Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido (December 14, 1883 ~ April 26, 1969

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   Earlier in the morning before he and I left for Aikikai Hombu (HQ) in Tokyo, he worshipped at Aiki Shrine in Iwama and worshipped Amaterasu Oomikami (Sun Goddess) while looking at the Sun, as he had always done.  After this ritual, he went around a few small shrines called “hokora ()” placed at different locations on the property to offer each his prayer before doing more worshipping for 30 minutes or so in front of a shrine in the dojo  The entire ritual was more than 1 hour every morning.  His dedication to such a high level of devotion was not for a camera or to create a video clip to be posted.  It was an ordinary act and everyday appearance of a great Budoka (i.e. martial artist).

The Founder of Aikido had lived a life of “Buno-ichinyo (武農一如; Budo & Farming as One)” in Iwama, and he has become an icon of peace and harmony throughout the world.  These days, the idolization by many of him as such a symbol has accelerated through the use of social media.  On the day of his death anniversary, I feel it’s indeed essential to reflect upon his contemplations and convictions once again.

Even for any Osoba Tsuki (very close inner circle of uchideshi), it was quite rare to have a chance to take any photo during the proceeding of divine affairs.  Even in my collections of photographs of the Founder of Aikido, photos of him during his daily worshipping are quite a rarity.

 

About the photos:

  • The Founder of Aikido is looking out the window from the dojo then (i.e. the former dojo) to see the progress of the construction which had demolished his former house that had been next to the dojo; the front of the dojo to the left was covered by plywood. Photos of foundation work being done.

 

  • The Founder of Aikido is going to Aiki Shrine at dawn. Accompanying him is late Kikuno Yamamoto; she and I were not allowed to walk past under the torii, i.e. gate of the shrine.

 

  • The Founder of Aikido worshipping at Amaterasu Oomikami (Sun Goddess).

 

  • Photos by Gaku Homma. All the photos in this article are owned by Gaku Homma and stored at Nippon Kan Archives.