7. Re Takeda - and his "uniqueness" - Akiyama, Miura, Fukuno were all from earlier era. The comments about Takeda in that newspaper article about him (Ima Bokuden(?) illustrates the wonder in which he was regarded. But he was not typical of those earlier men - most bushi did not display the florid suspicion and paranoia. But unfamiliar with bushi in the 20th century, people imagined him to be typical. I think a good counterweight image would be the description of one man's grandfather in Memories of Silk and Straw. The grandfather, an old bushi and daimyo's executioner, was a man of absolute severity and discipline. For example, he would take his grandson duck hunting. He took a matchlock, a small metal ladle and a piece of lead. At the lakeside, he make a small fire, melt the lead in the ladle, make a single bullet and kill a single duck and then return home. This severity and discipline is, I believe, far more typical of the true high-level bushi.
Many thanks for the comments. I think your choice of words at the very beginning of Chapter 2 suggested to me that you thought that Takeda was typical--and made of basically the same stuff as the three samurai who met Cheng:
"Takeda Sokaku embodied a lost era, a man of single-minded intent and almost unimaginable skill."
Coupled with another sentence, further on:
"...notwithstanding a surfeit of documentary evidence, including interviews with his surviving students, much about Sokaku is still mysterious",
these statements pretty well set out the situation that you aim to illuminate in the Takeda chapter. You seek to preserve Takeda's 'almost unimaginable skill' (and ground it in IS/IT), while at the same time dispelling much of the mystery.
I do not want to say too much about Takeda here, because I am writing TIE 17 and would like to see my discussion of Takeda considered as a whole (time constraints caused a split in my discussion of HIPS Chapter 2: there is more to come). However, my interest in the Takeda chapter centers on the light it casts on Takeda's relationship with Morihei Ueshiba and thus on Kisshomaru Ueshiba's treatment of him in his biography of his father. Your core statements here are on pp. 94-95 of HIPS and the issue for me is the parallelism, if any, between the father-son relationship as exhibited by Sokaku/Tokimune and by Morihei/Kisshomaru. To dismiss the possibility of such a parallel would be foolish, in my opinion, and this is why I focus on Takeda as 'embodying a lost era'. If you substitute a name, you will have:
"Ueshiba Morihei embodied a lost era, a man of single-minded intent and almost unimaginable skill."
Is this also true, and in the same way?
All good wishes for the New Year,