The Kano Society




This word means ‘cold-practice’. It is traditionally part of the training for martial artists and classical Japanese musicians.The idea is that by training in the most adverse of conditions such as the coldest time of the day and year or the hottest time(shochugeiko) one learns to do ones art regardless of the conditions. An artist who could only perform in perfect conditions would not be highly regarded. In the martial arts this is fairly practical since an attack can come at any time in theory. It is usual to hold the Kangeiko either early in the morning or during the night with no heating whatsoever in the place of training. A cold shower afterwards would be de rigeur.

The Kodokan has an annual 30 day Kangeiko during the months of January and February. Whereas it may not be so difficult to get out of bed once on a freezing morning and do judo the test comes in turning up every day.

The Kangeiko is now widely used as a training method among most traditional Japanese arts and sports.



The Kagamibiraki or Kagamibiraki-shiki was one of the main functions in the New Year festival of old Japan. In feudal times every military family would on New Years Day, offer Kagami-mochi (two tiers of round mirror-shaped rice cakes usually offered to the deity) to each set of armour – belonging to the sons as well as the head of the household – and then to pray for success in future wars.

On the 20th day of January, they cut these cakes into pieces and prepare for Shiruko (red bean soup with rice cakes) and Zoni (boiled rice cakes with vegetables), etc., then the family and guests ate them together.

With the decline of the military class this custom fell into disuse, but in some circles it is still kept alive although modifications have been made to suit the present times.

In the Kagamibiraki of the Kodokan the time honoured Shiruko is served to all the members and guests present.

Prior to the eating, there is an exchange of greetings between the President and representative members. There is also a demonstration of Kata and Randori accompanied by a customary promotion ceremony on the same programme.


(from Illustrated Kodokan Judo 1955)