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Old 12-27-2009, 06:05 AM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
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Re: Fact or Fiction (of Morihei Ueshiba's Life)

Charles Hill wrote: View Post
I am afraid I wasn't specific enough. What are things that others have offered as facts that you believe are fictions?
Hello again, Charles,

As a follow-up to my last post, I think that, perhaps in your desire to be more specific, you have set up a question that is really unanswerable, given the present state of our knowledge.

The issue of whether or not Morihei Ueshiba was a Shinto priest seems relatively simple: either he was or he wasn't. But you yourself muddied the waters by suggesting that all Omoto believers were 'priests' in a certain sense, if they had undertaken a week's training at Omoto HQ. The Rev K Barrish pretty well settled the issue--he was not: always assuming, however, that the conventions of present-day Shinto are also applicable to prewar (pre-2nd Suppression) Omoto. But Omoto was never accepted by the Meiji/Taisho government as one of the 'offiicial' brands of Shinto, so we accept Omoto as Shinto, only because they say they are.

Our current sources for Morihei Ueshiba are twofold: those from Daito-ryu, especially Takeda Tokimune and Sagawa Yukiyoshi; and those from aikido, especially the biographies of Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Kanshu Sunadomari, and the various interviews (usually quite biased, in the manner of gospel writers) given by those whom he taught.

So we have the phenomena of Ueshiba's ability to cover enormous distances instantaneously and Takeda's ability to disappear, the latter seemingly an art waiting to be discovered: all recounted by people whose technical ability and subsequent eminence as 'close students' leads one to believe (without any supporting grounds) that they are also accurate judges of fact and fiction.

To escape from this dilemma, we need to look at other possible sources, as yet pretty well untapped, such as contemporary newspaper reports, especially from the Yomiuri and its Asahi rival; military and police archives (both especially relevant to Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei). For example, the Osaka police records should cast some light on O Sensei's role in the Second Omoto Suppression in 1936.

So I do not believe the issue is of 100% fact vs. 100% fiction, but of degrees along a wide spectrum.

Best wishes,


P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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