Kodokan Judo to spread throughout the world, he must not focus solely on polishing his own Waza, but must also provide fair instruction that was free of all racial and nationality prejudice in order to ensure excellence in his successors.