Early historical period

Japan has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The early inhabitants were hunters and gatherers, who made jomon, or cord-pattern pottery. By about 250 BC they were supplanted by a people who lived in small villages, growing rice in irrigated fields. They were organized into extended families headed by chieftains. These early people had no writing system. They worshiped nature spirits and the mythic founders of clan lines. The earliest written Japanese histories, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters, 712) and the Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan, 720), include legends about the origins of the Japanese people and attribute the foundation of the state to a mythological emperor Jimmu (Son of Heaven) in 660 BC, legendary founder of line of Japan's emperors and descendant of sun-goddess Amaterasu. Another legend concerns the empress JINGO (AD c.169-269), who allegedly conquered Korea. These records provide more reliable chronicles of Japanese history from the 5th century.

The Rise and Fall of the Imperial System (4th-12th Century AD) - Yamato Period

Beginning in the 3rd or 4th century AD a new culture appeared--either from within Yayoi society or from the Asian mainland. Its leaders left massive tombs with pottery, figurines, armour, jewellery, weapons, and other evidence that they were mounted warriors with long iron swords and bows. From this culture emerged rulers from the Yamato plain in the southern part of the main Japanese island of Honshu; they claimed descent from the sun goddess and achieved political unity-apparently in the mid-4th century. By placing the sun goddess at the head of the SHINTO deities the hereditary Yamato emperor reinforced his leadership position. Initially, the emperors ruled through alliances with other tribal chieftains, but the latter were gradually subordinated by a system of court ranking. This development was influenced by Chinese concepts of state-craft, learned through Japan's military endeavour in Korea. Japan also adopted Chinese script, and BUDDHISM was introduced from Korea about 538.

The Rise and Fall of the Imperial System (4th-12th Century AD) - Nara Period

The first permanent capital was built at NARA in 710. In the following century tribal elite was replaced by a hereditary court aristocracy, and status became the basis for official influence. Japan was thus transformed from a tribal into an aristocratic culture. Court patronage made Buddhism a major force, which in turn reinforced state power. Nara was the centre not only of government but also of the major Buddhist temples; in 752 the statue of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) was dedicated there. Buddhist priestly intrusion in state affairs provoked a reaction, however. Finally, Emperor KAMMU (r. 781-806) asserted imperial independence and established a new capital at Heian (modern KYOTO) in 794.

However, as cultural contact with China was interrupted towards the end of the 9th century, Japanese civilisation began to take on its own special characteristics and form. Japan's culture no longer borrowed from China but became distinctively Japanese. Life in the capital was marked by great elegance and refinement. While the court gave itself up to the pursuits of the arts and social pleasures, its authority over martial clans in the provinces became increasingly uncertain.

Heian and the Fujiwaras

In Heian, safe from Buddhist interference, imperial authority increased; however, the simplification of government that accompanied the move to Heian allowed the Fujiwara family to assert great influence.

Under imperial patronage two new Buddhist sects emerged in Heian. Tendai and Shingon, more Japanese in spirit than earlier Buddhist sects, ended the monopoly of the Nara Buddhist establishment. A reassertion of tribal, or clan, authority also accompanied the move to Heian. The imperial land system established by the Taika reforms decayed, and land increasingly fell into private hands. Aristocrats and religious institutions assembled huge tax-free estates (shoen). Private armies were created, and the warrior class, or samurai, emerged as the ruling class in Japan and remained in power with little interruption until the late 19th century.

Notable among the samurai class were the Taira and Minamoto families. Initially local military leaders, both clans were drawn into court politics. In 1156 they applied military force to settle a court dispute, and a war in 1159-60 left the Taira as the effective rulers. The Taira dominated court politics by force and by marital ties with the imperial line. In 1180, Taira Kiyomori placed his grandson Antoku on the throne, briefly reviving the Fujiwara practice of using the regency to dominate the government.

The Shogunates

In 1180 the Minamoto revolted against the Taira and in the Gempei War (1180-85) defeated them and established the Kamakura shogunate, the first of the military governments that would rule Japan until 1868. This Minamoto victory marked the end of the Imperial Throne as the effective political power in Japan, and the beginning of seven centuries of feudal rule.

