Natsumi Tsunoda, in white, beat Katharina Mentz to retain her title at the Judo World Championships ©Getty Images

Japan got off to the perfect start at the World Judo Championships here in Tashkent as Natsumi Tsunoda and Naohisa Takato secured both gold medals available on the opening day of competition.

Tsunoda successfully defended her 2021 title from Budapest in the women's under-48-kilogram category following a submission victory against Germany's Katharina Mentz at the Humo Arena in Uzbekistan's capital.

The 30-year-old struck early in the bout to take a waza-ari point inside the first minute.

The attack forced Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Mentz to let down her guard and go on the offensive herself.

This put her out of her comfort zone as she employed a conservative tactic in the previous rounds where she would seek an early point and then shut up shop to see out the win.

Tsunoda capitalised on Mentz's discomfort with the situation and pounced to lock her into an inescapable position for 20 seconds, leading the referee to award an ippon victory.

Yachiyo-born Tsunoda seems to have reached her zenith in the latter stages of her career as today's win adds to two Grand Slam victories from Paris and Ulaanbaatar earlier this year.

Assunta Scutto of Italy beat third-place finisher at the Budapest 2021 World Championships Julia Figueroa of Spain to the first bronze medal with a hane goshi ippon.

In the next bout, it was Kazakhstan's Abiba Abuzhakynova who joined Scutto on the podium.

Naohisa Takato's victory in Tashkent clinched his fourth World Judo Championships gold medal ©Getty Images
Naohisa Takato's victory in Tashkent clinched his fourth World Judo Championships gold medal ©Getty Images

She beat Chilean Mary Vargas in the sudden death golden score round following a cagey regulation period.

A leg sweep waza-ari was enough to bag the bronze which resulted in an eruption of noise from a large contingent of travelling Kazakh fans.

In the men's event, Takato blitzed Mongolia's Ariunbold Enkhtaivan in the under-60kg final to achieve his fourth World Championships gold medal.

He did so in swashbuckling style, launching an attack immediately which quickly led to a waza-ari following a hip toss after 30 seconds.

Soon after, a brilliant tai oshi body drop confirmed the win with an ippon over the bemused Mongolian.

In the bronze-medal matches, Uzbekistan's Dilshodbek Baratov took on Kazakhstan's Yeldos Smetov in what was the loudest affair of the day.

Both countries had swathes of fans in the stands, with Baratov also willed on by a brass band, but it was the Kazakh supporters who were singing at the end as Yekdos delivered a clinical hane makikomi to seal the win.

Tokyo 2020 runner-up Yang Yung Wei of Chinese Taipei then stepped into a much calmer arena before dispatching Israeli Yam Wolczak in the second bronze-medal match via submission.

Competition is set to continue tomorrow in Tashkent with champions expected to be crowned in the women's under-52kg and men's under-66kg categories.