Last night I was reading some chapters in Sunadomari's book "Enlightenment through Aikido" and happened upon a brief but interesting sentence. He was discussing the definition of strength, describing how a famous Japanese wrestler was stabbed to death by a petty thief, and then mentions that while he was uchi-deshi in 1942, a well known aikidoka was also murdered in Japan.
He then says that O Sensei was in Manchuria at the time and had to be informed by phone. What Ueshiba was doing in Manchuria, in 1942, one wonders. It was not likely peace-oriented. And, accordingly, his declaration and distinction of "aikido" versus the former aikijitsu terminology, in that same year, seems a bit incongruous. Are you aware of any such activity of Ueshiba's at that time?
Yes. I am very much aware of O Sensei's activities in Manchuria. However, let me give some comments on the first part of your post.
For those who have Enlightenment Through Aikido
, the relevant passage is on pp. 111-112. The sumo wrestler was Ricky Dozan and I have strong suspicions that the 'well-known aikidoka' was Tsutomu Yukawa, who was one of the original uchi-deshi of the Kobukan. Yukawa got himself into trouble with the military police. The following extract is from Stanley Pranin's ground-breaking essay on the Kobukan Years (Part 1):
"Tsutomu Yukawa entered the Kobukan Dojo in 1931 after graduating from middle school in Wakayama Prefecture. He had a background in judo and was known for his great physical strength. About 1934, Yukawa married a niece of Morihei and relocated to Osaka. There he taught aiki budo at the Sonezaki police department and later operated a private dojo in Osaka.
He appeared with the founder and Gozo Shioda in a demonstration before the Imperial family in 1941. Yukawa accompanied Morihei to Manchuria in 1942. Shortly after his return to Japan, he died tragically in Osaka as a result of an altercation with an army soldier."
As for O Sensei's activities in Manchuria, there is a book, published in 2005, which discusses the whole question. The book is written by prof Fumiaki Shishida and the English title is, The Educational Strength of Japanese Budo: The Budo Training at Kenkoku University, Manchukuo
. I believe that the book is based on Shishida's doctoral thesis and the 'meat' is in Chapter 8. Alas, the English part of the book is only the title, quoted above, for the book is written in Japanese.