There were three shogunates. That founded by Yoritomo Minamoto in 1192 lasted until 1333 and was based in Kamakura. The second, dominated by the Ashikaga family, was based in Kyoto and lasted from 1338 until 1573. The third was founded by Ieyasu Tokugawa. Its headquarters were at Edo (modern Tokyo), and it was in power from 1603 until 1868. Not all of the shoguns were powerful generals. In spite of nominal leadership conferred by the emperors, other warlords often contested the authority of shoguns, sometimes successfully. Of the Kamakura shoguns, all but the first were figureheads. None of the members of the Ashikaga family controlled Japan entirely. The most successful were the Tokugawa shoguns, but of these only five or six actually dominated all of Japan.

The Kamakura shogunate, which was founded in 1192, eventually took over all the administrative, military, and judicial functions of government. Yoritomo Minamoto appointed regional warlords as heads of provinces and stewards to supervise the individual estates into which the provinces were divided. His successors, however, were unable to hold onto the reins of power. The much stronger Hojo family seized power after Yoritomo Minamoto died in 1199. The Hojo family served as regents for the next two Minamoto shoguns, and after 1219 they filled the post of shogun with members of the nobility from Kyoto.

With Tokimasa Hojo the regent came to control the law, military system, and revenues of Japan. He made sure that the regency was monopolized by his family and made hereditary. This assumption of power was not difficult because the military class did not wish to relinquish the benefits of peace and stability achieved by the Hojos.

The final consolidation of Hojo power came in 1221, when the emperor urged the warlord of western Japan to rebel. The revolt failed, and the Hojos confiscated thousands of estates and parceled them out to landless adherents and friends. The first three Hojo regencies were the high point of strong government by the family and its associates. The emperors lived in forced retirement from the seats of authority, but their revenues, property, and ceremonials were protected. The Buddhist clergy were kept in line by a scrupulous auditing of their accounts. Peasants were protected in their freedom and land holdings, and Hojo retainers were kept prosperous and away from the court, thus minimizing the likelihood of conspiracies.

Tokimune's was the last strong and stable Hojo regency. For most of his time in office and for ten years afterward, China, under Kublai Khan - the fourth son of Genghis Khan's fourth son, attempted to subjugate Japan. The costs of a successful defense greatly strained the resources of the Hojos and their vassals.

The ninth and last of the Hojo regents was Takatoki, a weak and dissolute individual who left conduct of the government in the hands of incompetent friends. In 1331, in a quarrel over the succession of emperors, Takatoki exiled the emperor. He escaped and waged war against the regent.

The revolt succeeded to the point that Takatoki committed suicide on July 4, 1333. Nevertheless, the strength of the civil government installed by the Hojos proved too strong to be undone. The emperor's attempt to restore imperial rule lasted only a short time. A new shogun, Takauji Ashikaga, gained control of the government in 1338.

Other rebellions were put down in the next few years, and in 1338 Ashikaga assumed the title of shogun, based on a supposed relationship to the Minamoto family. The position of the Ashikaga shoguns was rarely secure. They usually ruled with the cooperation of lesser warlords. The 15th and last of the line was driven out of office in 1573 by Nobunaga Oda. Since neither Nobunaga Oda nor his successor, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, was related to the Minamotos, they did not use the title of shogun.

The years after 1573 were unsettled, as each warlord tried to carve out an independent domain for himself. When Nobunaga died in 1582, he was succeeded by his leading general, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Although Ieyasu and Hideyoshi were rivals, Ieyasu waited patiently and strengthened his position.

Hideyoshi died in 1598, setting off a power struggle among the warlords. Ieyasu's army triumphed at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He established his headquarters at Edo (now Tokyo), where he kept the warlords who backed him busy building the largest castle in the world. In 1603 the powerless emperor bestowed the title shogun on Ieyasu based on a questionable descent from the Minamoto family.

Although the Tokugawa shogunate lasted 265 years, it kept itself in power mostly by playing one faction against another. The Tokugawas provided the most centralized government that Japan had yet experienced. By shrewd diplomacy and some military might, they controlled the local daimyos, or feudal barons; the emperor; and the religious institutions. To help preserve order the hereditary distinctions dividing the four social classes were strictly maintained.

