Description of the collection
The material is presented in the order given below. It covers the period from ca 1873 to 2005.
Section A, Biographical: this contains a very small amount of material relating to Bowen’s military service and to his early judo achievements.
Section B, Budokwai: this documents the origins and history of the first judo club to be established in the UK. It includes a sequence of general management committee minutes covering the period from the club’s foundation in 1918 to 1954 and a series of members’ signing-in books dating from 1935 to 1988. The section also contains correspondence and papers relating to a wide variety of training events, instruction courses and martial arts displays organised by the Budowkai. Material relating to the physical premises of the Budokwai and to the administration of its financial affairs is also presented here.
The Budokwai, the UK’s oldest judo organisation, was founded by Gunji Koizumi in January 1918 as an amateur society for the study and promotion of ‘the Japanese form of culture, sport and self-defence known as judo in such a way that its growth shall be dignified, permanent and free from professionalism’. As well as offering instruction, providing training facilities, officiating at contests and giving displays and demonstrations all over the country, the Budokwai, which means ‘the way of knighthood society’, also sought to facilitate a better understanding of the mental and physical traditions on which judo is based.
Section C, Research: This is the largest section in the catalogue. It comprises a wide variety of material ranging in date from 1873 to 2005 collected together from different sources by Bowen during his research into the history of British judo. The section is divided into three main sequences based on Bowen’s original ordering of the material. All three of these sequences contain an eclectic mix of original documents, newspaper cuttings, notes, publicity posters, correspondence and papers relating to all aspects of British and European judo; its origins and introduction, the techniques used in teaching and in competition, the development of an organised network of judo associations and its elevation to Olympic status in 1964. The section also contains some material relating to the routine management of the Budokwai.
Section D, Societies and Organisations: this contains material relating to five judo and sports-related bodies with which Bowen was either personally involved or contacted in connection with his research into the history of judo. It also contains a small amount of material relating to judo training events in the UK and in Europe organised by G. Koizumi and the Central Council for Physical Recreation.
Section E, Publications, Programmes and Posters: this is composed of material relating to the promotion of judo and other martial arts. It includes incomplete early sequences of several judo journals from the UK, Japan, Europe and North America, and a fairly comprehensive series of display and event programmes and posters from the period 1921-1989. It also contains Bowen’s collection of judo-related press cuttings and material relating to Bowen’s own writings on judo.
Section F, Correspondence: this contains diverse letters written by and addressed to Bowen between 1966 and 2005 in connection with his research into the history of judo.
Section G, Photographs: this contains approximately 100 photographs assembled by Bowen in the course of his research work. The photographs range in date from ca 1925 to 1986 and document judo demonstrations and displays, Budokwai social occasions, international judo competitions and judo summer schools. They also include formal and informal portraits of judoka.
There is also an index of correspondents.