One of the problems with both biographies, (by K Ueshiba and John Stevens) is that the sources of their information are not revealed.
In Invincible Warrior
(1997, p. 12), John Stevens notes that Morihei Ueshiba came under Minakata's "beneficial influence" from 1909. In the next two pages he gives details of Minakata's life and activities, including the Shrine Consolidation Policy of 1906. He notes that:
"A protest movement was organized and Morihei enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon, making speeches, petitioning the national government, negotiating with local authorities and acting as Kumagusu's bodyguard."
The account in Abundant Peace
(1987) is virtually identical, except that in this earlier work Stevens notes that Minakata actually enlisted the support of Ueshiba and others.
At the end of the discussion (in both versions), Stevens notes that,
"The dynamic Kumagusu--a man with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, an internationalist possessed of true vision--filled Morihei's head with the many wonders and challenges the world offered to those with the courage to seek them out. He also taught Morihei the importance of opposing injustice and protecting the environment." (pp. 14-15.)
Well, of course, in the process of organizing resistance in the fisheries dispute and shrine consolidation, he might have done.
Kisshomaru states nothing about MK filling Ueshiba's head with anything and gives him a role much greater than someone "jumping on the bandwagon".
He notes that,
"The leader of the resistance was Kumagusu Minakata and his 'executive officer' was O Sensei." (A Life in Aikido
, p. 77.) The Japanese text reads,
Later, Kisshomaru adds that,
"Kumagusu may have been the one in charge, but O Sensei was the one who put his directives into practice."
"O Sensei would later recall, ‘This was the first time I felt the joy of having an effect on things at the national, political level. Mr Kumagusu Minakata was a great man.'"(ibid.)
「わたしはあの時、うまれてはじめて国事に奔走しとるのじゃという欣快を味わったものじゃ。熊楠爺さんは偉いお方じゃった」のちに開祖は、とくに「国事に奔走 」に力を入れ ながら、そう語っている。(植芝盛平伝, p. 77.)
I would be curious to see what evidence there is in Minakata's letters and diaries. It seems that Morihei Ueshiba reminisced about Minakata and Kisshomaru might have been led to assume that Minakata had the same relationship with Yanagita as he had with Ueshiba. With Konoe Fumimaro, on the other hand, Kisshomaru describes Ueshiba's relationship as 親交 shinkou
, which the Koujien
defines as 親しく交わること。親密な交際。This seems a rather closer relationship than Minakata enjoyed with Yanagita.
Thank you very much, Peter!
(And back to footnoting I go...)