“Photo of the Iwama Dojo after the Japan earthquake,” by Stanley Pranin

Italian Friend Francesco Corallini was kind enough to send this photo of the Iwama Dojo showing damage to the interior structure following the great Japan earthquake last week. The damage to the ceiling is clearly visible. The note accompanying the photo says that the extent of damage is greater than what appears to be the case.

It seems that the roof structure was heavily damaged. The original structure was built around 1943 and expanded in 1964, so the building is quite old and not constructed to withstand a disaster of this scale. We are told Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba will go to Iwama soon to assess the damage to the Iwama Dojo before deciding on a course of action.


  1. The scope of the damage is staggering.

    I found this link online that shows the progression of the 502 earthquakes that hit in the last 5 days. It’s a real eye opener.

    Is Aikikai organizing a way to make donations? I would very much like to contribute.



  2. Michelle Kaunzner says:

    My heart and prayers go out to everyone. This truly is an eye opener. We are to study abroad this summer and practice at the Dojo in June. I am still hopeful and hope to see more information about rebuilding!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Aikido in Fredericksburg is organizing a donation to help damaged dojo in Japan.

    We can do it! :)

  4. Thanks for keeping us updated!! Yes, please let us know the outcome of the assessment and how we might contribute directly to seeing Iwama Dojo repaired, should a collection be organized.


  5. Mistake in website address. Please see correction here

  6. I’m moved to read that people are already talking about donations to rebuild the founder’s dojo.

    At present it is much as is described above with the ceiling caving in and walls at angles. Each aftershock brings the ceiling a little lower. Isoyama Shihan was teaching a seminar in Yamanashi when the quake hit but has now made it back to Iwama. Inagaki Shihan and Watahiki Shihan have been salvaging what they can. All other teachers and deshi are accounted for.

    Keiko continues in the Aiki Shrine.

    Iwama Budokan is also out of action.

    Friends from the Shin Shin dojo came to pay their respects and said the tanrenkan is okay.

    Nemoto’s Aiki House and Nisshinkan dojo seem alright – just a bit of broken glass visible from the outside. Nemoto Sensei and his wife are alright I hear.

    Electricity and water have now been restored to Iwama although there is still no fuel available and the main joban line will be down for some time.

    Carl in Iwama

  7. David Morrison says:

    I hope the Ueshiba family recognise the historical and cultural significance of the dojo and repair it, rather than pull it down & build a supermarket like they have threatened to do so in the past.

  8. My son’s dojo is accepting donations from its members to go directly to the aikido dojos that were affected by the quakes and tsunami in Japan. I suggest that if you are part of a dojo that isn’t already doing this, why not suggest it? Then you know that your contributions will be going directly to those dojo and their akidoka in need.

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