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Old 05-16-2011, 09:55 AM   #35
abraxis's Avatar
Location: New England
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 185
"Art of Peace" Kanji

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Of course, if you have the Japanese carved on a jo and/or bokken, you will have the best of both worlds: a pole or implement you can actually use, as well as pray with.

My profession is to explore cultural contexts and some might find the discussion in Robert Kinsala's book of interest. The book, published in 1999 by Hawaii U P, is Prophets of Peace: Pacificism and Cultural Identity in Japan's New Religions. The discussion of Goi and the Byakko Shinkokai starts on p. 57. Morihei Ueshiba and aikido are not mentioned, even once.

In Hiroshima, we approach world peace with a certain realism. There are many, many peace groups, all competing for membership. Many of these have links with Japan 'new' religions, like Byakko. Although in Japanese, the following website gives a wide overview of what there is to choose from:
There are links to various websites.

The 'peace industry' goes into top gear around August 6, when there is a huge ceremony at the Peace Museum. The organization that runs the Peace Memorial Museum is the Peace Culture Foundation:
(If you scroll through the website, you will find my name listed among the Directors.)

The point I am making here is that here in Hiroshima, world peace is invariably tied to an ideology, such as a religion like Byakko Shinkokai, or a political viewpoint, such as the abolition of nuclear weapons. So, when people come to my door asking me if I support world peace--and I say yes, of course, this is immediately followed by a request to join their religion. And, yes, all the founders are very holy people, like Mr Goi, who have achieved enlightenment.

So, back to 'the art of world peace.' It is a short and pithy phrase in English, but hard to put into Japanese. The Byakko Peace Prayer does not quite do it.

Best wishes,
Hello Goldsbury Sensei,

I think Kinsala's book may deliberately exclude OSensei's Aikido because in World War II aikido was clearly not a pacifist activity. Even decades after that war, when the first generation of shihans were being sent out to Europe and America to open dojos, the emphasis was on martial arts not pacifism--at least that is my impression. I do not believe aikido qualifies as a new religion dedicated to pacifism even though many of its practitioners will at times try to make it sound that way.

I've never been to Japan but my sense of the new religions that have sprung up there and which are active in Hiroshima is that many of their promoters are deeply committed to remembering those who were lost. As well, I feel they are sincerely committed to the cause of "world peace" and believe they are in a unique position to foster that peace--both motives resulting from the experience of Japan before, during and after World War II. Competition among these groups and the commercializtion of these activities is not surprising given what is understood of human behavior but you offer a very illuminating look at the culture which prevails outside the doors to your dojo and I thank you for it.

I've spent some time in Jerusalem during Easter--Passover holy days. The old city is often considered one of the holiest and most religious sites on the planet. God's themepark, I might say, at the height of "the season", is complete with lines of tour buses and its arteries are clogged by long traffic jams and pilgrims on parade. Hawkers attempt to sell you panoramic posters of the downtown mosques, the orthodox churches, and the walls of the last temple. If anyone tried to stop me on the street to ask me, "Are you Jewish?" I was ready to answer with "Who wants to know?" and just keep on walking. When Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door back home once and asked, "Are you optimistic about the future?" I answered "Yes I am but I don't put it in religious terms".

As for: The Art of World Peace, kanji?
It's now become a koan,
it doesn't require translation but thanks for your advice.



Last edited by abraxis : 05-16-2011 at 10:09 AM.
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