Re: Female shihan, or more accurately...lack thereof?
We have two different types of shihan: organizational shihan (such as in the Birankai) and aikikai shihan. They may be different or they may be the same. The aikikai promotes to shihan and it seems the only ones in America that are shihan designated are 7th dan and above. Currently, there are no females I know of in the aikikai at 7th dan and since 1995 or 1997 (Seagal was one of the first) only a few males-more recently. Not true in Japan where many 6th dan are shihan as well. As to Japanese shihan there is one on staff at hombu to my knowledge, I believe this is the person although I may be wrong: Mariko Takamizo (I think Mariko is a female name but I could be wrong). I know the female shihan has done seminars outside of Japan in the past.