Yeah I suppose we don't have any conclusive proof available to us just circumstantial evidence like:
Ueshiba's "very close links with ultra-nationalists like Okawa Shumei and showed no sign of distress at allowing the members of the Sakura-kai (Cherry Blossom Society) to meet in the Kobukan dojo and plan their revolts and assassinations for yo-naoshi (renewing the world: a constant theme in Japan from the late Tokugawa period right up until the closing years of the Pacific War). After the second suppression of Omoto in 1935, Ueshiba continued his association with a wide spectrum of Japanese military leaders and taught at various military schools. There is evidence that he taught a very rough and ready form of jujutsu: the kind that would allow Japanese soldiers to finish off an enemy at close quarters, when the weapons had failed to do so. These actions strongly suggest that Morihei Ueshiba supported both the war itself and also the way it was being fought by the Japanese military."
It sounds like he shared a vision similar to Prince Konoe who said:
"The peace that the Anglo-American leaders are urging on us amounts to no more than maintaining a status quo that suits their interests. … The true nature of the present conflict [WWI] is a struggle between the established powers and powers not yet established…. At an early stage, Britain and France colonized the ‘less civilized' regions of the world, and monopolized their exploitation. As a result, Germany and all the late-coming nations also, were left with no land to acquire and no space to expand."
"Should their policy prevail, Japan, which is small, resource-poor, and unable to consume all its own industrial products, would have no resort but to destroy the status quo for the sake of self-preservation, just like Germany. … We must require all the powers to open the doors of their colonies to others, so that all nations will have equal access to the markets and natural resources of the colonial areas. It is also imperative that Japan insist upon the eradication of racial discrimination."
His cabinet then issued a declaration, accusing both nationalist and communist Chinese of "increasingly provocative and insulting" behavior toward Japan. The declaration ended:
In this matter, the Chinese have contemptuously inflicted every sort of awful outrage upon Imperial Japan…. Imperial Japan has at long last exhausted its patience and is now compelled to take resolute action to punish the atrocious Chinese army and to bring the Nanking government to its senses.
Konoe and Matsuoka based their foreign policy on a document that had been drawn up by the Army. Army theorists saw Japan standing on the verge of a new world. To secure its place, it must create a New Order in Greater East Asia, based on the proper alignment of Japan-Manchukuo-China. Dubbing this the "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere," Matsuoka publicly announced that this should also include Indochina (nominally French) and the East Indies (nominally Dutch). Within the government, it was agreed that Japan would try to secure its position in China, defuse the conflict with the Soviet Union, move troops into Indochina, and prepare for a military response from Britain and possibly the United States.
Konoe seems to have embraced bringing "peace" through a "holy war." And Ueshiba's actions don't appear to oppose this in the least.
Later Konoe sees disaster on the horizon when hostilities continue un-checked and plans are drawn to attack the U.S., U.K, and Holland. The Navy clearly recognizes this, and caught between a rock and a hard place (they only have enough petrol for about two years of engagement) propose that if a fight with the U.S. is inevitable (being politically forced into the matter) it is better to start sooner rather than later. Ueshiba, who has very close contacts with Naval commanders is engaged by Konoe in one of his several last ditch attempts to avert war with the U.S. Konoe seems willing to (unilaterally) even give up interests in China in order to avoid what he (accurately) sees as the devastation that a war with the U.S., U.K., and the Netherlands will bring.
Konoe resigns on 16 October 1941 justifying his demission to his secretary Kenji Tomita. "Of course his Majesty is a pacifist and he wished to avoid war. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed. But the next day, he would tell me : 'You were worried about it yesterday but you do not have to worry so much.' Thus, gradually he began to lead to war. And the next time I met him, he leaned even more to war. I felt the Emperor was telling me: 'My prime minister does not understand military matters. I know much more.' In short, the Emperor had absorbed the view of the army and the navy high commands."
Ueshiba will wait until 1942 to resign. This could be due an inability to resign until that time or perhaps there is a direct correlation between the turn of the Pacific War, his connection with the Navy, and his choice of retirement.
Yeah, Ueshiba wanted Peace but peace came in all sizes in shapes in Japan at that time. According to Ueshiba's writing at the time the Japanese Military was bringing Imperial Peace wherever they went including Nanking and the rest of China at the time. This was Japan's Holy call and Ueshiba's "visions" certainly didn't seem to dissuade him vocalizing and acting in support. Interesting that there should be a change in plans and the the timing of that change. More interestingly still, he predicts disaster basically encouraging his son to die in defense of Aikido in Tokyo at a time when, as Peter points out, nobody would dare to say such a thing in public . . . not that they could tell that the tides of war had turned at the time . . . only a person well connected, particularly well connected to the Navy, might know that! Not that I doubt that Ueshiba had visions.
BTW, despite Konoe's documented attempts to avoid war with the U.S. and engage in diplomatic solutions, he committed suicide to avoid almost certain death by hanging after Japan's occupation.
Ueshiba's vision seems to have served him well at preserving him so that he could live to fight (for Peace?!?!), or preserve Aikido, or something . . . another day.
Thank you Peter for placing and presenting the quotes from Takemusu Aiki into proper post war, religious (Japanese true believers) context. I think it makes a big difference in understanding and interpreting Ueshiba's message as delivered there.
Well . . . my daughter want's help with her letters. I think that is more important than this!
(Much of the cut and pasting here came from Wikipedia. I want to give credit where credit is due.)