Video: Focus on History — “That This Photo Survived is a Miracle!,” by Stanley Pranin

“Morihei Ueshiba’s Ill-starred Mongolian Expedition”

In this screencast, Stanley Pranin tells the fascinating story behind a rare photograph of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba taken in 1924 in Mongolia. The fact that this photo has survived is nothing less than a miracle!

Transcript of screencast

Hi, I’m Stanley Pranin, and welcome to another episode of “Focus on History”

Today, we have a fascinating historical photo that many of you will seeing for the first time.

Let me give you some background. This photo was taken in 1924 in Mongolia. The man on the right is a 40-year-old Morihei Ueshiba. Do you recognize him?

The other man is Masazumi Matsumura. Matsumura was, incidentally, one of the scribes who helped to take dictations of Onisaburo Deguchi’s lengthy account of his spiritual experiences that was published under the title of “Reikai Monogatari.” This work consists of 81-volumes and is usually translated into English as “Tales of the Spiritual World.” This massive collection is considered one of the sacred texts of the Omoto religion. Morihei had a complete collection of Reikai Monogatari in his personal library and and is said to have read the entire text.

Now, back to our story of the photo…

Duration: 6:17 minutes
Access: free through Saturday, January 28

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  1. The adventurous spirit is inspiring!
    The ambitious errors of judgement, human.
    Ueshiba’s receding hairline, comforting.
    The window on history, impeccably timed!
    That it was found against all odds, truly serendipitous.
    Thanks Stan, for your remarkable work!

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