Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18
And you have my apologies for a delayed response, due to various reasons, like examinations at the end of the university term, preparations for the summer etc.
I do not want to give the impression that Iwama was special, in regard to the 'break' with O Sensei. The Hombu Dojo in Tokyo had the same problem. I think there are three levels here: (1) the actual, hands-on, contact that the very senior, prima-donna, deshi had with Morihei Ueshiba; (2) the contact that the other students had with O Sensei; (3) the 'political' issues concerning Iwama and Tokyo.
With respect to the first level, the prima donna were Saito and Kisshomaru. With the death of both, the contact was broken, but it was maintained in Tokyo far more clearly than in Iwama.
With respect to the second level, you are clearly correct. In the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, as in the Iwama Dojo, there are still many people training who had lengthy direct contact with O Sensei.
The third level is less clear. It seems to me that Saito Sensei supported the iemoto model, when it came down to deciding who should be the next Doshu. If you compare Saito Sensei and Tohei Sensei, there is evidence that Tohei was at least an extremely powerful candidate for the position of Doshu. This possibility was not entertained, as far as I know, with Saito Sensei, who always had the position of caretaker of the Aiki Shrine, on behalf of O Sensei. He continued to have this position after O Sensei's death.
However, I am thinking more in terms of the strong but varying personal relationships developed by O Sensei with his prime students, especially as concerned weapons training. I think this a major point made by Ellis in HIPS. There was Hikitsuchi in Shingu and Saito in Iwama. When both O Sensei and Saito Sensei passed away, this link, inevitably, was lost.