I think what Erick is trying to say is that as an American Southerner, he has a certain insight into the Japanese post-war attitude, ... My sense of what Erick is trying to say is that it's quite easy to look back and make a simple story: Evil ultra-nationalist fascists took over Japan and set it on a destructive course for war. Ueshiba willingly associated with these evil ultra-nationalist fascists, ergo he bears the stain of evil, ultra-nationalist fascism. However, things were probably not so clear on the ground in 1930s Japan, and that what look clearly to us now as evil fascists may have looked much more benign and patriotic to Ueshiba back then.
I think Josh got my essential point. What was it Sir Winston also said, "Two peoples divided by a common language"?
And of course there are degrees of fault even among evil fascists and even then the possibility of some redeeming by abstention or opposition after the commission of actual evil, if nothing else. Whether Ueshiba was guilty of any genuine evil, I doubt, or at least is not proved, and abstention form further association did occur with Ueshiba (before the war was widened and before it was clearly not to be won). And that MAY have occurred with Hirohito, and who knows who else.
For the record, most of my family fought in Europe, save only a great unlce who was a Marine in the Pacific and another a naval aviator there. My grandfather was a VMI graduate, served as a Judge Advocate Lt. Col. on Patton's occupation staff in Third Army HQ. He had no love for the Germans, spoke French, but communicated to me, (even as a teenager) his distinct distaste, like McArthur, for the whole concept of the "war crimes" process. Too much like victor's justice, because, well -- it was. There were crimes -- but they were crimes -- and war had little to do with them other than opportunity. Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Tokyo and Coventry and Dresden and Pearl Harbor were awful, terrible gruesome and cruel, but they were the evil of war -- not crime. Crimes against humanity, as for the willful systematic extermination of civilian non-combatants is a different matter altogether.
The generic run of "war crimes" however, were directly contrary to (very ad hoc and much halting) historical American domestic experience of post-war reconciliation I just described, and which is far more in keeping with the spirit of aikido as I sense it was intended. Gen. Sherman's pall bearer was his opponent Gen, Johnston, in the infamous March to the Sea in the Georgia and Carolina campaign, who died from pneumonia within a month he caught because he refused to wear a hat during the lengthy and cold rainy funeral. Gen. Lee surrendered his Arlington estate as the national graveyard. Col. Chamerblain (USA) received the surrender of Lee's army at Appomatox Courthouse, under Gen. Gordon (CSA), and (to much controversy) offered and ordered honors rendered to the defeated as they passed.
People (not those writing here now) too often have a telescoped view of history. Gen Gordon died in Florida in 1904 (only 71), the year that Teddy Roosevelt settled the Russo-Japanese war -- with Takeshita (who introduced aikido to the U.S.) attending the treaty negotiations, and who sponsored Ueshiba's demonstraiton to Hirohito in 1941.
"Men go mad in herds, only to recover their sanity one by one." (Chesterton, I think).