Peter A Goldsbury
There is a curious section in an interview with Minoru Mochizuki. It appears on pp. 117-118 of Stan Pranin's earlier volume Aikido Masters and on p. 91 of Aikido Pioneers. Mochizuki relates a request from Morihei Ueshiba to discuss with Minoru Hirai about returning to Tokyo after the war and getting 'the Ushigome Dojo back for O Sensei.' I myself believe that Morihei Ueshiba had handed over the Tokyo Dojo to Kisshomaru in 1942, when he moved to Iwama. Whether he expected the Tokyo dojo to survive the war is moot, but it did survive and, being located in Tokyo, would naturally come to be regarded as the Hombu. The crucial point would be Morihei Ueshiba's regular place on the daily teaching schedule: the first class every morning and the final class on Fridays. I suspect that Kisshomaru had this place right from 1942.
The point for this thread is that Morihei Ueshiba had been displaced from the administration of the dojo and was regarded in the same way as the grandparents in an extended Japanese family. Yes, there is some power, but this is concentrated in the hands of the son. There is a very poignant section in Shimazaki Toson's Yoake-mae, where the grandfather wonders if he did the right thing in handing things over to the son in the way he did. The situation was repeated with Kisshomaru and the present Doshu, who both lived in the same house (next to the Hombu at 17-19 Wakamatsu-cho). But I know from experience that Kisshomaru kept the power in his own hands and was closely involved with Hombu administration right to the end. Now, Mitsuteru has moved out and established his own house.
That is an important piece of information that is not well-known outside of Japan. I think that another interesting aspect with Aikido is also the lack of an established means of passing on all of the art onto a successor. This is a common practice in koryu and in traditional Chinese martial arts. This practice does not seem to have roots in Gendai Budo. I wonder if you have any cultural information that might shed some light on this apparent phenomenon? Certainly, Takeda Sensei was paranoid (delusional disorder or paranoid personality?) and did not have the personality to be able to remain settled and focused on passing on all aspects of his art onto a successor. O'Sensei certainly did not appear to be focused on the continuity of his art. Given that this seems to be somewhat common in Gendai Budo, I wonder what might factors might contribute to this.