For the next two centuries, under the Tokugawa shogunate, Japan enjoyed extraordinary peace and stability. Ieyasu and his successors built an elaborate system of controls over the daimyo, including limits on their military strength. A rebellion in the Shimabara Peninsula in 1637 was found to have numerous Christian supporters, and so Iemitsu employed more stringent measures against Christians. He closed his country to outside trade. Fearing that Japan was being prepared for foreign conquest, the government expelled the Christian missionaries, prohibited the Christian religion, and persecuted many Japanese converts to Christianity. By 1638 Christianity was exterminated in Japan. The Tokugawa leaders cut back foreign trade until by 1641 only Dutch Chinese and Koreans merchants were permitted to trade--limited to one ship a year at the single port of Nagasaki. Japanese were forbidden to leave the country. The country entered a period of seclusion that lasted for more than 200 years. Japan flourished internally, but its borders remained closed until 1853.

During their last 30 years in power, the Tokugawas fended off peasant revolts and uprisings among the samurai, or warrior class. By the 1860s a general demand for the return to power of the emperor had emerged. The last shogun, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, was forced to resign and yield administration of civil and military affairs to the emperor in what has been called the Meiji Restoration.

The Feudal Age and the Samurai

At the onset of the feudal age, the Samurai were peasant farmers who fought for their Lords as well as they could when the occasion arose. As conflict between landlords became more frequent, it became necessary to train armed groups to protect the respective boundaries. At this time, these armed groups were called Samurai or Bushi, but their status in society was not established until a military government was formed by the Minamoto family in 1192. This military government (the Shogunate) encouraged austerity and the pursuit of martial arts and related disciplines for the Samurai. These studies were eventually codified and called Bushido - The Way of the Samurai. By the 13th century, samurai conduct was highly disciplined. Samurai warriors, influenced by Zen Buddhism, developed a code of honor called Bushido, which promoted the ideals of loyalty, courage, and honor. If any of these ideals were compromised, the warrior was expected to commit ritual suicide as an alternative to dishonor or defeat.

During these centuries the leaders of the samurai, and thus of Japan, were the shoguns, or military dictators.

Early Development of the Martial Arts (Bugei) 1000AD

As the feudal era advanced, the Samurai came to occupy the uppermost strata of Japanese society. Their principal duty was to learn and practice many martial arts, the skills necessary to fulfil their allegiance to the feudal lord for whom they were expected to fight and die.

There were numerous martial arts which the Bushi were required to learn: Kenjutsu (sword), Bajutsu (horsemanship), Kyujutsu (archery), and Sojutsu (spear) constituted the principal combat arts. A favourite saying among Bushi at that time was " Master Eighteen Martial Arts ". Additionally, it was necessary that the Bushi learn a secondary system of combat techniques to support their armed fighting methods. These unarmed techniques were referred to as Kumyiuchi and involved a form of grappling techniques which evolved from Sumo (combat wrestling). Throughout the feudal era, the distinction between armed and unarmed techniques became greater.

Development of Unarmed Techniques and Aiki-Jujutsu

It is not completely clear where Aiki techniques originated, but it is said to have originated with Prince Tei Jun, the 6th son of the Emperor Selwa (850-880), and passed on to succeeding generations of the Minamoto family. By degrees, unarmed combat techniques developed into different systems and styles (ryu). Varying battlefield situations and the technical requirement of feudal warfare (Japanese Civil Wars 1467 - 1568 ) led to the establishment of various ryu which were controlled by, and passed down through, the larger powerful families. Each feudal Lord (Daimyo) struggled to maintain a powerful, independent position within the country. In order to do so, each Daimyo had to create a stable, unified force of his own, which required a very strong bond between the lord and his Bushi. Bushido, the code of the Samurai, encouraged the development of combat techniques; cultivated the qualities of justice, benevolence, politeness and honour; and above all inculcated the idea of supreme loyalty to lord and cause. It was during this period of independence and feudal isolation that combat forms developed into numerous ryu. Jujutsu was adopted by both Oda and the feudal governments (Azuchi - Momoyamo period, 1568 - 1603 ) and grew and bloomed in Tokugawa period ( Edo period, 1603 -1867 ) One of these systems was Aiki-Jujutsu. By the time the art reached Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu of Minamoto family, the younger brother of Yishite Minamoto, it seems that the foundations of modern Aiki-Jujutsu had already been laid, and remained proprietary in the feudal clan of Aizu.

Yoshimitsu was a man of exceptional learning and skill, and it is said that he devised much of his technique by watching a spider skilfully trap a large insect in its fragile web. His house, Daito mansion has given its name to his system of Aiki-Jujutsu which came to be called Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu.

