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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6
by Peter Goldsbury
01-12-2008
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

INTERLUDE

I: The General Impact of the Pacific War (World War II) on Aikido

Preliminaries

The previous column began discussion of the second major subject of this series: the handing on of his art by Morihei Ueshiba to his son Kisshomaru and the ways in which Kisshomaru handled this inheritance. Of course, Kisshomaru Ueshiba formally assumed the title of Doshu in 1969, the year his father died, but well before this he had been in effective control of the Aikikai. My own belief is that the handing over began as early as 1942, with O Sensei's retreat to Iwama, and was more or less completed by 1955, when Morihei Ueshiba had emerged from Iwama to visit Tokyo more frequently (where he held a major intensive training course for all his surviving deshi, of which more later). O Sensei had begun to enjoy his Guru status and had also begun to travel around Japan to visit dojo run by his older deshi.

Nevertheless, we should remember that the inheritance was initiated in the middle of World War II, when aikido also received its official name and also officially became a part of the Japanese war effort. Aikido is understood by many postwar practitioners as a martial art dedicated to world peace, but it was born in the midst of a major world conflict and the circumstances of the transition from Ueshiba Father to Ueshiba Son provide an opportunity to study the general effects of World War II on the early development of aikido. In Japan it is still considered somewhat taboo to investigate too closely the early development of a budo, a Martial Way steeped in a tradition that proclaims all the virtuous aspects of Japanese culture, but which was born in a period that illustrates all the darkest aspects of this same culture. So this column is something of a pioneering effort—and one that might ruffle a few feathers. The main focus will be on World War II as a watershed: an occasion for transition from the old order to a new order—with all the problems involved in such a transition. In this respect, aikido is a microcosm of Japan as a whole.

The reason for delicacy in discussing these questions will be apparent if we expand the preceding paragraph a little. It is an undisputed fact that Japan has had military governments for much of its later history: governments run by a military caste and according to a military culture that is regarded as unique. The accepted prewar term for this military culture is Yamato-damashii. The result was (1) a highly organized, vertically structured society, where everyone knew their place and followed an ideology centered on worship of the Emperor—and (2) another undisputed fact and a source of great national pride: that Japan was never invaded by a foreign power.

However, what happened in 1945 was actually rather worse than an invasion. With an invasion you are at least able to put up a fight, honest or otherwise, but in 1945 Japan had to surrender to the Allies and face an occupying army, basically benevolent, but exhibiting all the arrogant fervor of raw missionaries. Japan thus suffered a total repudiation of the very same cultural values that underpinned the martial arts. As one Japanese scholar put it, as late as 2002:
The Allied Occupation, despite its luster of reform and the sense of national renewal it instilled, remains a difficult period for many Japanese to come to grips with. It is the only time in our history when national sovereignty was compromised by another power. For eighty months following its surrender in 1945, Japan was at the mercy of an army of occupation, its people subject to foreign military control. Our external affairs were conducted by the American conqueror, not the Foreign Ministry. Japanese could not leave the country without special permission, which was extended only to the privileged few. Restrictions were imposed on internal migrations for the first three years, limiting freedom of movement and domicile. For four years American soldiers ran the nation's postal system, and in the early phase of the occupation, stringent information controls prohibited Japanese from communicating with the outside world via the mails, telephone and other media. Inside the country, too, personal letters, telecommunications, radio, press, films, photographs, song lyrics and phonograph records were monitored and censored systemically. Even news of events in the outside world was carefully filtered and managed. Criticism of Occupation policy was strictly forbidden. Moreover, Japanese were constrained, under threat of fine and imprisonment, to cooperate with their foreign overlords, when ordered to do so. This affront to national pride is difficult to forget and, for many, to forgive completely. (Eiji Takemae, The Allied Occupation of Japan, pp. xxv-xxvi.)
Eiji Takemae's remarks need to be seen in context. (i) There was the same ‘arrogant fervor of raw missionaries' displayed by the Japanese forces themselves in their advance through South Asia, though their intentions might well have been as benevolent as those of the US occupying forces. (ii) There were also severe constraints on personal freedom in wartime Japan. Thus Takemae's remarks perhaps unintentionally emphasize the fact that the Japanese had to submit to the writ of a benevolent foreign occupation, not a repressive domestic military government. I think that there is a certain rub here, as Hamlet might have put it.

I stated above that aikido is a microcosm of Japan as a whole and the more I have been living here, the more I have come to realize the truth of this. There is a readiness to renounce the old ways of the militarists, along with a certain hankering for the certainties offered by these old ways. I have seen at first hand the struggles of Japan to be counted as a postwar democracy like all the others, while still retaining its allegedly unique spiritual essence. Thus, there is great reluctance either to teach anything in schools about the descent into the kurai tanima (dark valley) of militarism from 1930 till 1945, or to admit that the militarism was anything more than a defensive response to forces set in train by the Meiji Restoration.

I have firsthand experience of the tensions involved here, since I have often given lectures in Hiroshima about foreign reactions to the atomic bombing. I have consistently argued that Japan cannot have it both ways: one cannot avoid war responsibility with the kurai tanima argument and still claim that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was a war crime. The generally sympathetic response from the student body and the general public has been quite different from that of the city government, which believes I am subverting the general message of ‘The Spirit of Hiroshima'. This phrase is a kind of codeword for a certain ideological position, namely, that (1) the atomic bombing was a unique event and that (2) Hiroshima was a passive and blameless victim and that (3) dwelling on Japan's militaristic past should not be allowed to obtrude on the general momentum for world peace.

Similarly, I believe that the present Doshu wants to preserve his grandfather's legacy, while at the same time adapting this legacy to the needs of the postwar modern era. In other words, Doshu wants at the same time to retain the essential Japanese uniqueness of aikido—and Japanese control of the art, while making it a general postwar multi-functional activity, generally dedicated to world peace and easily able to stand comparison with other martial arts & Olympic sports. I think the issue for Doshu and the Aikikai is to work out what this actually means in practice.

I myself was born in 1944, so I have no memories of World War II. I can recall my parents discussing German air raids, but my only memories of the effects of the war in the UK are of rationing and the ration books we all had. On the other hand, my adopted home is Hiroshima, the scene of one of the greatest attacks in world history, where the scars of the atomic bomb still remain—in the form of the Atomic Bomb Dome & the institutions for the severely injured survivors—and also in the memories of those who survived more or less unharmed. Many of my Japanese friends and acquaintances are older than I am. They still vividly remember the closing years of the war—and especially the bitterness of Japan's defeat. In the UK we had rationing, but at least we had food to eat: the Japanese survivors had almost nothing. There was also a general weariness and distrust of authority. Returning soldiers, for example, were welcomed back by their families, but tended to be shunned by the general population.

