“The amazing chameleon photo of O-Sensei revisited,” by Stanley Pranin

The original 1922 photo of Morihei Ueshiba with the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu placard in the background

“The Elusive Truth of Morihei Ueshiba’s connection to Daito-ryu”

Back in October, 2011, I published an article titled “Historical photo: The amazing chameleon photo of O-Sensei from 1922!” The purpose of the article was to call attention to the fact that a very important historical photo of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba that firmly established his close connection to Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and Sokaku Takeda had been altered in different ways and published over the years.

This article provoked a strong reaction from the aikido community, was widely read, and generated many comments from our readers. Now this article has been revived as a result of a thread posted on aikiweb.com currently in progress. As I read through the various comments, I became uncomfortable with the fact that the entire discussion hinged on my unsubstantiated statements about the altered photos and speculations as to the reasons that this occurred.

For that reason, I have taken the step of uploading two of the instances of altered photos in my possession to document this matter. You can find them here posted at the end of the archived article on the Aikido Journal Members Site.

I have been placed in an awkward situation due to these acts and have maintained silence on the subject for over 30 years. I did not wish to become an accessory to this sort of questionable behavior or allow these actions to go unnoticed and result in any confusion occurring if someone should innocently republish the altered photos and build a thesis on a false foundation. I have seen this sort of thing happen many times during the course of my research. With the advent of the Internet, this danger has increased manifold.

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  1. …a saga by Lafcadio Hearn..?

  2. Don’t worry about aikiweb, its mostly the same handful of people arguing and hurling insults at each other.

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