Yoshimitsu's second son lived in Takeda, in the province of Kai, and his family became known by the name Takeda. Subsequently, the techniques of Daito Ryu were passed on to successive generations as secret techniques of the Tekeda house and were made known only to family members and retainers. When Kunitsugu Takeda moved to Aizu in 1574, the technique came to be known as Aizu-todome (secret techniques).

At the epoch of the late Tokugawa period, Jujitsu in the Aizu clan was led by Master Soemon Takeda of Daito-ryu Aiki-Jujitsu. His follower and successor was the chief retainer Tanomo Saigo. The founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba, was one of Sokaku Takeda's students (1905). In addition, Ueshiba was trained in Judo Kenjutsu and Jojutsu. Then he founded Aikido (1942).

Aiki-Jujutsu and its Social Background

The next two and a half centuries (Tokugawa period) were relatively peaceful for Japan. Though they continued to practice, the Samurai as a class, saw little combat, and refined the various martial arts of Kenjutsu, Iai jutsu, Bajutsu, and forms of Jujutsu. Ju is a Chinese word meaning pliable, harmonious, adaptable or yielding, Jutsu means technique. As a collective term applied to all fighting forms, Jujutsu came into existence long after the forms it describes originated. Jujutsu's golden age extended from the late 17th century to the mid 19th century.

As the martial arts and all Japanese culture became strongly influenced by Buddhist concepts, the fighting arts were transformed from combat techniques (Bugei) into " ways " (Budo), inculcating self-discipline, self-perfection and philosophy. The dimensions of the martial arts expanded beyond the simple objective of killing an enemy to include many aspects of everyday living. Particularly after the decline of the Samurai class, the martial " techniques " became martial " ways " and great emphasis was placed upon the study of Budo as a means of generating the moral strength necessary to build a strong and vital society.

At the time, Aikido was known by many names, and remained an exclusively Samurai practice handed down within the Takeda family until Japan emerged from isolation in the Meiji period. The Meiji Revolution (1868) brought not only the return of Imperial supremacy, but also a westernised cultural, political and economic way of life to Japan.

The Bushi, as a class, virtually disappeared under a new constitution that proclaimed all classes equal, but the essence of Bushido, cultivated for many centuries, continued to play an important part in the daily lives of the Japanese. Budo, being less combative and more concerned with spiritual discipline by which one elevates oneself mentally and physically, was more attractive to the common people of every social strata. Accordingly, Kenjutsu became Kendo, Iai jutsu became Iaido, Jojutsu became Jodo and Jujutsu became Judo.

Mind and Heart of Japanese Budo - Martial Ways

Japanese Martial Arts (traditional / classical) employed in battlefields during feudal times are now transformed into the sports area e.g. Judo, Aikido, Kendo, karate-do.

It is now classified as the way of the warriors, motivated into three important aspects, to achieve success in daily life:

Shojin - rigorous physical discipline with awareness in mind.
Shiho - blending or mutual integration through repetitive motions, spontaneous reactions.
Mushin - cutting the thought stream without thinking, automation through mental storage of knowledge in the subconscious mind.

The mind is believed to be an unparalleled computer with infinite capacity. True martial artists perfected the trinity of energies. The mind was the highest point of concentration and this attention built superior martial artists who saw death as a passing facade. To calm the mind was like tethering a wild bull. For it is believed that 'he who conquers the mind, conquers the world'. The triple wisdom of energies were definitions of the highest mind and basically classified as follows:

Creative energy - movements were a creative cosmic dance, having rhythm, meaning prayer of motion or shugyo.

Preservation energy - vital life force or breath sustaining life, compared to the yogic prana and upana, the process of inhalation and exhalation. According to Japanese translations of Ki, the Samurai during the feudal times in Japan, termed Ki as 'spirit' or 'influence' in human behavioural tendencies.

Courage - shi-ki
Will power - i-ki
Vigour or Well being - gen-ki
Bravery - yu-ki
Conserving energy - shu-ki

Ki also expressed the harmony of Yin and Yang which influences nature and the universe - the positive and the negative.

Destructive Energy - cutting of ego, desires of the body or the mind through meditation and spirituality. Budo or martial ways are a way to enlightenment through denials of pleasures and sacrifices. Thus, the emergence of pure thoughts.

