Good Morning to you, too, Carl. (Sounds like the beginning of an English class in Japan, doesn't it.
In my original post, I did not state that Mitsuteru made his official
debut: I stated that he made his debut. No fuss, no fanfare, but he was on the front row of the line-up. I know who he was and I am sure a few others did. But Mitsuteru kept (or was kept) well outside the public eye up to this time. Then he quietly began to appear. After the demonstration he came and introduced himself to me. We talked about his future, which university he would enter. After Kisshomaru Doshu, his grandfather, had finished the final demonstration, he stood up give his closing address. One of the ukes was waiting with the wireless mike and leaped up to give it him--but held the wrong end. Doshu began his usual address, but nobody heard him. Mitsuteru looked in my direction and our eyes met: we both stifled a laugh. For me, this was a good sign. He has a sense of humour, which he will sorely need in the future.
At a later demonstration, more recent than the earlier one
, I sat next to Katsuyuki Kondo, from Daito-ryu. Mitsuteru was uke and Kondo Sensei commented on the very difficult job he would have when became Doshu. Mistuteru Ueshiba's official debut has been handled carefully. A few years ago his name was added to the Hombu teaching roster, but at the very top, above the name of Shigenobu Okumura. Then, he was put down to teach some of the beginners classes. Most recently, at a meeting of the Zaidan Hojin Aikikai, held on the day of this years demonstration, he was made Dojo-cho hosa
(Deputy Head of the Hombu Dojo). So on this occasion, you could indeed say that his debut was official.
However, the point I made in my original post is still valid. I think it would have been more appropriate for him to have been in the Hombu Dojo line-up. However, this is not the first time that I have had occasion to think like this. A few years ago, I discovered that a Hombu shihan, who was also an IAF official, was due to give a training seminar in Myanmar (Burma). Japan gives aid to Myanmar, and one of the ways this is done is through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and includes sending aikido instructors to give seminars (clearly to the military junta: a tradition going back to just after the war, when Aritoshi Murashige first started teaching there). I commented to the shihan that this visit was evidence of, shall we say, a certain short-sightedness: an inability to see beyond the immediate consequences of an action.