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Old 06-13-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Peter - Absolutely wonderful work. It is about time that Ueshiba is placed in a genuine historical context.

A few afterthoughts: T. Dobson told me that he first saw aikido in Yokohama in a demonstration by Yamada Yoshimitsu, and he, more or less, followed him home like a stray dog. When he started practicing aikido at the Aikikai, he was there incessantly, and it was Tamura sensei who first proposed the idea of him becoming an uchi-deshi. Terry told me that he was given to understand that there was considerable opposition to this among the other uchi-deshi/shihan and that it was Osensei, himself, who insisted.

A figure of some significance on the right wing was Okawa Shumei, an incredible genius of political manipulation. Although in the Tosei-ha camp, he, over and over again, crossed to the Kodo-ha camp and drew out radicals, supported and funded their plots and then betrayed them. He was the sponsor of Chiang Kai Shek and Chandra Bose, and other figures of Asian liberation against the colonial powers - apparently to support Japanese interests - not that such realpolitik is anything unusual.
He was a central organizer of the Sakura-kai.
He was a figure, I believe, in the actions that drew Omoto-kyo out in the radical right and, subsequently, their betrayal. Yet Osensei admired him to the last. Hikitsuchi Michio tells a story of an intense sword training that he had with Osensei - well after the war - where the tip of one of the bokken broke, and was nowhere to be seen. At the end of the practice, Osensei took it out from the folds of his kimono. (What exactly that implies is unclear to me, but Hikitsuchi considered this incredible). Anyway, Osensei presented him with his bokken, a personal treasure that was given to him by Okawa Shumei. Thus, well after the war, Ueshiba still considered Okawa highly - a man who was considered one of the more significant Class A war criminals - he was one of the defendants in the Tokyo war crime trials until he successfully faked insanity - , essentially the ideologue who provided the intellectual justification for Japan's invasion of China and the south (rather than the North against Russia, the goal of the Kodo-ha and their ideologue, Okawa's one time friend Kita Ikki).
My apologies for the length of this - it is only to point out that future historical research should consider Okawa's links to Omoto - and to Ueshiba.

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 06-13-2008 at 08:24 PM.

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