Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido and Dad,” by Yuhri

“Dad (Yoshihiko Hirata) had a complicated relationship with the leading figures in Aikido, not least with Tohei-sensei. His friendship with Maruyama-sensei, on the other hand, seemed very straight-forward to my admittedly youthful eyes at the time. He was one of Dad’s best friends, and came over at least once that I remember; I recall a lot of laughter and a lot of drinking, and several drawings. Maruyama-sensei drew cartoons at the drop of a hat, and one of the clearest memories from my childhood, bizarrely, is of a cartoon he drew of my Dad cavorting happily with a bottle of beer while my impatient mother looked on.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

Click here to read entire article.


  1. briankag says:

    Hirata sensei was one of my first sensei in Aikido, I still remember him and Clyde Takaguchi doing a impromptu randori at our dojo and it impressed everyone to this day. Also he was one of Bernie Lau’s first sensei…see AJ links on him.

    In Gasho Sensei…Thank You.

  2. What a wonderful story. As someone that has only come to know Maruyama Sensei through Aikido Yuishinkai, its so nice to hear stories from his past.

  3. I wonder if they knew about the ship in the background…

  4. neil yamamoto says:

    Nice find, I remember Hirata Sensei from my early days.

    Minor correction, Hirata was not one of Bernie Lau’s sensei. He and Bernie both had dojo and were unaware of the other. The two dojo merged with Hirata as senior, so he was the dojo-cho.

    Check the aikido history at and the article on Bernie Lau at EJMAS for more on Bernie and those early days of aikido in Seattle.

    As to the ship, The Missouri was docked at Bremerton Naval Shipyard up until 1984, and was a popular tourist destination. Not surprising that Hirata took Maruyama to see it, I remember on a couple of my visits seeing busloads of Japanese visting the ship.

Speak Your Mind