Naoto Tajima

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameNaoto•Tajima
Used nameNaoto•Tajima
Original name田島•直人
Born15 August 1912 in Osaka, Osaka (JPN)
Died4 December 1990 in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi (JPN)
Measurements171 cm / 62 kg
AffiliationsYamaguchi Prefectural High School, Yamaguchi (JPN) / Kyoto University, Kyoto (JPN)
NOC Japan
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2


Naoto Tajima grew up in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Because his brother was a successful triple jumper and a friend of Mikio Oda Naoto also took up this discipline. Tajima first competed internationally at the 1932 Olympics, where he was sixth in the long jump. In 1934, Tajima won the long jump and added a bronze in the triple jump at the Far Eastern Games. The high point of his career came at the 1936 Olympics, where he first won bronze in long jump and then two days later captured gold in the triple jump with a world record of 16.00, which stood until 1951. At home, Tajima won the national title in the triple jump in 1932 and 1935. In 1938 Tajima was scheduled to compete at the Far Eastern Games, but they were cancelled due to the Second Sino-Japanese War and Tajima thus retired from sports.

Tajima remained active in Japanese athletics as the managing director of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations. He was a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee and coached its athletics team at the 1956 and 1964 Olympics. Outside of sports, Tajima, who graduated from Kyoto Imperial University (now Kyoto University) with an economic degree shortly before his 1936 Olympic victory, worked for a Mitsui Sunagawa coal mine. From 1958-61 he was assigned by his company to Germany to study German mining technology and became fluent in German. He also worked as a lecturer at Chukyo University. Shortly before his death, Tajima was appointed an Honorary Citizen of his hometown of Iwakuni.

Tajima was married to Asa Dogura, the first marriage between Olympians in Japan. Their daughter served as a hostess at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and presented the gold medal to the marathon winner Abebe Bikila during the victory ceremony. The oak sapling that Tajima brought back as a gold medal winner at the Berlin Olympics was nursed at the Kyoto Botanical Garden and later planted at the site of a playground. It grew to become a large tree until it was infected by a plant disease in 2008 and had to be felled.

Personal Bests: LJ – 7.74 (1935); TJ – 16.00 (1936).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Athletics JPN Naoto Tajima
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Japan DNS
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 6
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics JPN Naoto Tajima
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) Japan DNS
Long Jump, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
Triple Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes