Mr. Amir - Thanks for your response. I'm fascinated with Hirai sensei, in part for the prestige he had and also for his apparent ability to negotiate the politics of association with Ueshiba Morihei so well.
There are quite a lot of videos of Takenouchi-ryu, this being one
And here is Hirai sensei's Korindo
(one of four) - I chose this, even though it's blurry, so that one can actually see HIrai sensei. I really do not see much similarity, except in the most general sense that both are doing Japanese martial arts.
I've read through some prewar lists of schools enrolled in the Butokukai as well as skimmed Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan (where neither aikido nor Daito-ryu is not mentioned). There was a jujutsu section, going back to the very beginnings of the Butokukai and many ryu were involved - it was, not surprisingly, dominated by judo. There was certainly no conflict between the various ryu whose name would be used, contrary to my previous understanding of this account.
It seems clear that the account that all grappling schools were subsumed under the rubric of aikido is incorrect. Rather, aikibudo was important enough (Tojo Hideki, Prince Konoye, and innumerable generals, admirals and politicians were involved) that they had to have a place for it in the Butokukai. They changed the name to aikido to fit with the other sections (judo, kendo, etc) - rather than something significant to the larger budo world, it was a minor administrative entry of one martial art into their membership.
I have the greatest respect for those like you, who actually investigate the details of the martial arts history. And if someone like you would dedicate his time to finding more facts, it would be great. Since I am still left with many questions as to many items in Korindo Aikido own history and origin.
As to own feeling of similarity, I was talking of feeling during practice. As I have said, I see similar concepts and techniques throughout many Japanese Marital Arts, and, when coming to practice in Takenouchi-ryu that singluar time, I had the same feeling of similar yet slightly different I had when visiting and training in an Aikikai dojo.
I think these videos comparing Korindo to Takenouchi-ryu are misleading in one sense, as they are comparing Kata with Free flow practice.
Further, in own opinion, I would guess the reality here is very much in peoples minds. And I am not so even sure if there was one truth here. I would guess Ueshiba, if asked, would have seen Hirai as his representative in the Butokukai, and as his student.
While Hirai, at same time, consistently saw himself as standing on his own and not as a student Ueshiba, moving to Tokyo for administrative role, after he started defining his own martial arts path. Later progressing into more established role (teaching military police - I was not aware of this, and a job as an official of the Butokukai). It may also be that he intended the Aikido name to become generic, but never got there with the war progression.
I doubt Hirai could have gone through the period with Ueshiba without being influenced. I was told he had been influenced by his own students, so not changing while seeing Ueshiba and many others, and probably, training with them, would be atypical. I do have the impression this influence was less than Daito-ryu influence on Ueshiba. Hence, if Ueshiba is considered a founder of his own martial art, I think Hirai definitely deserves the same title (to a much smaller martial art).
I do have multiple open questions related to Korindo history:
1. This video of Hirai shows him doing two portions of practice: Single Tai-Sabaki and some Randori (actually, we call this "Half Randori" - as t only one side attacks and the other counters/defends). I wonder what is the origin of either of these types of practice ?
It's definitely not Ueshiba Aikido, as it does not have either of these elements, which are fundamental in Korindo Aikido (I would sat practice has 3 equal parts: Tai-Sabaki, Kata (or scripted Techniques) and Randori.
2. Hirai is said to had been a teacher of nito (twi swrds), yet Korindo Practice has very little Nito, and most Nito I learned came from a student who was teaching Kata from various Ryuha.
3. (in many ways, this is similar to 2nd question) It appears Hirai considered himself very open in terms of curriculum, letting some students add Kata into it, in fact it seems he was more open to add such Kata then Kata he himself had learned. I know of few Korindo invented Kata, and have heard claims they were not even fully formalized Kata, and of several adapted Kata from Koryu, but not from the Ryuha Hirai learnt and taught. How come? How come Takenouchi-ryu Kata are not in this curriculum?
4. Korindo Aikido is teaching 3d "hara" movement, where does it come from?
I have trained Aikikai for a while, they would not even talk of anything similar. Having met a Takenouchi-ryu teacher, when he was training korindo for a while, he said they had something similar, not sure.
5. I was told the term "aiki" was actually rather popular in the martial arts community of early 20th century, and several martial arts were adopting this, is this true? which?
I do have one more comment: as a student of over 25 years, I can see the practice keeps changing, even in same dojo, people keep aging, evolving and changing, and so do ideas. I am not even 100% I would have felt our own practice is same as it was 15 years back. I am not sure how much this history and knowing of origins should change current reality.