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Old 10-05-2009, 08:09 AM   #66
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 809
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" Book Discussion

For my part, I do not know anything about Ueshiba's library - either in Tokyo or in Iwama. One think about old material, however. I have some old scrolls and shahon (old bound books) or copies of same from ryu I'm involved in. Here's the problems reading such material:
1. A lot is written in Kanbun - this is Japanese-written-in-Chinese - requires specialized knowledge on how to alter the word order
2. A lot is written in such scripts as grass style, which requires specialized knowledge. I has one scroll that was rewritten in modern Japanese for me, and for the life of me, I cannot fathom how the characters correspond to the original, which does look like grass
3. Even if one can read such things, the language is archaic - I've had readable versions and shown them to well-educated Japanese and they say, "I have absolutely no idea what this means. I can read the words, but don't know what it says."
4. As for martial arts scrolls and the like, they are often highly cryptic phrases which are, in essence, mnemonic devices to remember the curriculum. Few explain "How-to-do."

I do recall reading or hearing somewhere that Ueshiba wrote notes in the margins of some of his books - now THAT would probably be interesting to read!

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Ellis Amdur

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