The General Cultural Background

The biographies of Morihei Ueshiba and his deshi do not generally give much information on the contemporary social context. Only Gozo Shioda in Aikido Jinsei cheerfully recounts his exploits in Asia after he graduated from Takushoku University and left the Kobukan Dojo. Much of this book has been translated into English and published by Aikido Journal. It makes riveting and intriguing reading, as one tries to fill in the gaps and work out what Shioda was really doing in East Asia during the war.

Morihei Ueshiba opened the Kobukan Dojo in 1931, which is the year that Japan invaded China. Throughout the 1930s Japan was progressively placed on a war footing and became a repressive police state, patrolled by the Kempeitai (military police), the Special Higher Police (the civilian version of the Kempeitai, known as the Thought Police), in addition to the usual variety, all of which later operated in close association with the tonarigumi (neighborhood associations) in which participation was compulsory. As the war progressed—and became more disadvantageous for Japan, troops were sent back to the main islands and the entire population was mobilized to resist an Allied invasion, which was regarded as likely to occur in Kyushu.

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki prevented such an invasion, but the destruction wrought on these two cities paralleled the destruction wrought on most of Japan's other cities by conventional bombing, so much so that the occupying troops marveled at how Japan had been able to survive for so long. The bombing had been selective, however, and Japan's railway system was more or less intact. In addition, a military commission flew to Hiroshima a few days after the bombing in order to inspect the damage, and were able to land at an airfield about 4 km from the hypocenter.

The defeat of Japan set in place a total transformation of the country and even though the occupying forces had to rely on the Japanese to carry out the reforms through edict—and there were often obstructions and adaptations of these edicts, it is remarkable how completely these reforms took hold. In Embracing Defeat, John Dower tells the story more from the viewpoint of ordinary Japanese who accepted the reforms, whereas Eiji Takemae in The Allied Occupation of Japan tells it more from the viewpoint of the occupying forces who applied the reforms. It is as if the ‘dark shadow' of militarism had suddenly been lifted from the country and this is how some Japanese like to regard the war and its aftermath. There is a danger, however, in allowing this way of thinking to obscure the undoubted fact that for the Japanese this was total war, in which everyone, soldiers and civilians alike, participated without exception—including Morihei Ueshiba and his students.

All traces of militarism and ultranationalism were ruthlessly swept away, including the apparatus of state Shinto; there was a purge of military, police, and educational figures; martial arts were no longer to be taught in schools; and organizations like the Dai Nippon Butokukai and its affiliates were proscribed. A land redistribution scheme was set in motion and the country was placed firmly on a democratic path with elections, including votes for women, trades unions and freedom of assembly. Dower and Takemae stress that the transformation, while uneven in some respects, was both dramatic and also lasting. Some people were left rather dazed that the old order had passed away so completely and it took some time for the effects to be felt.

The Wartime Activities of O Sensei and his Students

I think that the issues involving aikido here are (1) to what extent the martial arts were regarded as part of the war effort and (2) to what extent ordinary Japanese aikido practitioners supported the war.

(1) The first question is answered easily enough. The political supporters of O Sensei at the Kobukan (which had become a legal foundation in 1940) wanted Aiki-budo to be under the umbrella of the Dai Nippon Butokukai and this was accepted in 1942, with the art being given the name aikido. There is no question but that aikido was fully part of the military culture of the time. Nor was there any conflict felt between the peace-loving New-Heaven-and-New-Earth message of Omoto and this military culture. Thomas Nadolski has shown that Omoto had far closer links with ultranationalism than the discourses of O Sensei might suggest.

(2) The second question can also be answered easily enough. One could not get anywhere near the Kobukan except by recommendation from two ‘eminent persons' and so training there was seen as an elite activity. Later in the 1930s, Morihei Ueshiba taught at various military schools and so those of his students who were not uchi-deshi were soldiers, whose support for the war was not supposed to be in question. Thus there were no ‘ordinary' Japanese practitioners and the martial art was not generally known. In any case it had a definite militaristic and right-wing flavor.

Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that accounts given by uchi-deshi differ. In Stanley Pranin's Aikido Masters, some deshi talk of the uchi-deshi teaching general members of the dojo—and being unable to do it very well, while Gozo Shioda in Aikido Jinsei alleges that the Kobukan did not need to accept general students. He is more concerned with the members of the military who trained at the dojo. However, it is clear that even the non-deshi could practice only by recommendation: the Kobukan was never open to all and sundry, like a typical postwar dojo.

Morihei Ueshiba joined the army in 1905 and went to Mongolia during the war with the Chinese. By 1930 he was 47 and opened the Kobukan one year later. He played no military role in the war at all and, until he retired to Iwama from 1942 onwards, his only direct contribution to the war was his instruction of aikido at various military schools.

However, Ueshiba's male uchi-deshi were progressively enlisted into the Japanese armed forces and they fought in the war. Presumably, they put what they had been taught in the dojo, as evidenced by the 1933 Budo Renshu and the 1938 Budo manuals, to practical use. The same tensions presented themselves here as had presented themselves to the earlier samurai; they had been trained at the Kobukan to kill people and were taught by their military training to have no qualms about doing so.

I think there are some personal horror stories here that have never been told. Rinjiro Shirata, for example, fought in Burma and when he was repatriated, took a job and looked after his family. He appears to have abandoned aikido training for nearly 20 years, until he was persuaded to come out of ‘retirement' by Morihei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba and some aikido practitioners in the Tohoku region. There is a poignant story recorded by Meik Skoss of Shirata Sensei having a sword permanently mounted, so that it would never (again?) have to be used.

Kenji Tomiki and Shigenobu Okumura were interned by the Soviets and spent some years in POW camps before being repatriated. I have heard from Okumura Sensei directly about the struggle to survive in those camps—and the people who never came back.

