View Full Version : What was O'Sensei's Education
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A highschool kid asked me this evening, "what was the highest grade in school did he achieve?"
I couldn't answer that one. Can anyone answer this question?
11-15-2009, 10:14 PM
O'Sensei did not complete any sort of formal secondary education. His schooling ended at approximately middle-school level. He lost interest in becoming part of the business world while still a teenager.
11-16-2009, 01:47 AM
Morihei Ueshiba's schooling might have been somewhat limited but his education was quite deep. He was close to and deeply influenced at an early age by Minakata Kumagusa who was a biologist who had studied in both the US and the UK. The commonly held idea of Ueshiba as an anachronistic mountain mystic is wrong. For example, Abe Sensei said he received books that O'Sensei had been reading right prior to his death from Saito Sensei and they included a book on Einstein and his theory of relativity.
11-16-2009, 02:47 AM
O'Sensei was in fact an avid reader, and did maintain an extensive library. Caveat: Lack of formal education should not be interpreted as lack of knowledge, but only as a literal response to Philip's original question.
11-16-2009, 06:50 AM
I thought I had read somewhere, that O'Sensei had some experience in and held a job at one point, as an accountant.
11-16-2009, 06:41 PM
I thought I had read somewhere, that O'Sensei had some experience in and held a job at one point, as an accountant.I don't think the term "accountant" held much sway in turn-of-the-century Japan. It was more a clerical function (kinda like Bob Cratchett, I think). I recall reading that this is what O'Sensei was trying to get into business-wise when he went to Tokyo at age 19, but quickly found it wasn't his bag, and returned home to Tanabe.
11-17-2009, 03:19 AM
From memory O sensei was educated to at least high school/secondary level before travelling to Tokyo to establish a stationery business at age 17.
He returned to Tanabe and joined the local tax office.
11-17-2009, 03:35 AM
From this web page:
The following years Morihei Ueshiba studied at Tanabe Elementary School. Daily exercising made his body grow healthy and gain strength. It was at this time his father was beaten up by hoods sent by his political opponents. This strengthened the young Ueshiba's sprouting interest for Budo. Ueshiba was quick to learn and very successful in school. When he was thirteen he was admitted at Tanabe Prefectural Middle School. He didn't graduate from this school but started instead at the Yoshida Abacus Institute where he learned abacus; a Japanese sort of slide-rule. He learned it so quickly that after only a year he could assist the teacher. When he received his diploma from the abacus school he found a job at the Tanabe Tax Office. After resigning from the Tax Office in 1901, eighteen years old Morihei Ueshiba moved to Tokyo to open his own stationery business Ueshiba Trading
And from Peter Boylan's Masteral Thesis: http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/boylan2.html
Ueshiba's education was not unusual. Although the new Japanese government had recently established a national education system, it had not yet built the schools necessary to teach every student in Japan. Thus Ueshiba started his education at the local terako, or temple school, transferring to the public elementary school when that was completed. Although he started junior high school, he soon transferred to an abacus school. Here he proved to be an especially adept student, rising from student to assistant instructor after only a year. Ueshiba soon left this post for a position in the local tax office. He held this post until he became involved in a dispute between the government and local fishermen who were being squeezed by new government regulations and large scale-fishing operations. His involvement on the side of the local fishermen led to his resignation.
Following this, in late 1901, Ueshiba's father provided him with money with which Ueshiba went to Tokyo and opened a stationery store. The only notable thing about this trip is that this was Ueshiba's first real encounter with the classic martial arts of Japan. Apparently, young Ueshiba studied Tenjin Shinyo Ryu jujutsu and Shinkage Ryu swordsmanship. This episode did not last long though. Ueshiba soon became sick with beriberi and he closed the store and returned to Tanabe.
Hope this helps,
11-17-2009, 07:01 AM
I don't think the term "accountant" held much sway in turn-of-the-century Japan. It was more a clerical function (kinda like Bob Cratchett, I think). I recall reading that this is what O'Sensei was trying to get into business-wise when he went to Tokyo at age 19, but quickly found it wasn't his bag, and returned home to Tanabe.
I was talking more about the job itself, than its title, not being familiar with the japanese titles of yore.
But yes, I thought I had read that somewhere. Apparently he was pretty good at it. If I recall he was offered a "high profile" job and was quite deft with his abacus.
11-17-2009, 08:49 AM
Didn't even see that last post. Thats exactly the excerpt I was reading from.
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