Peter A Goldsbury
Thank you for the comments.
I think O Sensei had a more complex attitude to organizations than you suggest. In 1932 he became Chairman of the Dai Nippon Budo Senyou-kai at the request of Onisaburo Deguchi, who was the President. As you know, the main dojo for this Omoto organization was in Takeda, in Hyogo Prefecture, and it appears to have been run as a farm-dojo, rather like Iwama became. There appear to have been two dojos and members of the public (presumably Omoto believers) were able to train. When he was not there himself, the instructors were Ueshiba's uchi-deshi, most of whom had no links with Omoto.
I do not think that the creation of the Zaidan Houjin Kobukai in 1940 was synonymous with opening aiki-budo to the general public. Judging from Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography of Ueshiba, the impetus this time came from people like Takeshita Osamu and Ueshiba's wealthy benefactors. The effect was to make the dojo a legal entity, but it still functioned as a closed dojo, with access to training only by recommendation.
After the war, it was Kisshomaru who took the initiative in quietly restarting the Kobukai in 1948 (this time as the Zaidan Houjin Aikikai), again with the assistance of political friends. In Aikido Ichiro Kisshomaru states that his father left him to it.
Wonderful stuff Peter!
It was my understanding that O-Sensei's main student and primary back-up from an instruction standpoint was Inoue Sensei, his nephew. He was sempai to virtually everyone in those early days. He was, of course, a very serious Omoto follower. I thought he was intimately involved in the instruction of the Omoto followers...
It has always been a bit unclear how much intertwining there was between these quasi-official and official organizations and the government. When you have a highly centralized, totalitarian system functioning, there is seldom any group or organization that is really independent of the central power... I would imagine that there were quite a few people, like the Founder, whose positions or personal connections crossed across the various limes until the government decided to overtly oppose the Omotokyo.
It seems that early on there was a congruence between the goals of Deguchi and the Omotokyo and the government. There must have been quite a number of folks who got caught in between, with conflicting loyalties, when the government turned on the Omotokyo Organization. That's the conventional story as to why O-Sensei fell out with his nephew, Inoue, who supposedly felt that O-Sensei had "sold out" by distancing himself from the Omoto faithful after the purges. Anyway it is all very murky because during this period, there wasn't much separation between ideas spiritual and ideas political... They seem to run naturally together in a way that isn't very comprehensible to us in the West.