Peter A Goldsbury
If there is an issue ...with the question of the 'inevitability' of what O Sensei called the 大東亜戦争 (Dai Toa Senso: Great East Asian War), and the, much later, corollary: the question of who was 'responsible'. ... lays bare the generally fragile nature of historical judgments.
For me one important issue in these early columns is the role of the War (regardless of how it is named) in shaping the history of aikido and in shaping the perceptions of two of the principal actors: Morihei Ueshiba and his son Kisshomaru. The war itself and its 'inevitability' is not the main issue (for me, at least).
In passing I'll note that a dispute over naming of the conflict is yet another parallel, but enough of that.
The war was a test of budo to exemplify or to negate something of aikido, either as part of the source of its revelation to Morihei, or as an experience on which he or Kisshomaru were forced to dwell upon in considering the purpose and future arc of that revelation, (which they surely must have). Morihei had a committed perspective but not one closed off to quite different perspectives. It profits us to consider the matter that way as well, and from as many perspectives as we can, while hewing to one we know strongly from our own experience and development. That is something of the strength of this forum, in fact.
Inevitability, if it was in the hands of one man, that man was Hirohito. The emperors' role is important, because the war was HIS test of budo (which he failed on many levels). He is more important because Morihei viewed him as important in that context. The war as a test of budo is an issue useful to contemplate as we assess where we
will take the arc of the art from this point forward. It still divides us as it still connects us, and is that not also aiki ?