O Sensei as a War Criminal

The principal evidence for this from the world of aikido is to be found in Aikido Jinsei by Gozo Shioda. The statement appears on p. 166, in a section recounting his meeting with O Sensei in Iwama in Showa 21 (1946). For those who can read Japanese, here is the text:
Sensei wa touji Ibaragi-ken no Iwama ni insei shi, moppara noukou ni shitashinde oraremashita. Senji-chuu Sensei wa Kyoto no Butokukai no koumon wo sarete ita kankei ue, MacArthur no jirei ni yori G-go wo tekiyou sarete, koushoku tsuihou ni nari, Zaidan Houjin Aikikai mo kaisan no ukime atte oraremashita. Sono tame Aiki-en to iu namae no nouen wo hiraite mainichi noukou wo sareru katawara, doukou no mono wo atsume aikidou wo shidou sarete imashita.
A similar statement can be found in an interview with Gozo Shioda conducted by Stanley Pranin. The latest version of this interview can be found on pp. 185-186 of Vol I of Morihei Ueshiba to Aikido, published in 2006. Here is an English translation:
Pranin: After the war O Sensei also had a very difficult time.

Shioda: The fact that Ueshiba Sensei was an adviser to the Butokukai in Kyoto was not good. Sensei was implicated in Class G war crimes / as a Class G war criminal. Ueshiba Sensei's foundation was cancelled and his activities were forbidden. Thus Sensei confined himself in Iwama and since he could no longer practice budo, he created the Aiki-Farm and engaged in farming. It was a precarious existence.
There has been some discussion on the Internet about such war crimes and questions raised about the truth of Shioda's statements. First, a description of Class G ‘war crimes' is in order.

The source is SCAPIN (Supreme Commander Allied Powers Index) 550, of January 4, 1946, which ordered the removal and exclusion from public office of Japan's wartime leaders. Broad categories delineated those who were to be purged. (A) Indicted war criminals; (B) All career military officers; (C) Leaders of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and affiliated organizations; (D) Leaders and influential members of ultranationalist, secret and terrorist organizations; (E) Executives of companies involved in Japanese expansion; (F) Governors of occupied territories; (G) Initially broadly based and unspecified "additional militarists and ultranationalists".

The above classification can be found in Hans Baerwald's "The Occupation of Japan as an Exercise in ‘Regime Change': Reflections after Fifty Years by a Participant", JPRI (Japan Policy Research Institute) Occasional Papers 29, p. 3. Baerwold adds the rueful comment that:
Moreover, all SCAP staff sections had to rely on their counterparts in the Japanese bureaucracy for basic data and assistance in drafting reforms. This necessity allowed the Japanese officials to protect themselves and promote their own agenda by influencing SCAP officials. It was an early variant of using gaiatsu (foreign pressure) to their own advantage. I was an unwitting participant in the game while drafting purge criteria involving members of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, the Great Japan Military Virtue Society.
It is interesting that Baerwold was involved in drafting purge criteria for the Dai Nippon Butokukai, which included aikido from 1942 onwards. The categories listed in SCAPIN 550 need to be read in conjunction with SCAPIN 548, which added the Dai Nippon Butokukai, with all its affiliated organizations, to the list of organizations proscribed by SCAP.

Shioda's allegations are strongly denied by Kisshomaru Ueshiba on pp. 83-84 of Aikido Ichiro. Kisshomaru also quotes the relevant passage from Aikido Jinsei (quoted in Japanese above) and rebuts the allegations one by one. Thus, O Sensei was not an adviser to the Butokukai during the war; he was not subject to any banning order from SCAP; and the Aikikai was never proscribed.

I have not found any evidence outside aikido to support Gozo Shioda's statements, but it is possible that Ueshiba is listed somewhere in the SCAP archives. However, the SCAP order issued in January 1946 initiated a search process that took a year to complete and the actual purge orders were not issued until 1947, when Shioda had already visited O Sensei in Iwama (in July 1946: see the interview, above). Nevertheless, given the influential people he knew, including a number of ultranationalist military officers who also trained at the Kobukan Dojo in the 1930s, it is possible that Shioda had such information and that O Sensei also knew he was under suspicion. However, even if he had come to the attention of SCAP, the only content of O Sensei's ‘criminal' activity is that he practiced a Japanese martial art. This might explain why he kept quiet in Iwama at least until around 1950, when the purge orders were lifted. SCAP had already turned its attention to the Korean War and liberated all the war criminals. Moreover, it was as early as 1948 that the Zaidan Houjin Aikikai, with its headquarters in Iwama, was approved by the Japanese education ministry as the postwar version of the Zaidan Houjin Kobukai. This appears to have been done by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, with the support of people like Kinya Fujita and Katsuzo Nishi, but appears to have been done very quietly, to avoid annoying SCAP.
(NOTE. I have benefited very much by a recent discussion about Class G war criminals on the Aikido Journal website and from private correspondence with some of the participants in this discussion.)

Beginnings of A New Beginning

That the defeat left Japan devastated is an understatement. Kisshomaru Ueshiba begins Aikido Ichiro by discussing the Emperor's surrender broadcast on August 15, 1945. After hearing the broadcast he went with a friend to the Imperial Palace and saw people sitting in seiza and weeping. Later in the same chapter (pp. 22-23), he writes about the recreated aikido he intended to promote. The discussion reads like a manifesto and is worth paraphrasing at some length.

The exercise of military power based on militarism & nationalism has been shown to be a mistake, as is evidenced by our present situation. Certainly there is much of Japanese culture that we can be proud of, but now the war has ended, the estimation of this has fallen to zero.

However, there is one part of this culture to which I myself am directly connected: the aikido that my own father has created. Even though I have not progressed so far in aikido, I believed that aikido was an excellent part of this culture: not merely the waza, but especially the spiritual aspects of this budo. I wanted some day to take this aikido to America and Europe and say: "Look! There is something good here, even from Japan. It is a budo without fighting and with a positive philosophy towards the opponent. If you are interested, I will teach you. If not, please teach me what you have that is good."

I thought that defeated Japan had something valuable to offer the nations that had won the war and that emphasizing what was valuable would help to achieve Japan's reconstruction and rebirth. Especially now, in the present circumstances, aikido has a role to play in Japan's reconstruction. In fact, it is because of its spiritual aspects that aikido should play such a role.

In particular, I want to introduce & spread aikido as a central part of daily living to the new generation who will play a role in Japan's reconstruction. If there were no such emphasis on the spirit, concepts and waza of aikido as eschewing fighting and seeking peace, then I would not want to teach it.

