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Old 06-06-2009, 08:17 AM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Ellis' post about cover-up and Ueshiba

Hello Mark,

A few more comments.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
While the original book by Kisshomaru was published in Japan in 1987, other books published outside of Japan in that same time frame seemed to have had very different information.
PAG. You need to give more information here, if you want to convince me of a cover-up or conspiracy of some sort. What time frame are you talking about here and what books published outside Japan do you have in mind? Apart from those published by Tohei Koichi and one published in French by Tadashi Abbe, the only one that comes to my mind is Kisshomaru Ueshiba's Aikido, which was published in the late 60s and is a translation (re-editing) of two books published in Japanese earlier.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I didn't include Steven's new book because it is outside the time frame for my posting about a supposed cover up. I haven't forgotten your post that pointed me towards the book, it's just that early 90s to present are quite a bit later than the 1980s era of books. Unless there are versions printed prior to those dates?
PAG. So what IS your time frame?
Secondly, judging from your response to Ellis, you appear to be stating that the cover-up / conspiracy took place only in the US. I started training in the UK in 1969 and devoured Tohei's earlier books. I never heard any talk of a cover-up in the UK, nor in the US, where I trained in the mid 70s.

So, if we return to your opening post, I would discount Point 3, since Stevens himself did not acknowledge any material not previously published (except probable oral discussions with his teacher Rinjiro Shirata, not the best potential witness of an Aikikai cover-up / conspiracy).

I would also discount Point 2, since the Japanese original of The Spirit of Aikido was published in 1981. The items you specify are covered in much more detail in the 1987 biography and so I need to know why this 1987 biography does not fit into your time frame.

The problem for me here is that you are seeing evidence of a cover-up / conspiracy in the English translations, but nobody saw such evidence in the Japanese originals. Of course, this might simply mean that in Japan no one was looking for any evidence, as Ellis suggests.

This leaves Point 1, which is the research of Stanley Pranin, recorded in the issues of Aiki News and Aikido Journal. I know from many private conversations that Stan's principal target was the 'official' version of aikido history, put out by 'the Aikikai'. However, it is still a stretching of the evidence, in my opinion, to talk of a cover-up or conspiracy.

Not long before he died, Stanley Pranin and I spent six hours interviewing Sadateru Arikawa Sensei, who, along with Shigenobu Okumura, was the prime 'historian' in the Aikikai. I drew up a list of questions for this interview: questions like what were the defining attributes of Aikido, in comparison with Daito-ryu; whether the Aikikai (= Kisshomaru Ueshiba) had 'doctored' the history of aikido. Arikawa Sensei sought the advice, not of the Aikikai, but of Katsuyuki Kondo, of Daito-ryu, who urged him to give the interview. He gave the interview, which Stan taped (with Arikawa Sensei's permission). Actually, Arikawa Sensei was Stan's 'protector' in the Aikikai Hombu and, believe me, I know what this means.

So, since Arikawa Sensei did not give permission for the interview to be published (yet), my own private response has been to complement Stan's researches by publishing the results of my own research. I was never in a position to conduct interviews and ask the questions that Stan did not ask, but I suspect that I have a deeper acquaintance with the crucial cultural aspects. The result is the series of AikIWeb columns.

Finally, since you are talking of cover-up and conspiracy about how critical Daito-ryu was to aikido, I think you need to consider another possible cover-up, which concerns Morihei Ueshiba's obsession with deities, kotodama, and establishing the correct harmony between the 'three worlds'. This is why I believe you need to read the English translation of Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography very carefully indeed. Kisshomaru's biography is much more subtle than that of John Stevens (in either edition).

As always, best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 06-06-2009 at 08:30 AM.

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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