That said... There is another issue and that is to tease out what Morihei Ueshiba meant when he made statements about farming and Budo. Here we have a choice as to how to proceed -- do we interpret it through what we find meaningful or missing in our lives today or do we try to understand the world he was living in, the context he experienced, and the social/cultural/intellectual underpinnings he was experiencing these things from. The former is perfectly fine for each person who is striving to find meaning in what they're doing. That's great -- you're applying things in a new context. But that's not really learning anything about what Morihei Ueshiba was saying but more about what we feel is important today in our context. If his words inspire things today, that's great, but the historical question still remains -- what did *he* mean by it. How did *he* understand it. Asking those questions in no way diminishes the value that someone may gather from the inspiration of his words in today's context even if they go very far afield from the "reality" of the history.
Following on from this post from Keith Larman, I did a little research about what Morihei Ueshiba actually stated, or meant. Here are a few results, and those AikiWeb members who wish to can check the references and add more information if they wish.
I have found nothing related to budo and farming in any of Ueshiba's published discourses (though I have not gone through the Japanese text of Takemusu Aiki
). However, there is some mention of the relationship in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography: 合気道開祖植芝盛平伝, translated into English as, A Life in Aikido
Kisshomaru mentions the topic first on pp.82-83 of the Japanese text and, by coincidence, the translation is also on pp. 82-83 of the English text. The discussion starts with one Kurahashi Denzaburo, who was a military veteran from Kishu (= Tanabe) who settled in a veterans settlement in Hokkaido. Kisshomaru then mentions a very important matter, 屯田兵制度: tonden hei seido
, which was the resettlement of samurai who were left without employment after the abolition of feudal domains. These veterans formed a military reserve, but in peacetime they lived by farming. Kisshomaru adds: ー言にしていえば、「兵農一如」実践を主旨とした。"In other words, they embodied the concept of heino-ichinyo
(fighting and farming are one), the integration of the military and agricultural lifestyles" (p. 83, both versions).
Kisshomaru does not explain the provenance of the phrase 「兵農一如」and I can find no reference to it in the absence of the other concept, of 屯田兵制度: tonden hei seido
. So, the suspicion is that this is an 'invented tradition' (in Hobsbawm's sense) and that the integration of fighting and farming has meaning here only in the purely practical sense of providing a means of livelihood for displaced veterans.
Kisshomaru adds that Morihei Ueshiba took up a similar ideal 「武農一如」(which is translated as 'the integration of the martial and agricultural lifestyles'), when he moved to Iwama in 1942 and, since K Chiba spent some time in Iwama recovering from a back injury, it is probably here that he would have heard O Sensei talk about this. Kisshomaru is in no doubt, however, that the origin of both ideas was the practice of settling retired veterans.
Kisshomaru then adds some history and for me this puts a slightly different slant on the matter. Kisshomaru notes that when Enomoto Takeaki surrendered to the new Meiji government, such settlements were organized for ex-samurai. Kisshomaru is actually discussing the Boshin Civil War, when samurai loyal to the Tokugawa shogunate were hunted down by an army composed mainly of Satsuma and Choshu veterans. Enomoto was one such samurai leader, but there were others, including samurai from the Aizu domain, where Takeda Sokaku was born. The Aizu samurai were also offered similar settlements, but as a punishment, and their form of 「兵農一如」led to starvation and death.
In Kisshomaru's biography, there is more mention of 「兵農（武農）一如」on pp. 257-260 of the Japanese text and pp. 267-271 of the English translation. On p. 267 of the English translation, there is a note explaining Heino-ichinyo
"The first of these terms denotes the integration of agriculture and the military, and originally was applied to a Meiji-era program of relocating samurai families to the Hokkaido frontier for both farming and national defence; the second term denotes more particularly O Sensei's own concept of the close and necessary relationship between agriculture or farming and the martial arts, Budo."
The problem here is that there is no explanation in either the text or the footnotes of what this necessary relationship consists in (other than the rather obvious connection of a dojo surrounded by land which has to be farmed). Now it might be that Morihei Ueshiba was indeed thinking of Hirata Atsutane and Omoto, and Kisshomaru mentions that he did, also, farm in Ayabe and Takeda. However this connection is not made clear and it seems that Kisshomaru also believed that this was a personal belief of his father. I think it is significant that this seemingly necessary relationship ceased to exist with the Second Doshu, who was the one who wrote the biography.
There is quite a lot more that could be discussed, but I think this is enough for the time being.