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Old 02-20-2009, 02:17 AM   #30
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Hello Dan,

One of the problems in approaching Morihei Ueshiba is that much of what he is supposed to have said has been published only in translation and it is a pity that there are no bilingual versions of any collections of his discourses in print. The Bieri translation of Budo Renshu would be too expensive reprint, certainly in the original format. So we have Prof Stevens, who gives an interpretation of what he thought Ueshiba might well have meant, which then, in the hands of some AikiWeb posters, becomes an authoritative statement of what he actually said.

There are other ways of approaching Ueshiba, but the way I have chosen here is to start from the Japanese text, and then see how far we get. This is the 'evidence'. A useful comparison with the two translations allows one to see what they left out, what they 'edited', what they thought was perhaps too difficult. So, for example, all the vocabulary on the soul, originally from omyodo, is missing--and this vocabulary still makes a lot of sense to the average Japanese I know here in Hiroshima.

I know that Larry Bieri and John Stevens are budoka, but this is a two-edged sword when approaching a text like Ueshiba's. Sure, they have a closer 'technical' idea of what he means than the average non-budoka Japanese, but I also suspect that they see things in the text that the budoka misses, especially the Japanese who is familiar with the Japanese of Ueshiba's vintage.

For example, Ueshiba writes waza in two ways: 技 and 業. The word has nine meanings in the Kojien. In modern Japanese the characters are not really interchangeable--and for both of the budo / bujutsu-related meanings, the preferred character is 技. But this does not appear to be the case for Ueshiba, who writes ushiro waza as 後業 in the Budo Renshu text. Of course, we really need to compare the Budo Renshu & Budo texts with all the other discourses and also with contemporary usage. This would take much time, which I suspect that neither the Bieris or John Stevens had.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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