Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei passes on November 13

Reader Leo Tamaki has notified us of the sad news of the passing of Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei yesterday, November 13. He apparently was active teaching until August of this year.

Sunadomari Sensei was born in 1923 in Kagoshima Prefecture. He began his training under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba during World War II in Tokyo in 1942. Sunadomari Sensei resumed training in Tokyo after the war, relocating to Kyushu in the early 1950s. He opened his Manseikan Dojo in Kumamoto in 1954, and built an extensive organization named “Manseikan Aikido” centered mainly in Kyushu. He was promoted to 9th dan in 1961. Sunadomari Sensei authored a number of books on aikido, including one in English.

Sunadomari Sensei hailed from a family of devout Omoto believers that was close to Founder Morihei Ueshiba. His sister, Fukiko was a confidante of O-Sensei and “Fujin Bucho” (director of the women’s section) of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo during the 1950s and 60s. Sunadomari Sensei’s elder brother, Kanemoto, wrote the first biography of Morihei Ueshiba published in 1969.

Aikido Journal offers its heartfelt condolences to Sunadomari Sensei’s family and many students.

Photos and comments by journalist and martial artist Leo Tamaki from August 2010:

“Sunadomari Sensei enjoyed practice very much. He had the chance to have a very supporting circle of family and students. (By the way I am seated in the center of the picture with a ponytail)”

“Sunadomari sensei talked with passion about the teachings of O-Sensei and the spirit we have to cultivate.”

“Lately it seems that Sunadomari Sensei took pleasure in playing the harmonica like when he was a boy. He took it on himself to go give concerts to entertain the elderly in retirement homes, even though he was now older than many of the people living there! Sensei kindly played for us classics like ‘Ue wo muite arukou’ (Sukiyaki) each time we came.”


  1. Alister Gillies says:

    This is sad news. I was honoured to meet Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei in November 2007 for the first time. He left me with an impression of a man dedicated to the purification of heart and spirit. An example for all of us.

  2. Jack Hosie says:

    The land is becoming quieter, as the footsteps of giants of long ago fall silent.

    Truly one of the unsung greats of aikido, whose spirit, and skill embodied the essence of aikido. IMHO, spiritually and technically he came closest to Ueshiba sensei.

    Our deepest sympathy to the Sunadomari family, and all Manseikan Aikido members and friends, at their loss of a loved one.

  3. Daniel Kati says:

    I was a great admirer of Sunadomari sensei. It’s sad that he passed away. I hope his students will keep his work alive.

  4. Brandon Clapp says:

    One of my favorite books is Enlightenment Through Aikido. If you have not read it do yourself a favor and find a copy.

  5. I had the privilege and honor of meeting Sunadomari Shihan three years ago and training in his hombu dojo. At 84 years old he told me he was still discovering deeper levels of aikido and that his goal was for his practice to remove animosity from his heart. His insight and understanding of the Founder’s ideals and purpose for aikido will always be the greatest inspiration to me.

    May the gift of his wisdom and teaching continue to grow within us all.

  6. Clark Bateman says:

    Certainly another great loss. Like other great teachers, his legacy through his students will live on.

  7. The Manseikan Aikido school in Vancouver was saddened to hear of the passing of Sunadomari Sensei. Many of our members have traveled to Japan to train with Sensei over the last two decades. We hope all his deshi will continue to honour his memory and continue to cultivateManseikan aikido.

  8. Rod B Lansangan says:

    All my thoughts and all my prayers are to Sunadomari sensei and to his family.

    I read one of his book “The Enlightenment Through Aikido” and it really awakened me to what O’sensei Aikido is all about.

    Thank you very much SENSEI for writing that book and I will forever treasure it.

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