I just attended a special training camp in Iwama celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Iwama dojo. It was led by the Doshu. There I learned some interesting things through what the Doshu said and by what was said by some of the old-timers at the party after. (note to self: high volume flow of alcohol = high volume flow of info.)
1. The Founder lived in Iwama not Tokyo. This was directly from the Doshu.
2. Moriteru Ueshiba had only trained at the Iwama dojo one time before this seminar, when he was a child.
3. Early post-war training at Iwama was attended by Shioda Sensei, Abe Sensei, and occasionally Tohei Sensei.
4. The Shihan who teach there now are trying to continue Saito Sensei`s teachings AND are completely loyal to Aikikai/Doshu. Isoyama Shihan, in particular, commented strongly that we must consider the Doshu to be the center of Aikido. (note to self: how does this fit in with the idea of tatemae and honne?)
5. The Founder taught special seminars to the local people on farming techniques, especially on the correct way of producing fertilizer. (OK, but it is interesting to me!)
As for the post-war Shihan who call themselves former uchideshi of the Founder, they all lived in Tokyo so how could they have been uchideshi? I don`t think they are lying, so maybe it is due to the fact that the second Doshu is considered to have been an extension of the Founder. Also, it is undeniable that these men dedicated their lives to Aikido, which they equate with the Founder.
Peter R.`s original question was what is our understanding of the word uchideshi. Considering my modicum of knowledge of Aikido history and Japanese culture in general, I`m gonna stick with the "total responsibility" idea.