Duality of the Warriors

Two types of budo mind emerged during feudal times in Japan.
Satsujinken - sword that kills mercilessly
Katsujinken - sword that saves life with mercy

The Japanese Samurai of the highest mind avoided conflicts and practised martial ways for reflection and self-perfection, and as a way of life. Through martial arts, impulses of aggression and combat pleasure (the fiery element) were prevalent and it was only through meditation and religious convictions that the controlling of the mind factor came into play. Great and renowned masters, of many years of physical discipline and endurance, realised the highest budo discipline was mind, as it created great harmony and control of the animal nature of man. The meditation study derives from the ancient Hindo-Buddhistic code of bodily behaviour from the dictates of the mind:

- 'Water must take the shape of the container'.
- 'Mizo nu nagare', the Japanese expression meaning 'Water takes its course'.
- 'Subtlety is the mind of the willow tree that turns the force of the wind against itself', weakness conquering strength.
Religious Influences

Dojo, practice hall or drill hall is a Sanskrit word meaning 'place of cultural techniques and spiritual character'. A sacred place where mind and body in unison intensifies itself in their respective disciplines. Religious implications on conduct and code of human behaviour were strictly exercised to develop 'character par excellence'.

Buddhism borrowed from ancient Hindu scriptures the word 'metta' meaning non-violence or loving kindness, where karma influences played a major role. True martial arts were totally defence motivated to control rather than to destroy. Unintentional injury or death caused to an opponent in defence was not regretted, as there was no discredit in Karma.

Ethics - Bun Bu Ryodo - Mutuality of Yin and Yang

The imperial class of Japan encouraged the education of an accomplished scholar and warrior. Japanese martial arts were highly esteemed in the society structure of command and authority. Sages like Lao Tse and great thinkers like Confucius contributed their mental concepts in way of life, which the Japanese injected into their martial arts, government and society consciousness.

Confucius - 'The journey of a thousand miles begins from the first step', this stressed strong basics for a good foundation.

Lao Tse - 'Read a book a hundred times but do not read a hundred books at one time', implies repeated actions are the road and key to mastery.

Martial arts or ways in its real sense was character building in embodiment of physical, mental and spiritual excellence.

Emperors, Shoguns, & Regents of Japan - The list of Japanese Emperors, etc., is based on Andrew N. Nelson, The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary [Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1987, pp. 1018-1022], The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature [Earl Miner, Hiroko Odagiri, and Robert E. Morrell, Princeton University Press, 1988, pp. 119-127 & 463-475], E. Papinot, Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan [Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1910, 1988]

O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba: The Founder of Modern Aikido

As a young man, Morihei Ueshiba (born 14th December 1883) had an unusual interest in the martial arts, philosophy and religion. The environment of his youth, one of religious discipline and tradition, had an enormous effect on the course of his later life.

In the year 1898, Ueshiba left his home village outside Osaka and travelled to Tokyo, seeking instruction in the martial arts. He actively investigated dozens of arts, but was eventually drawn to specialise in three: the sword style known as Yagyu Shin-Kageryu, the staff style known as Hozoin-ryu and Tenjin Shinyo Jujutsu.

The Russo-Japanese War (1904) provided Ueshiba with a real situation to develop himself mentally and physically, in accord with the principles he had learned during his martial arts training. Ueshiba the soldier, spent most of the war years in the harsh climate of Northern Manchuria and by the end of the war, his health had deteriorated considerably. With characteristic vigour, he regained his vitality by the way of long hours spent in outdoor labour. Soon, Ueshiba was engaged by the government to lead a group of immigrants to Hokkaido (the Northern Island of Japan.

Another adventurous young man also made the move to Hokkaido, his name was Sokaku Takeda, head of the Takeda family. Ueshiba and Takeda met in 1905 and Ueshiba began his study of Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu under Takeda Sensei. In addition, he continued to practice the other arts he had learned in Tokyo, particularly Kenjutsu and Jojutsu. Travelling home to visit his ailing father, Ueshiba met Onisaburo Deguchi, leader of the Omotokyo religion. Ueshiba was very impressed with Deguchi and subsequently became one of his disciples. Although his commitment led him to further develop his mind, his martial arts studies were not neglected. In 1925 Ueshiba organised his own style of Aiki Jujutsu, largely for his own spiritual and physical development.

During the next decade, Ueshiba's students ( Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shioda and others) were active in building a foundation for present day Aikido. Ueshiba however was interested in seeking the true martial way, the essential spirit of Budo. In his search he left the dojo to work at farming. Through his closeness with nature and continued training, he tried to unify his spiritual and physical being. In 1950, Ueshiba returned to the Tokyo dojo with a mature, modified art, which he then called Aikido.

The evolution of martial " arts " to " ways ", Bugei to Budo, Ueshiba diligently applied himself to the reworking of the techniques he had taught, and synthesised them into a form that taught harmony and love rather than violence and decimation. In this way he was able to integrate his spiritual beliefs and his great technical proficiency.

Ueshiba proclaimed that the true Budo way (the way of the warrior) was the way of peaceful reconciliation. He dedicated himself to the design of an art that would teach technical prowess and strength, and commitment to the self-discipline needed for personal growth. He dubbed this new form Aikido.

Ueshiba continued to instruct until his death in 1969, earning the respect and admiration of all who met him. Before his death he received a government award as the designer of modern Aikido, and general acclaim for his efforts to bring peace and enlightenment to all. As his concern and energy touched the lives of his students he worked with, several styles of Aikido evolved. The most notable of these styles are Yoshinkan, Tomiki, Aikikai and the most recent Shinshin Toitsu. The founders of these styles are all dedicated men committed to the precepts set down by Master Ueshiba. Each has developed certain elements of O Sensei's teachings, so each style differs from the others while maintaining an essential sameness.

Mind and Heart of Japanese Budo - Martial Ways
An Aikido Chronology and events during the life of Morihei Ueshiba

1883 - Morihei Ueshiba born December 14 in Tanabe, Kishu (Wakayama Prefecture)

1900-1920 Founder studies several schools of traditional martial arts. Studied Tenjin Shin'Yo-Ryu Jujutsu, Goto-Ha Yagyu Shingan-Ryu, Judo, and Daito-Ryu Jujutsu (receiving Hiden Mokuroku, Hiden Ogi, and Goshin'Yo No Te scrolls, in addition to Kyoju Dairy certificate). Also influenced by Kashima Shinto-Ryu sword and possibly Yagyu Shinkage-Ryu sword styles. Initially taught Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu, later (in the 30s) called his style Aiki Budo.

- Moves to Tokyo in September, starts stationery store

- Briefly studies Tenjin Shin'yo-ryu Jujutsu

- Marries Hatsu Itogawa, a distant relative, in Tanabe
- Joins 61st Army Infantry Regiment of Wakayama, late December

- Departs for Manchurian Front (Russo-Japanese War)

- Discharged from army, returns to Tanabe

- Receives certificate from Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu

- Travels to Hokkaido

- First daughter born (Matsuko)

- Leads settlers from Kishu to Hokkaido (Aza-Shirataki, Kamiyubetsu village, Mombetsu County)

- Meets Sokaku Takeda (Daito-ryu jujitsu) at Hisada Inn in Engaru

- First son born (Takemori), July

- Serves as town councilman in Kamiyubetsu village, June 1918-April 1919

- Leaves Hokkaido in December due to father's illness
- Turns land and property over to Sokaku Takeda

- Meets Onisaburo Deguchi of Omoto religion in Ayabe, Kyoto Prefecture
- Father (Yoroku) dies in January
- Returns to Tanabe
- Moves with family to Ayabe (site of Omoto religion)
- Builds " Ueshiba Juku " dojo
- Second son born (Kuniharu), August
- First son dies (Takemori), August
- Second son dies (Kuniharu), September

- Third son born (Kisshomaru - birth name Koetsu) (the current Doshu), June 27

- Mother (Yuki) dies
- Sokaku Takeda visits Ayabe along with family to teach, staying from circa April 28 to September 15
- Receives " kyoji dairi " (teaching assistant) certificate from Takeda (September)

- Goes to Mongolia with Onisaburo Deguchi with goal of establishing a utopian community. (February to July) The party, led by Onisaburo Deguchi, including Ueshiba, is captured and held prisoner by the Chinese military for plotting the overthrow of the existing government. Released after short period of internment through intervention of Japanese consulate and returned to Japan.

