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Caricature - Yukio Tani
  • Yukio Tani
    Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950
  • Enlarge image

Yukio Tani

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Hanley (probably, sketched)

  • Date:

    1904 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and wash on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This caricature is of Yukio Tani when he was appearing at the Grand Theatre of Varieties, Hanley, during the week of 14 November 1904. He was topping the bill as ‘The Wonderful Japanese Wrestler’. It is one of the many superb caricatures of Edwardian music hall performers that were drawn by the artist George Cooke when he was based at the Grand Theatre. He compiled them in a series of albums.

Yukio Tani was a diminutive Judo, or Jiu-Jitsu, expert, who was 5 foot 1 inch tall and weighed 9 stones. Born in 1881, he arrived in London in 1900. The following year he founded the British Society for Jiu-Jitsu with William Bankier, the strongman Apollo, who promoted Tani’s tours. He was also drawn by Cooke. In 1901 Tani demonstrated his skills at the Japan Society and in 1904 opened the Japanese School of Jiu-Jitsu at 305 Oxford Street, London. By 1903 he was in demand at music halls, when rewards were offered to anyone who could defeat him. In 1904, for example, at the Paragon Theatre of Varieties in the Mile End Road in London, the prize was £100, with a silver cup and a gold medal to the best amateurs staying a certain amount of time in the ring with him. At Hanley anyone who beat him was offered £100, and anyone whom he did not defeat within 15 minutes received 21 guineas. Tani appeared on the music hall circuit for several years, but allegedly was beaten only once, by a fellow Japanese. He died in 1950.

Physical description

Pen, ink and wash caricature on pink paper of Yukio Tani, wearing black shorts and a white robe with a blue belt.

Place of Origin

Hanley (probably, sketched)


1904 (drawn)


Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions

TANI With also a Japanese inscription.
Signature; Hand written; Pen and ink


Height: 25 cm, Width: 18 cm

Object history note

This caricature is of the Judo, or Jiu-Jitsu expert, the diminutive Yukio Tani (1881-1950) who arrived in London in 1900 and the following year founded The British Society for Jiu-Jitsu with William Bankier, the strong-man Apollo. He appeared on the music hall circuit for several years and lived for the rest of his life in England. The caricature comes from the first of several albums compiled by the graphic artist George Cooke, featuring performers working in music hall in the early 20th century. The album is dated 1903-4-5.

Descriptive line

Caricature of the Jiu-Jitsu or Judo expert Yukio Tani (1881-1950), who appeared in music hall, from an album of caricatures drawn by George Cooke. Probably 1904.


Pen and ink; Watercolour


Drawn; Painted


Caricatures & Cartoons; Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings


Theatre and Performance Collection

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