Doshu adds that he was 25 at this point, the year the war ended. What is remarkable is that Kisshomaru spent the rest of his life in carrying out this manifesto, almost to the letter, and we should ponder deeply on the revolution in aikido that he achieved by this, both the positive aspects and the negative aspects (for there were these, also). I think this is the one major effect of the World War II on aikido: a popularization and democratization of the art that is a complete change from its prewar situation. I intend to explore the implications of this change in future columns.

Further Reading

The effects of the war are graphically described in the autobiography of Kisshomaru Ueshiba, entitled Aikido Ichiro, but Kisshomaru's early activities need to be supplemented by the evidence of his father's wartime activities, especially his trips to Mongolia, his instruction at various military schools and his activities in Manchuria. More importantly, the development of aikido needs to be seen in a more general cultural context. For this general cultural context, several works written in English are indispensable. First, there is a collection of primary sources entitled Sources of Japanese Tradition. The second edition is preferable to the first and comes in two volumes. Volume One covers ‘the earliest times' till 1600 and the vastly expanded Volume Two continues until 2000. Chapters 46, 47 and 48 are most immediately relevant to the period under discussion in this column, but study of the entire second volume (of nearly 1,400 pages) will provide a very clear general cultural context to the rise of prewar budo and Japan's wartime endeavors. (Details: Sources of Japanese Tradition, Second Edition, Volume Two, Compiled by Wm. Theodore de Barry, Carol Gluck and Arthur E Tiedemann, Columbia University Press, 2005.)

There are many secondary works in English and a good one to start with would be a collection of essays entitled, Showa: The Japan of Hirohito, edited by Carol Gluck and Stephen R Graubard. A larger work dealing with the US Occupation directly has been written by a Japanese author named Eiji Takemae. The Japanese original was written in 1983, but an English translation was published in 2002, with the title, The Allied Occupation of Japan. This has a preface by John Dower, who himself has written many books about the Pacific War and its aftermath. In chronological order these are: Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience 1878-1954 (1978), War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (1986), Japan in War and Peace (1993), Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1999). Stanley Pranin's two articles about the Kobukan Dojo are also indispensable, as are his interviews with people like Rinjiro Shirata and Gozo Shioda. Shioda wrote a biography, Aikido Jinsei, which can profitably be compared with Kisshomaru Ueshiba's mentioned above (both, unfortunately, in Japanese). While at the Kobukan Dojo, Morihei Ueshiba also taught at the Nakano spy school and other military schools and Stephen C Mercado has written a history of this school. Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army's Elite Intelligence School (2002) provides some general background, though Ueshiba is not mentioned at all. Ueshiba is also mentioned only once in Thomas Nadolski's doctoral thesis, The Socio-Political Background of the 1921 and 1935 Omoto Suppressions in Japan, which discusses the political leanings of Omoto-kyo. This can be supplemented by the source materials given in Chapter 48 of Sources of Japanese Tradition, Volume Two, cited above.

Peter Goldsbury (b. 28 April 1944). Aikido 6th dan Aikikai, Professor at Hiroshima University, teaching philosophy and comparative culture. B. in UK. Began aikido as a student and practiced at various dojo. Became a student of Mitsunari Kanai at the New England Aikikai in 1973. After moving back to the UK in 1975, trained in the Ryushinkan Dojo under Minoru Kanetsuka. Also trained with K Chiba on his frequent visits to the UK. Moved to Hiroshima, Japan, in 1980 and continued training with the resident Shihan, Mazakazu Kitahira, 7th dan Also trained regularly with Seigo Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Tada, Sadateru Arikawa and Masatake Fujita, both in Hiroshima and at the Aikikai Hombu. Was elected Chairman of the IAF in 1998. With two German colleagues, opened a small dojo in Higashi-Hiroshima City in 2001. Instructed at Aiki Expo 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:02 AM   #2
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Amazing article, Professor Goldsbury. Your previous articles were certainly good, but I think with this one you've taken the discussion to another level.

As I understand it, Ueshiba was initially against the formation of the Kobukai (later Aikikai), and opening aikido up to the public, and was eventually persuaded by Kisshomaru. If this is true, where do you think this fits into the over all context you've provided here? The Kobukai was instituted before the war was lost, but aikido didn't become open to the public until after the war. Is this perhaps the result of a little tatemae timeline fudging? Or was Ueshiba merely so concerned with his own personal shugyo that he didn't care for any organization of aikido, be that association with the nationalistic Butokukai, or a more "benign" organization that appeased SCAP and followed Kisshomaru's vision?

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:59 AM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Amazing article, Professor Goldsbury. Your previous articles were certainly good, but I think with this one you've taken the discussion to another level.

As I understand it, Ueshiba was initially against the formation of the Kobukai (later Aikikai), and opening aikido up to the public, and was eventually persuaded by Kisshomaru. If this is true, where do you think this fits into the over all context you've provided here? The Kobukai was instituted before the war was lost, but aikido didn't become open to the public until after the war. Is this perhaps the result of a little tatemae timeline fudging? Or was Ueshiba merely so concerned with his own personal shugyo that he didn't care for any organization of aikido, be that association with the nationalistic Butokukai, or a more "benign" organization that appeased SCAP and followed Kisshomaru's vision?
Hello Josh,

Thank you for the comments.

I think O Sensei had a more complex attitude to organizations than you suggest. In 1932 he became Chairman of the Dai Nippon Budo Senyou-kai at the request of Onisaburo Deguchi, who was the President. As you know, the main dojo for this Omoto organization was in Takeda, in Hyogo Prefecture, and it appears to have been run as a farm-dojo, rather like Iwama became. There appear to have been two dojos and members of the public (presumably Omoto believers) were able to train. When he was not there himself, the instructors were Ueshiba's uchi-deshi, most of whom had no links with Omoto.

I do not think that the creation of the Zaidan Houjin Kobukai in 1940 was synonymous with opening aiki-budo to the general public. Judging from Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography of Ueshiba, the impetus this time came from people like Takeshita Osamu and Ueshiba's wealthy benefactors. The effect was to make the dojo a legal entity, but it still functioned as a closed dojo, with access to training only by recommendation.

After the war, it was Kisshomaru who took the initiative in quietly restarting the Kobukai in 1948 (this time as the Zaidan Houjin Aikikai), again with the assistance of political friends. In Aikido Ichiro Kisshomaru states that his father left him to it.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:22 PM   #4
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Josh,

Thank you for the comments.