- Gives demonstration in Tokyo for former Prime Minister Gombei Yamamoto

- Moves to Tokyo with entire family
- Establishes temporary dojo and begins teaching the " Way of Aiki " in billiard room of Count Shimazu's mansion in Shiba, Shirogane in Sarumachi

- Moves to Shiba, Tsunamachi, site of temporary dojo

- Moves with family to Shiba, Kuruma-cho, sets up temporary dojo

- Moves to Shimo-Ochiai in Mejiro - Jigoro Kano of Judo observes demonstration by Ueshiba in Mejiro dojo and dispatches several students from Kodokan, including Minoru Mochizuki, to study

-Opens Kobukan Practice Hall in Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku - site of present world headquarters. Dedication of Kobukan dojo in Ushigome, Wakamatsu-cho


-Budo Sen'yokai (Society for the Promotion of Martial Arts) is established with Ueshiba as its first head

- Technical manual " Budo Renshu " published

- Film documentary of Aikido Budo made by Asahi Newspaper Company in Osaka. Only known pre-war film of Morihei Ueshiba (Available from Aiki News)

- Ueshiba's name appears in enrolment book of Kashima Shinto-Ryu

- Technical manual " Budo " published

- Invited to instruct in Manchuria

- Attends martial arts demonstration in Manchuria
- The Aikikai Foundation officially recognised by the Japanese government.
- Construction of outdoor practice facility planned in lwama - machi, Ibaraki Prefecture.
- 2600th anniversary of Japan

- Gives demonstration at Sainenkan dojo on imperial grounds for members of the imperial family
- Teaches at military police academy
- Invited to Manchuria to instruct during University Martial Arts week
- Becomes martial arts advisor for Shimbuden and Kenkoku universities in Manuchuria

- Name " Aikido " becomes official and is registered with Ministry of Education
- Invited to Manchuria as representative of Japanese martial arts to attend Manchuria-Japanese Exchange Martial Arts demonstrations in commemoration of 10th anniversary of Manchurian Independence (August)
- Moves to Iwama, Ibaraki Prefecture
- Kisshomaru Ueshiba becomes Director of Kobukai Foundation

- Aiki Shrine built in Iwama

- Kobukai Foundation ceases activity due to post-war ban on martial arts
- Iwama dojo completed

- Reorganisation of the Kobukai Foundation into the Aikikai Foundation.

- Hombu Dojo moves to Iwama, office opened in Tokyo
- Kisshomaru Ueshiba becomes Director of Aikikai Foundation

- K. Ueshiba becomes General Director of the Foundation's Headquarters dojo. In this year the organisational base is laid for Aikido's subsequent growth.

- Regular practice resumes at Tokyo dojo

- The spread of Aikido began in France, Hawaii, New York and other parts of United States

- To Osaka for several weeks to instruct in dojo of Bansen Tanaka

- Hombu Dojo moves back to Tokyo from Iwama
- Several foreign ambassadors invited to public exhibition

- U.S. television documentary " Rendezvous with Adventure " filmed (Available from Aiki News)

- First issue of the Aikido Newspaper published.

- The spread of Aikido continued in England, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and Southeast Asian countries.

- Receives (the Shiju Hosho Medal) Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon from Japanese government

- Invited to Hawaii by Hawaii Aikikai (February)
- Television documentary made by NHK Company (Available from Aiki News)
- All-Japan Student Aikido Federation established with Ueshiba as president

- First All-Japan Aikido Demonstration (October)

- Receives Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class, as Founder of Aikido

- Construction of the new Headquarters Dojo begun; the City of Tokyo recognises the Aikido School

- New Hombu Dojo building completed

- Gives final demonstration January 15 at Kagami Biraki celebration
- Dies April 26
- Ashes buried at Kozanji, Tanabe
- Hair preserved at Iwama, Kumano Dojo, Ayabe and Aikikai Hombu Dojo

- Made honorary citizen of Tanabe and Iwama
- Wife, Hatsu, dies in June
- He posthumously receives the Zuihosho Medal
- K. Ueshiba assumes the title of Aikido Doshu
- commemorative demonstration given at the Budokan.

- International expansion stepped-up with the financial assistance of the Japan Motorboat Racing Association.
- Headquarters chief instructor, K. Osawa, tours Southeast Asian Aikikai organisations on a Friendship Mission
- Establishment of annual mission to Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore
- Establishment of International Aikido Federation (lAF) - Ueshiba Doshu named lifetime President.

- Establishment of All Japan Aikido Federation; first General Meeting of the IAF held in Tokyo, - attended by 400 representatives from 29 countries. The federation consisted of forty member countries and more than 100,000 practitioners, 20,000 in France alone.

