Otome was a term used for official arts of a clan or say, the Shogun. It would encompass multiple arts in a given domain. It was a designation not an art. And of them, Iai-do would never be a part. Those arts came later, like;
Ueshiba was only a member of one Samurai art; Yagyu Shingan ryu, which is mostly jujutsu and that only part time on the weekends as it was a five hour train ride away. The rest of his supposed connection and study in multiple Samurai arts is all a modern myth. His training was pretty much a little Judo under a 17 yr old shodan when he was a kid, part time study in Yagyu, some Army training, and then twenty plus years of Daito ryu, and then he opened his doors teaching Daito ryu for about Sixteen years, gradually changed the waza retired and that was it until he went back to help Kisshomaru try to get people back into the dojo after the war.
All of your early prewar Deshi -like Shirata and Shioda, were students of Daito ryu not Aiki-do. They all have their scrolls. Budo Renshu was a privately published book that Ueshiba gave as a gift. It is a book of Daito ryu waza. Gradually, things changed. Stan has it pretty much all mapped out to time and place and even names and witnessess. There is an even an interview about it here on Aikiweb.
In essence Aiki-do has no connection to the Samurai.
All very interesting. As I pointed out to Hugh, others will fill in the blanks.
As I've also said I believe Stan and Ellis are good historians.
I do not contest to be a great historian, it has it's place. My theory of teaching is maybe different to yours, maybe similar, but usually I find different to most.
Like your explanation of otome and I'm quite aware it wasn't an art but a designation so to speak. On past reading of it I took the concept not unsimilar to things you have said in as much as the hierarchy in these fields tended to share certain things with each other.
I also feel I understand Ueshibas way of learning which to me was the way of learning and indeed teaching in those circles, a way I have seen westerners belittle or not understand.
Their way was to teach basic principles and leave the student to keep practicing, practicing, practicing until they understood. Thus the same view should be applied to how they learned. Ueshiba would therefore only be interested in certain principles he saw in a type of swordwork or jo or spear or whatever. So he wouldn't need too long to get what he wanted in order to go and then practice practice practice.
Thus they were not exactly into full historical relevence as the primary purpose and secondly it is not really of much use until you are able enough in the skill. This is fundamentally different from most peoples approach for they have knowing the data and history as more important first when they have no idea how to do it.
Such is my perspective.
Now as far as what you have written above I am not disagreeing with any of it except the final sentence.
Why? Purely and simply because the weapons were those used by samurai. The principles of such weapons never changes. Thus it is linked.
Secondly because my old teacher wielded and used the sword as such so I have seen it, seen his demonstrations of it, seen his use of it versus people from sword arts, shown his explanations of it and relationship to Aikido, even know of an incident between him and a very famous Shihan of the past on said subject which took the form of a challenge and cannot be repeated here on this forum.
The point is for me the understanding of the principles involved, no more no less for they are the same throughout history and into the future. So I hope that clears more about where I am coming from. That doesn't mean I know more historical facts and it also doesn't mean I wouldn't benefit from knowing more historical facts.
I have a friend who is a great historian on the subject of the asia and the middle east. Listening to him is great, it's like being taken off into another time as if you are there experiencing it.(nothing to do with martial arts but purely cultural) So I do see the use of such.
Why else are we fascinated by period movies?
I also know that it is how factual that experience is that makes all the difference. However perspective is the key and it is that which gives us debate and argument and long may we have them.