What you describe is a real morass. While compelling, What method is available by which the only evidence we use (the actual written words he said) can become definitive? Your comment on "Comparing the test with other discourses and with contemporary usage" is of course a requirement for study but it has not availed much in the past by way of useful information for aikidoka to understand Ueshiba's path or method.
Were one to be seriously considering reading Ueshiba and understanding the material than reading his other discourses and comparing to contemporary sources?- Then I would suggest it would be wise to move the study past Ueshiba and incorporate other bujutsu that were "contemporary to him" in his time and form a frame of reference for some common understanding that existed in his time. This-may in fact offer a key in decifering his words "in their time." Something which I have not seen much of.
Good morning, Dan, (Out here it is 8 o'clock and I have just had breakfast.)
Agreed. There is some work being done in Japanese, but it is not of good quality. With regard to Ueshiba, I think that what you are doing, out in Massachusetts, and what I am doing, here in Hiroshima, should go hand in hand, and if Hiroshima were not so far away, you would have someone else knocking on your door.