- 15th Annual AII Japan Aikido Demonstration held at the Nippon Budokan with more than 1000 participants and is established as an annual event.

- Second General Meeting of the IAF convened in Honolulu. Ueshiba Doshu and 2 others travel to South America. Moriteru Ueshiba and two others dispatched to the Middle East by the Japan Foundation; thereafter an occasional event.

- First All Japan Children's Aikido Session held at the Nippon Budokan - established as an annual event.

- Two instructors dispatched to Papua New Guinea by the Japan Overseas Co-operation Volunteers - thereafter, annually.

- 3rd General Meeting of the IAF held in Paris. Delegates from all over the world unanimously endorsed the internationalisation of Aikido, with the Centre being the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo.

- 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Aikido Headquarters celebrated at the Keio Plaza Hotel.

- 100th Anniversary of the Founder's birth celebrated at the 2lst All Japan Aikido Demonstration and the Keio Plaza Hotel.

- The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway visit Hombu Dojo.

- 5th IAF General Meeting held in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

- Aikido demonstrated for the first time at the 3rd World Games held in Karlsruhe, West Germany.

- First students from Bulgaria and Soviet Union attend 1-month seminar at Tokyo Aikikai Headquarters.

- 50th Anniversary of the Aikikai Foundation and 60th Anniversary of Aikido Hombu Dojo celebrated at the Keio Plaza Hotel.

- 6th IAF Congress held in Taipei.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei passes away on January, 4th at the age of seventy-seven.
-Moriteru Ueshiba assumes the title of Aikido Doshu

What are the different styles in Aikido?

Aikido was originally developed by one man, O Sensei. Many students who trained under O Sensei decided to spread their knowledge of Aikido by opening their own dojos. Due, among other things, to the dynamic nature of Aikido, different students of O Sensei interpreted his Aikido in different ways. Thus different styles of Aikido were born. The more common are listed here along with a brief explanation of what is different about the style. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, but all are firmly rooted in the basic concepts which make Aikido the unique art that it is. None should be considered superior or inferior to any other, but rather an individual must find a style which best suits him or her. Outside factors such as geographic location may of course limit one's options.

Aikikai Also known as Hombu (which actually means headquarters). This is 'classical' Aikido as taught by the Ueshiba family. Today it is governed by the Aikikai Foundation which is run by O Sensei's son, Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. There are several different organisations which teach this style of Aikido such as USAF and ASU (in the United States) and BAF (in the United Kingdom).

Iwama As taught in the town of Iwama by Morihiro Saito, a close student of O Sensei. Includes an emphasis on the relationship among taijutsu, ken and jo movements. This style of Aikido reflects the art of the Founder as taught approximately between the years of 1946-1955 and the number of techniques is more numerous than those presently taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.

Ki Society also known as Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (Aikido with Mind & Body Co-ordinated), founded in 1971 by Koichi Tohei a 10th dan student of O Sensei who, at O Sensei's request, brought Aikido to the U.S. in 1953. Ki Society stresses the use of Ki not only in technique but in daily life to remain calm & relaxed in stressful situations.

Kokikai A style founded by Shuji Maruyama Sensei. It is a particularly soft style that emphasises 'minimum effort for maximum effect.

Tomiki Ryu Aikido was founded by Kenji Tomiki, a high ranking judoka, whom Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo) sent to Ueshiba to learn Aikido. The primary focus of Tomiki Aikido is kata (forms) that strive to teach and capture the fundamentals of Aikido. Tomiki de-emphasised the concept and importance of Ki, and instead decided to concentrate on the physiological side of Aikido.

Yoshinkan Places emphasis on the use of Aikido as a method of self-defence and less on the more esoteric and philosophical elements.

Aikikai -Aikikai Aikido World Headquarters Hombu Dojo, United Kingdom Aikikai
Iwama - Iwama Ryu Aikido (Sweden), Traditional Aikido Iwama Ryu GB
Ki (Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido) - The Ki Society Homepage, The Ki Federation of Great Britain
Kokikai - Kokikai Aikido International
Seidokan - Seidokan Aikido World Headquarters Seidokan is similar to Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido. The founder of the Seidokan institute Mr. R Kobayashi was under Tohei sensei
Tomiki - Tomiki Aikido GB
Yoshinkan - International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation (IYAF)

Shogun - The Japanese Language, Culture and Traditions