“News from Iwama following the Japan earthquake,” by Stanley Pranin

In checking various reports on the Internet, we have learned the following concerning the effects of the horrific earthquake of last week in Iwama. The Iwama Dojo built by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba has been badly damaged with the collapse of the roof and walls of the dojo. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported. Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba is scheduled to inspect the dojo next week to decide on a course of action.

The home and dojo of Hitohiro Saito Sensei also suffered some damage, but the family are all safe. Hitohiro Sensei was in Florida when the earthquake struck and has not yet been able to return home.

Our prayers go out to the Japanese people and our aikido friends who have suffered so greatly as a result of this terrible catastrophe.

Anyone having further news is encouraged to post comments below as more information on the situation comes to light.


  1. NHK WORLD TV live on USTREAM is an English language 24-hour international news and information channel that is broadcasting news from Japan on the internet and various cable outlets.

  2. Would love to know about the fate of the late Yoseikan Dojo…

  3. Allen Beebe says:

    I’ve contacted Nakajima Masanori of the Urayasu dojo via e-mail and while there is damage it sounds like folks are okay.

    I’ve received no word as of yet from Sendai or Yamagata as far as dojo’s are concerned. (Although I have heard from family in Sendai, both good news and bad.)

    If I hear anything, I’ll post here.

    For those of us outside of Japan feeling helpless and wishing we could do something to help, raising money will help and it gives one something to do.

  4. If anyone would like to donate to help those dojo that were damaged by the recent earthquakes in Japan and NZ but you don’t know how to do it directly, we have set up to help transmit funds.

    If you identify the dojo that you would like to benefit you can use paypal to make a donation.

    Peace, Aviv Goldsmith
    Aikido in Fredericksburg

  5. Does anyone have any contact info whereby I and some fellow Aikidoka might make a donation?

  6. Allen Beebe says:

    I heard that folks are busing from Sendai to Yamagata because Yamagata is in so much better condition at this time.

  7. Chris Covington says:

    I got an email from Kondo Katsuyuki sensei of Daito-ryu in Tokyo and he said he is okay. I will continue to pray for those hit hardest by the tsunami.

  8. Thank you for sharing. I had been worried about Hitohiro Sensei and hoping the dojo and town were spared.

  9. Shibata (Kenichi) Sensei, his family and dojo (Shiogama Aiki Shuren Dojo) members from Shiogama are all safe, but the dojo and city were hit very hard. Shibata Sensei was scheduled to visit Minnesota to teach a seminar with Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo the first weekend in April. I will teach in his place, sending all the proceeds to him to help rebuild his dojo. Please come and support this, but more importantly keep our Japanese aikido family and all the people of Japan in your thoughts. The aikido people of Iwama and Akita are also safe with some damage to the dojos in Iwama. I was able to speak with people in these three places.

    Shiogama Aiki Shuren Dojo
    Minnesota Aiki Shuren Dojo
    “Stronger together than ever…KOKYUROKU!”

  10. Allen Beebe says:

    Hi Mark,

    I remember training with Shibata sensei at the Sendai City Budokan under Hanzawa sensei. He was very patient, friendly, very enthusiastic and a lot fun to train with. He left an impression on me both mentally and physically as did some others during our robust training at that time 😉

    I’m happy to hear that he and his family are safe. It is going to take time to recover, but fellows like Shibata are sure to be instrumental in leading the way!

    Thank you for sharing BTW. If you hear more news from the region please post again. It is martially rich and most folks know each other . . . or at least they used to.

    All the best,
    Allen Beebe

  11. Allen Beebe says:

    “Anyone having further news is encouraged to post comments below as more information on the situation comes to light.”


    Is there a way to keep this thread from getting buried or rolling off of the page. I think if it does it will die along with many peoples awareness of the ongoing situation.



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