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Old 05-13-2008, 06:23 PM   #33
Allen Beebe
Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 532
Re: Kisshomaru as Interpretor of the Founder's Words

Some historical context is offered below. Please feel free to correct any mistaken facts. I'm throwing this one together "off the cuff."

1894-1895 First Sino-Japanese War
1904 - 1905 Russo Japanese War
1914 World War 1 (Japan was a member of the Allies and also intervened in Russia during the russian Civil War)
1937 - 1945 Second Sino-japanese War

1883 - 1969 Ueshiba Morihei

Japan was engaging in war from when Ueshiba Morihei was 11 years of age until he was 62 years of age. His "formative years" were during the ascendancy of Japan's Imperial Military and a corresponding rise in national pride. By all accounts Ueshiba was eager to join the Imperial Army during the Russo Japanese War serving in the Wakayama 61st Infantry Regiment until 1906.

In 1924 as body guard for Deguchi Onisaburo, Ueshiba traveled to the Mongolia to set up a "utopian society." He and the others of his party are held prisoner by the Chinese military for plotting the overthrow of the existing government. By one account (according to Shioda Gozo as related to him by Ueshiba Morihei) during this "adventure" Ueshiba engaged in lethal combat using a sword from horse-top and learned that a sharp blade doesn't slice well after repeated use due to an accumulation of body fat and therefore thrusting is a more expedient means of dispatch.

In 1939 Ueshiba was invited to instruct in Manchuria (Manchukuo was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia created by former Qing Dynasty officials with help from Imperial Japan in 1932. The state was founded and administered by Imperial Japan, with Puyi, the last Qing emperor, as the nominal regent and emperor. If I remember correctly there is a Puyi/Ueshiba connection and Puyi may have studied Aikido at some point. In fact I think there may be a group picture.) In 1940 Ueshiba attended a martial arts demonstration in Manchuria (Manchukuo) commemorating the 2600th anniversary of Japan. In 1941 Ueshiba gave a demonstration at the Sainenkan dojo on the Imperial grounds for members of the Imperial family, taught at various military and spy academies, was invited to Manchuria (Manchukuo) to instruct during University Martial Arts week, became martial arts advisor to the Shimbuden and Kenkoku universities in Manchuria (Manchukuo.) In 1942 he was invited to Manchuria (Manchukuo) as representative of Japanese martial arts to attend the Manchuria-Japanese Exchange Martial Arts demonstration in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of "Manchurian Independence." The Kobukan was also reported to have been used as a meeting place by politically/militarily influential groups who's members included certain members of the Kobukan dojo. Whether or not, and to what degree, Ueshiba was aware of, or involved in, these meetings is debated.

By his "senior years" Ueshiba had witnessed the "humbling" if not outright destruction of virtually every power structure (religious, military, martial, and political) that he had been engaged in or associated with.

Ueshiba retired to Iwama in 1942.

Here is a personage that certainly lived an incredibly interesting and eventful life. To look upon O-sensei as anything other than a complex multidimensional human being shows him, his life, and those closest to him great disrespect.

Personally I think it is a bit of a stretch to posit that one can assert the precise nuance that O-sensei intended for individual phrases in the doka and prose shared in Budo Renshu and Budo which were published in 1933 and 1938 respectively, as well as other works that were released in edited bits and pieces later on. Certainly an argument could be made that those closest to "the founder" would be best positioned to understand his core message and beliefs. However, it has been pointed out that individuals in that position have attempted, with a great deal of success, to regulate, sculpt, and/or spin what information and imagery has been shared. Considering the context and conditions of Occupied Japan and Post War Japan, and considering Japanese culture's (past at least) predisposition toward not speaking of that which might be considered sensitive or contradictory of authority, I think this isn't surprising in the least.

That's all my bleary mind has time or inclination to write for now.

~ Allen Beebe
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