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Old 02-05-2007, 06:11 PM   #34
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

John Brockington wrote:
What actually motivated my question (posed first in the thread "Hypocrisy in Aikido") to Sensei Amdur in the first place was really O Sensei and his treatment of Terry Dobson. There is a place in Terry Dobson's book entitled, I believe, "It's a Lot Like Dancing," where he briefly mentions this relationship and nuanced treatment. And when I read this, I started to think about O Sensei's prior activities in Manchuria and Hokkaido. It occurred to me that his efforts to create a "utopian" state in Manchuria could be construed as an overtly imperialistic act (why wasn't this attempted in Japan?), and certainly the Chinese did not appreciate it. Then his activities in the development of Hokkaido- were these part or an extension of the Japanese government's efforts to displace or dissolve the Ainu? I can find little to support one interpretation or the other, and so was trying to solicit insight from another source. And this does, indeed, get back to the question of the deification, by some, of O Sensei.

Don't forget that he was a member of a group led by the charismatic, but crackpot, Onisaburo Deguchi, who provided the ideological/spiritual justification for the mission. (Don't forget, also, that at least one member of the group, Yutaro Yano, was linked to the right-wing Amur River Society). Of course, the mission could be construed as overly imperialistic and the same can be said of Japan's later South Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere: the mission to give 'universal brotherhood' to the people of South East Asia. Viewed from this perspective, I think the idea of dispersing the Ainu, seen as an aggressive act, would have been foreign to Japanese at the time, since the Ainu were also in dire need of the kind of universal brotherhood that only the Japanese could provide.

Certainly, the circles in which M Ueshiba moved and the people he knew, apart from Deguchi, would lead one to suppose that he was way to the right of the political spectrum, but he accepted Dobson as a student after World War II, when such ideas were no longer overtly in favor.

You should compare pp.37-45 of Invincible Warrior, by John Stevens, with pp.123-155 of Thomas Nadolski's Ph.D thesis, entitled The Socio-political Background of the 1921 and 1935 Omoto Suppressions in Japan. Nadolski examines the entire Mongolian adventure without once mentioning Ueshiba by name. Stanley Pranin, also, has writen about the episode somewhere in Aikido Journal.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-05-2007 at 06:13 PM.

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