I understand completely, both the practical aspects and the matter of length. A good essay will, in the nature of things, suggest other related essays and I think there is scope for anyone willing to take on the task to do so. Unfortunately I don't have the time at the moment, but I am sure I will be thinking about some of the interesting issues you have touched upon - which could suggest the following essay topics:
"Japanese Millennialism and the Mission of Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido
"Enlightenment Through Aikido: Ideology and Practice"
"Back to the Future: Purist and Modernist Attitudes in Aikido"
"Growth and Fragmentation: Omoto and Aikido in the 20th Century"
"Completing the Incomplete: Aikido as Religion"
And perhaps on a more lighter note:
"Iron in the Soul: Intending the Unintentional"
"Far Right Ideology and Far Eastern Mystique"
"Shaming the Shamans: The Guru Sensei"
"Mushin: Much Ado About Nothing"
As you mention, it is regrettable that Morihei Ueshiba did not write down more of what he believed to provide a more reliable source of reference for posterity. It would certainly make things easier for historians. I have heard, though, that there is undisclosed archive material kept somewhere, but I don't know if this is true. If it is true, then who knows what might be revealed?
A Happy New Year to you Professor!
Hello Mr Gillies,
Many thanks for your response. I would have liked to spend more time on Onisaburo Deguchi, especially on Reikai Monogatari
. Deguchi is said to have begun dictating this material after the first suppression of Omoto in 1921. In fact, the other person in the photograph mentioned earlier, Matsumura Masazumi, was one who wrote the text as Deguchi dictated it. This book is a classic record of a 'shamanistic journey' and deserves much more attention than it has received so far. Another project, perhaps, after these columns have finished.