I think O Sensei had a more complex attitude to organizations than you suggest. In 1932 he became Chairman of the Dai Nippon Budo Senyou-kai at the request of Onisaburo Deguchi, who was the President. As you know, the main dojo for this Omoto organization was in Takeda, in Hyogo Prefecture, and it appears to have been run as a farm-dojo, rather like Iwama became. There appear to have been two dojos and members of the public (presumably Omoto believers) were able to train. When he was not there himself, the instructors were Ueshiba's uchi-deshi, most of whom had no links with Omoto.

I do not think that the creation of the Zaidan Houjin Kobukai in 1940 was synonymous with opening aiki-budo to the general public. Judging from Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography of Ueshiba, the impetus this time came from people like Takeshita Osamu and Ueshiba's wealthy benefactors. The effect was to make the dojo a legal entity, but it still functioned as a closed dojo, with access to training only by recommendation.

After the war, it was Kisshomaru who took the initiative in quietly restarting the Kobukai in 1948 (this time as the Zaidan Houjin Aikikai), again with the assistance of political friends. In Aikido Ichiro Kisshomaru states that his father left him to it.

Best wishes,
Wonderful stuff Peter!

It was my understanding that O-Sensei's main student and primary back-up from an instruction standpoint was Inoue Sensei, his nephew. He was sempai to virtually everyone in those early days. He was, of course, a very serious Omoto follower. I thought he was intimately involved in the instruction of the Omoto followers...

It has always been a bit unclear how much intertwining there was between these quasi-official and official organizations and the government. When you have a highly centralized, totalitarian system functioning, there is seldom any group or organization that is really independent of the central power... I would imagine that there were quite a few people, like the Founder, whose positions or personal connections crossed across the various limes until the government decided to overtly oppose the Omotokyo.

It seems that early on there was a congruence between the goals of Deguchi and the Omotokyo and the government. There must have been quite a number of folks who got caught in between, with conflicting loyalties, when the government turned on the Omotokyo Organization. That's the conventional story as to why O-Sensei fell out with his nephew, Inoue, who supposedly felt that O-Sensei had "sold out" by distancing himself from the Omoto faithful after the purges. Anyway it is all very murky because during this period, there wasn't much separation between ideas spiritual and ideas political... They seem to run naturally together in a way that isn't very comprehensible to us in the West.

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Old 01-14-2008, 04:07 AM   #5
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Was the Omoto movement more extremist and right-wing than the Japanese government of that era (the 30s) ?

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Old 01-14-2008, 07:43 AM   #6
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
Was the Omoto movement more extremist and right-wing than the Japanese government of that era (the 30s) ?
Hello,

Being extremist and right-wing were not synonymous in the 1930s. Omoto had the problem of being both right-wing and religious (the latter alternatively to state Shinto), so this presented a dilemma for the government.

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Old 01-14-2008, 12:15 PM   #7
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Peter,
thanks for another great read. I always look forward to your contributions. They are a great resource for me.

Asim
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:48 PM   #8
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Being extremist and right-wing were not synonymous in the 1930s. Omoto had the problem of being both right-wing and religious (the latter alternatively to state Shinto), so this presented a dilemma for the government.
Respectfully, I think the seating references of the eighteenth-century revolutionary French legislature are of doubtful use in this context. I have a hard time reconciling the views of Oomoto with, say, the likes of Koiso and the Sakurakai, of Tojo, or even, less radically of Konoe. It may bear superficial resemblance to more official efforts under the the later "Amau" doctrine, but Deguchi's Mongolian experiment presents no good reason to believe that the Oomoto were a catspaw of the government's coalescing (in 1924) "Co-Prosperity" expansion policy, good riddance though they probably wished him at the time.

Quote:
Onisaburo Deguchi wrote:
I believe that you are all aware of the revelation that "after the Setsubun of Taisho 10 (1921), God will lead the spirit of Henjo Nyoshi [= Onisaburo] to a place where other people cannot go." That revelation was fulfilled without the slightest error when, on February 12, I was, as you know, taken away to the Kyoto jail. And I feel strongly that again on this February 12, after this year's Setsubun Festival, a mission has come from God for me to go to another place where people cannot easily go.

I will reveal the Great Spirit of the Origin of this Country. Furthermore, I firmly believe that the spirit that brought Japan into being is not one of subjugation or aggression, but one to show the peoples of the world the divine way by means of the Word. It is quite impossible to rule the people of the world with military power or intellectual power. I believe that, in the end, this can only be achieved by the power of a new religion free of old conventions, a religion that is essential to spiritual union.
Onisaburo's expedition to Mongolia in the 1920's was closer in spirit to that of Oneida, Amana, Mt. Lebanon and other utopian experiments by minority sects here in the States in the 1850's (albeit generally less pacifist). It was directly prompted by the first Omoto incident and the action then taken by the government. In its reaction, the establishment in China reacted very much to the private army Deguchi formed in ways that are actually reminiscent of the early Mormon militia controversies in the Midwest in the 1830's and 40's. While we may today place Mormons toward the "right" of the political spectrum in the States, the designation in historical context is probably as meaningless as the designation seems toward Omoto of the 20's and 30's.

The similarities of historical experience between the American expansion and the attempted "manifest destiny" policy of Japan make interesting parallels, however. The socio-religious responses are driven by related and deepening demands of modernization and industrialization. Even though the historical periods are almost a hundred years apart, the cultural clocks between the two histories seem very much in sync. Deculturalization and the fracturing of traditional communities in the two societies are very compelling for examination in this context. For me, it seems that common sociological aspect may play a larger part in Aikido's broad appeal than is generally recognized.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-14-2008 at 01:55 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:06 PM   #9
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Given the MANY other "right wing" influences and outright sponsors of early aikido, I frankly fail to see a didactic expose of the orgins of the phrase "right wing" as being on point...items such as:

Nakano spy school
Black Dragon society
High ranking military sponsors and participants
Etc., Etc., Etc.,

may be more to the point...

But hey, whatever...

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-14-2008, 09:29 PM   #10
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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Given the MANY other "right wing" influences and outright sponsors of early aikido, I frankly fail to see a didactic expose of the orgins of the phrase "right wing" as being on point...items such as:

Nakano spy school
Black Dragon society
High ranking military sponsors and participants
Etc., Etc., Etc.,

may be more to the point...
Point is, those influences while not denied, are not at all connected to Ueshiba through Omoto. It is the Omoto influence, increasingly suppressed during the pre-War years that seems to have so prominently reasserted itself afterward. I see little if any connection between these two poles of Ueshiba's life -- apart from himself -- which would leave him an interesting historically situated person, even without Aikido.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:31 AM   #11
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Thanks again Peter!

