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Old 07-25-2009, 12:22 PM   #25
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 610
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 14

Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
I missed this. I wonder how I could get my hands on Fred's paper? It sounds very interesting!

I do recognize your assertion of order of influence. Given the facts at hand, that makes sense to me.

All the best,

There is a version that is floating around the web, but the formatting of the text was botched badly by the proprietor of AikidoFAQ and he was singularly unresponsive to a number of my requests to either get it right or pull it down, so I can't recommend that version of the paper.

I'm nowhere near my files right now, but should be able to lay my hands on the original,scan it, and make it available as a pdf by end of business on the first Monday in August.

It will be immediately obvious that Peter's current article brings a much wider range of disciplinary perspectives to bear than I did, as well as drawing on a much larger body of primary and secondary materials than my paper did, many of which were not available in 1995. Lastly, the depth and rigor of his research an analysis is much greater than I was able to bring to bear in what was, when all is said and done, a mere graduate student term paper.

Where his current conclusions differ significantly from mine in 1995 -- especially his assertion that the influence of Deguchi and Yamaguchi was ultimately stronger than that of Shingon; I generally concur. What disagreement I have is fairly minor and nuanced: Your choice of the phrase "order of influence" makes me uneasy, as does Peter's emphasis on "indirect influence," not because I disagree regarding the comparatively greater weight of Deguchi's influence, but because both phrasings carry less than felicitous connotations regarding the sequence of influence, which I still believe may incorrectly minimize the effects of his early exposure to Shingon.

There is still much that isn't clear about Ueshiba's early engagement with Shingon, his turn to Oomoto-kyo, and the question of whether (at least in his mind) the turn toward Oomoto-kyo marked a turn away from Shingon, or whether it was just an example of the kind of functionalist "division of labor" that seems so common among the Japanese, who see no conflict between multiple religious affiliations. I'm inclined to see a direct influence from Shingon that was overpowered by the demotic appropriations and heterodox bricolage of Deguchi, but that's less a substantive disagreement than evidence of the kind of scholastic parsing and ritual language that I'm swimming in while writing a draft of my disseration this summer. Before making any substantive comment on Yamaguchi, I would need to take Peter's advice and go back to the materials listed in his references, which I simply can't afford to do this summer, as I've got a stack of references of my own that demands reviewing.

The day before this installment was published, I was reading "Two Shinto Myths: The Golden Age and the Chosen People," in Carmen Blacker's Collected Writings (Blacker's Catalpa Bow is, of course, one of the key resources listed in Peter's bibliography, and is the essential work on Japanese Shamanism), and I encountered this passage on the subject of the Kokutai no Hongi (which Peter references in his discussion of Kisshomaru's approach to the question of kototama after the war), and the relationship between the Kokugaku scholars and the Chosen People myth that lay at the root of their literary undertakings:

The Chosen People myth, though pushed underground for much of the Meiji and Taisho periods, was to reappear in all its irrational force during the 1930s as one of the doctrinal pillars of the cult of State Shinto. it realized a final and triumphant exposition in the notorious document Kokutai no Hongi, published in 1937. In this short work, which until the end of the war was made the subject of compulsory reading and study in schools, and which in private homes was often treated with the reverence due to a cult object, the myth of the superior people was given all the authority and official backing of the state, the government and the Ministry of Education. The term kokutai, feebly rendered in dictionaries as 'national polity' , was in fact a shorthand sign for all that Hirata's (Hirata Atsutane, 1776-1843, a comparatively late kokugaku propagandist whose virulence and counterfactuality is so great that it casts its own shadow) myth implied. By this single word it was intended to convey all that Japan possessed, in race, culture, language, heart and mind, which was intrinsically superior to the rest of the world. Oddly enough, its content remained largely unknown to foreigners, and no translation was attempted until four years after the end of the war. (A reference to the Gauntlett translation Peter discusses in his article above)

The book was proscribed by a directive of the Allied Occupation authorities in December 1945, and with its disappearance the myth it propounded, first mooted by the Shinto scholars, seems to have vanished from the consciousness of Japan.

Only one wrack, it seems, was left behind, and that, it has recently been pointed out, lies in the improbable and peripheral field of the Japanese language. Motoori's notions.....find a late echo in the theories of Dr (sic) Tsunoda Tadanobu, who argues from neurophysiological research that the Japanese language proceeds uniquely from a different part of the brain from that which with other peoples of the world governs language and speech.
To which I can only add that, had Ms. Blacker had the work at hand available to her at the time she wrote that particular article, the phrase "only one wrack" would certainly have been changed to "one of the few wracks" and she would have listed at least one more "improbable and peripheral field."

I confess that I didn't make much progress with Blacker the following day, for I took most of it to slowly and carefully read this installment of Peter's series, a taking I don't regret in the least. And although I have referred repeatedly to "Peter's article" and "Peter's series," I must close by thanking Professor Goldsbury for the many teachings contained in the lesson before us, and be on my way: Blacker has to be finished today and tomorrow is Sun Yatsen in London.

Best regards to all,

Fred Little

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