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Old 06-15-2008, 09:13 AM   #10
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Mr Neveu,

Thank you for your comments. My responses are marked PAG.

Best wishes,

Peter Goldsbury

Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
Dear Professor,

Thanks for the huge work and amount of information you provided. I feel particularly lucky to experience a time in aikido history where such research (along with work from Stanley Pranin and Ellis Amdur, among others) can shed a light on the past and give us a deeper understanding of the art.
PAG. Not at all.

Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
Reading this very informative article brings a few remarks and questions :
1- The relationship between Terry Dobson and Morihei Ueshiba, as described by you and Ellis Amdur, reminded me of the story about Jacques Payet and Gozo Shioda as described in Robert Twigger's Angry White Pyjamas, where Shioda recognises in Payet the determination and spirit he seeks in his students and allows him to continue his training in the Yoshinkai. Shioda sensei was even more involved in actual war operations than O Sensei, but he did not seem to have a problem instructing a foreigner after the war, if he proved valuable.
PAG. Well, I am quite prepared to believe that Shioda Sensei thought that Jaques Payet was a good student, but not because Twigger says so. I once talked to someone who was involved with the Senshusei course when Twigger was there (he appears in his book) and I am not sure that Twigger was regarded as a model of accuracy about Yoshinkan. Of course, Gozo Shioda spent much of the war in China, but he was not involved in the war in the same way that Ueshiba was. Their spheres of influence were completely different and the only common factor was the influence of ultra-nationalists, like Okawa, Toyama and Uchida.

However, I was careful not to state that Morihei Ueshiba himself was anti-foreign, in the way that people like Sakamoto Ryoma were anti-foreign. But nor was he 'pro-foreign'. I do not think he really cared one way or the other, given the available evidence.

Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that Ueshiba was an 'opinion-leader' in a culture that was heavily committed to the idea that Japan was uniquely unique and thus had a heaven-sent mission to impose this idea (for their own good) on her Asian 'brothers', to counter the machinations of the 'West'.

Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
2- Your sentence "Ueshiba was a major figure in a military government" made me react, because it could be interpreted that :
- he was part of the army, which he was not
- he had political responsibilities and contributed to define Japan's policies and strategy.

Wouldn't it be more precise to say that he was a recognised civilian expert who was hired to instruct high level military and civilian personel in martial arts ? I just wish to establish the distinction between expertise and political power, which could be important in terms of responsibilities.
PAG. I am sure you do wish to establish such a distinction, but the available evidence does not warrant such a clear distinction, which is why I used an ambiguous phrase, as part of a disjunctive sentence.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba thought that his father was a major figure, for he quotes the relevant section of Takahashi's book in his biography and adds quite a lot more. Stan Pranin's articles also show an amount of circumstantial evidence, but nothing written by Ueshiba himself, at the time.

The one reference to Morihei Ueshiba in Thomas Nadolski's thesis is a quotation from the memoirs of one Kingoro Hashimoto, a military officer who was executed for his part in various coups d'etat in the 1930s. I will discuss this in my next column, but Hashimoto mentions Ueshiba as an Omoto bodyguard, who would protect him in his assassination attempts: like one of the punch-permed 'heavies', who nowadays protect yakuza leaders.

Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
3- Aikido in Japanese Defence Forces : the link between Tokyo's riot police and the Yoshinkan is well established, and for all I know Hikitsuchi sensei was one of the prewar aikido students who served as martial arts instructors during the war, but I wonder through which channels aikido is taught to the current japanese military forces. Does Hombu send instructors? Is there an all-military aikido organisation ?
PAG. Wait a minute. Stan Pranin has Hikitsuchi Sensei starting aikido in the 1950s, so there is no way that he could have been teaching soldiers during the war. He was born in 1923, so he would have been 14 when the Manchuria Incident took place in 1937.

Somewhere in the material put out by the Aikikai in Japanese for the annual All--Japan aikido demonstrations is an organizational chart of aikido in Japan. Again, I will discuss this in future columns, but postwar aikido in Japan has very strong links with (1) the Japanese military = Jieitai (Self-defence forces); (2) the Japanese parliament; (3) the postwar inheritors of the big zaibatsu conglomerates; (4) the universities. So it is a postwar replication of a prewar situation. Doshu and the Hombu strenuously work to keep all these links as strong as possible. (In fact, you have just given me a thought about a future TIE column: The role of ideology in aikido, prewar and postwar: How the Hombu brainwashes the multitudes--though I will probably tone down the title somewhat.)

At some point Stanley Pranin pondered in an Aikido Journal article about the numbers of aikido practitioners outside Japan. He thought that there were more practising aikidoka in France and the US than in Japan. In terms of sheer numbers, Stan is probably right, but a straight comparison of numbers obscures a number of points. I cannot speak for France or Germany, but consider the present situation in Japan, as applied to the US. You would have: (1) a separate and self-contained aikido organization for the entire US military, with its own shihans and distinctive ways of training; (2) a separate and self-contained aikido organization for the US Senate and House of Representatives, again, with shihans and distinctive ways of training; (3) a separate and self-contained organization for the huge industrial corporations, again with its own shihans and distinctive ways of training; (4) a separate and self-contained organization for students of all the major US universities, again with its own shihans and distinctive ways of training.

In Japan anybody who is 6th dan is a shihan, so shihans are ten-a-penny. So all the above organizations would have their own shihans, but would be strenuously visited by Doshu and the Hombu shihans, specially trained super-shihans, who would give technical guidance.

I was stunned at a recent All-Japan demonstration. Doshu's son, Mitsuteru, due to become the 4th Aikido Doshu, made his debut at the demonstration. Where? As a member of the military demonstration, given by the self-defence forces. To me, sitting in the audience, it was hugely symbolic--in a very negative sense, but I suspect that I was the only person at the demonstration to see this.

Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
Thanks again for your efforts.
PAG. Not at all. The responses are as important as the columns themselves.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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