Historical photo: “Time Machine Back to Osaka in 1935,” by Stanley Pranin

“Morihei Ueshiba’s Vanguard Dojo in Japan’s Second Largest City.”

This is a rare photo of unusually high quality depicting Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka with the leading figures of his Asahi News dojo. The photo is almost certainly from 1935 judging by Morihei’s visage, and the fact that it was taken at a time prior to Sokaku Takeda’s arrival in Osaka in June 1936. The people who appear in the photo reflect aspects of Morihei’s activities that extend beyond his martial arts teaching into family areas and the political realm.

First of all, here is a list of those persons we are able to identify by assigned number:

1. Mitsujiro Ishii
2. Kenji Tomita
3. Takuma Hisa
4. Morihei Ueshiba
5. Hatsu Ueshiba
6. Kiku Yukawa
7. Yoshitaka Hirota
8. Yoshiteru Yoshimura
9. Tsutomu Yukawa

Mitsujiro Ishii (1889-1981)

Mitsujiro Ishii

We start with Mitsujiro Ishii. Ishii was an early student of Morihei Ueshiba beginning around 1927 when O-Sensei was being actively promoted by Admiral Isamu Takeshita in Tokyo. In 1933, he provided the introduction that led to Morihei becoming the martial arts instructor of the Osaka branch of the Asahi News. At the point in time this photograph was taken, Ishii was a managing director of the Asahi News company headquartered in Tokyo, and wielded a tremendous amount of influence in the Asahi company. He was a mentor and supporter of Takuma Hisa, who also appears in this photo, and helped in the formation of the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai after the war.

Ishii would later become an important figure in Japanese postwar politics. At one point, in 1957, he was one of the top candidates to become prime minister of Japan. Ishii served as a cabinet member in several administrations from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. He was also a golf enthusiast and served as president of the Japan Golf Association. Parenthetically, Ishii was the father of Yoshiko Ishii, a famous Japanese chanson singer who was a Japanese star for many years, and was also well-known in France and performed in major European venues….

Click here to read Stanley Pranin’s “Time Machine Back to Osaka in 1935”

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