"December 13, 1954 Aikikai, Iwama Town, Ibaraki Prefecture
"Greetings. I am glad that you are in good health in these early days of winter.
"I exceedingly regret that we were not able to meet recently due to my trip to Wakayama.
"I had planned to see you as soon as I returned to Tokyo, but as I am extremely busy with a number of matters, and will not be in Tokyo for some time, I am afraid we must put off meeting yet again.
"Also, being old of age, I am also terribly busy having my teeth worked on.
"I would by all means like to make time to see you in the coming spring, so I humbly ask for your forgiveness for not meeting as promised, and hope that you will give me a chance to wish you a happy New Year.
"Until we meet again. Very, very sincerely yours,
"Ueshiba Morihei December 13
"Respectfully to Okawa Shumei Sensei
Nakatsu, Aiko County, Kanagawa Prefecture"
Thanks to Prof. Goldsbury for the letter text and Josh for the idiomatic translation. But a question arises.
The debate seems to be whether Moroihei Ueshiba genuinely changed his views in '40-'42 before the defeat, or simply pragmatically adjusted them after defeat in the new regime. I take the former view as the chronology (as I have said before) does not seem to fit the latter view. Furthermore, as I have said, I find significance in the Manchuria trips coinciding with this preemptive change of heart.
But the question is as to the letter -- for those who are more conversant in the idiomatic tongue -- what is in there to show that it is not simply a tatemae
of avoidance of a former, and now disfavored, association? It seems (and if I take you wrongly, please correct me, Professor), that this is taken as evidence of continued interest and association with the problematic sort of nationalists. The letter itself seems more in keeping (to me) of Ueshiba's earlier and similar avoidance behavior in dealing with his separation from Takeda Sokaku.
That prior pattern is instructive in this regard. The motivation for that avoidance may be more than simplistic, it must be said. Before the war Okawa was involved in the provocative Mukden bombing that precipitated the Manchurian occupation in 1931 and was convicted and imprisoned for participation in the coup that assassinated Inukai in '32.
Okawa avoided trial as a Class A war criminal, only because he was losing his mind. It was unlikely to have been feigned, because he was diagnosed with general paresis secondary to chronic syphilis (also called paralytic dementia). His treatment improved his condition somewhat but not enough for him to stand trial - (Even after treatment he claimed to receive regular visitations from Emperor Meiji, Saigo Takamori and the Prophet Mohammed), and he (the arch-nationalist Japanese propagandist) spent his time in prison or hospital translating the Koran.
Okawa's motivation to visit a noted mystic such as Ueshiba is plain -- and Ueshiba's avoidance of him-- if that is what this was -- would reveal Ueshiba's mysticism as being all that more sober and stable. Okawa Shumei was likely to be very difficult person to be around -- he slapped Tojo's bare head out of nowhere in the middle of court proceedings before he was diagnosed, and tried to order him about like an Indian man-servant -- in German.
That 'avoidance' interpretation is, however, also consistent with the "Damascus moment" view of the '40-'42 mystical vision reports. The letter seems to indicate an awful lot of scheduling problems for a man largely retired from public life, whose son has taken the day-to-day reins for him.
I am not saying the letter is conclusive evidence of the specific reasons for the tatemae
-- but in context the tatemae
seems completely apparent.