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12 May, 2009 18:40

Turning Japanese: Putin’s judo book rolls on

It may not exactly be selling ice to the Eskimos, but the Russian Prime Minister was keen to launch the Japanese version of his manual “Studying Judo with Vladimir Putin.”

Aside from political negotiations, Vladimir Putin took time out in Tokyo to do some PR for his book.

Compromise is possible only as a way to victory – that is the philosophy of judo that Vladimir Putin explains in his book.

"Studying Judo with Vladimir Putin" was published at the end of the 90s in 12 countries. Now, the book has arrived in the homeland of martial arts.

The Japanese edition has an introduction by Yasuhiro Yamashita – five-time world champion and a friend of the Russian prime minister.

While judo includes a variety of rolls, falls, throws, hold downs, joint-locks and strikes, the power is in the philosophy: the word “judo” actually means “the gentle way.”

Your contestant is not your enemy but a partner. This might well sound a lot like politics.

“An oriental sage said once: it's easy to love the whole world, try to love your neighbor first,” Vladimir Putin cited.

This presentation is a special one. Vladimir Putin for the first time holds his book translated into Japanese – the original language of judo.

The publication of the book in Japan has been delayed several times – a reminder of the tense relationship between the two countries, which still lack a peace treaty after the Second World War.

However one of the roles of this book is maybe to bring Russia and Japan closer, showing respect and understanding of foreign knowledge and traditions.