Recommended reading: “Interview with Takako Kunigoshi” by Stanley Pranin

This interview is excerpted from Stanley Pranin’s Aikido Pioneers.

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

There were few women who practiced the Aiki Budo taught by Morihei Ueshiba in the prewar era. One of them, Takako Kunigoshi, occupies a special place in the early years of the art due to her dedication and artistic talents.

I started in January of 1933, the year that I graduated from school. I was then able to continue up to a little before the air raids began over Tokyo. At one time I had been asked to teach self-defense to female employees of a company located next to the famous Kaminari Mon (Thunder Gate) of the Asakusa Temple in Tokyo’s old town district. I went there with the grand daughter of Yakumo Koizumi (the well known Meiji period author better known to foreign readers as Lafcadio Hearn), Ms. Kazuko Koizumi, and we would teach there together. She is dead now, however. Then the air raids started and there were always warnings and alarms and things were getting a little dangerous so we had to stop. We never got to train very much there.

The Aikido Journal archives now include more than 800 articles in twenty different languages and numerous video clips. We are constantly adding new articles and translations in our effort to document aikido and related disciplines past and present. If you would like to support us in this effort by taking out a subscription to the Online Aikido Journal we welcome you to do so by clicking this link. Remember that if you subscribe or renew for two years you will now receive both the Aiki News / Aikido Journal Archival DVD and Stanley Pranin’s latest book Aikido Pioneers-Prewar Era absolutely free of charge. Don’t pass up this special offer!

Click here to read entire article.


  1. What a lovely smile!

  2. …and the story is just as charming.

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