I have to wonder, do you ever worry that there might be some kind of (even very subtle) repercussions for the frankness you've offered in these columns? They strike me as very brave in their honesty.

Chris Moses
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:14 AM   #12
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Thanks again Peter!

I have to wonder, do you ever worry that there might be some kind of (even very subtle) repercussions for the frankness you've offered in these columns? They strike me as very brave in their honesty.
The thought of "Ruffled feathers may lead to pecking" is a phrase that comes to my mind in the context mentioned above..
Regards,
Lan

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Old 01-15-2008, 10:32 AM   #13
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Point is, those influences while not denied, are not at all connected to Ueshiba through Omoto. It is the Omoto influence, increasingly suppressed during the pre-War years that seems to have so prominently reasserted itself afterward. I see little if any connection between these two poles of Ueshiba's life -- apart from himself -- which would leave him an interesting historically situated person, even without Aikido.
Erick,

This is really quite an astonishing assertion. As astonishing in its own way as would be an assertion that fascist influences on Spanish followers of Josemaria Escrival in the period between the Thirties and the re-establishment of democracy following the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco can not be denied but are not at all connected to their involvement with Opus Dei.

Quite the contrary, both movements seem similar insofar as each offered an ostensibly "spiritual" rationale which was congruent with the goals and methods of a more secular authoritarian and militarist movement that was coming to the fore. This offered the opportunity to attract and utilize "spiritually inclined" individuals who were more responsive to an apparently religious discourse than a secular political discourse to contribute to the larger authoritarian project that was under way.

I would argue that the more meaningful distinction between the two is the ultimate sense on the part of the Japanese government that Deguchi's own ambitions made him an unreliable ally at best, and an affirmative threat at worst.

Had Opus Dei come to be seen by Franco as a direct threat, in the way that Oomoto came to be seen by the Japanese government -- or those unelected power brokers directing affairs from behind the black curtain -- as a potential, if not direct threat, I have no doubt that it too would have been subject to vigorous countermeasures.

This is a long way around to say that, far from being "two poles of Ueshiba's life," these can be seen more accurately as mere alternative expressions of a common core, albeit in two languages that are often treated as distinct due to a series of historical accidents and (to follow M.Foucault's line of work) disciplinary imperatives.

In Ueshiba's case, the change after the war, then, would be less the rise of suppressed influences than a necessary shift to a more contemporaneously acceptable language and the jettisoning of a language that had come to be taboo as a result of the loss of the war.

For a more current phenomena with similar characteristics, one need look no further than the Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, which has an ostensibly spiritual program and also has deep and abiding connections with a variety of right-wing ideologues, intelligence services, organized criminal enterprises and agents of political influence in both East Asia and the United States.

While the motivations of individual followers of any of these movements may be seen by those individuals as entirely "spiritual" entirely "pure," and not initially connected with any conscious impetus toward a broadly authoritarian political or military project, to assert that such influences do not connect with them by way of their association with one of these movements is striking in the way it privileges private self-images and sectarian narratives over the attempt to address publicly documented historical facts in a reasonably even-handed fashion.

Best regards,

FL

Last edited by Fred Little : 01-15-2008 at 10:35 AM. Reason: one clause addition
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:13 AM   #14
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Damn....just what I was going to say Fred...NOT...

That was so good, but I could never have put it into words, myself.

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-15-2008, 02:42 PM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Thanks again Peter!

I have to wonder, do you ever worry that there might be some kind of (even very subtle) repercussions for the frankness you've offered in these columns? They strike me as very brave in their honesty.
Hello Chris,

A visit from the Budo Thought Police? I doubt it. In any case, I shall be retiring in a few months time and so will have more time to write...

Ever since I have lived here, I have come to believe that aikido HAS to be seen in its cultural contexts and this includes contemporary history.

I am not saying that I'm right, by the way.


Fred,

I have sent you a belated PM over at E-Budo. Apologies again for the delay.

PAG

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Old 01-15-2008, 02:48 PM   #16
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
In any case, I shall be retiring in a few months time and so will have more time to write...
I'm very much looking forward to that then!

Chris Moses
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:02 PM   #17
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
This is really quite an astonishing assertion. As astonishing in its own way as would be an assertion that fascist influences on Spanish followers of Josemaria Escrival in the period between the Thirties and the re-establishment of democracy following the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco can not be denied but are not at all connected to their involvement with Opus Dei.
I don't know where to begin. I demur on any opinion about Opus Dei. While Catholic, I have no brief for or against the group. I find the Spanish Civil War much less apt for comparison. I find no evidence that the Falangist government ever suppressed Opus Dei, or for that matter, any organ of the Church.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
... each offered an ostensibly "spiritual" rationale which was congruent with the goals and methods of a more secular authoritarian and militarist movement ...
And yet congruency is not identity -- as the prior and later conflict between Omoto and the government easily demonstrate.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
This offered the opportunity to attract and utilize "spiritually inclined" individuals who were more responsive to an apparently religious discourse than a secular political discourse to contribute to the larger authoritarian project that was under way.
Is there any evidence that the government subsidized the Mongolian effort? I have read of none.

Ueshiba's most prominent government contact was Takeshita and he notably retired two years before the Mukden bombing in Manchuria, and the closely following May 15 assassination that marked the final turn toward military extremism. Takeshita introduced him to Gonnohoye, who as Prime Mminister, was a noted liberal, strongly suggesting Takeshita's influence and interests did not run in the circles farther right. Presumably, he would not act as patron to someone so distant from him in political views.

Takeshita spent his retirement heading sports groups, with obvious affinity for what Ueshiba was already doing. The closest he came to directly aiding the militarist effort was in a speaking tour to the US in 1935 (before Nanjing) defending the actions in the Sino-Japanese War as opposing Communism. While one might take this one amiss, Takeshita had a history of bringing budo, including judo and aikido to the US. His presence here to make such a diplomatic gesture, is hardly evidence of his being part of the extremist cabal.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
I would argue that the more meaningful distinction between the two is the ultimate sense on the part of the Japanese government that Deguchi's own ambitions made him an unreliable ally at best, and an affirmative threat at worst.
Again, what evidence is there that Deguchiwas seen as any kind of ally by those like Konoe, much less Tojo? Maybe Deguchi was viewed, by some, as Lenin famously phrased "a useful idiot," but hardly more than that, and certainly not after 1921.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Had Opus Dei come to be seen by Franco as a direct threat, in the way that Oomoto came to be seen by the Japanese government -- or those unelected power brokers directing affairs from behind the black curtain -- as a potential, if not direct threat, I have no doubt that it too would have been subject to vigorous countermeasures.
Speculation. And not very useful speculation, since Franco used the image of sanctity in the Church to try and deny diminish or excuse his own excesses -- Omoto did not and could not possibly not have played any such comparative role, even if it had not twice been suppressed.

