9th JFKO All Japan Open – Women’s division

The important 9th JFKO All Japan Open qualifying tournament to the 1st WFKO are one week away, we take a look at the draw and participants women’s division.

There are high expectations for next year’s championship – 1st WFKO. It is then natural that the qualification for this also attracts a lot of attention – especially in Japan.

Official JFKO Website – for info 

A common adjustment to the weight classes has also been made, so that the same weight classes are used in several tournaments. The weight classes in the JFKO All Japan Open are the same as those used in the European Championship Shinkyokushin, and further in the World Championship in Weight-Categories WKO – as some examples.

In the ladies’ division there are the following five weight classes: -50, -54, -59, -65 and + 65 kg. In the men’s division there are -60, -70, -80, -90 and +90 kg. in other words – you are well acquainted with the weight classes in the men’s division from various previous championships, while the “big” change is to be found in the women’s division. The same weight classes will of course be used in other withdrawal championships, such as e.g. EFKO EC – which is Europe’s qualification for the 1st WFKO in 2025

If you look at these weight-categories with European eyes, it will be quite suitably. In the 9th JFKO, we can notice that the upper weight-category in the women’s division are slimmed down – naturally. But that does not mean that it is an easy win – the level are respectable, and then some.

Women Light-weight – 50 kg

The podium from last year are more or less to find in this years line up as well, Yuno Shimizu, Miina Mori and Anna Kinjo from last years podium. All very capable of reaching the podium this time too. (8th JFKO podium 2023)

If you are not completely familiar with all the Japanese names and organizations, it can help to see / remember these against other athletes, from e.g. Europe. Yuno Shimizu fought a intense fight  Ivanka Popova in the World Championship, 2nd round. The Sakura-Juku fighter does also hold several other titles, as the JKJO All Japan Open.

Kinjo Meimi and sister Anna Meimi  – Meimi being reign World Champion, Anna runner up – / Kyokushin Rengokai. Top of that, Misaki Utsunomiya – reign world champion WKO in -50 kg attend as well.

Women Light-Middleweight -54 kg

Under 54 kg have a decent 24 fighters large category – with profiles in the line up. Masa Tomino / Byakuren Kaikan and Ishino Makato / Sakura-Juku – both JFKO winners i earlier occasions, and multiply All Japan Open winners in different championships.

They will have company with WKO World Champions runner up Karin Kojima / Shinkyokushin. Kojima also merited from several other tournaments, and have climbed higher and higher on the rankings.

In contrast to European conditions, championships in Japan do not necessarily distinguish between junior and senior in all cases. In this case, you have athletes under 15 years of age – in this senior tournament. if we take this class as an example, close to half of the participants are under the age of 18.

Women Middleweight 59 kg

In this category we have 36 fighters, and among them not only some of the best, but World Champions in matter of fact. First name to notice: Nichika Tomimura / Shinkyokushin – World Champion in weight-categories from 2022.

Ren Mizutani / Kubota Dojo have a very decent record. “Always” on the podium, and a well known name in the JFKO championships. Moved up in the weight-categories, but we’v seen her fight in open-weight tournaments without problems.

Honoka Inoue / Shinkyokushin – 3rd place in the World Championship weight categories WKO. Azu Kodama / Shinkyokushin – top 4 in JFKO All Japan open, and from further back in time, runner up in The Karate Grand Prix 2020. A World Champions (Rengokai) from 2012 in  Airi Masuyama is also to see in the line up – all in all a good mix in the category.

Women light-heavyweight -65 kg

In this category we have some of the biggest profiles. All highly skilled and merited, in All Japan opens as well as in World Championships – open weights and weight-categories. Ramu Amikawa and Yuna Mokudai, 2nd and 3rd in the WKO World Championship last year.

Chihiro Kubota / Kubota Dojo have been one of the absolute strongest fighter in the upper weight-category. Incredible explosive and intense fighting – technical clean, keeping her strength trough long fights and tournaments. Winner of the JFKO All Japan Open several times and the WKO All Japan Open weight

Kokona Nomura, Rio Matsuda and Mai Yamaguchi represent also a factor in this category. Matsuda will most likely face Kubota – a challenge in other words.

Women Heavyweight +65 kg

In the heaviest category, are the number of fighters lower (as expected) than the rest, but the level of the fighters are at the absolute best. Mihiro Suzuki won the 13th World Open Championship last year – and will be the favorite in this setting.

But Suzuki will face more than decent resistance in some of the other notable fighters. Momo Fujihara, Airi Kan and Yui Kobayashi to name the top. All experienced and can bring the best to the Tatami – and that, they must! Many have expectations with Momo Fujihara, coming out from the Tsukamoto Dojo. Known for great tactical set ups – naturally, with Norichika Tsukamoto pulling the strings.

And if not mistaken, one competitor will be qualified to the KCC Karate Champion of the Champions, held next year. Suzuki Mihiro is all ready in, same with Ramu Amikawa. So in total one can qualify to KCC and to the 1st WFKO – both held next year.