In this screencast, Stanley Pranin presents a detailed layout of the old Aikikai Hombu Dojo as drawn by Mariye Takahashi. Also, shown are several fascinating photos from the 1950s and 60s taken inside the dojo. In this episode, you will actually have a chance to enter the dojo and prepare for training. We will guide you every step of the way!
Duration: 8:14 minutes
Transcript of screencast
Hi, I’m Stanley Pranin, and welcome to another episode of “Focus on History”
I first arrived in Japan in June of 1969. By that time, the old Hombu Dojo–also known as the Kobukan Dojo in the prewar period–was no more. It was of course this first dojo in which much of early aikido history unfolded.
I have seen a large number of photos of the interior of this legendary dojo, especially taken after the war. Sadateru Arikawa, the late 9th dan sensei, even took the trouble to draw a rough sketch of the layout of Morihei’s old dojo and the Ueshiba family residence. This sketch, which we published a few weeks ago, gives only an approximation of the relative sizes and locations of the dojo and the interior rooms, and I still had trouble visualizing the actual layout.
Fortunately for all of us, my long-time friend, Mariye Takahashi, has at last created a drawing which brings the old dojo back to life in bold relief. Look at what she has drawn… entirely from memory! Mariye was a student at the old dojo from 1961 to 1963. Although she commuted to the Hombu Dojo while a university student, she was very regular in her attendance, and knew the Ueshiba family and the uchideshi of the time very well. Mariye also had a fair amount of contact with Morihei Ueshiba, experiences which she treasures to this day.
Based on her drawing, I started searching out old photographs and could finally imagine quite clearly what the dojo looked and felt like. “Oh, there is the tokonoma in the dojo, there are the fusuma (sliding doors), the windows, the weapons rack, the dressing room, the water closets, the wash basins, etc.” Suddenly, the interior of the dojo took on a familiar look. It’s very exciting, after all these years, to have a clear vision of the look and layout of this historic dojo. I would like to share this with you in this episode…