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
This is a long way around to say that, far from being "two poles of Ueshiba's life," these can be seen more accurately as mere alternative expressions of a common core, albeit in two languages that are often treated as distinct due to a series of historical accidents and (to follow M.Foucault's line of work) disciplinary imperatives.
State Shinto is the descendant of Atsutane's take on Norinaga's Japanese exceptionalism expressed in the massive and culturally monolithic recasting of the Kojiki. Atsutane's legitimacy as an authoritative interpreter of Norinaga is debatable. The Konkokyo influence on Omoto hews more closely to the Oyomei priniciples that are usually pointed to as implicit in Kojiki-Den, notwithstanding its subsequent uses by Atsutane and his followers to make Norinaga into a stalking horse for triumphal exceptionalism -- and trumping Norinaga's elucidation of "mono no aware." Ueshiaba's writings and those of Omoto are far more in the latter sensibility than the former, to my thinking.

While it is true that both lines of thought spring from that source in Norinaga, they diverged quickly. In its syncretism and universalism, Omoto, Konkokkyo and their Yomeigaku influenced forebears could not be more distinct from what Atsutane and his heirs intended, and achieved for State Shinto. Oyomei adherents beat the Sonno Joi to the punch in uprisings against the bakufu in Osaka by thirty years.

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
In Ueshiba's case, the change after the war, then, would be less the rise of suppressed influences than a necessary shift to a more contemporaneously acceptable language and the jettisoning of a language that had come to be taboo as a result of the loss of the war.
This I take to be the implicit conclusion supported by, if not intended by, Prof. Goldsbury's essay. I think his essay describes a man with a foot in two worlds, which while not initially at odds, became increasingly irreconcilable, and a position which caused much anxiety to someone whose expressed purpose was to find a path for conflict resolved in love.

One may view it as representing the changing perspectives of a legitimately searching mind living through the actual history of a lifetime, or one may view it as the changing rhetoric of an opportunist looking for and taking advantage of the moment. Which one believes probably says more about the observer than the observed.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
For a more current phenomena with similar characteristics, one need look no further than the Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon,
The objections I have for comparing Opus Dei in Civil War Spain to the Omoto situation in Pre-and Post WWII Japan, go doubly for anything to do with Rev. Moon or the Unification Church.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:36 PM   #18
Fred Little
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I don't know where to begin. I demur on any opinion about Opus Dei. While Catholic, I have no brief for or against the group. I find the Spanish Civil War much less apt for comparison. I find no evidence that the Falangist government ever suppressed Opus Dei, or for that matter, any organ of the Church.
The lack of a suppression of Opus Dei is noted in my first post and marked as a difference in the two circumstances. I'm not sure what your point is here.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
And yet congruency is not identity -- as the prior and later conflict between Omoto and the government easily demonstrate.

Is there any evidence that the government subsidized the Mongolian effort? I have read of none.
The question is not one of direct subsidy, nor is the question one of direct connection with government members such as those you note. The question is one of Oomoto connections with Yoshida, Toyama, Uchida, and Sasakawa, whose activites in relation to Manchuria and Mongolia were much less public, but quite influential. Even in the arguably less sinister case of Takeshita, it appears that his connection with Ueshiba came about a result of prior Omoto connections and not independently.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Again, what evidence is there that Deguchiwas seen as any kind of ally by those like Konoe, much less Tojo? Maybe Deguchi was viewed, by some, as Lenin famously phrased "a useful idiot," but hardly more than that, and certainly not after 1921.
A civilian contractor needn't have any direct relationship with George W. Bush or Condoleeza Rice in order to get out of Iraq after winding up in a dicey situation. He need only have been working there at the behest of Eric Prince. Substitute Konoe or Tojo for Bush and Uchida or Toyama for Prince, and the question that arises is this: just who is whose "useful idiot?"

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Speculation. And not very useful speculation, since Franco used the image of sanctity in the Church to try and deny diminish or excuse his own excesses -- Omoto did not and could not possibly not have played any such comparative role, even if it had not twice been suppressed.
Not at all. It is merely that the attempted use of Omoto to provide an image of sanctity for Japanese policies was a matter of foreign policy in Mongolia, rather than domestic policy in Japan, and arguably a distinctively Japanese solution to the problem of a rival claimant to the Imperial Throne -- for Deguchi was widely rumored within Omoto to be a hidden bastard child of the royal line with a better claim to the throne than its occupant.

In essence, you're arguing that the two cases aren't similar because Franco successfully used the Church domestically, and rightist attempts to use Omoto as a cat's paw in Mongolia failed.

This is rather like arguing that you know what hollandaise sauce is and I couldn't have possibly been making hollandaise because a reliable observer told you that my sauce broke.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
State Shinto is the descendant of Atsutane's take on Norinaga's Japanese exceptionalism expressed in the massive and culturally monolithic recasting of the Kojiki. Atsutane's legitimacy as an authoritative interpreter of Norinaga is debatable. The Konkokyo influence on Omoto hews more closely to the Oyomei priniciples that are usually pointed to as implicit in Kojiki-Den, notwithstanding its subsequent uses by Atsutane and his followers to make Norinaga into a stalking horse for triumphal exceptionalism -- and trumping Norinaga's elucidation of "mono no aware." Ueshiaba's writings and those of Omoto are far more in the latter sensibility than the former, to my thinking.
Intellectual history is entertaining from time to time, but rarely dispositive and rarely a matter of great concern to activists like Deguchi, who are more concerned with the affective potential of a truth claim than its substance or accuracy.

At the end of all this, I am arguing for a relatively simple proposition that is well supported factually: Omoto was riddled with what we can call, for lack of a better or shorter phrase, "authoritarian militarist influence."



Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the picture above is just an unavoidable formal portrait. But that's a very low order maybe.

