An excellent interview; Prof. Goldsboro provides insightful comments and analysis.....I wonder, however, about the lack of mention of the pre-war organizations that continued their aikido practices after the war, as well as the influence on the spread of aikido outside of Japan by Tohei Sensei. Perhaps it was not politic to comment on these things. I remember a quote which I cannot cite in which O Sensei told someone that aikido was not to be kept in the iemoto system, that it was for the world and for the individual to express their own aikido. Kisshomaru and his descendants seem to have been the mainstay in keeping aikido as an Ueshiba intellectual property, that is, to applying iemoto to aikido.
PAG. I have a few comments.
I think I did mention the efforts of Kisshomaru to restart aikido after the war in Japan. His first approach was to use those locations where there had been Omoto activity, as had happened in Iwama. The land purchased there by Morihei Ueshiba was purchased via his Omoto connections.
From 1942, Morihei Ueshiba was holed up in Iwama, doing ‘aiki-farming’ with the Saitos and generally keeping his head down to avoid the gaze of General MacArthur and the US occupation forces, who were casting around for potential war criminals (Ueshiba’s record as a martial arts teacher in all the military schools would not have helped here).
So it fell to Kisshomaru, who had kept the Tokyo dojo going until it was used to house refugees from the allied bombing, to expand operations when it seemed OK to do so. Yoshinkan was also restarting under Gozo Shioda and Kisshomaru was uncomfortably aware that the Tokyo dojo had to be restarted as soon as possible, to maintain the ‘mother house’ in its original prewar location.
Kisshomaru states in Aikido Ichiro
that he also had the plan to take aikido to the victor countries to show them that there was still something ‘good’ in Japanese culture, in spite of the opprobrium in which Japan was held because of her wartime exploits. So, yes, Tohei Koichi was instrumental in taking aikido to Hawai’i and the US mainland and he prepared the ground for Yoshimitsu Yamada and later still by Mitsunari Kanai to reside there. I can remember first meeting Kisshomaru Ueshiba in the USA in 1974. Though we were not told at the time, he was visiting the USA on his way to meet Koichi Tohei in Hawai’i. Whether he thought a breach could be avoided, I do not know. Since their training and teaching styles were so different, I doubt it, but it should also be noted that the tension had started as early as 1969, when Kisshomaru was chosen as the second Doshu (he was actually elected in accordance with the constitution of the Aikikai Foundation).
Despite his reservations about the iemoto
system, it is clear that for Morihei Ueshiba, any successor would have had to be someone who married into the Ueshiba family, and it was this requirement that put off a number of potential candidates. Nakakura was one and Mochizuki was another.
I myself knew Kisshomaru Ueshiba, though he was something of a remote figure. He also disliked iemoto
and the iemoto
system and did not think that aikido fitted the model. I have heard the term commonly used only by the present Doshu.
So I think you have to compare the system as it is represented in traditional arts like ikebana
– with a modern art like aikido and also with something like nativism (kokugaku
: 国学), which is an ideology that claimed a similar kind of traditional lineage. If you have not heard of him, the scholar who has done much research on the system itself and its various manifestations is Nishiyama Matsunosuke (西山松之助), though none of it has been translated into English.