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Old 01-20-2004, 12:17 AM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Hello Don,

I think the washback effect, if any, is about as common as the 'romantic' interpretation of budo, according to which aikido is "peaceful" on the grounds that the character for "bu" means "stopping spears/weapons".

If you check the larger dictionaries, such as the big "Nihon Kokugo Daijiten", you will find that the ideas of DOU, as a way to be followed (in the world of learning and the arts) and of JUTSU, as a skill to be acquired (in the world of learning and the arts) both have a very long history (i.e., going back to the 10th/11th century). The difference is merely one of emphasis.

Thus, I have a suspicion that the decision to call the martial art we practice/martial way we follow "aikido" was a Japanese-style committee decision, of a type with which I have become very familiar.

Here is one example. In Hiroshima University there is a course with the title Hiroshima-Gaku (広"学). Gaku is one of several endings which add a certain kind of elevated status to whatever is a gaku. I myself lecture in this course and my subject is how the atomic bombing of Hiroshima is regarded overseas (specifically in the UK and other European countries). My lecture jars on the sensibilities of the organizers because it is 'revisionist' and highly critical of the Hiroshima 'peace' industry, which relies on a large measure of amnesia about World War II. The organizers and audience like to hear 'positive' opinions about the atomic bombing and believe that Hiroshima's future role in world peace is so important that the course committee dealing with the subject added the 'gaku' ending.

Another example. One of my courses at Hiroshima University is 交渉学. 'Koushou' is the Japanese term for negotiation and is normally used alone. The university has added 'gaku', with the idea of making negotiation 'scientific', but this in itself adds nothing to what is really a very important and complex skill, just like a 'jutsu' (happily, negotiation has not become a 'dou', just yet). The same is true of コミュニケーショ" (communication). This appears as コミュニケーショ"論 or コミュニケーショ"学 and no one can tell the difference.

Best regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
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