Best,

FL
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:39 PM   #19
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

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Even in the arguably less sinister case of Takeshita, it appears that his connection with Ueshiba came about a result of prior Omoto connections and not independently.
... for Deguchi was widely rumored within Omoto to be a hidden bastard child of the royal line with a better claim to the throne than its occupant.
He was arrested in 1921 not for his delusions of godhood, but for going too far in his pretensions of royalty, adopting a name that sounded too "imperial" , and making a point of going about on a white horse, aping the image of the emperor. It is difficult to find any way to reconcile the Tenno cult of State Shinto, the heirs of Atsutane, with such a blatant apostasy against the sacred bloodline.

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Intellectual history is entertaining from time to time, but rarely dispositive and rarely a matter of great concern to activists like Deguchi, who are more concerned with the affective potential of a truth claim than its substance or accuracy.

At the end of all this, I am arguing for a relatively simple proposition that is well supported factually: Omoto was riddled with what we can call, for lack of a better or shorter phrase, "authoritarian militarist influence." ...
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the picture above is just an unavoidable formal portrait. But that's a very low order maybe.
The point is not Deguchi's bona fides, nor his questionable associations in the underworld as with the Genyosha pictured. I am quite prepared to believe Deguchi to be a self-deluded opportunist and/or half mad preacher with his eye on the main chance. Lord knows we have enough of those here, and human beings are the same every where in that regard. Ueshiba's shying away from him and the organization as of the final suppression, despite his feelings of guilt for not helping defend them, speaks volumes about his honne.

Deguchi's shamanistic charisma (which he plainly had) and his promulgation of a different view of the Kojiki from that of the establishment were what attracted Ueshiba, not to mention the yusai he drew from it. That view of the Kojiki, flowing by different sources from the same Kojiki-Den as the tradition of Asutane, was contrary to the establishment, and often suppressed in various manifestations (as with Deguchi).

Ueshiba had a pattern of seeking and sticking with people who had things to teach him, however unpleasant the associations that came with it. What ever misuses the knowledge may have been put to by Deguchi, as a source of such knowledge, Ueshiba sought him out, much as he sought out Takeda, disagreeable as he was, and as tumultuous as their relationship was and remained. Takeshita, with his interest in voluntary service and budo organizations and experience in promoting judo and aikido in the West, is the the third major influence, and with which all the essentials of what made aikido develop and successfully spread are present.

My point is that it goes to far to put Ueshiba in a role of the puppet of his influences, from whom he suffered as much as he learned. It also goes too far to say that his son did not know his own father's mind or that he so radically altered his father's vision or intent in promulgating the art world wide along the very paths blazed by Takeshita, his father's patron in government, whom Kisshomaru personally credited with providing the organizational impetus. Had Morihei Ueshiba done nothing new and original worthy of his lineage preserving intact, and flowing from his own views shaped with that hard won knowledge -- we would not be having this conversation.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:40 AM   #20
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Gentlemen, thank you for such lovely discourse! I've learned a lot just instigating a little and sitting on the sidelines (some might say that's all I ever do ).

I do have to note that I think Eric's last paragraph overstates Fred's (and my own) perspectives though.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:46 AM   #21
Lan Powers
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

A refreshing change as well for the discourse mentioned to be as cordial as it has remained.......all too often that is not the case.
Fascinating information
Lan

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Old 01-16-2008, 03:05 PM   #22
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

One other point - not middling in the circumstances. Toyama Mitsuru is in the center, flanked by his disciple Uchida Ryohei and Deguchi. Sitting position in these formal portraits is always a clear message.
BTW - I can't remember the name, but one of the eight men (at least one!) in the photos of the Deguchi adventurers in Mongolia was a member of the Japanese intelligence services. Time and time again, the gov't used eccentric organizations as (using Fred's phrase) - "cat's paws" to get entry into an area. Then, if they were shot up, or they successfully executed an incident or even a coup d'etat, the gov't could then move in to impose order. Manchuria was taken over by just this means, and the (relatively) idealistic Ishihara Kanji then sidelined by pragmatists after the Kwantung Army took over Manchuko "on it's own."
Best

Best

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Old 01-17-2008, 06:12 AM   #23
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

I probably should not reveal this, but I have actually planned to write 15 columns under the general heading of Transmission, Inheritance and Emulation. The remaining columns of the 15 are now at various stages of completion. However, I keep extending the series, to take account of the various comments made. The series is meant to 'flow' in a general direction from Morihei Ueshiba to his great-grandson Mitsuteru and offer a general historical survey of aikido, as it evolved from being the Founder's brainchild into something much more independent. However, the issues involving World War II deserve separate treatment.

The present column is a general sketch of some of the issues involving World War II. The next column (TIE 7) will look at Omoto and kokutai / nationalism more closely. This will be followed in TIE 8 by a closer look at the iemoto paradigm (how it differs from a ryuha) and at the whole issue of Iwama. TIE 9 will resume the general 'flow' and start to examine Kissomaru Ueshiba's contribution to aikido.

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Old 01-17-2008, 10:08 AM   #24
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I probably should not reveal this, but I have actually planned to write 15 columns under the general heading of Transmission, Inheritance and Emulation. The remaining columns of the 15 are now at various stages of completion. However, I keep extending the series, to take account of the various comments made. The series is meant to 'flow' in a general direction from Morihei Ueshiba to his great-grandson Mitsuteru and offer a general historical survey of aikido, as it evolved from being the Founder's brainchild into something much more independent. However, the issues involving World War II deserve separate treatment.

The present column is a general sketch of some of the issues involving World War II. The next column (TIE 7) will look at Omoto and kokutai / nationalism more closely. This will be followed in TIE 8 by a closer look at the iemoto paradigm (how it differs from a ryuha) and at the whole issue of Iwama. TIE 9 will resume the general 'flow' and start to examine Kissomaru Ueshiba's contribution to aikido.
Hi Peter,
As long as you keep writing, we'll keep reading.... I am sure it hasn't escaped your notice that at a certain point, you'll be able to take these posts, throw a binding on them, and have a book.

I really want to thank you for these. You have helped me immensely in sorting out my own thoughts on my teacher. What are his personal quirks and what are the traits that are there because he is Japanese. Once I knew what to look for I've also been able to understand why, as completely different as they are personality wise, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei share some surprising ideas about the transmission; ideas that as an American teacher, I never would have predicted.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:40 PM   #25
Lan Powers
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 6

Ledyard Sensei
Would it be too forward to ask for a glimpse of the views as stated? (not breaching any confidences of course).

Sorry for the brief venture off in a new tangent, but interesting to learn I would think.
Thank you
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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